Quick note about niche approvals in general.
It may be that the prerogative was initially to get as many approved niches as fast as possible.
I certainly get that impression with niches that the Tribunal is approving in appeals, and the way Team members are voting.
I think it would be healthy to strongly question this prerogative.
We now have 2128 approved niches. These were achieved from a user base of less than 6000 members. Niches are still being suggested at a steady rate. I don't think we have to be afraid there will be a lack of niches suggested. The niche verse will be discovered and made manifest - there should be no concern of this. I think the platform could launch its Beta successfully with half as many niches.
These considerations should allow us to be a lot more conscious of niche quality, only approving niches that are good, as opposed to passable. Narrative is supposed to be synonymous with quality.
In the community, we have some people who are really very good at suggesting good niches. We should aim to use their strength. Why settle for less? We're not desperate for niches, and there is no upside to rewarding users for contributions that don't make the grade. If we reject a substandard niche and explain why, the good niche writers can jump in and submit an improved version.
The game theory the @Narrative Network Team has put into action is good: they've motivated people to submit niches that are good enough to get approved, and they get a rep bonus for this. Ironically, we're failing to set the bar at a desirable level for what constitutes a good niche. @MOLLY O described very well what a good niche needs, in her Medium blog about guidelines for niche suggestion. But we're accepting niches that fall short of those guidelines, and the Tribunal is sometimes letting them through even when they are appealed.
I think we need to wake up. The clarity, uniqueness and general viability of niches is possibly our greatest vulnerability when we launch. With a new paradigm, new users will be disenchanted if the basics that other existing platforms have nailed, don't work on Narrative. Do we want people to be distracted from the awesomeness of Narrative's new offerings, by our failure to get this new paradigm to deliver coherent categories for content, a characteristic we take for granted? Do we want them to wince at spelling and grammar mistakes in descriptions? It isn't easy to ask people to look beyond that sort of unprofessional impression. It runs deep in us to trust platforms that are well organised and use correct spelling and grammar. We have distrust and dislike of those that don't.
I remain dubious that cleanup efforts at the extremely busy time of Beta launch, would be a good idea. A good system doesn't make mess that needs cleaning up later.
This is a call to arms to tighten the ship. When the storm of Beta Launch hits, efforts to shore up these issues of basic organisation will strongly detract from what the Team should be doing after Beta Launch: rolling out technical fixes, tweaking the rep system, and developing the all important future functionalities like advertising, staking, etc. Anything that detracts from those huge tasks will pull the network down.