75 votes

I think Tildes should remain invite-only

So this might be an unpopular opinion, but I believe Tildes should remain invite only, albeit perhaps with each user having unlimited invites from the start to hand out to anyone.

This approach can allow Tildes to grow but still keep the signal-to-noise ratio as high as possible, keeping a relatively small (compared to reddit at least) community that stays true to how we are now - focused on thoughtful discussion.

Any thoughts on this approach or other ideas to balance user quality with user-base size?

67 comments

  1. [55]
    Deimos
    Link
    I don't necessarily disagree, but the current rate of growth isn't really sustainable financially unless something changes, whether that's people donating more, me successfully receiving a grant,...

    I don't necessarily disagree, but the current rate of growth isn't really sustainable financially unless something changes, whether that's people donating more, me successfully receiving a grant, or me finding other work and treating this as a side project for a while. The current donations are more than covering the actual costs of running the site, but it's not currently nearly enough to comfortably consider it a proper job at the moment (which is totally fine for now, but it can't stay like this over the longer term).

    The next stage is going to be getting it visible publicly but still requiring an invite to register. I'm not sure what that'll do to the overall interest level, but hopefully it'll increase it somewhat since people will be able to at least browse the site without having to get an invite first.

    66 votes
    1. [35]
      Nitta
      Link Parent
      As long as privacy isn't breached, could you share a bit more details about the state of donations? Like the ratio of donations per 1000 users, its change in time, and how far in % you are from...

      As long as privacy isn't breached, could you share a bit more details about the state of donations? Like the ratio of donations per 1000 users, its change in time, and how far in % you are from the sustainability goal.

      25 votes
      1. [29]
        Deimos
        Link Parent
        Alright, this isn't going to be very detailed or anything right now, but just some quick numbers: Overall, Tildes has been "publicly known" for about 5 months now. The announcement post was made...

        Alright, this isn't going to be very detailed or anything right now, but just some quick numbers:

        Overall, Tildes has been "publicly known" for about 5 months now. The announcement post was made on May 2, but it was very quiet for the first couple of weeks and didn't really get a meaningful amount of activity until late May. I've been planning and working on it for considerably longer than that, but it's been "open" for about 5 months.

        The total amount I've received from Patreon so far is $1,738.15 USD, with pledges sitting at $393/month currently (fees take about 10% of that).

        Other one-time donations (Stripe and Interac) go into the non-profit's bank account, which is currently at $11,361.46 CAD (about $8750 USD). Minus some small fees, that's all from those donations, and the bulk of it was from a few extremely generous people.

        I also have about $75 USD worth of cryptocurrency that people have donated in a Coinbase account, split fairly evenly between BTC, BCH, and ETH. I'm just leaving that alone for now, since surely it will be worth millions in a few years.

        Costs-wise, the monthly costs for server/DNS/etc. is somewhere right around $100 USD/month currently. There were various one-time setup costs as well for things like legal fees (related to setting up the non-profit), corporation registration and other similar things. Without digging up all the actual costs right now, I'd probably estimate that all as being somewhere around $2500 USD total.

        So that's what there is so far. As for where I'd like it to be, there's not really any specific amount, but for this to make any sort of sense for me to keep doing as a job, I probably need to be able to pay myself at least somewhere in the range of $40,000 USD a year before too long. That would still be far less than I've made as a developer in a long time, but it's enough that I wouldn't continue feeling like my wife is completely supporting us (like she is now).

        Overall, ignoring the one-time costs, that means that for this to reach a point where I consider it truly "sustainable", I think it probably needs to be bringing in about $3500 USD/month. Over the 5 months so far, if I average everything out and keep ignoring the one-time costs, it's been about $2000/month. It's extremely encouraging that it's already over halfway there this early, but as I said, a large chunk of that was due to a few ridiculously generous donations, and I can't count on that being something that happens often.

        76 votes
        1. [21]
          Adys
          Link Parent
          Would you be open to adding a monthly subscription as recurring donation? With something like a "(S)" next to the username. In my experience looking at open source projects, donations straight up...

          Would you be open to adding a monthly subscription as recurring donation? With something like a "(S)" next to the username.

          In my experience looking at open source projects, donations straight up don't work. You need recurrence for it to be viable long term. Recurring donations, I've seen those work.

          Edit: To be clear, I mean something on-site. The Patreon is a good addition but the problems with it: It requires an extra account, they take a significant cut, and it's not visible anywhere on site.

          19 votes
          1. [6]
            ainar-g
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            That's what Patreon is for, minus the (S). I am already a patron there, and people ITT should consider doing so as well. $2 is literally a price of one cup of coffee, but if enough people pledge...

            That's what Patreon is for, minus the (S). I am already a patron there, and people ITT should consider doing so as well. $2 is literally a price of one cup of coffee, but if enough people pledge that, it will make a difference.


            Edit, re. Patreon.

            It requires an extra account

            Which you probably already have if you are the kind of person who wants to support nice things.

            they take a significant cut

            IIRC, Patreon itself takes 5%, which is IMO acceptable. The rest are transaction fees, etc.

            and it's not visible anywhere on site

            I am actually OK with this. I am not some Christian moralist who thinks that all good should be done anonymously, but I don't think the site's admins have to give you anything either.

