The Abandoned Niche Scenario

Ted posted:

Just to clarify (and this may just be semantics)... saying that the funds that would normally go to the niche owner would go back into the Rewards Pool is pretty much the same as not paying any rewards to the niche (in other words, because there is no owner, there would be no ownership rewards to pay for that niche... and I would think that those un-earned (abandoned owner) rewards would be allocated to the other active owners).  In addition, I would think that the abandoned niche moderators would still be paid their normal share (based on the success of the niche) in this scenario.

The good thing is that we now have a system that will always look to fill open moderator positions.

That's what I had assumed too.

Hi @Christina Gleason - could you walk me through what the benefit would be of the network being named the owner of unowned niches?

What would it do, effectively, apart from just allowing us to not call them unowned?  Not sure I see the benefits, but I might be missing something big?

I think we need to look at unowned niches as an asset, rather than a liability.

They are invitations to become stakeholders in the network.  The problem isn't the invitations, it is the barriers to accepting those invitations.  Narrative will win if people look at niche ownership and overwhelmingly say: I get it, and it is so easy for me to give it a try, I'd be silly not to.  It is our job to design initial niche ownership so that that is the response.  I hope tweaks will be made by @Ted and the @Narrative Network Team to lower the barrier to entry, especially for niches with less potential for massive membership.

If we do that, and if we allow niches to operate even while they are seeking an owner, then Narrative will be accessible and attractive to both potential owners and content creators wanting to freely publish to all niches.  The network will see optimal activity, and gather the highest possible amount of metrics of niche popularity, and will be able to use those metrics to fine tune the parameters of niche ownership, and make unowned niches transparently attractive to potential buyers.

Malkazoid posted:

Hi @Christina Gleason - could you walk me through what the benefit would be of the network being named the owner of unowned niches?

What would it do, effectively, apart from just allowing us to not call them unowned?  Not sure I see the benefits, but I might be missing something big?

It would really just be a stop-gap measure that would allow us to post content in unowned niches. The Narrative team has said that niches MUST have owners to function properly, so if the choices are "no one can publish content in the thousands of unowned niches" or "let's make Narrative the 'owner' so that people can publish content in any approved niche," I know which I'd prefer.

The whole point is moot if they can easily change the code the allow unowned niches to function with only moderators. But while I'm not a programmer and couldn't code my way out of a paper bag, it seems like it would be a much easier "fix" just give niches a placeholder owner than the revamp the code to remove the necessity of having an owner in order to function. It was just an alternate solution to help them get the beta launched on time without a major overhaul to their code.

Here is my take on the situation.  I used to think, 'Hey just let people post to Niches even if they don't have an owner.'  I've since come to think about things a little differently.  Narrative's goal is to drive people to post to Niches.  If the user can't find a Niche (with an owner) to post to, then they can publish it on their personal Narrative Journal.  The economic incentive is clear, people don't make rewards off of their personal journals, this is why they are encouraged to submit to up to 3 niches for the benefit of the entire economy.  Alternatively, if a person wanted to write about whatever they wanted without any regard to existing owned Niches and derive economic benefit from their content on Narrative, then they would need to buy a publication.  It seems to me this is not an unreasonable proposition.  If you really have some amazing 'underwater basket weaving' content that you want to make some dough off of, and the Niche doesn't exist, you should put some skin in the game and buy the Niche.  Otherwise, just publish it on your Narrative Journal, or buy a publication.  I also think it makes sense to have a barrier to entry in terms of content.  It prevents the categories from being too polluted.  If no one had any skin in the game, I could see practically every 'unique combination' of words being approved and accessible for content, even if a Niche only ever got 1 piece of content associated to it.  Another things that has occurred to me is someone treating an unowned niche like their personal publication and subverting actual publications and the ownership process.  If there is no owner with skin in the game, the unowned niches would allow any content, and content makers could still collect rewards from it.

There originally was a complaint that people were already maxed out on the number of Niches they could own, and they had content for Niches that no one wanted to buy yet.  With the recent doubling of the Niche Owner Limit to 10, I really don't see this as a valid argument for posting to unowned Niches. 

As for what should happen if a Niche that has content becomes ownerless.  I think it should remain on the auction block, the Niche becomes locked, and the moderators are freed.  The content should still be accessible, but you can no longer post new content to the Niche until it has a new owner.

Banter posted:

If you really have some amazing 'underwater basket weaving' content that you want to make some dough off of, and the Niche doesn't exist, you should put some skin in the game and buy the Niche. 

@Banter - good to see you weighing in on this.

I'm struggling to see how what you propose above takes into account the expectations of most users.  It actually seems extremely far-fetched to me.

You're saying that someone who has written one or two articles about a topic should invest $75 in order to be able to make some money from their writing?  Do you sincerely believe anyone who is only interested in content creation would consider that reasonable?  Not everyone is a content entrepreneur, and Narrative will fail miserably if its paradigm tries to force people to be that, if that is not their inclination.  I am certain most people will deeply resent the heavy-handed approach.

Let content creators be content creators, and let them get paid for their content.  That is what Narrative is claiming to offer.  If people discover that the fine print says 'actually, sorry, but in some cases, to get paid for your content you have to buy a home for it first and that home costs $75 per year', do you think that's going to sit well with them?  Do you think they're going to give a damn about 'skin in the game'?  They'll feel they were lured in with false promises, and frankly, they'd be right.

 

 

 

Otherwise, just publish it on your Narrative Journal, or buy a publication. 

Again, struggling to see how this takes into account people's expectations.  They've been led to believe they can be compensated for their content.  You can't then tell them: "actually, that topic?  Nope, sorry, not cool enough.  No market for it.  Put it on your personal journal.  We'll decide it is cool enough if someone pays 75$ for the topic, wanna pony up?".  Well I mean you can, but expect a bad reaction - I won't spell out what I think that reaction will quite often be, but I'm sure your imagination can conjure the colourful language I'm thinking of.

 

 

I also think it makes sense to have a barrier to entry in terms of content.  It prevents the categories from being too polluted.  If no one had any skin in the game, I could see practically every 'unique combination' of words being approved and accessible for content, even if a Niche only ever got 1 piece of content associated to it. 

That's the whole point of tags.  People understand tags to be anything they want them to be, but they naturally seek to use tags that conform to expectations so their content is easily found, and joins other content that is compatible under the same tag.  

Why should we be worried about the few times people choose to tag their content with the more obscure niches (tags)?  If that is the best label for their content, that's where their content belongs!

I'm really concerned about the counter-intuitive impulses the current  formulation of the content economy is bringing out in people.  You once saw things as most users will, but with time you've come to embrace something very counter-intuitive, and the question we all need to be asking is: how many people will stick around long enough to stand a chance of changing in the way you seem to have?  You've been here for months and months.  Most internet users give a new site less than 10 minutes to impress them with intuitiveness, and ease of use, before they snarl, and move on.

Another things that has occurred to me is someone treating an unowned niche like their personal publication and subverting actual publications and the ownership process.  If there is no owner with skin in the game, the unowned niches would allow any content, and content makers could still collect rewards from it.

Unowned niches would still receive moderation, either from mods who are attached to the niche from a previous ownership, or from general/floating mods - the concept for which you and I came up with the broad lines together.

How would those mods conspire with another user to allow them to use an unowned niche as their personal publication?  I don't see how that would be possible.

The content that moderators do approve to the niche should receive rewards if the community finds value in it: why would that change just because there is no current owner?  Both from a logical standpoint, and from a user expectation standpoint, this seems obvious to me.  A super popular piece of content doesn't become less popular just because nobody owns the niche it was posted to.  Its value remains the same.  The activity and value it brings to the network remains the same.  

