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    Encouraging comments meta

Right now I’m afraid Barnacles will become a place where everyone comes just to show their websites, one more place to automated bots to post launching products, and no one comments, no one gives feedback to the others, no one discusses anything.

Something must be done to encourage people to participate instead of just post links to their things. I suggest that submitting must be tied to karma+comment count, i.e., to post 1 thing you must comment 2 times or have a karma > number of your stories submitted – or some rule better than this, that will be valid for all times (not just the first post).

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    I also see discussion as the most useful part - seeing what hasn’t been considered before, sharing what you know. Maybe the smallest nudge would be that show is appropriate only for launches.

    For what it’s worth, I’m going to close open sign-up soon; spambots are already starting to appear.

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      This is starting to look a bit like ProductHunt - could we take the hotness + modifier off the show tag?

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        I’ve actually been filtering the “show” tag all week. I figured with all the migration from HN there was gonna be a lot of self-promotion. Without the “show” tag, it’s pretty nice. I’ll turn off the filter eventually though.

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        A couple of thoughts on this.

        1. You could filter out the “show” tag from the main page and have “show” posts only accessible by a link. Look at HN if you want to see what I mean - see the “show” link on the top? If people are interested to look at what people are showing, they can go there.

        2. To maintain the quality of an online community and not have it completely digress is a difficult task. The only two ways I’ve seen that seem to be effective in managing this are the use of moderators and invites. Take StackOverflow as a good example. They heavily employ moderators with strict guidelines in order to keep questions and answers in line with their expectations of quality. I’ve also seen invite-only work effectively to a certain point in that you might only let in vetted people. Beyond invite-only, you could require people to apply for membership, including things like links to their current projects, social media profiles, etc. to try and vet that they are actual people actually interested in bootstrapping.

        With respect to the bots, that’s a larger problem everyone is facing now, and it’s only going to continue. Putting up some “I am not a robot” captchas can help weed out at least the unsophisticated bots.

        All in all, it’s hard to maintain a culture if you have open access without someone laying down and enforcing what the cultural norms are. Just like at a company, it’s the people that dictate the culture, not the company.

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          I agree. If the site just gets filled with useless fluff submissions, people won’t stick around.

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            Tough problem, but worth digging into. Communities on the internet often only exist in the medium term: sooner or later, people leave. It takes dedicate effort to stay on top of this. My fear is that the evolution of bots will overtake any volunteer effort; fleets of bots will cooperatively post/comment/out-karma everyone else.

            Is there a middle ground? Is it possible to let bots ‘do their thing’ while not polluting the ‘human’ space? I don’t think so. It makes me sad to think that everyone’s efforts at community will only survive for so long. Maybe that’s good enough.

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              If bots comment just to comply with the rules, they will not comment anything useful or intelligent, and that’s good!, because now we can spot who is here for contributing and who is a bot or is here just to promote its links, and kick out the second group.

              If bots start making useful comments they can stay.