I still remember the arrival of all of those parental advisory stickers on tapes and CDs in the eighties. (I was twelve or thirteen at the time.) Tipper Gore and her buddies at the PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) took arms against music they wanted to shelter children from. In time, the whole thing turned out to be a rather unsuccessful effort to legislate morality and limit freedom of speech. Not so nice.
My own perspectives are relatively liberal. I don’t much care what anyone does, so long as they don’t hurt anyone else. This is largely the perspective that we’ve taken in developing the MakeFive community. In fact, we’ve had some rather lengthy debates around what content we should limit here.
Here’s an example: In my mind nudity isn’t of particular concern–unfortunately it’s a bit of a slippery slope. Michelangelo’s David would probably be fine, as would something silly like that Celebrity MILFs topic. On the other hand, we’d be a little concerned about people uploading photos of their weirdest sexual experience. So… it largely remains a judgment call.
We want to be careful about where we exercise our influence though. We overwhelmingly want to remain a little extra lenient wherever possible and leave the onus on the community to maintain good content and manage itself. (I don’t know if this would be as much fun if you felt like we were perpetually looking over your shoulder and telling you what we felt was/wasn’t okay.)
Part of my post today stems from a series of emails I’ve received over the past weeks. Some users are frustrated by others’ activities. The most common complaints are from people who feel that their topics are being “drowned out” by those who they believe to be interested only in collecting points. Additionally, I’m now receiving some messages from people who feel as though their activity on the site is being slandered by other users.
I can appreciate how irritating this can be for everyone. The problem is that I don’t know if it’s a place for us to get involved. Some topics might not interest me personally, and some comments may seem uncouth at times, but is it right for those of us at MakeFive to force our values upon the community? In our minds it’s important that we stay out of the way wherever we can and instead let you guys figure things out.
Now, as you likely know already, MakeFive is in the midst of a massive build stage right now. (That means four of us are actually working on it… that’s “massive” for us.) As we move forward you’ll see a series of updates fall-into-place that we’ve been working on since the spring.
One of the biggest things we’ve been working on is a set of checks and balances in the system that will help shape the MakeFive ecosystem. In our minds, the community needs to have ways of featuring the most interesting content, and burying things that aren’t of general interest to other community members. A series of updates will start to enable such quality controls. First off we’ll be revising the entire homepage to allow better filtering of content; additionally, in time we’ll also allow users to vote on other members actions. (Those who aren’t being good community members will find that their additions fall out of sight rather quickly.)
As this all takes shape, we hope that it will help afford better discussions amongst all of you, without us needing to get involved really at all. In the meanwhile, however, we ask that you guys take this in your own hands. Are you pissed at someone writing something you don’t like? Comment on it or send them a note. Let them know what you think–perhaps you can diffuse the situation or even start a conversation with someone new. Impressed by a great topic? Let them know–we all need encouragement sometimes! Even better yet, get your friends to vote on this stuff. The more voting a topic gets the more visibility it has!
So, that’s my little rant. We’re not the thought police, and we won’t get in the way (as long as you aren’t posting photos of your privates). Just be nice and make it the kind of community that you want it to be!