            20 votes
            1. [4]
              Adys
              Link Parent
              What I meant is it's not advertised anywhere. I happened to know there was a Patreon but I don't even remember how I came across this information, and didn't even remember it existed when I...

              I am actually OK with this. I am not some Christian moralist who thinks that all good should be done anonymously, but I don't think the site's admins have to give you anything either.

              What I meant is it's not advertised anywhere. I happened to know there was a Patreon but I don't even remember how I came across this information, and didn't even remember it existed when I initially replied. So it's not terribly surprising a low % of users are subscribed.

              Which you probably already have if you are the kind of person who wants to support nice things.

              I had deleted my Patreon account at some point. I wanted to sign up again to support Alt Shift X a while back... and found out it didn't let me reuse my old email address. Yeah I'm the exception, but I don't think it's a good idea to reject people who don't have/don't want a Patreon account but still would like to support, especially given the site's focus on privacy and minimalism (which is likely to attract people who want to avoid a middleman).

              13 votes
              1. cfabbro
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                There is a Donate section in the Docs which mentions Patreon and all the other means there are to donate to Tildes, and a link on the footer of the site to that docs page as well. But I do think...

                There is a Donate section in the Docs which mentions Patreon and all the other means there are to donate to Tildes, and a link on the footer of the site to that docs page as well. But I do think that at some point more effort is probably going to be needed to point people towards the donation page and options.

                edit: Added a Gitlab issue suggestion for making the Donate link more prominent:
                https://gitlab.com/tildes/tildes/issues/293

                12 votes
              2. [2]
                ainar-g
                Link Parent
                This is an issue. I notice that pattern a lot with people who have a Patreon page. If you have a Patreon page, freaking advertise it you fool! The "Donate to Tildes" link should be in the sidebar,...

                What I meant is it's not advertised anywhere. I happened to know there was a Patreon but I don't even remember how I came across this information, and didn't even remember it existed when I initially replied. So it's not terribly surprising a low % of users are subscribed.

                This is an issue. I notice that pattern a lot with people who have a Patreon page. If you have a Patreon page, freaking advertise it you fool! The "Donate to Tildes" link should be in the sidebar, not some fine-print in the page's footer.

                I had deleted my Patreon account at some point. I wanted to sign up again to support Alt Shift X a while back... and found out it didn't let me reuse my old email address. Yeah I'm the exception, but I don't think it's a good idea to reject people who don't have/don't want a Patreon account but still would like to support, especially given the site's focus on privacy and minimalism (which is likely to attract people who want to avoid a middleman).

                I don't think you are "rejected", but I can see your point now. Can't you just set up a monthly donation with your bank? My bank here in Russia allows you to set up a "scheduled transfer", e.g. for sending money to your parents; online. It's kind of a PITA to set up properly, but it works. Not sure about the rest of the world though.

                7 votes
          2. [12]
            Deimos
            Link Parent
            Yeah, I think Stripe recently added support for recurring subscriptions as well, so I should probably set that up as an option eventually. Patreon does mostly serves the purpose, but it never...

            Yeah, I think Stripe recently added support for recurring subscriptions as well, so I should probably set that up as an option eventually. Patreon does mostly serves the purpose, but it never hurts to have more options for people to choose what they're comfortable with using.

            I'm not sure about putting an indicator on people's usernames. I don't want donating/subscribing to be a thing that splits users into "classes". It's certainly a very important way to contribute to the site, but there are various other ways to contribute that are important as well - posting high-quality topics/comments, helping other users out, submitting code changes, finding and reporting issues, and so on.

            16 votes
            1. [8]
              Adys
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              Yep I see where you're coming from. It's down to your vision and how you imagine it would affect the community as a whole. Personally, whenever I set up a website that needs money for one reason...

              I don't want donating/subscribing to be a thing that splits users into "classes". It's certainly a very important way to contribute to the site, but there are various other ways to contribute that are important as well - posting high-quality topics/comments, helping other users out, submitting code changes, finding and reporting issues, and so on.

              Yep I see where you're coming from. It's down to your vision and how you imagine it would affect the community as a whole. Personally, whenever I set up a website that needs money for one reason or another, I always set up a cheap subscription and some form of "thank you". That can be a colored nickname, a border around an avatar, a little star, a special "zone" (like /r/lounge).

              My rule when I implement it is that it's a form of "thank you" from the staff towards the user for subscribing. It can't be something you want and are ready to pay $5/mo for, it's either an added bonus on top of another product (eg premium features), or on top of a goodwill donation/subscription.

              The second purpose is that it's a way of letting users who aren't subscribed know that the option to subscribe exists, without having to actively advertise it on the site.

              It definitely wouldn't bother me if there was an indicator on usernames or anything like that, as long as it's subtle and optional. But I don't know what other people would think about it.

