Devtome and Advertising: What are we Doing?

Devtome has the potential to be a fantastic means of rewarding the creation and uploading of open source content writing onto the internet in a way that benefits both the writers and the world in general. Of course, as with any part of the internet there are many niche articles on Devtome that will appeal to a very small segment of the population and there is nothing wrong with this. Indeed, by factoring pageviews into share payouts we will likely encourage the development of broad interest concept articles. There does, however, seem to be an increasing number of articlea that have the potential to only benefit the person uploading them. I am talking, of course, about articles that are little more than advertisements for one thing or another. These pseudo-articles are simply self serving means to an end, either for the person uploading them or for someone that has paid that uploader to promote their content. Rewarding the authors of these articles with Devcoin shares undermines the essential open source unrestricted nature of the coin and will inevitably drive people away from Devcoin. I believe the admins needs to restrict or eliminate content that has the primary purpose of selling a product or service in order to maintain the integrity of Devtome and the longevity of Devcoin in general.

Controversial Opinions on Devtome

It is no secret that people do not always agree with one another. Indeed, the ability to openly disagree with someone's opinions in a non-destructive manner is a cornerstone of a successful society. In this regard, Devtome's potential to give anyone a soapbox to stand on has the potential to be very successful for better or worse. For example, I myself am very strongly in favor of mandatory vaccinations, which I view as an essential means of advancing our society towards one free of many preventable diseases. I will readily argue with anyone who claims that there is a benefit to a vaccination free life, and on Devtome I can readily publish such opinion pieces on the internet. What's more, within Devtome I can find articles from people that are on the opposite side of the fence and believe that vaccination is a detriment to society. At the least, this ability to see what other side of this argument has to offer. Because we are both able to post articles on this same wiki based platform, I am able to fight for my opinions just as well as is my opposition. I may not enjoy seeing these opinions online, but at least this is a fair platform on which people may post them.

To be clear, I do not think that there should be any restriction of opinion based works on Devtome. Indeed, the ability to post anything within reason that isn't libelous or overtly offensive gives this wiki a great degree of power. If content were to be homogenized and filtered into a balanced and un-opinionated form, Devtome would simply be a less interesting and less trafficked clone wiki combining aspects of Wikipedia and Yelp. It is essential that we maintain the ability to post any opinion on Devtome. It would be nice if we had collective categories that compile arguments for multiple sides of an issue, as such a category would allow for more robust debate and could better serve to encourage the development of ideas on this essential open source web soapbox.

Advertising and Reviewing - a Fine Line

Many people use Devtome to upload reviews of books, movies, or products that they come by on the market. This seems to be an increasing trend of late and indeed I myself have been known to upload reviews of various books from time to time. There is nothing wrong with writing reviews, provided they are unbiased and are solely based on one's own feelings about the content they are reviewing. It has been estimated that about one in every three (1/3) of online reviews are fakes. These false reviews may be uploaded by the company that is being reviewed directly, but more often companies and small businesses will pay online conglomerates to boost their reviews and their page views in exchange for a small amount of money. Buying reviews online is inherently dishonest and may force people into buying a product that they might not have otherwise bought simply because of its inflated review scores. This may allow companies to earn a few extra dollars in the short term, but inevitably if their product quality is still so low that only false reviews bolster their sales then they will never earn any customer loyalty. Online review sites that curate reviews full time make an effort to exclude false reviews, however it is a nontrivial process as the line between a glowing positive review and false positive review is not always clear.

I would like to think that Devtome is not falling prey to false online reviews, at least not at this point in its development. I have read a few reviews that seems to lack any real content or critical insights into the function of the products being reviewed. I won't point fingers and particular articles as this is and always has been a community based wiki and it is up to the community to dictate what content should appear herein. If you are going to write a review of a product, however, it does not benefit anyone if you simply list the features that that product has and then talk about how there are also other great features. A good review ought to include some actual content about your experience using the product. If it doesn't, then you are effectively simply listing all the benefits of a product without discussing your own thoughts on to what extent those benefits hold up under a microscope. Whether these sub par reviews are the result of unscrupulous tactics is doubtful. Indeed, since Devtome shares are paid largely based on word count, it is likely that these reviews are instead just being padded with needless content in order to boost the shares received by their posters. This is not inherently wrong, and article ratings will help to counteract this problem. Even so, it is difficult to say whether or not these articles are benefitting anyone in a constructive manner.

A bigger problem that I have only frequently observed in the last few days in contributors that are using Devtome as a means to advertise some product or service that they offer. It is true that we want Devcoin to gain increased use by making store fronts that accept Devcoin, and it is important to create a compiled list of vendors accepting Devcoin for this reason. Creating Devtome articles that simply advertise such companies, however, is a very ineffective means of achieving this goal. The bounty payment system coupled with other devcoin resources should instead serve as the main means of identifying Devcoin vendors. Otherwise, this may encourage a rash of Devtome postings with no original content that do little other than promote a given website, no matter how beneficial said site may be. Even less beneficial to the community are Devtome articles that literally just advertise companies, especially search engine optimization (SEO) companies. There have been several of these articles in the past week or two and they promise the ability to boost online revenue in exchange for a fee that will result in advertising revenue or increased devtome page views and hence share payouts. I do not feel that the open source nature of Devtome should extend to the ability to reward companies for advertising on the site, and such activities need to be curtailed.


Devtome is still in its infancy, and as such it is no surprise that the content it produces is wildly varied in terms of the topics covered and the quality thereof. Most of this content fits well with the core values of the Devcoin community - rewarding open source activities regardless of the opinions they represent. This allows independent people to develop content that they might not otherwise be able to afford to develop, and if this system is maintained long term while attracting the right online content contributors then it may result in a compilation of high quality content that many people will frequently access. For now, however, Devtome is still being exploited by people that are using it as a platform to advertise their products. It is one thing to endorse a particular viewpoint on this site - such endorsements should be rewarded as they contribute to open online discourse. Endorsing a product or service, however, allows contributors to be paid twice - once for the advertising they are doing and again for the sales of any products that Devtome viewers might purchase. These kinds of posts do not support the central tenants of the Devcoin community, and some additional oversight is needed to ensure that this wiki does not become overgrown with posts that do nothing beyond promote their own self worth. Such regulation will ensure the long term appeal of the Devcoin initiative and will prevent it from being bogged down by corporate ties.


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