Hello @Brian Lenz

Thanks for your vote on this appeal.

I just wanted to discuss it with you a little bit because your comment on your vote did not sound like you were taking into account the systemic ramifications for accepting niches as unique because they have 'trending' added to an otherwise pre-existing niche.

Your comment was:

I see where the appeal is coming from, but I don't see Photography and Photography Trends as identical (and thus redundant) niches. Some things in Photography are timeless, but Photography Trends covers the latest and greatest in photography. As such, I think it can stand on its own as a distinct niche. There is certainly some overlap, but I see it as distinct enough to stand on its own.

I of course see the distinction you are making.  There is such a thing as a trend in any domain, and it is distinct from timeless or classical approaches.

But the important thing here is whether that distinction is enforceable or not, and how much it is likely to be abused, and I'd like to see signs that those questions are being explored by the Tribunal.  My sense is being forward-looking in its decisions is within its purview.

Users who want their photos to be noticed (I think that's going to be a lot of them) will probably prioritize to publish to the Trending Photography, whether their photos are truly trending, or not.  It might just be photos of their cat, that they are particularly proud of, because they love their cat and think he's the Cat's Pyjamas.

When the moderator reviews the photo, he's going to have an incentive to perceive the photo as trending, even if there is nothing terribly special about it... because 6%.  Maybe the submitter captions the photo "My cat is a trend setter", and the moderator says "Good enough".

There is such a thing as 'trending' photography, separate from general photography.  Just as there is such a thing as 'best' photography, or 'wonderful photography', separate from ordinary photography, or average photography.  But these extremely subjective terms mean they will be abused widely, if we allow them to make niches unique.

Almost every single existing niche could then be doubled up with a 'Trending' version of itself.  And a 'Best" version of itself.  And a 'Wonderful' version of itself.  There is no way of establishing an objective benchmark for those qualifiers.

That is what is riding on this vote.  You will be setting a precedent, with future Tribunals looking back at your decision to inspire their decisions.  If you change your mind later once the problem has started manifesting itself on many niches, doing a 180 on this approach will cause dissatisfaction and a perception of unfairness.

Another thing to consider is likely double up with core Narrative functionality that might one day exist.  If you don't already have plans for it, I think it is likely you will eventually draw up designs for Narrative to offer up strongly trending content to users in one form or another.  The functionality you would design for this would be much more objective - contrary to the users and mods of a 'trending' niche, you would be basing these offerings on solid platform data.

Your vote may remain the same after these considerations, but your comment did not mention them in any way so I thought I would elaborate here.  If other members of the @Narrative Network Team want to chime in, they are of course welcome.  

If the systemic considerations are explored and the niche is still deemed acceptable, fantastic.  You guys know more about how things are going to work than we do in the community.  

Original Post

Hi @Malkazoid,

First and foremost, Merry Christmas! 

I totally understand where you're coming from. If the niche was "Trending Photographs" then I would agree it's problematic. As named, Photography Trends doesn't have the same connotation in my mind. I do realize that the description mentions "Trending photos" which I think is sub-optimally described, but not inherently flawed to warrant rejection.

I see very little risk of someone posting pictures of their cat to the Photography Trends niche. That just doesn't sound like a proper classification.

I really don't see "Best Photography" or "Wonderful Photography" on the same level. Photography Trends is a real thing; if we were talking about a niche called "Best Photography," I'd absolutely agree with you!

In my opinion, Photography Trends focuses on what's new and changing in photography and thus can stand alone as a niche.

I get your concern about precedent setting. I'm very comfortable (and even confident) that the proper precedent is being set here. Of course, I'm just one vote on the Tribunal, so we'll see how everyone else votes! It's always possible there is an argument I've not heard or thought of that could sway my vote, but I'm very comfortable with my vote as it stands right now.

I would also encourage you to not be too concerned with precedent. Sure, it matters, but the voice of the community may change over time. People will have different opinions. The Tribunal is not formally structured like the Supreme Court in the US where Tribunal members are obligated to follow prior precedent. They could change the precedent in the future if they feel they are properly reflecting the current viewpoints of the community. It's possible once the eventual elected Tribunal is in place, they may completely disagree with every decision we (the unelected, Narrative Company Tribunal) have made. That'll be up to them. That's really the beauty of the system, in my opinion. Nothing will ever be set permanently in stone (as I certainly wouldn't want my votes to be!).

Narrative will definitely offer Trending content in the future, but I have no concern about a Photography Trends niche being confused with trending posts.

I appreciate your enthusiasm and for continuing this conversation. I hope I've made my point of view a little clearer here!

Thank you, and I hope you enjoy the holidays 


I think the problem is one of succinctness, scarcity, and potency. If we allow endless variations of 'main topic' niches, then anyone could create 5 niches that were similar using the main topic niche and various qualifiers as prefixes,  suffixes, and subtopics (ie. Oakland Trends, Oakland Now, Oakland Tomorrow, Today's Oakland, Our Oakland).  Domain names are a reckless example of this. 

I understand having 'enough' or the 'more the merrier' niches create a higher revenue model and broadens the base, but it also dilutes it and spreads it thin. It increases the demand for more moderators and weakens the niches much like having too many options on a menu. The value for niche owners is scarcity and potency, and the value for content consumers is ease of access and a consolidated source rather than the chaos found in search results on Google. Frankly, I think there are already too many niches for my tastes. 