              5 votes
              1. [7]
                clerical_terrors
                Link Parent
                As somebody who donates monthly I wouldn't necessarily want something that's visible globally on the whole site, as @Deimos said that will probably have the unintended effect of separating users...

                As somebody who donates monthly I wouldn't necessarily want something that's visible globally on the whole site, as @Deimos said that will probably have the unintended effect of separating users into classes. Something like a reward button/achievement (like Reddit has/used to have) displayed on the personal profile page I would be more inclined towards. For example a simple "Thank you" badge for being a donor/regular patron and maybe a separate one for people who have donated over an extended period of time.

                10 votes
                1. [6]
                  cain
                  Link Parent
                  As much as it shouldn't persuade people to donate it would certainly help to have a little trophy you get on your user page or something that shows you support the site. I think username flair or...

                  As much as it shouldn't persuade people to donate it would certainly help to have a little trophy you get on your user page or something that shows you support the site. I think username flair or something is way over the line as everyone else has said but just on a user page or the hover card for users with a little bio that I've seen talked about as a feature eventually would incentivize just a bit and be a good way of giving a slight heads up that you can also donate to new users who come across it.

                  3 votes
                  1. [5]
                    frickindeal
                    Link Parent
                    Playing a bit of devil's advocate here, but the class thing would still be a potential issue: "Oh, I see you don't even donate! Why should we listen to your complaint/advise/idea/etc." I'd rather...

                    Playing a bit of devil's advocate here, but the class thing would still be a potential issue: "Oh, I see you don't even donate! Why should we listen to your complaint/advise/idea/etc."

                    I'd rather it be optional if it exists at all. I'd like to donate without advertising that I donate.

                    10 votes
                    1. [4]
                      cain
                      Link Parent
                      The only people who would do that are assholes and i doubt it would happen. Thats like someone saying 'oh i see you don't even have reddit gold, what do you know?' it doesn't happen.

                      The only people who would do that are assholes and i doubt it would happen.

                      Thats like someone saying 'oh i see you don't even have reddit gold, what do you know?' it doesn't happen.

                      1 vote
                      1. [3]
                        frickindeal
                        Link Parent
                        I only have an anecdote as an argument, but I've seen it happen. I was on a now-defunct horology forum (collecting/appreciating watches). It was basically expected by other users that you had the...

                        I only have an anecdote as an argument, but I've seen it happen. I was on a now-defunct horology forum (collecting/appreciating watches). It was basically expected by other users that you had the user flair that showed you donated (it was just a little sprite—this was a long time ago). Reddit gold doesn't really compare because we all know it's not going to sustain the costs of running reddit. The forum was created by two individuals who ran it on a shoestring. So, users were called out if they didn't donate, and would have suggestions ignored and basically had trouble being a part of the "class" of people who had the little sprite.

                        8 votes
                        1. [2]
                          cain
                          Link Parent
                          That's fair, but I imagine that type of behavior was endorsed or at least not discouraged by the runners of the site like it would be here.

                          That's fair, but I imagine that type of behavior was endorsed or at least not discouraged by the runners of the site like it would be here.

                          3 votes
                          1. frickindeal
                            Link Parent
                            True, it wasn't discouraged; they just kind of let it slide, because it meant they could afford server costs. I don't really see that happening here, but it's very possible for a user base to get...

                            True, it wasn't discouraged; they just kind of let it slide, because it meant they could afford server costs. I don't really see that happening here, but it's very possible for a user base to get compliant with things like that. For whatever biological or social reasons, we have a tendency to place people in classes.

                            6 votes
            2. [3]
              gibby
              Link Parent
              Have you considered putting the site behind a soft paywall? It could have the added benefit of preventing a decent amount of trolls or corporate accounts once you go public. It doesn't have to be...

              Have you considered putting the site behind a soft paywall?

              It could have the added benefit of preventing a decent amount of trolls or corporate accounts once you go public. It doesn't have to be a high cost either.

              1 vote
              1. [2]
                Deimos
                Link Parent
                I've thought about it a bit, but overall it's something I'd prefer not to do. Forcing people to pay would definitely keep out a lot of bad users, but it also keeps out a lot of good users if they...

                I've thought about it a bit, but overall it's something I'd prefer not to do. Forcing people to pay would definitely keep out a lot of bad users, but it also keeps out a lot of good users if they don't want to (or even can't) pay to be able to participate. I think having some barrier to entry is good, but I don't think having that barrier be related to ability and willingness to give a few dollars is necessarily the right way to do it.

                11 votes
                1. gibby
                  Link Parent
                  I can understand that. Just gotta say I was invited here yesterday and I really like some of the site features. Particularly the activity filter and tag system. Looks promising!

                  I can understand that.

                  Just gotta say I was invited here yesterday and I really like some of the site features. Particularly the activity filter and tag system.

                  Looks promising!

                  4 votes
          3. [2]
            dubteedub
            Link Parent
            That's already available through the Patreon for Tildes

            That's already available through the Patreon for Tildes

            4 votes
            1. Adys
              Link Parent
              See my edit, I forgot to mention it.

              See my edit, I forgot to mention it.