 

There originally was a complaint that people were already maxed out on the number of Niches they could own, and they had content for Niches that no one wanted to buy yet.  With the recent doubling of the Niche Owner Limit to 10, I really don't see this as a valid argument for posting to unowned Niches. 

The point isn't that people don't have enough slots to buy all the niches they might want to post to.  The point is VERY few people will be willing to buy a niche and pay 75$, just so they can post some content to it.  And for every one person who is willing, I'm certain a hundred others will resent the hell out of the fact that was the only option given to them.  How many people will we piss off, how many of them will we lose, and how many of them will tell all their friends Narrative is looney tunes, before the one person willing to pay the 75$ comes along?

 

As for what should happen if a Niche that has content becomes ownerless.  I think it should remain on the auction block, the Niche becomes locked, and the moderators are freed.  The content should still be accessible, but you can no longer post new content to the Niche until it has a new owner.

Well you are entitled to your opinion, of course, but I don't see any real demonstration of why this is desirable so there is no progress there.  Why let go of a team of moderators, and turn away regular posters who will form new posting habits or possibly leave the site entirely "because this is stupid: we had a niche with regular posters I like, mods that knew their job, and now that's all shut down because ... why again?  Bye!"

Those who don't leave will just start tagging their content to another niche, but chances are they won't come back to this one, which makes it harder for the niche to find a new owner.  People will catch on to the fact that a niche that has been locked may never get back a portion of the former posters.  People form new habits and once bitten by a locked niche, they'll instinctively feel an aversion to returning to it.  Something of an aura of death, or at the very least, suspicious decline, will taint those niches.

How could any of this be something we voluntarily design into the system of Narrative?  Help me - I'm struggling here.  I literally feel like we're not talking about the same human species...

Christina Gleason posted:
Malkazoid posted:

Hi @Christina Gleason - could you walk me through what the benefit would be of the network being named the owner of unowned niches?

What would it do, effectively, apart from just allowing us to not call them unowned?  Not sure I see the benefits, but I might be missing something big?

It would really just be a stop-gap measure that would allow us to post content in unowned niches. The Narrative team has said that niches MUST have owners to function properly, so if the choices are "no one can publish content in the thousands of unowned niches" or "let's make Narrative the 'owner' so that people can publish content in any approved niche," I know which I'd prefer.

The whole point is moot if they can easily change the code the allow unowned niches to function with only moderators. But while I'm not a programmer and couldn't code my way out of a paper bag, it seems like it would be a much easier "fix" just give niches a placeholder owner than the revamp the code to remove the necessity of having an owner in order to function. It was just an alternate solution to help them get the beta launched on time without a major overhaul to their code.

Thanks @Christina Gleason - I understand much better where you are coming from with that now.  

I don't know for certain, but I assumed the objection from @Ted is conceptual, not mechanical.  Essentially, the code could assign a placeholder name to the niche owner that is "Unowned", or "Released"... no need for it to be "Narrative Network"...  Although it also could be Narrative Network...  But I think from a mechanical viewpoint, all of those solutions are pretty much equivalent?

 

Hey @Malkazoid, thanks for the response.  I guess it comes down to this: Allowing the posting of content to ownerless Niche's diminishes ownership in general, since you have content that is potentially not contributing rewards to any owner.  Maybe that's OK?  My other concern is seeing the Niche's / content categorization become too cluttered if ownership isn't a requirement.
If they create a general mod pool to manage these 'unowned' niche's perhaps the quality could be managed.  As you stated earlier, I agreed with this before, and still do agree with this idea, but it sounds like it doesn't really line up with the @Narrative team's vision for the system.

Also, until advertising comes online, the only revenue feeding into the system is from Niche ownership fees, I believe?  Someone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.  Perhaps some transaction fees also feed the rewards pool.  I'm not entirely clear what cut of the 'publications' if any would feed into the rewards pool.  Given that, you would potentially have a ton of content in ownerless Niche's paying out content creator / mod rewards and being subsidized by all of the other ownership fees, without anything going back to those owners.  Ultimately, the pie chart break down presented originally becomes problematic. Owner's would no longer get 10% of the network rewards if content can be created which maps to unowned Niches.

I hesitate to say this, being a Niche owner, but I'll say it anyhow.  Narrative created a very interesting idea / economic model with Niches and ownership.  But if you allow posting to unowned Niches, I think it really throws a wrench into that model.  The question becomes, if we want Narrative to simply reward content creators and moderators, then why have ownership of Niches at all?  Why not simply make them an elected and paid position, more akin to head moderator, if they are 'ensuring' quality anyhow?  I think the answer is rooted in the fact that the Narrative economy is going to be dependent on those ownership fees for quite some time until advertising really gets going.

 

I'm under impression that the pro small niche agitators do not understand how a blogging platform works. Of course, it could be the other way around and it is me who does not understand something important, but I have several years of experience participating in the "Russian reddit" site d3.ru.

They have the concept of subsites (like subreddits) which are very similar to niches but do not require any approval or purchase. You just select a unique name, hit "Create" and immediately you become a happy owner of the new subsite. You can moderate the content youself or assign other moderators to your subsite.

Because it is so easy to create a subsite there are a lot of "ghost" subsites with very few subscribers. Some of them are duplicates of "big" subsites, some are dedicated to a narrow topic. Because the subscribers are so few, nobody wants to post to these subsites even the topic match would be very close. Unless the owner starts massively posting to the new subsite to attract new subscribers. So they become effectively "no users no posts" subsites, i. e. do not bring any value to the platform.

So let me emphasize again a few points:

1. Locking a niche will not prevent content creators from posting to the platform. I'm sure there are already enough purchased niches to cover virtually every possible topic. Instead of "underwater basket weaving" you can post to "Craft Corner", "Creations" or "DIY" niches (counting only the active ones).

2. Content creators would not want to post to such niches anyway because they have very few followers. Every writer wants their post to be visible, so there is a strong preference to post to as broad niche as possible. Those who really want to post to a small niche because it is "exactly their topic" will lose that desire after a few posts which will attract less attention than they expected. The only reason to post to such niches is to promote the niche itself, which will be the task for the niche owner.

Imagine someone creating a brilliant post and publishing it to a small niche. It would be bad both for the community and for the author. For the community, because most people would miss the post and wouldn't enjoy it. And for the author, because of receiving less likes and rewards than the post deserves.

So it is only good for the system to lock such niches. But I don't think the question is really so important to be worth fighting for one or the other option. Even if they are not locked they will fade out naturally.

You bring up a good point, @Ivan Rygaev.  I also feel that more than enough purchased Niches exist to cover the vast majority of content out there.  I feel very confident that people can post to a larger domain like 'crafts', than a very specific topic like 'macaroni kids art', for the reasons you pointed out.  If there really is a large gathering of macaroni kids art content, then perhaps someone will see the need to purchase this Niche, as it would be worth it because there is enough content to support it.

You also bring up a good point about visibility and having content die in some of these tiny unowned Niches. 

If we are going to allow unowned Niches to have content I think the following is a critical feature for users posting content:

    When users are assigning the 3 Niches to their content, we should be displaying some high level stats for these Niches.  I would certainly want to know that the 'macaroni kids art' has only had 10 posts, vs, 958k posts in Crafts.  I would also like to know any other relevant ratings, popular / views for content in the Niche, etc.  Essentially we should have some kind of rating for the Niche to help people decide whether or not to assign their content there.  I think that would largely take care of the problem, since it really is in the best interest of the user posting the content to grab the largest audience possible.

Ivan Rygaev posted:

So let me emphasize again a few points:

1. Locking a niche will not prevent content creators from posting to the platform. I'm sure there are already enough purchased niches to cover virtually every possible topic. Instead of "underwater basket weaving" you can post to "Craft Corner", "Creations" or "DIY" niches (counting only the active ones).

