An Open Future.
Users hold the key.
There is a fine line between an ‘open culture’ and a ‘permission culture’. Some say Apple is a ‘permission culture’, due to its’ limitation on choices for its’ users. Apple controls both the content their users see and how they interact with the content. Those same people refer to Android as an ‘open culture’, because of the freedom users have over the platform, the content and the choices you make when engaging with their content. But there are platforms that seems to enjoy both freedom and control – namely Reddit.
Reddit has around 4.4 billion page views per month and 62.3 million unique visitors per month, however, unlike many other sites, Reddit is one of the few platforms that have tried to keep content control in the hands of the users. Reddit is known for its open nature and diverse user community that generate its content, allowing you to interact with the contents on your own terms!
If you’re a fellow ‘Redditor’ then you’ll understand what I say by ‘subreddits’, which are pages created by users so that people can post and share their interesting media source ( a photo, video, meme etc). The founders’ do NOT determined these pages, allowing for creativity and freedom to rein. The creators of these pages are referred to as the ‘moderators’, whom control, monitor and make general rules for the page; providing interactivity within the platform. The founders of Reddit deeply respect the role moderators and rarely use their control to override the creators unless it is absolutely necessary. This is to say that the control is completely up to the users, however if a breach of copyright is reported (e.g.; if you upload something that doesn’t belong to you and take credit for the work) then it is most likely your post will be taken down by the founders, if not by the moderator.
Without the input of the founders, Reddit relies on their innovative socially ranked rating and sorting system that is known as ‘up voting’ and ‘down voting’. While users have the power to create their own subreddits, they also have to power to vote on the posts within these pages (a typical thumbs up, thumbs down system), which is used to rank the post and determine its position on the site’s front page. This allows for content and quality control, within the terms of the users, assuring that posts and pages remain interesting and relevant to the page.
With the growth of platforms like Reddit, we can only hope that the founders see the significance and importance of users in their platform. While I agree that some situations need to be taken care of by the founders, leaving majority of the control in the users hands allows the flow of new, interesting content and freedom for new opportunities to arise for us ‘prosumers’.