              2 votes
        2. [2]
          dredmorbius
          Link Parent
          User count? Total subscribed DAU/MAU Submitted > 1 post Submitted > 5 posts/mo (arbitrary cutoff) Submitted > 1 comment Submitted > 20 comments/mo (arbitrary cutoff) Other interactions (votes,...

          User count?

          • Total subscribed
          • DAU/MAU
          • Submitted > 1 post
          • Submitted > 5 posts/mo (arbitrary cutoff)
          • Submitted > 1 comment
          • Submitted > 20 comments/mo (arbitrary cutoff)
          • Other interactions (votes, tags)
          • Rough sense of 90/9/1 activity levels, monthly average
          • Admin actions; deleted comments, posts. User bans.

          Might be a useful ongoing report.

          5 votes
          1. Algernon_Asimov
            Link Parent
            Useful to whom? I can see how that sort of report would be useful to Deimos, but I can't see how it would be useful to the rest of us.

            Useful to whom? I can see how that sort of report would be useful to Deimos, but I can't see how it would be useful to the rest of us.

            5 votes
        3. [2]
          bod
          Link Parent
          What do you think of a small ads model, like papers used to have in the back? Totally segregated, so that you'd only look at it if you chose to. Your users must accept that there is an economic...

          What do you think of a small ads model, like papers used to have in the back?

          Totally segregated, so that you'd only look at it if you chose to. Your users must accept that there is an economic reality to you running the site, so for two minutes they could click a couple of ads. Would that leave you independent, in your view?

          Or is that totally abhorrent?

          Most people seem to be bothered by the lack of consent in current advertising models. Could a voluntary advertising model work? Possibly with a democratic veto, so the community could decide who is allowed to promote themselves.

          ?

          1 vote
          1. Deimos
            Link Parent
            Definitely not, I don't ever want to include any form of advertising. Even done carefully, it still completely changes the site's incentives towards prioritizing growth, increasing time-on-site,...

            Would that leave you independent, in your view?

            Definitely not, I don't ever want to include any form of advertising. Even done carefully, it still completely changes the site's incentives towards prioritizing growth, increasing time-on-site, etc. Advertisers don't have the same goals as the users, and advertising will always eventually lead to making choices that aren't for the users' benefit.

            21 votes
        4. [3]
          Abrown
          Link Parent
          Following through from the current Meta discussion post -- I wouldn't mind a few ads if you hand-vetted them and made sure they weren't intrusive. Reddit's ads really aren't too bad... Not sure if...

          Following through from the current Meta discussion post -- I wouldn't mind a few ads if you hand-vetted them and made sure they weren't intrusive. Reddit's ads really aren't too bad... Not sure if ads are a place you want to venture with Tildes, but I'm more than happy to whitelist the site to help out in lieu of a direct donation.

          1. [2]
            Deimos
            Link Parent
            Nah, no ads. Quoting from another post in response to a similar suggestion:

            Nah, no ads. Quoting from another post in response to a similar suggestion:

            Definitely not, I don't ever want to include any form of advertising. Even done carefully, it still completely changes the site's incentives towards prioritizing growth, increasing time-on-site, etc. Advertisers don't have the same goals as the users, and advertising will always eventually lead to making choices that aren't for the users' benefit.

            13 votes
            1. Abrown
              Link Parent
              Thanks for the quoted link. Guess I'll start setting something aside to chip in now and then instead :)

              Thanks for the quoted link. Guess I'll start setting something aside to chip in now and then instead :)

              3 votes
      2. Deimos
        Link Parent
        Sure, I don't mind (and I'd like to be as open as possible about the financials eventually). I'm not at home right now and don't have access to it here, but I can give some details later when I...

        Sure, I don't mind (and I'd like to be as open as possible about the financials eventually). I'm not at home right now and don't have access to it here, but I can give some details later when I get back, or tomorrow.

        18 votes
      3. [4]
        spit-evil-olive-tips
        Link Parent
        Some of that is public: https://www.patreon.com/tildes/overview Currently 84 patrons and $375/month. There's no official stats on number of users but the closest approximation is that...

        Some of that is public: https://www.patreon.com/tildes/overview

        Currently 84 patrons and $375/month. There's no official stats on number of users but the closest approximation is that ~tildes.official has 7139 subscribers.

        18 votes
        1. [3]
          EscReality
          Link Parent
          woah, when did we get up to 7k? I feel like last time I checked we were around 5k, that's awesome.

          woah, when did we get up to 7k? I feel like last time I checked we were around 5k, that's awesome.

          9 votes
          1. [2]
            spit-evil-olive-tips
            Link Parent
            Yep, I remember looking when it was 6000-something, and again when it was 5000-something. I think this is one of the best arguments in favor of keeping a moderately-high barrier to entry - growth...

            Yep, I remember looking when it was 6000-something, and again when it was 5000-something.

            I think this is one of the best arguments in favor of keeping a moderately-high barrier to entry - growth is slow enough that it's hard to notice. We should aim to have the opposite of Eternal September.