Hello Ivan.

I think everyone realises it won't prevent people from posting to the platform.  But it will have a potently dangerous effect: when there is a niche that is much more specific to your content, and you discover that you can't post to it because of mysterious economic reasons that are not communicated or articulated anywhere, that's a terrible first impression.  There are two types of disappointed customers.  The kind who quietly walk away thinking this is not for me.  And the kind that encounter something so incomprehensible, so counter-intuitive, and frankly, so seemingly stupid, that they broadcast their negative experience to everyone.  We will get a lot of the second kind with this first impression.

We've told everyone niches are tags.  Setting yourself up to having to explain to people they are tags you can't use unless someone has paid $75 could be literally a lethal blow to the platform at launch.  It is such a basic failure in 'KISS' (keep it simple, stupid), that I truly hope we get beyond this point rapidly so we can focus on fixing it.  And just so we have no misunderstanding: I am not calling you stupid - that's an American expression underlining one of the cardinal rules of doing business: avoid confusion in your messaging and your product.

 

2. Content creators would not want to post to such niches anyway because they have very few followers. Every writer wants their post to be visible, so there is a strong preference to post to as broad niche as possible. Those who really want to post to a small niche because it is "exactly their topic" will lose that desire after a few posts which will attract less attention than they expected. The only reason to post to such niches is to promote the niche itself, which will be the task for the niche owner.

That would be somewhat true, except that on Narrative you can post to 3 niches.  So you can, and should have the best of both worlds: posting to a niche very specific to your subject matter, and to a couple of broader ones too.

Each option has its benefits.  To deny the benefit of a tight fitting niche isn't helpful.  Finding content you want becomes much easier when a category narrows it down for you sufficiently that you don't need to wade through thousands of posts to find your specific interest.

We're lucky in that the 3 niche tagging design allows us to have both.  Lets not argue ourselves away from this best of both worlds scenario pointlessly.

Imagine someone creating a brilliant post and publishing it to a small niche. It would be bad both for the community and for the author. For the community, because most people would miss the post and wouldn't enjoy it. And for the author, because of receiving less likes and rewards than the post deserves.

See above: three niches can be tagged.

So it is only good for the system to lock such niches. But I don't think the question is really so important to be worth fighting for one or the other option. Even if they are not locked they will fade out naturally.

Why would they fade out naturally?  They should be able to simply exist, and continue at their snails pace.  They serve fundamental purposes that are not primarily economic in nature, but are fundamental nonetheless.

Banter posted:

Hey @Malkazoid, thanks for the response.  I guess it comes down to this: Allowing the posting of content to ownerless Niche's diminishes ownership in general, since you have content that is potentially not contributing rewards to any owner.  Maybe that's OK?  My other concern is seeing the Niche's / content categorization become too cluttered if ownership isn't a requirement.
If they create a general mod pool to manage these 'unowned' niche's perhaps the quality could be managed.  As you stated earlier, I agreed with this before, and still do agree with this idea, but it sounds like it doesn't really line up with the @Narrative team's vision for the system.

Narrative's vision for the system is evolving and will continue to evolve, inevitably as we progress through launch and many years into the life of the platform - I see our role here as being faithful signals of our truths regardless of what the status quo is.  

I disagree about allowing posting to unowned niches.  People can tag three niches.  They will tag the three niches that best describe their content.  Some of them will be owned, and sometimes, one or two of them will not be owned.  

If the formulas are well designed, if you are the owner of the one niche that is owned out of the three, the fact that a piece of content is also posted to two unowned niches should have literally zero effect on the beneficial activity and rewards your niche receives for having that content posted to your niche.

Also, until advertising comes online, the only revenue feeding into the system is from Niche ownership fees, I believe?  Someone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.  Perhaps some transaction fees also feed the rewards pool.  I'm not entirely clear what cut of the 'publications' if any would feed into the rewards pool.  Given that, you would potentially have a ton of content in ownerless Niche's paying out content creator / mod rewards and being subsidized by all of the other ownership fees, without anything going back to those owners.  Ultimately, the pie chart break down presented originally becomes problematic. Owner's would no longer get 10% of the network rewards if content can be created which maps to unowned Niches.

The system is already being subsidised in the early years by minting NRVE tokens.  What that should be buying us is the ability to launch without worrying so much about the immediate sustainability of the model, if doing so is to the huge detriment of making Narrative an intuitive place that people gel with.  All platforms before us have put primacy on making their platform a place that makes sense to users, and have figured out how to profit from it as they went. 

When advertising arrives, that is traditionally where all funding comes from on social platforms.  The primary concern is, when we launch the advertising functionality, will we have hundreds of thousands of happy Narrators worth advertising to, or will we have only you and me and people like you and me: early adopters who keep hoping the Team will make the place more accessible, and who use up all their energy arguing about whether they should or not.

I don't want to have to explain to people I invite here, why they can't post to a niche that has been approved by the community.  I don't want to have to argue endlessly with them that Narrative is not a scam, despite the condition for them to be able to post to the niche that best fits their content is that they or someone else has to pay at least 75$.  Nobody on this blue planet expects tags have to be paid for before they can be used, and nobody will react remotely positively to that.  You really need to forget everything else for a moment, and place yourself squarely in the shoes of the average social media user, and how they are going to react to that.  Everything else will just cloud your appreciation of this primordial reality.

This is something literally worthy of delaying Beta over, if that is what it takes to fix it.  Because you don't recover from a PR disaster like the one we would have if we go live with the system the @Narrative Network Team currently has before us.  Not even with the likes of Henry Kissinger do you spin yourself our of that sort of cluster*uck.  We'd probably be looking at a complete rebrand to try to recover, if we allow thousands of people to come here and experience that.

 

I hesitate to say this, being a Niche owner, but I'll say it anyhow.  Narrative created a very interesting idea / economic model with Niches and ownership.  But if you allow posting to unowned Niches, I think it really throws a wrench into that model.  The question becomes, if we want Narrative to simply reward content creators and moderators, then why have ownership of Niches at all?  Why not simply make them an elected and paid position, more akin to head moderator, if they are 'ensuring' quality anyhow?  I think the answer is rooted in the fact that the Narrative economy is going to be dependent on those ownership fees for quite some time until advertising really gets going.

I'm going to try to put this in a way that cuts through the fog of extraneous considerations.

NOTHING matters more than adoption.  Without it, there is no economic model, there is no content economy, and there is no future for Narrative.

The goal?  For people to buy niches, and renew them, and grow them.

We will have thousands of unowned niches at launch.  If people can't post to them, they are effectively dead.  

By its very definition, the launch of a new platform is in proof of concept mode.  Users will want to be shown that something works before they invest much time in it, let alone money.

You can't show someone a dead niche works, if it is dead.  Users will look at them - with only a foggy idea of what niche ownership means, for the most part, since it is such a new concept - and they will think: this thing is an empty shell among thousands of empty shells that nobody seems to want.  Why should I pay 75$ for it, just so I can post content to it?  What kind of fool do you take me for???

The proof of concept is so simple, it is staring us in the face.  Life is proof of life.  Life is the antithesis to the aura of death surrounding a dead niche in a pool of thousands of dead niches.  And life is posting.  People posting content.  Community, no matter how small.  That is the start of a niche finding an owner.  I don't know the exact amplitude of the enhancement effect this creates, but we should all intuitively know it is significant.  How many people do we see flocking to build a store front in the middle of a desert?  And how many people are flocking to build a store front in a neighbourhood that has activity, and a growing number of residents?

