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Yet another experiment with points to non-featured communities
We have finished going through the list of eligible communities (those which have at least 10 approved submissions) and the featured list for now is complete. Only about 5% of communities made it through.
It's pretty sad that we haven't found any community in non-English language that is single topic, single language (some of them have a week to try to remedy the situation, but the majority were "we accept everything")
We would like to remind everyone that soon only submissions to featured communities will give you points. (If you want to see your community featured, see the rules)
Here's the original plan that we wanted to do:
Basically, 100% goes to featured communities and their content. Nothing goes to other communities.
But this plan does not address two problems that we recently started thinking about:
1) There is good interesting content outside of featured communities that we want to support;
2) we don't want moderators in communities to moderate all of the comments - it's an impossible task.
How do we solve it?
First of all, why are we doing all of this (the featured communities plan)?
Because the number of spammy contributions to the site is through the roof. And these guys are not slowing down. They are taking more and more and more points (which leads to your points being 20-60% cheaper than they should have been).
Communities that don't have any moderation are enabling these guys - that's why these communities are hurting everyone.
That's why we're finding good moderators to help us. They create featured communities, filtering bad content and get 20% for that.
"Free for all" moderators were getting 20% for nothing, and worse - for enabling spamming. It was in their interest to have as much of anything (including spam) as possible, because each article got them 4 points more (20% of 20 points).
We do understand though that not everybody is a writer that can produce a great article on topics that are in our featured communities. Sometimes people want to write about their life and maybe get paid for it too. Sometimes it's interesting to read their thoughts.
Currently our fund payments were based on the fact that you just published something. Probably something original. But spammers and cheaters found a number of creative way to create useless original content that nobody is interested in (I won't go into details, we don't want even more spammers here)
Let's try supporting good writers in non-featured communities based more on the quality of the content they produce. To this we will dedicate 30% of the daily fund payments. (We don't know whether that will work or people will find even more ways to abuse it)
Remember the power users? Well, in our new plan if a power user upvotes your content anywhere on the site (in featured or non-featured communities) - it will randomly give (or not give) you a random number points.
I'll explain the need for randomness in a bit.
So, the new plan will now look like this:
70% goes to featured communities and their articles and short posts, but not to comments.
30% is dedicated to the experiment. If a power user upvotes your article (in non-featured community or not in community at all), your short post or your comment (anywhere), you might get points for that.
Why is there a need to be so random?
First of all, to avoid corruption. If a power user realizes he's a power user he might be tempted to use that status, like to ask users to pay him back so that he upvotes you. Or only upvote his/her friends, etc... (Please remember that we're cracking down on upvoting rings, so don't do "upvote me to upvote you" things) However if his/her actions have a random delay and random effect (does something or does not) - it's really hard to say if you are a power user or not. Maybe someone else upvoted that in the meantime.
Second, let's say that it's 4pm (16:00) and our users in featured communities have accumulated 7,000 points. We have also given 3,000 points to users in non-featured communities. Now comes a power user, he upvotes 5 great articles. But we don't have any budget to give away, as right now we have given away all of 30% that is dedicated to "non-featured" users. If a featured users accumulate 70 more points - that means we can give away 30 points more to non-featured users. How do we distribute it? We have no idea. So the only solution so far is to give random amounts to random people that this power user upvoted. Some will get zero just because either we want to hide a fact that a power user is a power user, some will get more.
We will also be applying some tricks to avoid corruption, like not giving points to the same people for some time (so that User A always upvoting User B won't result in all of the points going to User B all the time).
Frankly, we would have gladly stopped at a very simple idea, but some people have too much time on their hands to take away from what is already quite a small amount. I mean $70 per day that our fund gives out is very little already. When we give it to cheaters it's even worse for everyone who worked.
We can't find a perfect stimulation system yet, so we try. With each new piece of information we have we have to change the rules.
Basically, our advise would be not to try to understand the point system - it's going to be pretty complex. Just write good articles, write good short posts and write useful comments and sometimes you'll be rewarded.
Frankly we have to limit the growth of our fund because bad guys are spoiling the fun for everyone. The sooner we find some reasonable way to distribute the fund - the sooner we can start thinking about how to increase it.
Increasing it right now makes no sense, because cheaters would be even more stimulated.
If we can't even distribute $70 well, who is going to give us $1000 to distribute daily? :)
@JonathanSilverblood asked us to implement the way to not give any points to certain communities even if selected to be featured. We implemented this option in community settings. These communities will be clearly marked as [no points].
Most of communities will not need this option.
We don't know yet whether we will be giving random upvotes points to these communities.