            15 votes
            1. Amarok
              Link Parent
              Eternal September is inevitable. Tildes merely needs to keep growth under control until we discover a way to beat Eternal September with the content publishing and moderation and discussion...

              Eternal September is inevitable. Tildes merely needs to keep growth under control until we discover a way to beat Eternal September with the content publishing and moderation and discussion systems here. Ideally that means a nice slow growth period, or short spurts of larger growth with sustained pauses at major milestones so we can sort out the 'next level' of problems that come in with each size increase.

              There are also some... interesting possibilities for differing kinds of invites. There can be multiple processes that allow a user to get access to the site. Just some examples...

              • Current key-based invite. I like keeping this exactly as is, with a key giving you an immediately active account. It's the most vouch-like of the invite mechanisms and fits more into the 'friends and family' category due to the need to generate the key and send it to a single individual. It's one-to-one.

              • Link-based invite. We don't have this yet but I think it's the logical next step for an invite mechanism. Users can create an invite 'link' they can then share in other forum threads online. Anyone clicking that link can follow it to a registration page and create an account. This needs extra controls, however. It's a bit too open and it's prone to bringing in 'packs' of users at once when a link is shared on 4chan or in discord or wherever. Good for growth, but packs also bring their own behaviors and need time to acclimate. This is more of a one-to-many system, as if the user is vouching for an entire community by sharing the link with them.

              We want the invite to go to the people who are active at the time the link was shared. The link should expire after either a time limit is reached, or a certain number of users have clicked on it (or both, perhaps set by the user generating the invite link, within certain thresholds). So for example I could gen a link that lives for 6 hours and tops out at 50 invitees total, and share that in a place I want to bring a group from, not just a couple users. It also avoids the current 'can I get an invite' dance.

              I'd also limit these accounts more in the beginning. Maybe they can't post for a day, have some kind of commenting restrictions, or have nerfed weights in the system somehow. Getting the balance right here is tricky. It's hard to throw up roadblocks to hostile actors without normal users getting caught in the crossfire, and we don't want to be unwelcoming. Posting here shouldn't be an ordeal for fresh accounts. Maybe we let them post but have their comments marked for review in some way, let the tags of their submissions and labels on their comments do the work.

              I like this because it's still in the hands of the users to share these links in the wild. We'd also know which users come in from which places with the referrer links and could track them as a 'unit' in case one was used to bring in a pack of bots or racists or something else disruptive.

              • Another possibility is open registration drives. This would work just like private trackers. We'd have signups for a certain amount of time/number of users and close for a while afterwards to give the community time to recover its balance while new users acclimate to the culture. These would close if Tildes ever got viral attention, so we only get the people who are interested enough to stick around for the next open registration period. Not sure if we should differentiate how these accounts behave from the prior two methods... treating them all like the 'invite links' above should be enough imo.

              I'm sure we can come up with other invite systems mechanics as well. Nobody ever really explores this problem space, most invite systems are very straightforward. Might make for a good discussion thread in ~tildes sometime brainstorming invite concepts, see what we can all come up with.

              7 votes
    2. [5]
      Rocket_Man
      Link Parent
      How do you feel about doing funding drives? Just like a week every 6 months that displays a banner or something that reminds people the site is supported by donations. NPR and Wikipedia do it, so...

      How do you feel about doing funding drives? Just like a week every 6 months that displays a banner or something that reminds people the site is supported by donations. NPR and Wikipedia do it, so I imagine it's a relatively effective method. Although idk how the community as a whole would react to it.

      13 votes
      1. [4]
        Deimos
        Link Parent
        I think it could definitely work, and I have a few ideas for interesting ways that we might be able to do them in a community-based way. However, I think we definitely just need more users in...

        I think it could definitely work, and I have a few ideas for interesting ways that we might be able to do them in a community-based way. However, I think we definitely just need more users in general before it would make much sense, so it's the type of thing that probably won't come up for quite a while still.

        13 votes
        1. [3]
          ploggingdev
          Link Parent
          What are the approaches you are considering to make that happen? I think the last time I asked you this question, you said you didn't have any concrete plans. The reason I am extremely interested...

          we definitely just need more users in general

          What are the approaches you are considering to make that happen? I think the last time I asked you this question, you said you didn't have any concrete plans. The reason I am extremely interested in your approach is because I am working on a (very different) community site and have been struggling to get it started, so maybe I could learn something from your approach.

          Can we get a quick update on the site activity levels (https://tildes.net/~tildes.official/3c7/daily_tildes_discussion_thoughts_about_the_sites_activity_level)?

          6 votes
          1. cfabbro
            Link Parent
            I can't speak to anything Deimos is considering for the future, but right now I think that's mostly happening through organic interest and invite threads on reddit. I have no idea how many people...

            we definitely just need more users in general

            What are the approaches you are considering to make that happen?