But please - I ask you all to forget about the content economy for a second: that will materialise if we survive launch.  I sincerely doubt we will survive launch if thousands of users come away stumped by something as simple as using tags.  Let them use tags the way tags are supposed to be used.  Let the system efficiently use tags to best describe content.  Don't reinvent the wheel on this.  Don't fix what isn't broken.  Don't be so in love with a clever new concept that you ignore how it clashes irreconcilably with people's expectations (and unnecessarily so, since with a simple tweak that we are discussing right now, it can both be a clever new design AND fulfil people's expectations).

We won't even know what the reality of the wisdom of the crowd is, if we impede people who want to post to certain niches.  We'll have a skewed understanding of what they want, because we only offered them what we dogmatically thought was best for the economy to offer them.  That is a fundamentally flawed approach, and one I think many people are ignoring the dangers of.

I've already devoted too much energy to this issue, and if I continue pouring my time into a bottomless pit, it will cause me to start reevaluating the viability of this project.  I want to avoid that, so I really hope some folks start putting themselves in the shoes of people who have no ties to Narrative, no commitment, and who need to be convinced we're pragmatic people with their user experience in mind.  There are a thousand different ways to not do that, and each one of them is a way to fail.

 

To all of the new replies in this thread...

I am a content creator first. I do not have an investment budget. The niche I own and the one I just won and have to pay for are BIG RISKS for me. They are not small potatoes. I bought Actually Autistic because it's personally the most important one to me. The one I just won is an investment - Ask Narrative - because I know how popular /r/AskReddit is, and I even have a marketing idea for launch to get people to use it from day one. But I'm a disabled sole proprietor with a family, credit card debt, and a mortgage. 

I have already said that RIGHT NOW, I have content waiting to be published that I'm not just going to post to my personal journal for zero gain. I want it to go in the appropriate niche(s) - which are not incredibly specific niches, but they just don't have owners yet. I have even more content I COULD draft here if the niches were active, but I don't want to have several dozen drafts saved but not ready to publish. I even created a forum post listing unowned niches that I could guarantee would have content published on launch day, but none of them have been bid on.

As a content consumer, if I was looking to read something about a certain topic, only to learn that there wasn't anything about it because no one had yet ponied up the cash? I'm not staying on Narrative, I'm using Google to find something else. No eyeballs, no advertisers. No advertisers, no content economy

The existing top-down approach is not a recipe for success. I am personally invested in the success of this site because I recently had a three month drought in client business, and we NEED a site like this that will pay content creators like me to create content that people want to see and engage with, not just what someone commissions us to create. This is how I've gotten some of my friends to join... because I never imagined that we wouldn't be allowed to post content in the most appropriate (approved!) niches just because someone didn't pay to own the niche yet. I don't think people are going to stick around and wait for that magical day when an unowned niche we are following happens to get a bid on it...and then wait for it to be paid for before it becomes usable.

Narrative could get all the GOOD ORIGINAL content currently being posted to reddit with the draw of paying content creators for WHATEVER they create, whether the niche is owned yet or not. AFTER content creators start seeing earnings, THEN they are more likely to want to/be able to purchase niches to get some more passive income. (I know that niche ownership can be completely passive but will perform better if it's not... but it's still less hustle than creating all the time.)

As someone who is doing the work of creating, and plans to consume content on this platform as much as possible to help it succeed, a lot of what I want to write about or read about is going to be completely inaccessible for an unknown amount of time. And THAT is lost value for the platform. 

Thanks and you're welcome @Malkazoid.

I feel pretty confident in saying that I am what Narrative's average user will be... except for my personal investment in wanting to ENSURE the site's success. I'm here for the content. Any inexplicable barrier to publishing or consuming content is going to drive people away. (And you can explain all the technical and economic stuff about the importance of ownership of niches...but NONE of that matters to the average user. Therefore, it's inexplicable.)

@Malkazoid and @Christina Gleason, I do agree that adoption needs to be the priority above all else.  I'm even willing to take the economic hit, if it means building up that user base to a more critical level to support advertising.  That said, I just don't want the quality of the content on the platform to suffer.  @Malkazoid, I completely agree that "Life is proof of life."  So long as moderation is in place on these unowned niches to keep quality in place.  If a niche doesn't get more than a few posts a year, it seems apparent no one will be buying it. 

I guess the only major issue is the following: 

    As soon as you allow the posting of content to unowned Niche's you have seriously downgraded the Niche market.  All of the more 'obviously popular' Niche's have been purchased by this point, which is why I think the majority of content can be assigned to a reasonable category within the existing compendium of purchased Niches.  Once we allow this, everyone is going to go into 'wait and see mode', because why would you risk money on a Niche that is such an unknown until it 'proves' itself.  Maybe this is for the best, I don't know, it certainly lowers the demand for new Niches, and thus new revenue coming into the system.  I'd be willing to accept this, so long as the community as a whole has contemplated the implications of this decision. 

Christina Gleason posted:

To all of the new replies in this thread...

I am a content creator first. I do not have an investment budget. The niche I own and the one I just won and have to pay for are BIG RISKS for me. They are not small potatoes. I bought Actually Autistic because it's personally the most important one to me. The one I just won is an investment - Ask Narrative - because I know how popular /r/AskReddit is, and I even have a marketing idea for launch to get people to use it from day one. But I'm a disabled sole proprietor with a family, credit card debt, and a mortgage. 

I have already said that RIGHT NOW, I have content waiting to be published that I'm not just going to post to my personal journal for zero gain. I want it to go in the appropriate niche(s) - which are not incredibly specific niches, but they just don't have owners yet. I have even more content I COULD draft here if the niches were active, but I don't want to have several dozen drafts saved but not ready to publish. I even created a forum post listing unowned niches that I could guarantee would have content published on launch day, but none of them have been bid on.

As a content consumer, if I was looking to read something about a certain topic, only to learn that there wasn't anything about it because no one had yet ponied up the cash? I'm not staying on Narrative, I'm using Google to find something else. No eyeballs, no advertisers. No advertisers, no content economy

The existing top-down approach is not a recipe for success. I am personally invested in the success of this site because I recently had a three month drought in client business, and we NEED a site like this that will pay content creators like me to create content that people want to see and engage with, not just what someone commissions us to create. This is how I've gotten some of my friends to join... because I never imagined that we wouldn't be allowed to post content in the most appropriate (approved!) niches just because someone didn't pay to own the niche yet. I don't think people are going to stick around and wait for that magical day when an unowned niche we are following happens to get a bid on it...and then wait for it to be paid for before it becomes usable.

Narrative could get all the GOOD ORIGINAL content currently being posted to reddit with the draw of paying content creators for WHATEVER they create, whether the niche is owned yet or not. AFTER content creators start seeing earnings, THEN they are more likely to want to/be able to purchase niches to get some more passive income. (I know that niche ownership can be completely passive but will perform better if it's not... but it's still less hustle than creating all the time.)

As someone who is doing the work of creating, and plans to consume content on this platform as much as possible to help it succeed, a lot of what I want to write about or read about is going to be completely inaccessible for an unknown amount of time. And THAT is lost value for the platform. 

You're right -- that's actually why I filled up all five of my niche slots plus gotten a couple of my friends to buy niches. Plus I've been moving a lot of the content from my blog over to Narrative because I feel like newcomers will be more impressed if Narrative already has a lot of content and a good variety of content. One thing that might also help: Don't be afraid to create content for other people's niches even if they aren't a niche that you paid for if you have something to say on the topic. Actually Autistic sounds like a niche I could put some new content that I haven't yet written in, for instance.

@Banter There are 127 pages of unowned niches. Here are some that I think could be considered "top level" (or at least second tier) niches that currently can't be used:

...And that's only up to page 40 with me being VERY picky.

