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Show HN: A Socialist Social Network (karma.fm)
28 points by eveFromKarmaFm 38 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 38 comments



Hi all - Thank you for killing my baby!

In short, the thinking here is that instead of building a community with the intent to monetize the users and their data, we can become sustainable through patron contributions - half of which get redistributed to the users. My thinking is that this incentivizes us all to keep costs very low and also incentivizes members to impress one another, instead of exploiting one another with clickbait or "lead-generation" (advertising for-profit stuff is strictly disallowed).

RE "socialism": this isn't intended to be socialism as a religion ~ more like, "the model we're working with right now is having some painful side-effects and maybe it's worth trying a hypermodern coop / WSDE model that addresses some of the root causes of these symptoms (data abuses, CCP exerting control over our information flow / free speech, cambridge analytics stuff, LGBTQ+/small creators struggling on YouTube, etc)" which happens to align with some socialist principles, from what I gather.

Here's the Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/karmafm

This is very young and experimental, and so far there's only been a single distribution (a whopping $4 (post-fees) sent to a member from a $10 patron contribution) but the Patron contributions have since quadrupled to $40!

Forgive my brevity as I attempt to keep this thing breathing and thank you for taking a look.


Just some feedback:

* Anything with a sign-up feature needs an elevator pitch somewhere on the homepage: "What" and "Why" for the layman, two short paragraphs but ideally a single-sentence elevator pitch.

* Eliminate the ideology, focus messaging on the value and support. "Socialist" is a very broad and burdened term.

* Explain how tf this is socially owned. All I see a dictator, however benevolent, and a very inefficient donation system.

* Player Guide is... bad. Super hand-wavy on the stuff that should be specific (community guidelines), lots of ideology, and straight up fluff. Write assuming every reader is blind and ADD - some of them are, and everyone else will benefit.


Thank you for this. I've added each of these to the Retrospective post here:

https://www.karma.fm/p/67VCB/karma-retrospective-1014

RE the first bullet: did the introduction modal not pop up for you? If not, there's a bug. Anyone who hasn't visited should see the following:

https://i.imgur.com/p4J4oib.png

Thanks for taking time out of your day for this.


> * Eliminate the ideology, focus messaging on the value and support. "Socialist" is a very broad and burdened term.

No. Eliminating the ideology is never possible. If you try, you implicitly support the dominant one. Avoiding the term is a good idea though.


What do you think about embracing the controversy embedded within the term as a means of educating people around its underlying principles, getting people talking/thinking about it, etc?


I'm afraid the term makes many people stop thinking. They hear Karma is socialist and conclude that it's bad. Ideally, you would tell people Karma is socialist only after they have evaluated it.

On the other hand, even the most faithful anti-socialist should recognize that you aren't building a totalitarian dictatorship here. So it may make them think after all.


Hey anoncake ~ just wanted to thank you for planting this seed. You and a few other members had the same ideas, and they're manifesting into a lower-friction articulation of what this thing is all about: https://www.karma.fm/p/S09A4/dialing-down-the-socialism-and-...

Many thanks for the impact.


Thanks for clarifying, it sounds more like you're talking about Voluntaryism and Libertarian ideas.

People paying an amount that they feel is fair vs prescribed is very forward thinking and I wish you luck!

PS: I'd avoid anything that actually returns funds since its likely to end up being called a Ponzi scheme...


Sure thing, thanks for taking an interest. And yeah, that sounds about right. Although my dream is to gradually push this into the hands of some kind of meritocratic collective ownership, where the "workers" own the "means of production", which in this case would be the students/activists being able to fork the data, app code, and devops for free at any time.

RE ponzi scheme... hmmm... so when a Patron makes a $10 contribution, they can then choose which user receives half of their contribution. I wonder how to prevent the perception from turning Ponzi with this model...


Meritocratic -> You could look at postings/content as "points" and then keep a running tally and let people use their "points" for things. Medium does this AFAIK (although apparently they turn them into dollars for their pro authors).

HN just uses karma points for moderation/access so its not quite as handy but I think people respect people with lots of Karma. Like I know there's one person with over 300k karma points here, he's a pretty cool dude and I think his points reflect that.


Love this. Thank you.

My "cobbled together" implementation is as follows: every user begins with a fixed number of "bolts"; they can unlock more bolts through various "virtuous deeds" (TBD), or they can earn bolts through their comments/posts; their general "bolt throughput" is a proxy to how much "karma" they've earned and given to others.

Though this was cobbled together without any real understanding of behavioral economics and with a whole bunch of untested assumptions, so as it evolves, I'll have to study the tried-and-tested models of Medium, Reddit, HN, and think about what works, what doesn't, what Karma users need/want, and then innovate upon that assessment if needed. I have some thoughts on that but I'm still battling some stability dragons over here...

Thanks again for poking around and helping out.


>RE "socialism": this isn't intended to be socialism as a religion

It was a poor choice of words to put it in the tagline then, for a number of reasons.


OP, if you're bootstrapping this thing at a tiny scale it looks like you've just been hit with the 'HN hug of death' as the wide readership of the website often yields a huge surge of incoming traffic to anything which lands on the front page.

While someone else sorts this problem out (or you just wait for it to subside) perhaps you could explain the concept and goals here in the meantime. Don't feel bad, this happens to lots of people.


