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Better vote-enabled forums

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Armchair speculation: how can we learn from Reddit, Lemmy, “Hacker” “News”, et al?

  1. A vote should be part of a reply with at least N words. N could be increased by mods and admins. Instances could federate votes conditionally based on the length or activity of a comment. Word counts can be problematic; I don’t know a better alternative (maybe clause-count?). Flagging doesn’t need a minimum word count.

  2. Forums shouldn’t host their own top-level posts and comments. Those should be links from authors’ own websites with microformats (think IndieWeb). The forum should be Webmention-enabled.

  3. Larger communities should have ephemeral chatrooms (“ephemeral” in that public history has a retention limit if it exists at all) to incubate posts. Authors (yes, original authors) could share their work and collect feedback/improve it before it’s “ready”. They could then post with increased visibility.

  4. One reason to flag a top-level comment could be “didn’t look at the post”. I say “look at” instead of “read” because certain posts are huge essays that could take hours to read. Top level commenters should at least be expected to skim.

These qualities will make a forum less active, since the quality of content will be higher and some validation and attention-seeking will be filtered out. Low activity means higher visibility for good content. Forums could “get of the ground” by starting invite-only, gradually enabling these rules one-by-one before opening to the public.

(psst: I might be working on “a thing”).