Yay Hooray is one of many community sites designed to give the community power to self moderate. After following the traditional slashdot progression of increasing individual power over moderation, they’ve now added ‘filter content by buddy list’ as a feature.
Started back in 2001, YH was built by the skinnyCorp team as an experiment in online community. Originally, YH was built to manage itself through a level system that allowed users to earn administration responsibilities. Then it evolved into a point system. With JBA [the new release], rather than administering the actual content of the website, the aim is to allow the filtering of content through an advanced buddy filtering system.
It’s all about the membranes.
Yay Hooray includes 4 layers of social filter — no filter (show all); FOAF (two degrees of separation); Posts by friends; Posts by me. Another sign that work on YASNSes are moving from standalone (Friendster, Orkut) to embedded (dodgeball, flikr.)
(Interesting to note that after the “Let’s give everyone their network to 5 or 6 degrees!” that services are largely settling on friend-of-a-friend as the default setting, and often the outer bound.)
On a related note, there is an illustrative post
on Kur5hin from some weeks ago, written by Ta bu shi da yu with the title Why sponsored users won’t work, about the proposed sponsorship model on Kuro5hin.
The piece is particularly noteworthy for its hysterical tone:
Rusty has already told us that he “can’t stress enough the point that if someone you sponsor does something to get themselves kicked out, you get kicked out too”. Excuse me? In other words, you go to the effort of sponsoring someone, they act up and get kicked off and you get kicked out too? […]
Placing the responsiblity of policing someone else’s behaviour is not only stupid and foolhardy, on K5 it’s actually impossible. Unless you are an editor, you can’t delete an account, remove stories or comments, nullify user accounts or in fact do anything that effectively disciplines a sponsored user. If sponsored users can’t be disciplined, then existing users who dare to sponsor a newbie will run the risk of being kicked from K5 for something they didn’t do!
The disbelief, bordering on moral panic, is palpable. Rusty explained a simple policy — new users will have sponsors — and then Ta bu shi da yu repeats this policy, twice, as if its mere re-statement would make it seem unfeasible.
I love this post, because it articulates what I think of as the sub-rosa assumptions around earlier forms of community tools:
- Systems should only use technological, not social, tools
- A user is responsible only for his or her own behavior
- Any policy to be enforced must be expressible algorithmically — no judgment calls
- Users must have access to pseudonymous communications
The central thesis of the post — that sponsorship can’t work, for these reasons — is suspect at the very least, as sponsorship systems work well elsewhere. Furthermore, humans use both social influence and judgment calls to affect one another’s behavior, and have done for some time now. But what seems to exercise Ta bu shi da yu is the idea that Kuro5hin will make social infrastructure, and therefore introduce social mistakes, into the network.
(Interestingly, Kuro5hin is still in the “No new users” mode, so the test case for this version of sponsorship is still waiting to be effected, if Rusty decides to go for it.)