That's a LOT OF CONTENT that is currently inaccessible and would probably be good investments for potential investors. This doesn't even include the sports teams, the music genres, individual countries, types of cuisine, different religions, software titles, etc.

It's like having a few thousand houses sitting vacant because no one's bought them yet, but not even considering opening them up for rental use to make the area more attractive to potential buyers... when there are exponentially more hopeful renters, many of whom who could totally choose the rent-to-own option.

Heidi Hecht posted:

You're right -- that's actually why I filled up all five of my niche slots plus gotten a couple of my friends to buy niches. Plus I've been moving a lot of the content from my blog over to Narrative because I feel like newcomers will be more impressed if Narrative already has a lot of content and a good variety of content. One thing that might also help: Don't be afraid to create content for other people's niches even if they aren't a niche that you paid for if you have something to say on the topic. Actually Autistic sounds like a niche I could put some new content that I haven't yet written in, for instance.

Oh yeah, I've totally queued up some posts for niches I don't own! I would add more content to other niches that just don't have owners yet, because I never figured out how to monetize my blog...but there are currently no relevant niches in which to post them. 

Christina Gleason posted:

@Banter There are 127 pages of unowned niches. Here are some that I think could be considered "top level" (or at least second tier) niches that currently can't be used:

...And that's only up to page 40 with me being VERY picky.

That's a LOT OF CONTENT that is currently inaccessible and would probably be good investments for potential investors. This doesn't even include the sports teams, the music genres, individual countries, types of cuisine, different religions, software titles, etc.

It's like having a few thousand houses sitting vacant because no one's bought them yet, but not even considering opening them up for rental use to make the area more attractive to potential buyers... when there are exponentially more hopeful renters, many of whom who could totally choose the rent-to-own option.

It's been a while since I've looked at the list.  I would concur with your assessment.  At the end of the day, if the choice is between people choosing not to post on the platform rather than purchase a Niche for content they care about, I would rather them have the ability to create content for unowned Niches.  I'm hopeful the economics will work themselves out in the end, especially if it means faster adoption of the platform.  Hopefully someone seeing X number of posts appear in /n/NHL or /n/Europe will spur someone to ultimately purchase the Niche.

Jumping back in...needed to read everything to catch up.

Imagine what instgram would be like if someone had to own a hashtag in order for anyone to use it, nothing would get found very easily. I guarantee that initially nobody would have coughed up $75 bucks for #TBT, and yet it now has 401.4 Million hashtag usages!  (pause ....went to go suggest this as a niche). (Back now!)

@Banter I really tossed over the idea of not purchasing niches, and would it hurt the reward system. But I kept coming back to this; the one thing i can always count on for certain is human greed. If a niche begins to shows promise that it will out preform it's costs to purchase, someone will buy it. Every time. So i am not worried about the system dying of starvation if it isn't forced to eat it's own tail. 

I agree with @Malkazoid There has to be a maximized amount of posted content for this platform to grow. First and foremost. 

Narrative needs to not confuse the difference between investors and early users. @Christina Gleason is correct, the early content makers are not all going to be the same as the early investors/whom also make content. Narrative cannot assume that the next wave of people are going to be investors too. And they won't be forced into purchasing to post their content, when they can post for free elsewhere (even if they don't get paid).

I believe that content makers will spend their Narrative earnings on niches, but not as many will spend their fiat earnings on an unsubstantiated system. But Narrative needs to keep them around long enough for that to happen.

I agree with all the points that the path to early adoption is to make creating and consuming content as easy as possible... and being unable to create content on a niche because it hasn't been purchased is pretty much asking for a thousand outrage YouTube videos and a trillion outrage tweets.

Using traditional social media as an example, they pretty much all spent a few years building up their userbase before they monetized (let's ignore the sale of personal data for the moment).  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter didn't have ads for the first few years of their lives... it was all about building the numbers and adding monetization in afterwards once everyone was too comfortable to move.

I don't think there's an issue with people waiting to see if a niche is popular before deciding to buy it... why should anyone invest blindly?  Those of us that have purchased niches already are taking a bit of a gamble... and we're lucky that we've got a bit of time to build up content ourselves before seeing if our investments pay off.  Mostly likely, we might all have to take a hit and might not see our niches return a profit for a few years.  I'm okay with that.

I do think we need @Ted or the team to pipe in, else we might just talk in circles forever.

Banter posted:

    As soon as you allow the posting of content to unowned Niche's you have seriously downgraded the Niche market.  All of the more 'obviously popular' Niche's have been purchased by this point, which is why I think the majority of content can be assigned to a reasonable category within the existing compendium of purchased Niches.  Once we allow this, everyone is going to go into 'wait and see mode', because why would you risk money on a Niche that is such an unknown until it 'proves' itself.  Maybe this is for the best, I don't know, it certainly lowers the demand for new Niches, and thus new revenue coming into the system.  I'd be willing to accept this, so long as the community as a whole has contemplated the implications of this decision. 

Hey Banter,

I don't think people will go into wait and see mode just because they have an actual metric of available niche activity.  They'll just make better informed choices.  I think they will be looking at growth trends.  If a niche only has 10 followers and 40 pieces of content, but it grew faster than almost any other niche in the first week after Beta launch - that could be a strong buy signal.  It doesn't matter that the niche is still puny in terms of one day making a profit.  Everyone understands that investing requires some degree of projection into the future.

The point is, comparing the two models of locked unowned niches, and unowned niches available for posting: on average, any niche that is receiving even the smallest amount of content, will have a leg up compared to if it was receiving none.

We should also remember that we want our users to make good niche buying decisions: we want them to succeed.  It would be shortsighted to want people to buy niches that will eventually disappoint them.  Better those niches remain unpurchased, than become a failure story.  By arming users with metrics to base their niche purchasing decisions on, we're ensuring that more people will be successful content entrepreneurs, and their experience will become representative of the platform.

 

Malkazoid posted:

Hey Banter,

I don't think people will go into wait and see mode just because they have an actual metric of available niche activity.  They'll just make better informed choices.  I think they will be looking at growth trends.  If a niche only has 10 followers and 40 pieces of content, but it grew faster than almost any other niche in the first week after Beta launch - that could be a strong buy signal.  It doesn't matter that the niche is still puny in terms of one day making a profit.  Everyone understands that investing requires some degree of projection into the future. 

I would like to further elaborate to this point, that I also think that the "quality" of the content will make a big difference as well. For instance if you have  posts that include lot's of original photographs, that are taken with some degree of above average competency or  originality, rather than stock photos, or no photos at all...a potential owner may quickly recognize that this is a highly consumable content maker, regularly posting to an ownerless niche. Ditto for an exceptional writer. And I suspect that niche will get bought quickly after launch.

I want to reiterate, what @Malkazoid said about Narrative should want good niche buying decisions. I have seen many niches come up & get purchased, that I have had serious doubts about it being able to out perform the annual costs of ownership. ( I hope to be proven wrong.) But sometimes I have definitely felt like for some people, the take away will be that niche ownership was a fast cash grab pre-launch, and they won't feel too good about their investments. I would rather see Narrative grow more slowly, but on a considerably more sustainable foundation in the niche ownership area. So much money being spent with only blind faith to go on. After launch people will have a much better understanding of how niches work, and make better purchases because of it. For some of us the money is easier to risk. But others, this could be their grocery budget for the week, and so they need to be far more cautious. Allowing content to be posted to ownerless niches will only increase the odds of approved niches being purchased, as I see it.

