I came here after a long break to let everyone know that I started a website sort of like Everything2. It's called litmocracy.com. The people writing for Everything2 earn nothing but respect and admiration (which is inedible and doesn't keep you warm or dry). I wanted something similar that could grow into a full time job for good writers whose quality need be recognized not by editors or advertisers, but by the people who read their stuff. I wanted something that avoided the slow pace of Approval Voting and the perversion that plurality creates. I built it as a module for pMachine's ExpressionEngine. I made a writeup for it, but mauler already kicked my ass for blatant self-promotion of an earlier incarnation (we-rank.com). Fine to put this in a daylog though, he wrote.

There's a question "How you heard of us" on the signup page. If you mark that with "Everything2" and you visit the site more than a month later, I'll donate a $1 to Everything2.

Litmocracy (litmocracy.com) is a site that uses a form of Condorcet with Approval Voting to find the best posts in different categories. Each week, a cash prize is awarded to two members for each paying category. One award is given to the author of the post ranked highest and another award is given to the member other than the author who first ranked the winning post higher than the runner-up. So basically, the site is using a financial incentive to get members to post high-quality entries in the eyes of those motivated to rank them, and also to get members to evalutate posted entries to help identify the best ones.

Writers get near immediate feedback about the relative quality of their work* (and comments to boot sometimes), and readers are presented with similar writings, the best ones first. Besides the possible monetary reward, readers and writers both get the satisfaction that what they are doing compels others to put more effort out by writing more, writing higher quality material, being more objective in their rankings, or ranking more writings. Because writings are ordered using a majority-based ranking mechanism, the biases of any person or group are generally cancelled out by another person or group. This is as near to a measure of objective quality as I can imagine getting.

This is the only cooperative website I know of which provides newcomers who prove to be the best at understanding what people like to read with a near immediate financial reward. The site is very young, but since it leverages its audience directly to find the best material, the potential to start replacing more traditional forms of publication is there. On one hand, the success of the site depends on its owner. On the other hand, the site uses its own ranking mechanism to find good answers to important questions such as what the domain name should be, so the success also depends on the quality of the membership. Litmocracy has so far awarded $100 each to two members who helped in testing the site and choosing the name.

The site is currently running contests to create and identify the best posts in categories like news and short fiction. Across 5 categories, there is $175 in prize money that will be awarded each week. One of the paying categories is the suggestion box so that the people using the site are also motivated to suggest improvements.

Tomorrow, the domain name will have propagated completely so I'll start an ad campaign. Maybe someday, litmocracy.com will be enough of a real website to warrant its own writeup.

*Captain Vegetable (that's his screen_name at litmocracy) points out that "near immediate feedback about the relative quality" might sound a lot better than what it refers to, which is the fact that others rank your entry so that you can see how it measures up against other entries.