I’m new here and I’ve been looking around the forums... and found this conversation extremely interesting. I’m 100% behind @Emily Barnett on that – IMO unpurchased niches should be open to receive content for the reasons Emily outlined. I agree it will be much easier to attract people to write on Narrative if the availability of topics is not limited by ownership. I imagine, when the platform opens to everyone, there will be far more people interested in simply adding content and taking part in discussions than those wishing to own or moderate niches.
With all honesty, I think that not activating unpurchased niches is a loss for the whole ecosystem – as @Malkazoid said, a niche populated with content and already proving its popularity may be more attractive to potential owners. I disagree though that “less wanted niches may have to settle for slightly less motivated owners” – I have a more optimistic view: when Narrative opens up, there will be new people coming who will discover already existing niches which fit the bill as far as their interests and expertise are concerned. At the moment the pool of people participating is limited to eager early adopters and crypto-fans… and some strays like me who haven’t even yet taken part in an auction, despite eyeing some niches, because of getting stuck on the NRVE hurdle .
As I said, I agree with @Emily Barnett but I’m not sure, whether the option of allowing a new owner to collect the money accumulated within the niche prior to the purchase is right. Maybe it is, I’m not against it on principle – but I’d be happy to see it going back to the common purse – for some other types of rewards perhaps. A person interested in such a niche wouldn’t get the capital but a kind of “social capital”: content, committed narrators, an interest in this niche + stats showing how much the niche already earned for the community which would be an indication of potential future earnings.
Next thing: I agree that writing on my own profile (in the situation of an unpurchased niche being available for my chosen topic) is far less exciting. I simply wouldn’t do it. I am an active writer on Medium and I don’t see a point in fighting for a new audience elsewhere. I like the community there – but what attracted me to Narrative are precisely niches. Not cryptocurrencies (I’m not into it at all), not profit-sharing (Medium shares profit with some writers – those who live in eligible countries and I happen to live in one of them) but niches – because my first ever experience with social media in the early 2000s in my home country of Poland happened on a platform built on a similar concept. There was no financial incentive and no community approval but the whole platform was built around the so-called “clusters”. Anyone could create a cluster about anything they wanted and the whole trick was to attract other users to your cluster and turn it into a lively discussion place. There were community moderators too. I still have real life friends whom I met on this platform. It was a home-grown Polish initiative – but sadly the Book of Face killed it. So I’m hopeful for Narrative
And the next point – I agree with @Banter that moderators would be necessary even in case of a niche not having an owner. I don’t see a problem with that. Mods are voted in by the community, not the owner, so I don’t even think the “general queue” idea would be necessary. Why not open up unowned niches for the moderators’ elections anyway? I applied to be a mod for 2 niches. Granted, they were already purchased so I wouldn’t be able to become their owner anyway but I wouldn’t want to – I want to be a mod there. They are different roles: owners promote and moderators moderate. In case of these 2 niches I mentioned, I’m very happy to moderate because I’m interested in and experienced in the subjects but I don’t have a clear promotional idea for them. I’m not a part of a suitable outreach environment, so to speak, as far as these topics are concerned. I am, however, in other topics and therefore I keep an eye on a couple of other niches + some I propose myself.
Speaking of which – I have LOADS of ideas for niches and I have a long queue of proposals, which will take a while to trickle down since we can propose only one niche a day. The first ones I suggested were approved with a 100% rate so I’m happy about it. But I don’t want to own or moderate the majority of them. I am obviously interested in these topics but I want to read and/or write there and hope they would get purchased and become lively places. But I think it’s natural we’re interested in more subjects than those we are experts in, no?
Last but not least, I agree there is no risk owners become redundant. I’m with @Malkazoid on that. But I can see the “danger” perhaps from the point of view of the Narrative staff: there is a chance that in the model discussed here some ownerless niches become very successful anyway. Their moderators will be promoting them, alongside the narrators who will populate them. And perhaps no one will feel a need to buy them and they will be living there – successful, popular and unpurchased. So there will be no initial investment coming into the Narrative purse. But I think it’s worth taking the risk. I suspect an owner will come along anyway – someone will want to capitalize on a successful niche. And if the money from an unowned niche goes back to the common purse as I suggested, it’s profitable for Narrative anyway.
So yeah, this idea is WAY WORTH DISCUSSING! Phew, it was a long first post. Thanks for reading!