That's my two cents for what it's worth  

Happy New Year! 

Hi @Brian Lenz!  

Indeed, Merry Xmas - almost the end of Boxing Day now - to you and yours!

It has been a very relaxed one here!

Your post does help me understand how you reached your conclusion, thank you.

My concerns remain, and I think your post acknowledges where the rub is, without, I think, realizing the importance of it:

As named, Photography Trends doesn't have the same connotation in my mind. I do realize that the description mentions "Trending photos" which I think is sub-optimally described, but not inherently flawed to warrant rejection.

So there are two problems that compound each other.

Photography is already widely synonymous for photos in people's minds

Even without the description, many, and perhaps most people will think a Photography niche is a place to post photos.  Yes, they will also think it is a place to talk about photography, especially if that is the content they have to offer.  At best you are looking at only half of the meaning of the two words 'Photography trends'.  But there is no denying the ambiguity.  

The niche's description mentions photos first

and info second.  So the description is actually disambiguating the title for us and making very clear that the intent is for the niche to receive photos, primarily.

I disagree with you that the description is sub-optimal: it is actually quite good!  It is making clear what the intention is.  What is sub-optimal is that so far, the Tribunal is not heeding that intention, and is insisting on reading only the niche name, and interpreting it in a way that differs from the description.

It is difficult for me to understand how the Tribunal might still decide to view this as a niche primarily for discussing trends in photography, given that the description kills the ambiguity quite effectively.

Why this matters

I accept that precedent may not matter much to you because the beauty of the model will allow for everything to change when the Tribunal is handed over to the community.  But change of that sort will be inherently disruptive and confusing.  It is still best to make decisions that will stand the test of time, now.  Clarity and consistency could be our Achilles heel precisely because of the crowdsourced nature of Narrative...

But I accept that you believe you are making the right choice, so that's neither here nor there in a way.

My last ditch effort to suggest to you there may be another way of looking at this: try looking at it from the perspective of a niche buyer.

The niche buyer

The direct consequence of your approval of the niche with its current description is that people will be able to purchase it.  They will read the name. and the description, and will decide whether it is a niche they want to own or not based on that information alone.  As I've pointed out, there is a very good chance they will conclude the niche is a place to post photos, first and foremost.

Say someone thinks "great"!  Sounds like a fantastic niche to own ... and they buy it.

Do you think it is desirable to have to then fight this new owner and his contention that he bought a niche designed to receive 'trending' photos?  He'll have a rock solid argument, and you won't.  Because the niche was put before you during an appeal, and you chose to approve it as is.

Because you are selling niches, they are essentially a product.  I would take more seriously the description of those products, because niche buyers are taking them seriously and they have every right to.

It seems clear that because niches will be purchasable after being approved, the Tribunal has a duty to make sure only niches that will not be confusing and/or redundant - are approved.  Right now, the Tribunal seems to be approving niches based on their potential to be unique and clear, not their actual clarity or uniqueness. 

That's a problem.

If the description has some typos, but the intention is clear, not redundant with another niche, and compatible with the niche name - I agree, the Tribunal might not be the place to clean up typos: such niches could be approved and the typos corrected subsequently (although why not clean them up and be done with them)...

But if the description actually contradicts the acceptable interpretation Tribunal members are making of the niche name, the Tribunal is failing if it lets it through.  The buyer of the niche, who will run into problems operating it according to the description, will rightfully ask what the point of the Tribunal is, if it rubber stamps niches, allows them to be sold, and later chastises and curtails the operation of the niche in accordance with the description.  More than just the buyer: community members are having a problem with this right out of the gate.

I have no intention of buying the niche, but I do want people to be buying niches that are not redundant, whether in name or description - and niches that are clear.  This is a network quality issue, and that should be our number one focus with these decisions.  

People will post lots of photos to this niche - the description says that is the main purpose.  People will abuse the 'trending' label, not necessarily because they are dishonest, but because they might consider their photos are trend-setting, and deserve to trend.  Some will notice stripes are in fashion, so putting a stripy jumper on their cat must make for a 'trending' photo, right? 

Moderators will be motivated to agree, because 6%. 

Put 10 people in a room and ask them which of 10 photos are trending, and you'll get 10 different answers.  Kind of like if you were to ask them which are the most beautiful photos.  There is no objective way of judging if something is trending or not, if you are not using a predefined set of actual popularity data to do so.

This is a recipe for problems ahead. 

One last note of caution - since the Tribunal is now entirely made of company employees, there may be some legal jeopardy involved as well.  You are approving of the description of a product.  If that product is later deemed by the network to not be usable as described, the niche owner may have legal options which may vary from country to country.  This might be something for the @Narrative Network Team to run by legal counsel.  

That said, I would hope that it is not legal concern that tips this vote, but a realization that it is how the niches get used that matters most, not just your interpretation of the niche name.

I don't think we need to argue about it further because we've both done good jobs of communicating our positions.

I hope you have a fantastic New Year celebration, and I look forward to all of our ongoing efforts to build Narrative!


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