I think I've found a way of modifying existing LiveJournal features (plus adding 1 new feature) to encourage more public participation in journals while still allowing extensive (better, I'd say) control over access and the blocking of griefers. This idea is specific only to LiveJournal and does not really apply to other journal sites.1) expand the Tag system
One reserved tag will always be public
, and another reserved tag will always be adult
. Users are free to create any new tag that they want. Perhaps limit the number of tags that free accounts can use. The existing tag system is very robust and needs no significant programming changes. All posts, however, must have at least one tag. The default tag is always public
.2) consolidate the Friends/CustomGroups system
With all posts tagged into appropriate subjects, it's now easy to introduce the concept of invitations, which is the permission system that each user can modify to control their journal. You can set a default for your journal, and you can also set a value specific to any user account for your readers. There are 2 logic protocols on permissions.
ALL except taglist
NONE except taglist (public cannot be excluded as a journal default but can be applied to individual user accounts)
setting is inclusive, but the NONE
setting is exclusive. This is important for deciding permissions when you make a post with multiple tags. So, for instance, suppose you have a journal with the following tags:
public (required), adult (required), recipes, workplace, sexcapades, unicorns, poems
You can set your journal default to ALL
. Other people will have permissions to see all of your tagged posts except for those in the sexcapades
category. If you're a public kind of person and post a story with BOTH public
, then the inclusive ALL
setting will mean that since one category (public
) is permitted then the whole story is permitted and viewable by readers.
You set your journal default to NONE
except public, recipes, unicorns
. In this case, the exclusive NONE
setting will mean that a story with multiple tags will use the most restrictive permissions. A story posted with BOTH public
tags will have one restricted tag and therefore the whole story is not viewable by readers.
You can mix-and-match settings. Your journal default can be ALL, but then your mother (or an annoying twit) signs up and you can set individual user permissions that are more restricted. Poor mother, for instance, can be granted NONE
, and she'll never even know about your sexcapades
category. She will see only public
, exclusively, with no other tags seen. As long as she's logged in as herself, LiveJournal will not show her the other public
posts that you make, even though you made them available to everyone as your default (in this scenario).encouragement:
Using these 2 methods, give writers an extra feature if they've included the public
tag on their post. Give them the ability to create a custom url name for their post. So, for instance, instead of being post number "286714.html" in their journal, it could be "vacationphotos2009.html". A small feature that encourages public participation.
3) introduce a subscription system based on the tags that you are permitted to see (replace the Friends page)
Suppose a journal has used the following tags that the author has made permissible (using the system in step 2 above):
public (required), adult (required), recipes, nanowrimo, workplace, vacation
I've browsed all the available-to-read posts and decided that the only subjects by this person that I want to be notified about are the recipes
posts. I subscribe to them. Now they show up on my subscription page, just like the Friends page does now. The other public posts are still out there, and I can see them if I go directly to the user's page, but only my subscribed topics show up on my "new posts page" with my subscribed topics.
It's a reader's own filter system, diverting only selected topics to their attention. It can be even more powerful with an "ALL
except taglist" and "NONE
except taglist" option. With this system, a user could collect only recipes. They could build their LiveJournal experience to show them only topics that deal with issues like animal welfare, a political party, or poetry.
4) introduce a rating system for judging users
(like what is done on Slashdot
using karma scores):
If people have "scores" from -5 to +5, then it's very easy to add further permissions. A journal owner, for instance could Block
posting for anyone with a score of less than -2. Additionally, they could Screen
postings for anyone with a score of less than 0.Anonymous
users automatically get a score of -1.
When you Friend
a person, you friend them at a rating of +1 to +5. Doing so means that, regardless of what their karma level really is, they are treated as having that score when trying to post into your journal. I suppose an alternative could introduce ratings of -5 to +5, allowing the concept of Enemy
to also be used.encouragement:
Scores affect the ability to write into all journals, either in public
or private tags. Users can have their scores judged/modified, though, only in public
posts. This restriction encourages public
participation in various journals, but it still allows people to create their own private community of Friends.