            I can't speak to anything Deimos is considering for the future, but right now I think that's mostly happening through organic interest and invite threads on reddit. I have no idea how many people I have invited to Tildes through them but it's definitely in the thousands now (4-ish thousand maybe?). And once the site becomes publicly viewable I suspect that will definitely generate a ton more organic interest as well. But the only real promotion that has been done AFAIK is a HackerNews post 100+ days ago. So it's kind of hard to give advice when the interest has mostly been organic. :/

            8 votes
          2. Deimos
            Link Parent
            Yeah, like cfabbro said, there's not too much specific, most of it has come through people (not usually me) bringing it up in organic discussions about this type of site on places like reddit and...

            Yeah, like cfabbro said, there's not too much specific, most of it has come through people (not usually me) bringing it up in organic discussions about this type of site on places like reddit and Hacker News. Once the site's public I may try to do a bit more formal promotion of it, but I'm not sure specifically what that might be yet. There are quite a few sites and people that write about social media and its issues regularly, so I could probably find interest from some of those if I started going out of my way to contact them about Tildes.

            As for activity levels, sure. I was intending to do one of those occasional general-feedback threads tomorrow, so I'll probably post it as part of that. It generally hasn't changed too much since previous ones though, things have been fairly steady for a while now, with about 400-500 comments per day being pretty typical on weekdays, and dropping down a bit on weekends.

            6 votes
    3. mrbig
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I think Tildes should advertise the donations more proactively, but in a sensible manner, of course. This is not enough. We're all good people, but we are also lazy and forgetful. Even though they...
      1. I think Tildes should advertise the donations more proactively, but in a sensible manner, of course. This is not enough. We're all good people, but we are also lazy and forgetful.

        • Even though they call it a "purchase", in practice I think Sublime Text is a good example of donationware: they make it very clear that donations are important, in a way that is present but far from restrictive or annoying in any way.
      2. If Tildes has more users, there are going to be more donations. I don't know how this is going to scale, though.

      8 votes
    4. [2]
      nsa
      Link Parent
      Nice to have the creator weighing in! It's definitely a difficult balance between finances and community. I totally agree with public visibility; I usually lurk on a forum for months before ever...

      Nice to have the creator weighing in! It's definitely a difficult balance between finances and community. I totally agree with public visibility; I usually lurk on a forum for months before ever joining. Maybe, along with unlimited invites, a way for potential users to request an invite from the signup page?

      5 votes
      1. Deimos
        Link Parent
        Yeah, I think that would probably be a good idea, even if it's just a link to a docs page that explains how people can request an invite. Right now, quite a few of the people that email for...

        Yeah, I think that would probably be a good idea, even if it's just a link to a docs page that explains how people can request an invite. Right now, quite a few of the people that email for invites seem a little unsure whether invites are even still available since the announcement blog post is starting to get a little old.

        6 votes
    5. [5]
      teaearlgraycold
      Link Parent
      What kind of funding are you looking for? Edit: Also, I think read only accounts will improve the ratio of dead accounts. I'm sure a lot of people just joined to peep in and never came back.

      What kind of funding are you looking for?

      Edit: Also, I think read only accounts will improve the ratio of dead accounts. I'm sure a lot of people just joined to peep in and never came back.

      4 votes
      1. [4]
        Deimos
        Link Parent
        By "what kind", do you mean "what type", or "how much"?

        By "what kind", do you mean "what type", or "how much"?

        5 votes
        1. [3]
          teaearlgraycold
          Link Parent
          What type.

          What type.

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            Deimos
            Link Parent
            Ideally, it would all be user donations. I'm also hoping that I might be able to find some grants from foundations or other similar organizations that are interested in open-source projects,...

            Ideally, it would all be user donations. I'm also hoping that I might be able to find some grants from foundations or other similar organizations that are interested in open-source projects, privacy, social media, or other similar topics, but it's honestly not something I've looked into heavily at this point (and I'm also not sure how many of them might come with some type of obligation).

            12 votes
            1. tvfj
              Link Parent
              Now that Tildes is open source, don't forget MOSS

              Now that Tildes is open source, don't forget MOSS

              5 votes
    6. [4]
      darth_vader
      Link Parent
      my suggestion (unless you're already doing this) is to mine our data. Seriously. I like the idea of a reddit alternative that remains small. As long as no one shows up at my house with plans on...

      my suggestion (unless you're already doing this) is to mine our data. Seriously. I like the idea of a reddit alternative that remains small. As long as no one shows up at my house with plans on murdering me...(shrugs). Ads trying to sell me something based on my internet history? Nothing new there.

      Also, do you have any particular suggestions on how to learn about security and scalability? I feel like building a basic social network site isn't necessarily too hard, but getting it so that it can't be broken into and setting it up to run with lots and lots of people using it is a whole other ballgame.

      2 votes
      1. [3]
        Deimos
        Link Parent
        I'm not going to mine data, and I'm actually even trying to find ways to delete or hide data as much as possible so that it's not even a possibility. The privacy policy is pretty explicit about...

        I'm not going to mine data, and I'm actually even trying to find ways to delete or hide data as much as possible so that it's not even a possibility. The privacy policy is pretty explicit about this, and there's some more info about this in the Technical Goals page as well.

