Why Open and Closed Systems Can Co-Exist

Ever since the inception of 9rules there has been a debate as to whether or not we should allow every site into our Community. The perception was that if we did that we would grow and quickly dominate the web, in fact we would be the web. I am sure you understand why we didn’t take this approach, but that still left the question open as to why should only three people be allowed to decide who gets in and who doesn’t? The Member system for 9rules is open in the sense that Members can write on any topic that they want, but closed because we choose which sites get in. The web examples of open/closed systems in this case would be blog networks where you have to write on the topic that your blog is about (closed) and blog directories where any site can get in (open).

When we opened up 9rules Notes on the site there was some concern that 9rules would be overrun with useless chatter and inane discussions. While anyone can start a topic or reply to a discussion we monitor them and if things get out of hand we moderate. It is an open system with boundaries and if you think this doesn’t make sense just think how open source software works.

Anyone can look at the code, modify it and submit their changes, but someone eventually has to decide which code gets implemented and what gets left out. An open system with closed boundaries if you will. As much as geeks love the concept of Linux and its openness, this open system hasn’t led to world domination on the desktop (or other areas) because there is no closed aspect about it that dictates one great GUI will be used. And you know what? There is absolutely nothing wrong with that because the system works for its purpose.

Last week I talked about how in a large community you can have great or large, but never both and the examples I used were Digg and Slashdot. I then wondered if it would be possible to combine the two concepts of open (Digg) and closed (Slashdot) systems and I think that is what we have done with 9rules Clips.

Now the people of Slashdot don’t want to remove the editors because they enjoy the quality selection process that occurs with the stories (Sidenote: Make sure to read this great interview with CmdrTaco over at Wired). Digg people don’t want editors because they feel that the system can take care of itself and the good stuff rises to the top. Both systems have created excellent sites, but we think it is possible for them to co-exist. What if you had a system that allowed anyone to submit content and vote on it and if enough people voted on it, it would be deemed popular like Digg. On top of that you have “editors” picking the best of the best or maybe even finding hidden gems that got lost and having their own section to showcase the content? If you want to get wild and see what the mob mind has deemed as the best of the best you can and if you wanted a tighter selection of what some editors deemed as the cream of the crop you can as well.

What if the editors looked at the popular submissions and found some extra links that supplement them and add them in? Then you have an ever greater resource available to you and these are the possibilities that Clips provide. To some people their perception of 9rules is a walled garden when that isn’t the case at all. We are a garden with walls that anyone can enjoy, you just can’t expect to plant your own seeds wherever you like. Since day one we have tried to integrate the best of open and closed systems and will continue to do so as we grow.

For a more detailed look into our vision of Clips checkout Ali2 Essentials: 9rules Clips.