Alright, let’s talk about moderation. I was literally waiting for that day ;)
As a Trust and Safety professional I’d bet my house that the more you grow, the stronger you’ll feel pressured into building moderation tools. And once VC is involved they’ll demand it for compliance reasons. I’d recommend you work towards a democratised moderation mechanism. That is, a community driven way of moderating content on the platform (articles as well as comments). You’ll still need a human oversight to prevent abuse of the democratised system (which unfortunately is a high probability) but it will take a way a large part of the manual review burden.
I should have started with this: Here are some examples why you’ll want to not be completely hands off and also why the VC firms and other partners will push you toward moderation:
what if a weirdo decides it’s fun to promote articles on ReadUp that glamorise sexual assault, violence, racism, etc?
what if a group of trolls join who like to read but then keep harassing the other readers in the comments?
what if politically extreme people / conspiracy people start flooding the system with QAnon style fake news?
Obviously this is not an issue now but with growth it will become a topic.
In my job as head of trust and safety I keep saving that there is a small percentage of people on the planet with bad intentions. If your sample size is big enough, the small percentage can actually be a big number in terms of total users or total content generated.
Again, you still have time but I’d recommend that over the next few months you consider what it would mean to build (community driven) moderation tools. You don’t want to go down the slippery slope of being known as the next version of Parler (not that this is a real risk but you get the point... Parler people can only read 5 words at the time if it’s part of a meme 😂)
I’ve been a fan of Chomsky for over a decade and reading his wisdoms never gets old.
Aristotle observed in politics that if Athens were a democracy for free men, the poor could potentially get together and take away the property of the rich. Aristotle’s solution to this problem was to reduce inequality. The solution propounded by the modern day “masters of mankind” on the other hand, has been to reduce democracy.
REM sleep is triggered by a specialized set of neurons that pump activity straight into the brain’s visual cortex, causing us to experience vision even though our eyes are closed. This activity in the visual cortex is presumably why dreams are pictorial and filmic. (The dream-stoking circuitry also paralyzes your muscles during REM sleep so that your brain can simulate a visual experience without moving the body at the same time.) The anatomical precision of these circuits suggests that dream sleep is biologically important—such precise and universal circuitry rarely evolves without an important function behind it.
Dude, you’re too hard on yourself. But at the same time I get it... I’d probably think the same way if I was in your shoes.
On the revenue model: the focus on payouts for authors which then drives traffic based on their financial incentive is great! You have now externalised the growth strategy. If that works it will turn out to be the most important decision you ever made with ReadUp. I think 5% is too little though. Did you consider starting with a higher percentage with the option to reduce in the future? Reducing your cut (when things go well) is going to be celebrated. But increasing the cut (when things don’t go well) will make sentiment even more negative. Either way though I’m 100% supportive of the new model.
Also, did you consider building an interface for authors to publish content exclusively on ReadUp? Right now when they say “come read me on ReadUp” they still have to publish elsewhere (on a platform where people can read them for free).
A ton of good advice and some thought provoking statements like this one:
“The dead outnumber the living 14 to 1, and we ignore the accumulated experience of such a huge majority of mankind at our peril.” The biggest lesson from the 100 billion people who are no longer alive is that they tried everything we’re trying today.
This is amazing! I never thought to compare meme culture with dada-ism but when you read it like this... it actually makes sense!
The current moment echoes another. During World War I, a group of expat artists gathered at the Cabaret Voltaire in the neutral zone of Zurich, where they came up with an idea to match the mood: Dada. It would encompass everything and nothing — a laugh in the face of social collapse. Dada was deliberately infuriating as an anti-art art movement whose main goal was to stick a finger in the eye of the Establishment and swirl it around.
If BLC-1 is, against all odds, a postcard from the star system next door, then statistically speaking the Milky Way must be absolutely stuffed with communicating civilizations, says the SETI Institute’s Seth Shostak. “In this case, there would be more than a half-billion societies out there in our own galaxy—that seems like a lot.”
a lifelong identity tied to a physical place, with thousands of other people, harboring hundreds of distinct self-sustaining tribes mired in decades and centuries of tradition and stories and identities.
Maybe more smaller digital companies could thrive. Maybe our digital services would be cheaper and better. Maybe we’d have more than two dominant smartphone systems. Or maybe it would be terrible. We don’t know because we’ve mostly lived with unquestioned smartphone app dominance.
Not a fan of Buffet. I think he’s a dinosaur about to go extinct. His views are outdated but clearly he’s had his time.
I did like this one:
It is very important to associate with people who are better than you, you will move in that direction. It’s just smart to do that. Not just people who are better in terms of IQ but also people who are better in terms of character