Thanks for this! This is a super small nights/weekends experiment with a dozen or so active users; I probably should have prepared for a spike, huh? I'll leave a top-level comment to summarize the thinking before I jump back over to keeping it alive . Thank you again.


Pre-rendering the landing page can help too.


Hi there. I left a comment on the site, but I'm not sure if it got through because it went down again before I could check to see. The main problem I have found so far trying to use the site is that you've made a huge variety of communities and posts using a reddit scraper. I understand the urge to have content, but starting small will allow users to actually find places where other living users are rather than an endless wasteland of bot posts with no comments.

In addition, having user-driven content from the start will (hopefully) lead to a community and a unique style forming - with people sticking around because they enjoy the content and discussion already there, and posting more of the same themselves. If you want to shape the community, the best way would be to make one or two posts yourself, and try hard to comment and engage with other user's posts in the way you hope future users will.

Also, the personality of the first few active users will have a large effect on how the site's culture will evolve. If you're interested in left-wing politics, perhaps try to publicise the site in the kinds of places people already talk about left-wing politics - specific subreddits or discord servers. Of course a lot of places won't like straight-up advertisement, but if you pitch it as an ongoing project and ask for ideas, people will likely be happier to accept it.


It went through and I responded! I apologize for the performance headache. I'm in uncharted territory over here.

https://www.karma.fm/p/SGXFV/once-upon-a-time-i-accidentally...

My response:

Thanks so much @Rugnir. This is absolutely a problem; I'll quote you over on the most recent retrospective.

I have a question: when you visit the homepage, all posts are human (filtered for "non robot posts"). You can then include bot posts by manually disabling this filter. On Tribe pages, the filter is "off" by default. Would you like to see the filter controls on the Tribe pages, with it "off" by default?

~~~

In addition, having user-driven content from the start will (hopefully) lead to a community and a unique style forming - with people sticking around because they enjoy the content and discussion already there, and posting more of the same themselves. If you want to shape the community, the best way would be to make one or two posts yourself, and try hard to comment and engage with other user's posts in the way you hope future users will.

Also, the personality of the first few active users will have a large effect on how the site's culture will evolve. If you're interested in left-wing politics, perhaps try to publicise the site in the kinds of places people already talk about left-wing politics - specific subreddits or discord servers. Of course a lot of places won't like straight-up advertisement, but if you pitch it as an ongoing project and ask for ideas, people will likely be happier to accept it.

^ YES! This is all gold. Thank you.


this is perhaps a more useful link, assuming it will load for you:

https://www.karma.fm/p/SZ1CD/karma-capital-architecture


Thank you for this


The site seems to not currently functioning, which... doesn't bode well?

I am interested in how a social network can be socialist, per se.


The jokes practically write themselves...


I was going go comment "it doesnt work" but I didnt want people to think I was making fun of the political ideology instead of reiterating the website not working.


Keyboard Stalin once said -> "The loss of one click is tragic, but the loss of thousands is statistic."


hahahahaha stop distracting me with your wit


Someone else was supposed to pick up the bandwidth tab.


I think there was a song about that.


The dev must have used a dysfunctional programming language. They should have used a functional one, without classes and state.


Not only does socialism suffer from a "No True Scotsman" problem (there is a wide disparity, from within and without, regarding what the term means), I dare say that's true of just about every -ism under the sun. (TODO: invent a political ideology that includes a formal specification.) :)


"Socialism" being an ambiguous term would not be that much of a problem if people stopped pretending it isn't and every socialist is a tankie. It's hard to believe someone is arguing in good faith if they criticize anarchists for trying to build a totalitarian dictatorship.

We have a problem with people seeing Ms. Scott from England, thinking her skirt is a kilt and getting angry when she claims she can't play the bagpipe.


No dispute. Obviously decades of anti-Soviet propaganda (which does encapsulate many legitimate critiques) have muddled the conceptual landscape, both in terms of oversimplification, and in emotional charge. And, we have significant status quo bias regarding our particular neoliberal form of capitalism; you can't tell a fish about water.

Still, even correcting for those historical factors, I think every -ism, or school of thought, suffers from similar problems in subjective perception: it's easy to find nuance and diversity of opinion if one looks for it, and equally easy to find bad actors, tribalist talking points, sloppy thinking, etc, if one looks for it.

> We have a problem with people seeing Ms. Scott from England, thinking her skirt is a kilt and getting angry when she claims she can't play the bagpipe.

:)


Maybe its for "Social-Ists"?

Like a weird way of saying people who like to be social?

And hopefully not the kind of socialism that Russia/DPRC employ, that would be the worst of all worlds.


> socialism [...] Russia [...]

Welcome back! A lot has changed in the 30+ years you were in coma.


I was talking about actual Russia not Ukraine/etc.

We could talk about the USSR but not everyone gets what that is anymore...


Russia isn't socialist at all, not even in the Soviet sense.


It appears to be down?


A "socialist social network" sounds appealing, but the words "meritocracy" and "gamification" are red flags to me. I think I'll stick with mastodon for now.


Can you explain some of the design?

I.e. backend stuff


Sure thing!

The application architecture is simple - it's an n-tier app (front end > business layer > SQL server).

The business layer is .NET/C#. I use Entity Framework as an ORM and then migrate the slower bits to Dapper + raw SQL whenever I need to trade maintainability for performance.

I'd be happy to expand on anything specific you're curious about :)




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