Lately I’ve read quite a lot about censorship. In one sense I believe every platform should be free to choose what it should allow but in another I’m very unsettled by this growing culture of cancellation where people will see perfectly legal material which appears to be within the TOS of a platform being removed due out outrage culture and pressure on the site and advertisers. This doesn’t sit terribly well with me. It’s not about platforms for extreme voices, we’re seeing platforms removing even moderate voices simply because they don’t toe the line according to practitioners of cancel culture. Surely there must be a solution? So, in my own small way, I think it’s time I sort of provided one.
I’m working on a site which is both publisher AND platform. Not a video sharing site, there’s a scrabble going on to provide those spaces that I don’t want to be a part of. Massive investment and barriers to entry with the discovery of a viable business model being as rare as hen’s teeth. I’m more interested in something else. The overall project I’m looking to build will be content agnostic. We will write and publish articles on a variety of topics from social commentary through to reviews and interviews. Predominately these will be well outside of the mainstream. We will also be producing podcasts and shows (including the TriggerWarning show(s). I’m a LONG way from bored with those) and loosely placing them under the umbrella of the new site.
We have an online radio station in place and we’ll be looking to expand on that with self produced shows along with a podcast network. But that’s just a website producing, giving others a voice is massively important. And this is what users of the platform will be able to do.
At site launch the following will be available to all members.
- Submit an article. All members will be able to use the platform as they would any blogging platform. Create a post, add images if you require, and post. Simple. These posts will be linked on the front page and user posts page in date order. There will be no editorial control of which posts appear. If they’re within the rules of the site they go up. End of story. The posts will also be linked on the POSTS tab of your user profile, you can share this link to people you wish to share your blog with. Which brings us to…
- User Profiles / Social. The platform will work like most social media platforms. You will be able to create a profile which you can customise to a degree and from there have an activity wall, post on other people’s walls, send and receive private messages, and create and join groups both public and private. Again, no algorithms or bubbles. This is for grown ups.
- Forums. The site will contain an “old school” forum. Whilst I realise these aren’t as popular as they were I think there are few finer ways of enjoying longer form discussion online. They lack the immediacy of short social posts but by the same token they invite less adversarial approaches overall.
- Radio. Our online radio station is open to people wishing to create their own show / podcast to be broadcast on there. This isn’t something we can automate but if you’re interested simply get in touch. The station will run 24/7.
- Blog hosting. Working much like wordpress.com you will be able to spawn your own entity under the platform umbrella. Domain mapping may also be an option completely branding your site. We’re still working on what we can make available with this but the possibilities are looking good.
- Video content. While we don’t have any roadmap towards open video hosting contributors who regularly vlog and want another platform (or simply don’t want to use established platforms) could send us video for inclusion on the site. This is something to be carefully considered as I wasn’t kidding when I said I didn’t want to look into another video hosting platform. We will all talk about this as we get there I’m sure.
Those are the basics. Of equal importance will be the terms of service and a constitution of sorts. A way to ensure we all know what we can do on the site and what “rights” we will have. As far as business ideas go, this isn’t a winner. But I do think it’s something that could add genuine value to many people and be incredibly interesting. Of course there’s how we fund it but even then if we are frugal and careful we should be able to manage with our own funding, support from users, and perhaps occasional advertising if we reach numbers which make it viable. Of course we would have to make sure we were in a position to survive advertising being pulled.
So, those are my thoughts. I’ve already coded / put together much of this functionality. It simply needs rolling out and some more resources. If this sounds interesting to you please let me know. As I said I’m not looking to build this as a business but as a resource for us all so knowing people were on board or even just vaguely like the idea would be very helpful. Any input would also be greatly appreciated.