        As for learning about security and scalability, it's a bit difficult and I think a lot of it probably comes from experience. Honestly, I wouldn't worry about scalability much at all until you're sure that you need to. So many people make these massively over-complex sites because they're worried about scaling (or read blog posts about it), and then they never get anywhere enough traffic to actually need any of it. You probably don't have the same problems as massive-scale companies like Google, so you don't need to approach things the way they do.

        My main recommendation would probably be to learn about relational databases (like PostgreSQL) and how to design and index tables well. Then just try to do that as much as possible, and only worry about more when you run into a situation where you actually need to. Databases on good hardware are really fast if used properly, and should be more than almost everyone ever needs. Set up some sort of monitoring/profiling on your database so you can tell when some usages of it are slow, and then try to improve those with new indexes, querying differently, etc. Just doing that can get you extremely far before you have to worry about adding anything else in.

        For security, it can vary a lot depending on what language or technology you're using. Their site is kind of a mess and hard to navigate around, but making sure that you have a decent grasp of the OWASP Top 10 is a really good place to start. SQL injection, XSS, etc. are on there, and those are the main things you need to worry about making sure you've addressed on a site.

        13 votes
        1. Tarsupin
          Link Parent
          Okay, one thing to consider here is that if this site is being built to avoid propaganda, making certain data visible is how you can achieve that. There are two reasons that Reddit is filled with...

          I'm not going to mine data, and I'm actually even trying to find ways to delete or hide data as much as possible so that it's not even a possibility.

          Okay, one thing to consider here is that if this site is being built to avoid propaganda, making certain data visible is how you can achieve that.

          There are two reasons that Reddit is filled with trash. The first is that they don't care enough to truly enforce it, or at least aren't willing to invoke the changes necessary to take a large step in that direction. The second is that it is damn near impossible to identify trolls without certain information being made public.

          The fact is, everything we post on this site is 100% public, so putting it into categories that would allow sensible meta-data to be extracted could help independent researchers point out who/what is causing any instances of propaganda that fit into the system.

          1 vote
        2. darth_vader
          Link Parent
          lol I have the ethics of a gnat when it comes to this shit. You're never going to get any money out of me, nor out of a lot of your users. But this shit isnt free to run and you should at the very...

          lol I have the ethics of a gnat when it comes to this shit. You're never going to get any money out of me, nor out of a lot of your users. But this shit isnt free to run and you should at the very least be breaking even on a project like this (which it sounds like you are...so at least you've got that). I'm surprised you're getting any donations at all to be honest.

          I've got my own social media website idea, as well as an MMO that I want to persue. So thank you thank you thank you for the suggestions dude.

  2. [4]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. spit-evil-olive-tips
      Link Parent
      Yep, I'm in favor of some barrier to entry to join the site. Right now it's quite high, over time we should reduce it, but I'm not convinced that reducing it to zero or near-zero is a goal we...

      Yep, I'm in favor of some barrier to entry to join the site. Right now it's quite high, over time we should reduce it, but I'm not convinced that reducing it to zero or near-zero is a goal we should have.

      I'm reminded of two things - a Fresh Air episode I heard recently that discussed Mark Zuckerberg and the history of Facebook, which talked about how FB had a "Growth Team" which was seen as the best place to be if you wanted exciting projects, career advancement, etc. Not just growth for the sake of growth, but "put our best people in charge of growth". Tildes should be the opposite.

      Second, an episode of Better Call Saul I watched recently (no spoilers follow) where they showed a scene of several lawyers getting admitted to the bar. Each new lawyer had an already-admitted lawyer who had to stand next to them and say "I vouch for this person".

      11 votes
    2. [3]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. Tarsupin
        Link Parent
        Tildes is a site like Reddit, so a very, very large number of people are interested. Starting up a site is insanely difficult in terms of getting people to join. Having 8k users means that Tildes...

        I don't really know many other people interested in a site like Tildes.

        Tildes is a site like Reddit, so a very, very large number of people are interested.

        Starting up a site is insanely difficult in terms of getting people to join. Having 8k users means that Tildes has bridged a very, VERY large hurdle. Once they hit about 50-100k, the momentum should kick in a lot harder.

        I perceive this as a much smaller issue in the long term.

        5 votes
      2. frickindeal
        Link Parent
        But they are out there, and many of them are on reddit. r/Science has tons of serious, quality discussion—although it takes a diligent and large moderation team to keep it that way. There are...

        But they are out there, and many of them are on reddit. r/Science has tons of serious, quality discussion—although it takes a diligent and large moderation team to keep it that way. There are quite a few more subreddits like that. People who want quality discussion are out there.

        4 votes
  3. hungariantoast
    (edited )
    Link
    The last time I was informed on the official stance of "invites vs. open signup" it went like this: Tildes will, after reaching a stable state of development, when overhauls and widespread changes...

    The last time I was informed on the official stance of "invites vs. open signup" it went like this:

    Tildes will, after reaching a stable state of development, when overhauls and widespread changes are sparse, become available to view without an invite. Later, much later, it will be made open to public registrations, but only after sufficient development and testing has allowed the trust-based moderation system to be implemented and effective. Tildes will most likely not remain open to public registration though. Much like private trackers, the site may revert to an invite-to-register stance or even a register-to-view stance like it is right now. When and if Tildes will revert to these varying levels of privacy will be determined by a number of factors:

    If too many users are registering at once and that proves problematic, we revert to invites.

