How to fix Community Points

I think we can all agree that the current implementation of Reddit’s Community Points is garbage. But this is no reason to give up on CP, as the overall vision is promising and can lead to better engagement, content discovery, and quality of content. With Arbitrum, they now have the scalability required to achieve this.

From Reddit’s perspective, the simple fix is open the toolbox for each subreddit. Let the admins and moderators design their own CP systems. In the true spirit of Ethereum and free markets, let each subreddit compete to find the best solution for their given audience. Each subreddit becomes a DAO with its own set of rules and systems. Here’s how this architecture can work:

1) Keep the Reddit structure as it is, there’s no need to change.

2) Integrate the Coins and awards system with CP. You can keep a universal CP — Coins — which works across all subreddits.

3) Let each subreddit build on this with their own gamification and economic customisations. This can be implemented gradually, starting off with simple controls, while eventually letting each subreddit to deploy their own smart contracts to the Arbitrum Reddit chain. There will of course be a default standard, like ERC20 on Ethereum. Some greater UX customizability and frontend development kits will be required over time to fulfill the potential of this.

The biggest issue with CP currently is token distribution. Saying “let the subreddits figure it out” is quite the cop out, so let’s brainstorm how tokens can be better distributed. For the best solutions, we need a new role with its own profile and UX — curators. Here are some potential solutions:

1) Simply don’t distribute tokens through inflation. There can be retroactive airdrop to bootstrap the token according to previous contributions in the subreddit (by karma?). After that, let members reward others from their own wallets. We already have this with Coins and awards, and it works. A minority of people are happy to reward others, while at the same time funding Reddit and in future the subreddit’s DAO. This can be further gamified, with subreddits incentivized to create the best communities which people find valuable and actually want to spend their own money rewarding others. No one’s going to do this unless they find the content to be genuinely valuable. Curation incentives can be built, which could be a prediction game on how well received and popular the content they vote for are.

2) Anarchy with moderation: Anarchy is pretty much how it is now. I think it can be improved significantly by having incentivized moderation committees that aggressively weed out bad actors.

3) Stake-weighted voting: The more your token holding is, the more rewards you allocate per vote. This could work if token holders aligned with the subreddit, but Steem/Hive have proven this not to be the case, so this the subreddit devolves into a plutocratic dystopia. Still better than r/cc, though, thanks to curation incentives.

4) Democratically elected curators: Users can delegate their vote on a select number of curators who have displayed a talent for curation and moderation. This has some sybil attack vectors, but much less than the anarchy option with minimal sybil resistance. Like with anarchy, this can be mitigated by moderators evicting malicious curators. Needless to say, curators don’t have to be individuals, and can be curation DAOs. (As a side note, I spent much of my crypto time in 2016 with the Curie curation DAO on Steem.)

5) Committee elected curators: Similar to above, just let the admins and moderators, or a committee, elect who they perceive to be the best curators and moderators, and let their votes matter accordingly. If the committee chooses poorly, a competitive subreddit can do better. An opposite of this is the moderators maintain a blacklist whose votes don’t count, while everyone else’s votes count democratically.

6) Democratic voting using reputation systems: I think this would be the ideal solution, but needs a lot more work. The underlying concept is using sophisticated reputation and attestation systems (like Proof of Humanity). This way, we can eliminate sybil attacks, and reward the best contributors accordingly. Good contributors and curators develop reputations over time, and get a greater “voting power”. This builds strong incentives for long-term quality of creation and curation. Interestingly, over time, this can lead to better content discovery than your usual algorithms. Or, perhaps algorithms become better curators than humans. Either way, better curation leads to better content discovery and engagement.

In reality, there can be many possibilities for systems which take aspects from all or some of the above, and with further innovative ideas that have not yet been explored.

What do you think? How can Reddit improve CP?

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