Commenting on the internet has hardly evolved in 15 years, much to all of our chagrin! First, a quick review of the problem: lots of people post comments to popular content sites. Sadly, it is far too easy for jerks/trolls, extremists, and crazies to screw up the conversation for everyone. Using software to analyze if a comment is appropriate just doesn’t work. So people tend to rely on two flavors of solution:
1. Handful of moderators, most of whom usually work directly for the website.
2. Let the crowd vote up or down individual comments.
Solution 1 is not scalable, is expensive, and opens the site to claims of bias.
Solution 2 sounds good in theory, but sometimes crowds become mobs that vote for things the website owners aren’t so happy about.
So what if we used prediction markets instead? Here is (roughly) how it might work.
* All commenters are provided 100 "reputation points" when they create their accounts.
* When a commenter sees a post, they can bet some of their reputation on if the post will be removed (or not) within 48 hours of the post going live on the website.
* The website’s own moderators focus their attention only on posts that garner attention from the crowd. Moderators then decide which of those posts should be removed.
* If a post lasts the full 48 hours, anyone who bet that it would de-listed loses their reputation points. People who bet that the post WOULD be de-listed GAIN reputation points.
The traditional system of asking people to bet up or down simply gives everyone (nice people, rational people, jerks, and irrational crazies) all the same voting weight. But if you make commenters place a bet on what the moderators will do – then regardless of the commenters’ biases the rational ones will bet the right way. And the rational ones will therefore earn more and more reputation points, allowing them to make larger and larger bets, and so have a larger impact on which posts should be delisted. It rewards success. Meanwhile, irrational commenters lose reputation, decreasing their influence on the process.
This allows the website to maintain quality via their in-house moderators, but to allow those moderators to be far more scalable by leveraging the widsom of the crowd.
Could this be easily prototyped as a WordPress Plugin?