Emily Barnett posted:

I want to reiterate, what @Malkazoid said about Narrative should want good niche buying decisions. I have seen many niches come up & get purchased, that I have had serious doubts about it being able to out perform the annual costs of ownership. ( I hope to be proven wrong.) But sometimes I have definitely felt like for some people, the take away will be that niche ownership was a fast cash grab pre-launch, and they won't feel too good about their investments. I would rather see Narrative grow more slowly, but on a considerably more sustainable foundation in the niche ownership area. So much money being spent with only blind faith to go on. After launch people will have a much better understanding of how niches work, and make better purchases because of it. For some of us the money is easier to risk. But others, this could be their grocery budget for the week, and so they need to be far more cautious. Allowing content to be posted to ownerless niches will only increase the odds of approved niches being purchased, as I see it.

I agree @Emily Barnett.

This is closely related to the $75 renewal minimum renewal fee, and $75 minimum bid.  The higher that minimum cost is, the more people will regret their niche purchases.

I think it would have been a lot smarter to start that minimum lower, and increase it as the platform proves itself.

The economy should not need to rely heavily on niche fees at the beginning - minting NRVE can subsidise the first few years, and advertising and other forms of external revenue is supposed to bring in the lion's share for the rewards pool, in a non Ponzi-scheme type content economy.  

I think we need a much more nimble approach to niche fees, that sets a price that will contribute to the economy while being optimal for prospective niche owners and renewers to get in, and stay in the game.

Part of the problem of ownerless niches is the price tag.  After launch, when we have some metrics on all niches (because we wisely decided at some point before launch to allow posting to all niches, it is hoped) - we could dynamically lower the minimum niche bid on niches that otherwise won't be bought.

Once bought, the chances of the niche increasing in activity and value increases, so we have every reason to initially lower the barrier to entry of its ownership, if that is what it takes.  There is no upside to receiving ZERO in ownership fees for a niche that isn't being bought, and plenty of upside in receiving a discounted initial purchase price, and the potential for more later.

I really hope these facts start to resonate with the @Narrative Network Team team.

Malkazoid posted:
Emily Barnett posted:

I want to reiterate, what @Malkazoid said about Narrative should want good niche buying decisions. I have seen many niches come up & get purchased, that I have had serious doubts about it being able to out perform the annual costs of ownership. ( I hope to be proven wrong.) But sometimes I have definitely felt like for some people, the take away will be that niche ownership was a fast cash grab pre-launch, and they won't feel too good about their investments. I would rather see Narrative grow more slowly, but on a considerably more sustainable foundation in the niche ownership area. So much money being spent with only blind faith to go on. After launch people will have a much better understanding of how niches work, and make better purchases because of it. For some of us the money is easier to risk. But others, this could be their grocery budget for the week, and so they need to be far more cautious. Allowing content to be posted to ownerless niches will only increase the odds of approved niches being purchased, as I see it.

I agree @Emily Barnett.

This is closely related to the $75 renewal minimum renewal fee, and $75 minimum bid.  The higher that minimum cost is, the more people will regret their niche purchases.

I think it would have been a lot smarter to start that minimum lower, and increase it as the platform proves itself.

The economy should not need to rely heavily on niche fees at the beginning - minting NRVE can subsidise the first few years, and advertising and other forms of external revenue is supposed to bring in the lion's share for the rewards pool, in a non Ponzi-scheme type content economy.  

I think we need a much more nimble approach to niche fees, that sets a price that will contribute to the economy while being optimal for prospective niche owners and renewers to get in, and stay in the game.

Part of the problem of ownerless niches is the price tag.  After launch, when we have some metrics on all niches (because we wisely decided at some point before launch to allow posting to all niches, it is hoped) - we could dynamically lower the minimum niche bid on niches that otherwise won't be bought.

Once bought, the chances of the niche increasing in activity and value increases, so we have every reason to initially lower the barrier to entry of its ownership, if that is what it takes.  There is no upside to receiving ZERO in ownership fees for a niche that isn't being bought, and plenty of upside in receiving a discounted initial purchase price, and the potential for more later.

I really hope these facts start to resonate with the @Narrative Network Team team.

I think this all ties back into the 'economy'.  An argument could be made for having basically no minimums ($1 or something).  I think there is something to having 'skin in the game'.  If the barrier to entry is too low, then you will see people max out their Niche slots without a second thought, and many will probably treat their Niches, which were purchased for so little, as an afterthought.  Hey, if it makes me more than $1, what a great investment for not having to do anything at all.  I guess the point I'm trying to make is a low minimum encourages 'lazy / super passive' ownership.  If we want to encourage 'active' ownership, I think the current price is probably fine.  If we want to try to get an owner for every single Niche and drive as much money into the economy as possible, then sure, a $1 minimum would certainly do that.  I personally feel that so long as content can end up being posted to ownerless Niches, I doesn't bother me so much that they don't have owners.  As you and @Emily Barnett have pointed out, if it is doing well, enough to breach the $75 min investment, then someone will snatch it up.

As an aside to an earlier point I brought up.  Perhaps to prevent problems in the economy (ie. content being created that isn't mapped to any owned Niches, and thus not contributing to Niche Owners), it should be a requirement that at least one of the 3 possible Niches mapped to a piece of content must be an 'owned' Niche.  This way the system would still work as intended, where a piece of content is always benefiting a Creator, a Moderator, and a Niche Owner.  I'm not terribly hung up on this, if it would seem 'too confusing' to people, since is likely that most Niches people want to post to are going to be owned anyway.  This was just a potential fix to the issue of content being mapped to ownerless Niches exclusively.

@Malkazoid, you have mentioned a couple of times that initially the economy will be supported by minting more NRVE.  I'm by no means an economy expert, but I feel like that certainly won't help in the 'early' years.  Initially NRVE, will be basically worth almost $0, if the current market is any indicator.  The only thing that will increase the price will be demand and or scarcity.  Minting more NRVE doesn't accomplish either of those.  Until advertising kicks in, and there is sustained purchased of publications (if that revenue even contributes to rewards?), the only thing putting actual money into the economy are Niche Ownership fees.......so What am I missing?  I think the reality is that during the first few years, people will be collecting the rewards essentially like 'worthless stock' in the hopes that it will mature someday.  If you actually tried to convert your rewards to Fiat immediately, they would be worth next to nothing....why would people be writing articles for just a few cents?  Would love to hear anyone else weigh in on this topic, perhaps it should really be a new thread to be honest.

Banter posted:

As an aside to an earlier point I brought up.  Perhaps to prevent problems in the economy (ie. content being created that isn't mapped to any owned Niches, and thus not contributing to Niche Owners), it should be a requirement that at least one of the 3 possible Niches mapped to a piece of content must be an 'owned' Niche.  This way the system would still work as intended, where a piece of content is always benefiting a Creator, a Moderator, and a Niche Owner.  I'm not terribly hung up on this, if it would seem 'too confusing' to people, since is likely that most Niches people want to post to are going to be owned anyway.  This was just a potential fix to the issue of content being mapped to ownerless Niches exclusively.

@Malkazoid, you have mentioned a couple of times that initially the economy will be supported by minting more NRVE.  I'm by no means an economy expert, but I feel like that certainly won't help in the 'early' years.  Initially NRVE, will be basically worth almost $0, if the current market is any indicator.  The only thing that will increase the price will be demand and or scarcity.  Minting more NRVE doesn't accomplish either of those.  Until advertising kicks in, and there is sustained purchased of publications (if that revenue even contributes to rewards?), the only thing putting actual money into the economy are Niche Ownership fees.......so What am I missing?  I think the reality is that during the first few years, people will be collecting the rewards essentially like 'worthless stock' in the hopes that it will mature someday.  If you actually tried to convert your rewards to Fiat immediately, they would be worth next to nothing....why would people be writing articles for just a few cents?  Would love to hear anyone else weigh in on this topic, perhaps it should really be a new thread to be honest.

It is good to have you back Banter.

