A Metafilter Proposal October 26, 2001 4:58 PM   Subscribe

A Metafilter Proposal at theobvious.com, supporting pay-for-play, and a few other controls. Pretty well thought out. Of particular interest might be the sliding scale on price. Discuss.
posted by Su to Bugs at 4:58 PM (20 comments total)

('...I have no community sites by which I can propose to get a single penny; the most recent being defunct, and my ISP past caring.')
posted by holgate at 5:10 PM on October 26, 2001

that's why it's a MetaFilter proposal, holgate, and not an Obvious proposal.
posted by msippey at 5:14 PM on October 26, 2001

(But the disclaimer's the funniest bit, Michael.)

Anyway, were you thinking of the EasyEverything model for sliding charges? I'd love to know if there's some sophisticated formula for that, or whether it's just the bored admins playing with the numbers...
posted by holgate at 5:40 PM on October 26, 2001

I'm sure Matt can't wait to write that system. Also did I get the gist of it right? Pay-to-post? That's called advertising. Why should I pay to post someone else's hypnotic cat web page? I'm not seeing the motiviation. That's like me coming up to someone on the street going, "Pay me and I'll let you tell me a joke".
posted by geoff. at 10:26 PM on October 26, 2001

ok, ok, nick, the disclaimer works. aka "those who can't, make up modest proposals for those who can." or something like that.

ah -- easyeverything -- yield-based pricing? sure -- i was imagining something like that. the way they run it, it's probably not that sophisticated a formula; either they're doing it in real time (count the number of logged in users) or they've aggregated data and are pricing time slots based on historical performance. or it could be the ultimate in discriminatory pricing... "hey, look at that rich-looking tourist who needs his email fix -- two (insert appropriate currency unit here) a minute!"
posted by msippey at 11:44 PM on October 26, 2001

this is a joke right?
posted by clavdivs at 7:41 AM on October 27, 2001

it is a lovely spoof of swift's modest proposal, msippey.

taken seriously, it sounds just a tad complicated for my tastes.
posted by epersonae at 10:50 AM on October 27, 2001

Paid-to-post would be a far better idea. Pay-to-read would cover the costs nicely. ;-)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:50 PM on October 27, 2001

Pay for play will turn MeFi into a place only for those who can afford it. Perhaps this is what many want, but it will no longer be what it has been until now. Sippey's proposal, while respectable and obviously well thought out, does sound a bit like Swift's comparison to children and potatoes. It throws the baby out with the bath water.

Besides, perhaps I am the only one but I doubt this: I come to MeFi as much for the banter and silliness as I do for the serious information and intelligent, diverse opinions. Sippey's trash is my treasure. He wants to fix something that I personally believe is working fine. Admittedly, both his and my opinions are perhaps as opposite as can be. What he sees as a burden, I see as a strength.

I propose a simpler option. For a fee (to be decided by Matt, placed at whatever the market will bare), you become an official MeFi $upporter.

This grants you special privileges. All of your posts to the front page are given a different color font, or otherwise designated so they stand out from the rest, and the MeFi public would know this means your words carry a bit of weight - you've put your money where your mouth is, so to speak. Perhaps a small graphic would appear by your name, indicating to the public that you are a MeFi $upporter. Matt lifts the ban on self-linking for you. You can post as often as you like, while everyone else gets only one post a day. Depending on the success of the idea, Matt could set up a third forum for only subscribing members, which is not accessible to the public at large. This third forum would be a combination of MeFi and MetaTalk focusing on the interests of paying members. There you could bitch and whine about what the teeming masses (groundlings) are saying in the front page, or suggest new and better ways to encourage more serious conversation, or just be silly yourselves, behind closed doors. Matt could use the third forum for experimentation. Offering paying members the chance to betatest new ideas as he works on them. (Actually if Matt doesn't have something like this already in the works for a select few, in secret, I'd be mildly surprised.) And naturally since you've invested money in the MeFi concept on this level, Matt would be more inclined to listen to your ideas as opposed to those who come and go and lurk and play.

MeFi would remain largely as it is, but it would operate like the front room of a larger Club. It would give the public a taste, allow them to participate, but cause them to salivate at the thought of getting more involved.

Paid self-linking wouldn't be merely a privilege, but a responsibility.. At point of sale Matt would make it clear to the MeFi $upporter that their posts still have to appeal to the masses, and the privileges can be taken away if they are abused, without a refund. If this is explained up front, the $upporter has no legal right to argue the point if they abuse the use of the site.

