*this post is written for fb like platform.
let me start by saying that I hate the built-in assumption of algorithms that they know more about everyone’s personal preferences than they do themselves. The opaque nature of algorithms are designed to maximize our time on platform by manipulating our emotions.
On the other hand the sheer amount of data (here posts) has to be sorted to make sense and presentable. Currently these companies sort data by optimizing and guessing the posts we want to see based on our history and we know how these things turnout. I am a big fan of chronological order and nobody should have the power to filter the information, especially opaque algorithms, other than the users themselves.
Lets flip focus from user to someone who posts. The only person who knows the importance of the post is the poster himself. Period. Whether it is a goofy selfie, shout-out for charity, meetup with friends, job promotion, sharing about Syria war. Only posters know how much important that particular post is to them. Not every check-in, meetup or coffee shot have same importance. Also we underestimate the importance of signaling in human society. In book ‘Elephant in the brain’ authors provide examples of people that often do not understand true motives of their behaviours. Most of what we share online is form of signalling, from our post about cute babies to environment issues.
The ideal filtration method would also take into account the number of “friends” one have, which it is safe to say exceeds the Dunbar number. Most of them are just acquaintance and we are “friends” with them just to be polite.
So here’s idea to tackle these issues:
This solution runs on monthly basis.
User has option of defining his relation with others, how much they want to interact or follow them.
User has three categories to place their “friends” in: gold stars, silver stars and fam (bear with me).
Every month everybody gets limited amount of gold and silver stars to start with (My preference 3 gold and 5 silver stars), they can grade and share other’s post as well.
As a user when you share something you can attach importance to it in the form of ‘star’ (which is limited). A user can post as much as they want, but they themselves have to give importance to their post.
Your Gold star posts will be seen by everyone in your friend list, unless they have blocked you.
Silver star posts will be seen by who want limited engagement.
Fam posts will be seen by people who has added you in that group, mainly your close friends and people who are genuinely interested in you, who wants to know you.
- *When you log in everything will be in chronological order in order of your preference.
- If one of your colleague posts sh*t ton of messages you won’t see them, you will only see the posts that they mark important and not all the crap they put on the site, If you choose so. No algorithm here decides which post is important and should be seen by you.
- You as a user are always aware how much filter bubble you are in and have power to change that.
One of the benefit of this is one will see a lot less of crappy posts, the post that are post just because it is easier to post. One can be hopeful that a lot less mindless ‘signaling’ posts will be shared as there is some sort of cost attached to posts, and the one which are shared will be more IMPACTFUL. It also helps the user decide if the post is worth engaging in. If someone post misinformed “starred” post then you know its worth engaging with them, and put your case for correct information.
Before anyone asks, yes selling ‘stars’ whether gold or silver is a very bad idea. Then people with money will have more influence in idea market. One can see this exercise as push towards quality than quantity.
Let me know your thoughts, criticize liberally.