Here’s the payoff for social networking

Rusty, the guy who runs Kuro5hin, has gotten fed up with abusive posters. He’s going to implement a new system for new members.

The idea is this: someone creates a new account. They go through the normal email confirmation. At this point they cannot do anything. Before you have the privileges of a user, you must get an existing user to sponsor you. That just means that some user with the ability to sponsor others goes to a page and enters the new user’s nickname. These two are now associated, and if a user gets kicked off the site, their sponsor does too.

This sounds like a good idea. People are already complaining on kuro5hin about the idea, but really, why should it be easy to gain membership into a club? It reminds me of the way private societies like the Masons work. New candidates can apply for membership, but need a couple of sponsors to be accepted into the club. Sponsors have to know the new member pretty well before sponsoring him, because they don’t want their reps to be besmirched. And any latent jerk-tendencies in the new guy will be stifled, because he knows his sponsor will take the heat for whatever he does. Maybe Boing Boing should implement a similar system if we decide to allow comments again. Link [Boing Boing Blog]

This is where a social networking site like friendster, ryze, tribe, orkut, etc ad naseum, can step into a profitable business model: license a reputation service to real content sites. Content sites refine their user-contributed content by weeding out the bad seeds, and maybe pay the service with a share of advertising revenue? Maybe users pay the reputation service to access the content sites’ comments areas and the revenue passes to the content sites in the opposite direction. Maybe it’s both. Either way, I think if one reputation service were used across several content sites, and you get a consensus from disconnected users of bad behavior, it should affect your status across all sites. That would severely motivate you to be good.

why disconnected users.. well, in Second Life, they have a great rating system. You can rate people up or down, and you get more allowance for positive ratings, so it pays to be nice. Getting rated negatively can be a pain in the ass when someone childishly gets all their friends to rate you negatively even if they don’t know or care why. I don’t know how to resolve this. But if you’re a friend of a person who’s targetting a user, I think it would be more useful to put less weight on your negative rating of another user. Maybe it’s time-based. I dunno. There’s issues here, I know it.

In the game “tag” we used to have a rule – “No tag-backs” which meant you couldn’t get tagged and then retag the person who just tagged you. I’m not sure how this fits in.. but I think it does.

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