People are already writing content for 0 cents in hopes that it pays off in the future. That is not the ideal for Narrative, but I think the value will rise. But I agree with you @Banter that a strong economy is better than relying too much on the initial minting of tokens. But for now it is unavoidable.

I also agree with the skin in the game....to degrees. I think the $75 USD is a fair price for the annual cost. I just think it should come with content posted if there is no current buyer for the niche. I agree that if the niche is too under valued then it is not worth promoting or taking care of, once an owner has been established. I even hope that once a niche takes hold with an active community, and bidding finally begins that a bidding war will take place amongst people who know recognize the potential.

I also like your idea that at least one tag has to have an owner. Not sure if that is difficult to code or not, but would be a good question for busyBrian @Brian Lenz.

Another brainstorm for never-been-purchased niches sitting in the niche graveyard for six months or so, is to have a 24 hour sale before retiring them. Thoughts?

Emily Barnett posted:

 

Another brainstorm for never been purchased niches sitting in the niche graveyard for six months or so, is to have a 24 hour sale before retiring them. Thoughts?

I love this idea so much. There are some niches sitting in the "niche graveyard" that would be more affordable for me on a "final closeout" sale.

Ted posted:

Hi Narrators-

I'm looking for community feedback on how we should handle this scenario...

Assume a niche comes up for renewal and the current owner decides not to renew.  That will automatically put the niche back up on the auction block to find a new owner.

What should happen if the niche does not find a buyer, however? 

The niche may or may not have much content associated with it.  The niche also may or may not have moderators managing it. (Niche owners are REQUIRED to have moderators in order to qualify for niche owner rewards, but of course there is  a chance it is temporarily without moderators, as well.)

The general rule we are trying to achieve in the system is that each active niche has an owner and at least one moderator (so that each niche has real caretakers).  Thus, if the niche no longer has an owner (even after being put up for auction again), what should happen?

Some options:

1.  Suspend the niche after it fails to attract a buyer after 30 days, but keep the niche on the auction block indefinitely (as an inactive, but available niche).  The niche would not be accessible until a buyer is found, but once purchased all of the content previously inked to the niche would still be there (assuming the content creators maintained the links to the niche).

2.  Keep the niche active, but without an owner. This would mean that the niche has no mechanism for adding or nominating moderators.  The niche would remain on the auction block indefinitely, until a buyer can be found.  The biggest drawback here of course is that the niche may not have any one managing it and so the quality of the niche may deteriorate.

3. After 30 days, immediately deactivate the niche (since it failed to attract a buyer).  Any content associated with the niche would be permanently disassociated.  The niche would no longer be on the auction block and would be treated as a dead niche, unable to be converted to active.

There are pros and cons to each option, and perhaps you have an alternate option.  Let us know your thoughts!

If the niche has generated a relevant amount of content it will not stay without a new owner for long. Maybe Narrative should strongly point to these niches in case they become available. Apart from that I would expect option 2 to deliver the best outcome for the project and the community.

hmm those kind of niches should clearly be listed with some kind of extra priority and maybe higher starting price as the generation of revenue more likely than with a completely new niche. Also there is the advantage of having moderators in place already. I still did not get any moderators for "cigar club" and "restaurants".

Holla posted:
Ted posted:

Hi Narrators-

I'm looking for community feedback on how we should handle this scenario...

Assume a niche comes up for renewal and the current owner decides not to renew.  That will automatically put the niche back up on the auction block to find a new owner.

What should happen if the niche does not find a buyer, however? 

The niche may or may not have much content associated with it.  The niche also may or may not have moderators managing it. (Niche owners are REQUIRED to have moderators in order to qualify for niche owner rewards, but of course there is  a chance it is temporarily without moderators, as well.)

The general rule we are trying to achieve in the system is that each active niche has an owner and at least one moderator (so that each niche has real caretakers).  Thus, if the niche no longer has an owner (even after being put up for auction again), what should happen?

Some options:

1.  Suspend the niche after it fails to attract a buyer after 30 days, but keep the niche on the auction block indefinitely (as an inactive, but available niche).  The niche would not be accessible until a buyer is found, but once purchased all of the content previously inked to the niche would still be there (assuming the content creators maintained the links to the niche).

2.  Keep the niche active, but without an owner. This would mean that the niche has no mechanism for adding or nominating moderators.  The niche would remain on the auction block indefinitely, until a buyer can be found.  The biggest drawback here of course is that the niche may not have any one managing it and so the quality of the niche may deteriorate.

3. After 30 days, immediately deactivate the niche (since it failed to attract a buyer).  Any content associated with the niche would be permanently disassociated.  The niche would no longer be on the auction block and would be treated as a dead niche, unable to be converted to active.

There are pros and cons to each option, and perhaps you have an alternate option.  Let us know your thoughts!

If the niche has generated a relevant amount of content it will not stay without a new owner for long. Maybe Narrative should strongly point to these niches in case they become available. Apart from that I would expect option 2 to deliver the best outcome for the project and the community.

Do I understand correctly: Option 1 and 3 would deactivate the niche so that everyone interested in the existing content or willing to add new content could simply not do so? I mean this sounds very problematic to me, because even in the most simple forums one can add topics and write long after the original creator has left the topic. May I ask what the benefit of this would be? At first glance I can only see disadvantages. It might also lead to people getting frustrated and leave Narrative if their favourite niche is no longer accessible. This seems to be really dangerous to me, as Narrative is in his early stages and I guess nobody wants to lose members due to such a strange reason, correct? Isn't it possible to have the niches open and the company collects the niche owner's revenues or a part of it or the share for the moderators is increased so that someone is willing to step in and moderates (also) this abandoned niche? I mean, I would not limit the topics and the content just because there is no current owner as this would make the platform less attractive for everyone willing to share and participate.

You are not alone @New Social Media many of us are concerned about what will happen to Narrative's reputation in the early stages if you can only post to purchased niches.

Another thought I had, in support of ownerless niches, is google algorithms. If Narrative wants to establish itself as an important website/platform in the eyes of google, limiting topic choices for content is not a good way of achieving it. Allowing the broadest range of topics ensures more posts, for google to find. 

 

Emily Barnett posted:

You are not alone @New Social Media many of us are concerned about what will happen to Narrative's reputation in the early stages if you can only post to purchased niches.

Another thought I had, in support of ownerless niches, is google algorithms. If Narrative wants to establish itself as an important website/platform in the eyes of google, limiting topic choices for content is not a good way of achieving it. Allowing the broadest range of topics ensures more posts, for google to find. 

 

I hadn't thought about that - seems like a very important consideration.

To be honest, each and every one of the arguments in favor of allowing posts to unowned niches would be more important than the economic model, even if considered in isolation.  So cumulatively, the case is overwhelming.

Narrative should be a free market, not an artificial stage where people have to conform to content streams defined by someone's punt they will be worth $75 per year or more.  Aiming for pure profitability in the first year to the detriment of people's expectations will hinder profitability in a serious way.

The fear that content posted to unowned niches will harm the economic model is not justified.  Yes, currently owned niches will receive a little less content overall, but currently unowned niches will be subsequently purchased at a higher rate, and my guess is that the latter will compensate for the former.  If we also make some concessions in the earlier months on minimum niche cost, we'll see niche ownership grow proportionally, and we can always raise minimum costs intelligently, based on what the future economy shows to be sustainable.

We also have NRVE minting to subsidize rewards in the first few years.  So truly, I think we're failing hard, worrying about the economic model instead of making sure our new users don't spit the dummy and run for the hills.

I understand the @Narrative Network Team may not have time before the scheduled launch to implement something more appropriate, but I also personally think this is more than worth delaying the Beta over.  We only get one chance at a first impression.

