In the post, Towards a Public Archipelago, Raemon suggested that the moderation changes would allow the creation of seperate spaces with their own norms. One major limitation of these spaces though is that each "space" will be limited to a single author. Like suppose Anna wants to create a space for discussing nutrition where comments must meet certain referencing requirements. Writing well-researched posts requires a significant amount of time, so she may only end up making a post every few months. These kinds of "dead" spaces aren't very attractive to users and so don't tend to built up a following. On the other hand, if she could team up with some of her friends, then perhaps they could produce enough content to keep people engaged.
One was to resolve this would be to create a seperate account and share the login details among the core contributors (we will call this a "group account"). This would allow us to move more towards the Public Archipelago that Raemon described, without having to add any new features to the website.
While multiple authors could just work on the same project separately this would have several disadvantages:
- You wouldn't be able to follow the project just by following one author. Trivial inconveniences.
- If you followed all the authors, at least some would probably mix in other posts as well
- You can't have one-time contributors
- It wouldn't be obvious that all of these posts were coming from the same collaboration, while it would if they were posted by a single account
- It would be less obvious that all of these posts had the same moderations norms
Alternatively, one person could accept and post contributions from others under their account, however:
- This would be more work than if other trusted contributors could post directly
- This would provide them with karma that they haven't earned
- Other contributors might be fine with not receiving karma (by contributing to a group account), but they wouldn't want someone else to get the karma
- A group account that achieves a high karma might provide some reputational benefits to the core contributors, but if there's a single individual associated with the project, then that individual will likely gain all of the benefit
This could also be beneficial for my proposed Experimental Open Threads. Even though I don't plan to look for other contributors, I need a way to create these posts without unfairly gaining karma from them since most of the value would come from the discussion instead of the original post. I don't want users to have to choose between giving me mostly unearned karma or not upvoting a useful thread. A seperate, "Experimental Open Threads" account would solve this issue.
A further issue is that an author might want to contribute towards multiple spaces each with their own moderation norms. If people can create separate group accounts, then this isn't an issue.
One model for how such an account could work would be as follows:
- The initial core contributors (or core contributor) create an account and add their names to the bio so that the moderators know who is behind the account, plus contact details for submissions. The username and password is shared between each user
- Other people might make submissions. These could be once-off or they might eventually become a core contributor if their contributions are consistently of high quality
- The group account wouldn't be able to moderate its personal blog section until that specific account earned the initial 100 karma, even if each of the core contributors already had that much karma. This isn't the biggest issue, but it would be a pain, as the blog either wouldn't be able to enforce its norms at the start (which was a large part of why it was created) or would have to make many posts/comments unrelated to the actual project
- If a core contributor decides to start misbehaving, then it's hard to know who to blame
I'm not planning any spaces in particular right now, but I wanted to see if the mods approved of this kind of idea before I invested too much time into it.