    If Tildes makes it into the news or otherwise sees a massive surge in popularity, we revert to an invite-to-register and register-to-view stance to mitigate issues with "user surge."

    The people who are actually interested in Tildes and what it is about will either put up the effort to get an invite or wait out the private periods so they can register once the site opens back up.


    I do not think any of what I just typed is set in stone, and it is all info that I was told months ago, so the stance may have changed, but I would be willing to bet that Tildes remains invite-to-register for a majority of its life, register-to-view for sporadic moments of popularity, and public registration will only happen when there is a lull in site activity, or Deimos just gets a wild hair and thinks the site can take the hit from a surge of users.


    Personally I do not care if the site is invite only. I would prefer it to be open registration when possible, because it just makes it that much easier to get people to join and integrate with the community, but I am all for closing the door and shutting the blinds if we start getting bombarded with users and that has negative consequences.

    I do not see any benefit in permanently keeping the site invite only, let alone register-to-view, because the systems that are going to be implemented should mitigate problems that other sites fall prey to, such as a surge of users, so closing the site from the public, permanently, would be counter-intuitive to the ideas and development of those systems. If we go through the effort of maintaining and implementing new ideas to make online communities better, we will be shooting ourselves in the foot by putting barriers in place for users to utilize those systems.

    EDIT: Changed "pubic" to "public." Very important distinction.

    18 votes
  4. OzPoider
    Link
    If by keeping as an invite model, it removes the kiddies who flood every post on Reddit with their juvenile jokes and general rubbish, then this is a good thing. Quality replies and content is the...

    If by keeping as an invite model, it removes the kiddies who flood every post on Reddit with their juvenile jokes and general rubbish, then this is a good thing.

    Quality replies and content is the leading attribute about tildes.

    10 votes
  5. [2]
    tesseractcat
    Link
    On one hand, I agree, however on the other hand, I think that the design of Tildes should be that it discourages noise, and increases thoughtful discussion even when public. I also believe that...

    On one hand, I agree, however on the other hand, I think that the design of Tildes should be that it discourages noise, and increases thoughtful discussion even when public. I also believe that discussions are better off with more people involved, at least up to a certain point, and the only way to really achieve larger discussions would be by making the site public.

    8 votes
    1. emdash
      Link Parent
      A public site is not incompatible with an invitation only participation model, however! If people like what they see, then it shouldn't be too hard to find a user willing to donate an invite to a...

      A public site is not incompatible with an invitation only participation model, however! If people like what they see, then it shouldn't be too hard to find a user willing to donate an invite to a prospective member. It also enforces a higher barrier to entry that should mitigate trolls while also allowing good discussions to be publicly accessible on the internet.

      Public read, restricted write sounds like a good balance to me.

      8 votes
  6. Nitta
    Link
    Optimistically speaking, even if Tildes grows too much there always will be demand for a new place with thoughtful noiseless discussions, and a new website will be created. The cycle would take...

    Optimistically speaking, even if Tildes grows too much there always will be demand for a new place with thoughtful noiseless discussions, and a new website will be created. The cycle would take several years, like for reddit

    5 votes
  7. [2]
    Custos
    Link
    Something I’ve really liked is how ghost.org has handled transparency into their business model. I also thing, while this is invite alpha, gentle redirects to donations (unlike Wikipedia’s...

    Something I’ve really liked is how ghost.org has handled transparency into their business model. I also thing, while this is invite alpha, gentle redirects to donations (unlike Wikipedia’s intrusiveness) is interesting. I’d be cool with a quarterly 24 hr campaign.

    4 votes
    1. frickindeal
      Link Parent
      Funnily enough, Wikipedia's intrusive donation campaigns get me to give my donation every single year because I want the banner to go away, and I also want to donate every year. So they're very...

      Funnily enough, Wikipedia's intrusive donation campaigns get me to give my donation every single year because I want the banner to go away, and I also want to donate every year. So they're very effective in that way, and I believe they know it. They also always seem to ask "do you like the way we're asking this time" (it's usually a tiny link), and I tell them that I do, because it's working

      2 votes
  8. Fartman
    Link
    I agree with what some people have said. Make it invite only to post and comment but make it open to read. A lot of people would love a new site aggregator to replace Reddit or something similar...

    I agree with what some people have said. Make it invite only to post and comment but make it open to read. A lot of people would love a new site aggregator to replace Reddit or something similar but they aren’t the type to comment or post but they still drive traffic by linking. I don’t know if I ever even had a Digg account but I read it multiple times per day.

    3 votes
  9. dredmorbius
    Link
    Invite/referral gets a nod from me, with an eye to financials & growth, comments elsewhere in thread. Quality trumps quantity, and largely denies it.

    Invite/referral gets a nod from me, with an eye to financials & growth, comments elsewhere in thread.

    Quality trumps quantity, and largely denies it.

    2 votes