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what's to like about Commonfare?

Remind me why Commonfare doesn't have likes or shares, or a count of article reads, or any kind of reputation or trust, or notifications, or really any of the other public participation and feedback options that are the foundations of contemporary social media? Currently there are almost 900 Commoners who can write stories, or comment. Very few do either. 

Say I write a story, and post it to Commonfare. Maybe it gets read, maybe not, I have no way of knowing. If i‘m very lucky I’ll get a comment or two, which i try to answer, but so far no real conversation grows from that. After the first few days, no new comments. Without any other action, after a week or so the story fades, never to be heard of again. 

How many people read my story? I don't actually know. Did anyone like my story, but maybe didn't want to log in and comment? Maybe someone liked my story but didn't have really anything to reply? No idea, because there is no like button, no read count. Why should I or any other commoner continue contributing when there is so little sign of interest or feedback? Just because I want to share?

Maybe some people think a like button is too superficial, and that Commoners should be more engaged and write comments. But not everyone (and currently not many commoners) write comments. Of course, maybe commoners are enthusiastically sharing private messages and discussing the stories...

I had hoped the ‚social graph‘ could illuminate somehow, but that thing has no instructions, and no clue about my story activity there. the social graph calculated by comments? And why isn't the social graph interactive already? Why is it buried in a tiny link at the bottom of the page? What does it actually tell us? It's clearly not very important, or we'd see it front and center, no?

Commonfare wants to be a community, and without a fixed place to meet up and exchange, it exists online. Its form, function and intentions are all about social and sharing, but it's not really speaking the language of participation as netizens know it. There are a whole range of social engagement tools that people use every day, these could add to the Commonfare experience, and get people involved. 

Baby steps, I say. Some simper, easier forms of interacting with stories and other commoners could encourage more people to act in the community. Liking is easier than commenting, why not offer that chance to people? Not everyone's participation urges are fulfilled by commenting. Not everyone has time for that.

Funny thing is, the site statistics tell us that most traffic to new stories on commonfare comes from...posting Commonfare stories to facebook. So why don’t we have a social media share button, to make it easy for people to share to facebook, twitter, or whatever-platform?

Ah, I think it's because facebook tracks those little share links, and some folks are wary of that. If you want to share a story to facebook, copy and paste the link. Commonfare won't make it easy for you, but we'll protect your online security and dont have transparency issues in tracking you like big bad facebook...or do we?

Arriving at Commonfare there’s that [we use cookies...and if you wanna be on Commonfare you have to agree to cookies] button. Yet there is no explanation what data is collected, why or how or who has access to the commonfare cookies is Commonfare really any different in regards to allaying people's fears about tracking?

What do you think?
Should Commonfare have likes and shares, as well as comments? Would people engage more if we offered some easier options?

I'd love for you to comment, and share your thoughts. But at this point I'm guessing its a long shot. So...

If you like this story, perhaps just type ‘like‘ in the comments :)
If you think it‘s a stupid idea, how about typing ‚don‘t like‘ :(

You don't even need to think about what to comment, just like a like button!!

It could be so easy. is for, with, and by people.

Do you want to join? You will need only an email address, and we will never use it for other purposes.


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June 10, 2019 at 18:04

Hi Agonist'72, as usual, you raise some foundational issues which we had to deal with in the design of the platform. Commonfare was "required" to be private by the results of the participatory design, specifically the studies coming from the Nederlands, and we were well aware that we were stretching the engagement button while implementing it. On the other hand, the plarform you describe already exists and is called Facebook, and it stands on the opposite of the continuum we have been trying to explore. So what to do? I see you are enquiring the community and let us see what we think

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June 11, 2019 at 14:20

hi CommonADA! yes, i'm curious what we think. I'm not totally convinced about a like button, but i'd like to see some other forms of easy engagement and story feedback, like a commoner vote on different metrics for 'best story of the month', or displaying the web statistics (number of views and time spent on the page) for every story openly, so we can see how our writing is performing, and learn how to improve it communicate better.

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June 11, 2019 at 14:26

i wonder also if there could be sense in scaffolding services and shaping the user experience strategically. perhaps you sign up, you can write stories. after your first story (maybe an introduction) you start to get the basic income and access to the goods and services market CommonPlace. after posting three stories you can make a group, when your group has some activity, it's ready to take on a group currency. a system like this could encourage people to participate and learn the tools as they progress, with their engagement gradually unlocking the full potentials of the commonfare. curious for everyone's thoughts on that

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June 11, 2019 at 16:33

Personally, I do not like the idea of "best story of the month" or voting/grading stories in any form, to be honest. Some platform metrics are publicly available however (, and the Commonshare (brief description here: is an experiment - still running - for a different trust mechanism. I would like to see how it goes before resuming to classic reputation and trust mechanisms.

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June 12, 2019 at 12:22

Hi Quia, thanks for your reply! I have to say the Commonshare fully confuses me. If I look at your Commonshare score, you have a 6, resulting from three story comments. I also have a 6, for one listing comment and one conversation. does this mean that Commonshare prioritises listing activity and private conversations over public comments? I've written a couple of stories in the last two weeks, these don't calculate in my Commonshare yet, so it's likely that your score doesn't accurately represent your contributions up-to-date either. From snooping your profile, score history and the graph, i can see that you have never written a story, which kinda flags you for low participation. but you comment a lot, and i have very much appreciated some of your comments. i'd like your score to reflect the quality, not the quantity of your feedbacks. I can also see on your profile that you've joined many Commonfare Groups, but i guess it would be better to know, if you are in fact active in those groups. The value of participation seems to be calculated by the frequency of actions taken on Commonfare, with opaque algorithmic value judgements happening behind the scenes, and this displayed for the period two weeks ago is, as i said, confusing. Why not let commoners decide, what we value and how? Also stalking through your profile looking for clues about your participation is a bit weird =) i just needed an example

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June 13, 2019 at 10:45

I am not sure I want to shape the user experience strategically. To know more more about common share you can see here

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June 13, 2019 at 13:20

hi commonADA, unfortunately the tutorial doesn't tell anything how the commonshare is actually calculated, it only says 'based on how your actions strengthen the community as a whole". who has decided the weighting of different forms of participation, and how does the commonshare algorithm arrive at this number? it appears that the calculation is based on frequency of actions, but some actions are valued more than others? without some transparency, for me this metric does not inspire trust.