Idea: Creating and Maintaining Exclusive Communities Through Crowdsourcing

Sometimes you want to create a community exclusive for a certain group of people like video editors, film makers, web developers, product designers, actors, UI designers, lawyers, game developers investors, etc… A place where people who think alike can come together and support each other without getting spammed by recruiters, affiliate advertisers, and the dreaded “social media experts”. The problem is, once these communities get popular, they get bothered, harrassed, annoyed, and spammed by people who don’t belong there. So to prevent this from happening sites have come up with authentication methods. Things like confirming each and every person’s identity and credentials one by one, all done by staff. Or through invites that members can send to other people. This is just innefficient. So lets crowdsource authentication a bit more.

Here’s how it works:

  • When you start a niched site, select a group of 5 or 10 friends who understand and belong to that niche and make them members
  • Set up your site so that any visitor who wants to register must submit credentials to prove themselves (link to their portfolio, resume, artwork, etc…) and must be approved before they are allowed in the community.
  • The approval is done by the community’s already existing members.
  • When visitors apply for membership, their profile and credentials are listed on a page where members can look through this info and approve or deny membership to them.
  • The approval algorithm can be tweaked around but starting out you can mandate that a 60% approval rating is required by registered members in order to approve a person’s application for membership into the community.

Emotionally, I think members would find this very attractive. When a visitor is approved to be a member it means that a group of real people actually took the time to research and learn about him/her and have decided that they are worthy of membership. This “acceptance” gives members a much greater sense of belonging, which in turn would make them more likely to contribute to the community.

Advantages:
– You don’t have to hire people to constantly check up on credentials and approve memberships.
– This solution scales well.
– This solution fulfills it’s goal of keeping a niche community from being infiltrated by members who don’t belong there.

Disadvantages:
– Experimental, not tried and true.
– Community might make poor decisions.
– Members might ban together, form political or religious groups, and find ways to abuse the system.

I was thinking of trying this out on StartupForums.net, an upcoming site I had planned that won’t launch for another year. But if anyone out there can implement it earlier and try it out, go ahead.

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