This is an interesting discussion. There are pros and cons to all the options mentioned. I do like the idea of a fire sale before niches are retired. Different niches are going to have different values. The problem with a flat $75 fee is that some niches, out of the gate, could be worth much more than that while others will be worth much less. Why not let the market decide?

Also, with regard to niches that expire with moderators in place. Why not offer the moderators an option to purchase the niche using their rewards? They'll remain moderators until the niche is paid for with their rewards, then ownership of the niche can be transferred to them. They can then look for a moderator replacement or continue to moderate themselves.

Here's another option: Why not provide opportunities for multiple owners? If two or three Narrators were interested in a niche but didn't want to shell out the $75, perhaps they could each take partial ownership for an equal share. Then they split the rewards accordingly.

I realize that option is going to require additional development expertise and won't be possible at launch. But it could be worth considering.

Of the three options mentioned by @Ted, I think I like #2 best and #3 least. I would be okay with owner rewards going to the company for a period as a new owner is sought. I think it should be more than 30 days. At least, initially. How many new beta members are going to be interested in owning a niche? We won't know until they get here, but I suspect most are going to be "wait and see" on investing their money until they see if they can earn from their content. That means we have a conundrum: If they can't post to inactive niches, their channels will be limited; on the other hand, if there are a ton of active niches and few content creators, then it could be discouraging for niche owners with optimistic expectations.

These realities need to be balanced. I like @Malkazoid's suggestion to keep the niche ownership fee lower at first. Decrease the barriers to entry for niche investment and raise the bar on content quality. 

Good points @Garden Gnome Publications.

Another aspect that concerns me is the Team seems to feel like the main topics are covered by owned niches.  Because the community's experience has not borne that out.  Enough of us are finding ourselves wanting to draft content that there is no niche for on multiple occasions, that I wonder if there is anyone in house, at Narrative, testing content drafting from a content creator's perspective, complete with trying to post ten articles on various subjects determined by the person's real interests.

Ideally you'd have several people doing that, which is precisely what is happening on the Alpha.  But us Alpha folks are reporting we want to tag our drafts to unowned niches... so for the conclusion to be that the owned topics are sufficient, I'm wondering if there are other on site testers who disagree with us?

For me, it is roughly a quarter of the articles I want to write, that don't have an appropriate niche.  That's a huge loss of content for the network, but of course the problem isn't just the loss of content: it is mainly the loss of users we will sustain because merely encountering the problem will cause people to think there is something fundamentally wrong with the project.

It isn't the type of usability problem where people will only be inconvenienced, but remain with their good will and feelings towards the project intact.  Suddenly realising Narrative wants $75 before you can tag to many of the less mainstream niches will make them see us in a terrible light.  I don't think the Team fully appreciates this yet because the only people complaining about it right now are committed members of the community who know better than to judge this problem on appearances alone.  Newcomers will be much quicker to judge - many of them, you won't even hear from.  They'll just leave without a word, and instead of spending energy on feedback and questions to us, they'll spend it on withering feedback about Narrative to their friends and colleagues.  

But I'm not saying anything that hasn't been said before on that count.  Just trying to keep in mind that the issues with locked niches are multi-faceted.

 

Robert Nicholson posted:

Is there a way to see a list of the currently active (owned) niches?

Not that I'm aware of.  That would be helpful.

But right now, the best test you can do is to draw up a list of ten articles you would like to write in the future, based solely on your own areas of knowledge and interest.

Then go to the content drafting page, enter some gibberish then click through to the niche tagging page.  On that page, try to tag with the most appropriate tag you can think of, and see if any niches allow you to do that.  If the closest niche significantly mismatches with the ideal tag, or if it is significantly broader, then but a cross next to that article in your list, and move on to the next one.  You can remain on the same tagging page for your gibberish post, this time trying to find the right niche in the tagging field for the next article.

Malkazoid posted:

Good points @Garden Gnome Publications.

Another aspect that concerns me is the Team seems to feel like the main topics are covered by owned niches.  Because the community's experience has not borne that out.  Enough of us are finding ourselves wanting to draft content that there is no niche for on multiple occasions, that I wonder if there us anyone in house, at Narrative, testing content drafting from a content creator's perspective, complete with trying to post ten articles on various subjects determined by the person's real interests.

Ideally you'd have several people doing that, which is precisely what is happening on the Alpha.  But us Alpha folks are reporting we want to tag our drafts to unowned niches... so for the conclusion to be that the owned topics are sufficient, I'm wondering if there are other on site testers who disagree with us?

For me, it is roughly a quarter of the articles I want to write, that don't have an appropriate niche.  That's a huge loss of content for the network, but of course the problem isn't just the loss of content: it is mainly the loss of users we will sustain because merely encountering the problem will cause people to think there is something fundamentally wrong with the project.

It isn't the type of usability problem where people will only be inconvenienced, but remain with their good will and feelings towards the project intact.  Suddenly realising Narrative wants $75 before you can tag to many of the less mainstream niches will make them see us in a terrible light.  I don't think the Team fully appreciates this yet because the only people complaining about it right now are committed members of the community who know better than to judge this problem on appearances alone.  Newcomers will be much quicker to judge - many of them, you won't even hear from.  They'll just leave without a word, and instead of spending energy on feedback and questions to us, they'll spend it on withering feedback about Narrative to their friends and colleagues.  

But I'm not saying anything that hasn't been said before on that count.  Just trying to keep in mind that the issues with locked niches are multi-faceted.

 

All good points. I've already have a few people tell me the reason they aren't interested in Narrative is because it looked to much to them like a "money grab." If you judge merely on the niche ownership aspect and the fact that we're asking $75 for a niche, one could easily draw that conclusion. Where some people see opportunity, others see obstacles. While you can't make everyone happy, you can build a platform that caters to multiple interests. You can't get locked in with blinders. I'm in agreement that this is a multifaceted issue with much more at stake than whether or not we have enough niches and niche owners.

Garden Gnome Publications posted:

All good points. I've already have a few people tell me the reason they aren't interested in Narrative is because it looked to much to them like a "money grab." If you judge merely on the niche ownership aspect and the fact that we're asking $75 for a niche, one could easily draw that conclusion. Where some people see opportunity, others see obstacles. While you can't make everyone happy, you can build a platform that caters to multiple interests. You can't get locked in with blinders. I'm in agreement that this is a multifaceted issue with much more at stake than whether or not we have enough niches and niche owners.

That is exactly how it felt to me at first.  

Ironically, the main reason why I dug deeper is probably because the platform did not exist yet.  If it had existed, I would have been in 'do' mode, rather than in 'research' mode.

With an actual platform there, I think most people will forge ahead wanting to learn about Narrative by directly trying to post something.  And when they hit the realisation they can't tag their post properly until someone has paid $75, I doubt many will stick around to see if they are missing something in what looks like a borderline scam.

The problem is people who aren't aware of niche ownership, and just want to post content, shouldn't have to understand niche ownership and how the Team thinks it fits into the content economy.  They shouldn't even need to be aware that niches have owners.  They should be able to go from sign up to drafting to tagging to publishing without ANY complications whatsoever.  Sorry, no niche for that tag - sorry, costs $75 to activate the right tag... that counts as a massive complication that feels scammy.

In this instance, you can make everyone happy.  Just let them tag to the unowned niches.  Niche ownership still remains the same excellent entrepreneurial offer, but people who aren't here for that don't even have to know it exists.

I've started a 'conversation' thread with a list of unowned niches that are going to be missed at launch, and cause people to be upset about needing to pay 75$ for them to become usable.

https://community.narrative.or...es-need-to-be-active

My list is far from exhaustive - just spent about ten minutes searching for things I knew would want content.  And I wasn't even thinking about the niches that are missing for me - I tried to be more global in my approach.

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