One could not simply post daily, "come check out my site!" The link would need to encourage and stimulate conversation in some way, regarding current events or important subjects. This would also encourage the $upporter to improve the content at their own site, so MeFi would insure a better Web all around.

Further, for an admittedly superior fee, Matt could offer http://yourname.metafilter.com. The site would either be on Matt's equiptment or you could host it on your own server, but Matt should have permanent access to your site if he chose to enter, and both sites would be permanently linked for easy access. You're not just paying for the software but for his expertise (we're talking a bit of money here to cover the costs - I'd guess it to be a monthly or yearly fee). It would be run on a duplicate of the software that makes MeFi and MetaTalk possible. You can personalize it to fit your color tastes and purposes. You make the rules. If you want to be the only one who posts, that can be done. If you want it to be a free-for-all, hey it's your nickel. Matt would then have a page, accessible from the front page via a small permanent link, that would take the huddled masses to navigation for all these paid variants of the original MeFi.

Don't like the way MeFi is going? This way, you'd really be able to put your money where your mouth is, and Matt could pay all his bills. =)

Charging people to post will turn people away. Offering people new and exciting ways to financially keep the doors open, will bring more people in.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:05 AM on October 28, 2001

ZachsMind said it for me: Sippey's trash is my treasure. He wants to fix something that I personally believe is working fine.

Is there a problem? Not in my experience.

I'm not against paying for a quality service on the 'Net, and MeFi definitely falls in that category. I just don't see the point. I like MeFi very much just the way it is.

Besides, the popular new TextAds feature is providing more revenue than expected, and each of us can still choose to make individual contributions to support the site.
posted by verdezza at 7:29 AM on October 28, 2001

I hope that Metafilter will remain equally accessible to all, and that money from the text ads and donations might go towards improving the Metafilter search so that, in turn, the quality of posted links might improve.
posted by kv at 8:16 AM on October 28, 2001

If I have to pay to post, can I spend a buttload self promoting? Will that be 'legal' now? If so, I'm not into the idea, because I'm probably the last person to think of that idea.
posted by fnirt at 9:25 AM on October 28, 2001

Apologies. I just read back and discovered that I am indeed the last to think of that scheme.

I'm worried that the Very Infrequent poster (which usually has the best links) will be less likely to post. And we'll end up with the most obvious, least original links..

I'll shut up now.
posted by fnirt at 9:27 AM on October 28, 2001

What about post ratings? I seem to recall some previous discussion about the use of post ratings to increase the quality of the posts.
posted by xyzzy at 10:27 AM on October 28, 2001

Pay for play will turn MeFi into a place only for those who can afford it.

And who here couldn't afford 10 bucks a year or whatever? I mean if you've got a computer and a net connection and are sophisticated enough to participate here, then surely 10 bucks ain't gonna break the bank. I'm willing to pay for a better community, just wanted to say that.
posted by locombia at 12:21 PM on October 28, 2001

pay to post will certainly reduce the volume of front page posts.

what about a(n optional) checkbox next to each post? unchecking the box will cause the post to not appear on the page the next time you load it. self-management of links, leave checked only those which are interesting to you.

it would add to the server load, for sure.
posted by rebeccablood at 2:10 PM on October 28, 2001

And who here couldn't afford 10 bucks a year or whatever?
The issue is not dollar cost but convenience of payment. It may surprise the middle class, but not everyone with a computer and a net connection has a credit card. Sending away international postal money orders is quite simply not worth it.
posted by joeclark at 6:42 PM on October 28, 2001

Related to ratings, would it be possible for each of us to develop a "documented" reputation, so to speak? Maybe this is pie-in-the-sky talk, but what if, through positive feedback on your front-page posts -- maybe those who click on the link and then return to the post are allowed to select from a menu of "Good, Bad, Ugly" or whatever -- you could "earn" your right to continue posting? Everyone initially gets "three strikes" when they first obtain posting privileges. Good posts leads to good rep. Bad posts lead to nullification of posting rights. Maybe this is what xyzzy was talking about and I just didn't get it. My apologies.
posted by Bixby23 at 6:51 PM on October 28, 2001

"Good, Bad, Ugly" you will still have banditos. the worst kind, paying.
posted by clavdivs at 8:31 PM on October 28, 2001

It's an oxymoron to suggest that paid posts would be higher quality. And the problem is clearly quality, not quantity: we all want more of the posts we like, and less of the ones we don't.

I still think a MeNe (MetaNews) might help. Not with the server load, obviously, but perhaps with the filtering. Add two many categories though, and we lose diversity in the community. Fine line between keeping it manageable and keeping it going.
posted by walrus at 4:08 AM on October 29, 2001

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