I posted this as a response to Molly O's post notifying us about content protections, but I think it got missed in there. I think that it is important to continue the discussion, so I'll repost it here.
Thanks @Ted for bringing clarity to the Access Protections question. While I commend the idea behind restricting R content to KYC users to protect children...I think this is a big mistake. As a content creator you would be INSANE to flag anything as R, even though it may be, because it would drastically reduce your available audience right out of the gate. I feel very confident that the vast majority of people visiting the site to read content will be anonymous and not members, let alone KYC members. I think something this drastic should only be implemented once it becomes an issue. You could have a lower barrier to entry by forcing an age check within signup process, and thus absolving yourselves to some degree, like a minor visiting a liquor site. If they were anonymous and coming in to see 'R' content, you could force the same age check and store it in a cookie.
While content should certainly have ratings, it is such a subjective thing. I think for some content, the community is much more likely to agree on, like 'Porn, erotica, etc'. The flip side to that of course is 'adult' articles...how about an article about war?....crime?..violence? Those are certainly adult topics, yet likely not as offensive as the 'porn / NSFW' flag. When you have to lump everything Adult into the same category as 'erotica', and put a KYC restriction on it, I think that is a big problem. I think a compromise would be to create a 4th rating, NSFW (not safe for work, or NC-17). I would be fine with putting that content behind KYC, but to be honest, I don't really see people necessarily browsing that kind of stuff when they aren't anonymous anyhow....so I imagine that would gradually kill off that type of content.
Quality Rating - I understand the purpose of the quality rating....I'm just worried it will be potentially abused. If it would function essentially like a reddit 'up vote / down vote', you could easily see people just down voting the quality of stuff they don't like. I bring up the obvious political climate. If someone writes a pro-trump article and the site is full of mostly liberal users, they would likely hammer the article on Quality. Conversely, the same could be said of any hot button topic in our current culture. You know...as I'm typing this it just occurred to me...a brilliant solution would be to just have 'up votes for Quality'. This way, an article couldn't get buried by a bunch of haters. The article would stand on its own merit, if people enjoyed it, they would vote to increase the Quality score of the content, otherwise, an unpopular article would languish in obscurity, which I think is the ideal scenario.