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Today, users cannot sign up for lobsters. They must seek out a current member and get an invite. However, this only seems to happen in occasional threads off the site (such as HN). I propose a limited signup system. We allows a certain number of new sign ups each day, capped to make sure we don’t grow too quickly.

Thoughts?

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    Who are all these wonderful people that are going to sign up and contribute but haven’t yet only because they don’t know any existing members? And if you know about them, why haven’t you invited them?

    I don’t think there’s a big mob of people waiting at the door trying to get into this site. If they wanted to be here, they’d be here or they’d easily be able to get an invitation. I have a twitter search for “lobste.rs” subscribed to in my RSS reader and any time anyone mentions the site, I go out of my way to find their e-mail address and invite them.

    I believe that the current model of invite-only is what is keeping the site on-topic and civil so far. If it’s changed to an open signup policy, it’s going to bring off-topic stories, spam, voting rings, and snarky anonymous comments. Hacker News already has that covered.

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      HN has it’s problems but it also has discussion threads of some substance. If not the occaisional open enrollment then something else needs to be done to move Lobste.rs from being a news feed with the rare comment.

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        I still don’t get who all these people are that are going to flock to the site and spark discussion. There’s 842 accounts on this site, and it only gets the “rare comment”. Adding dozens of lurkers who didn’t care enough to ask for an invitation previously is not going to trigger meaningful discussion. Neither will allowing spambots to come in, or people who don’t really care about this site but just want to submit their blogspam and never come back.

        This site gets daily activity and continues to grow, but it’s slow enough that you don’t need to monitor it every hour to see what’s new. If it only acts as a news source and not a heated-discussion forum, that’s fine by me.

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        This sums up why I thought long and hard about suggesting a game-related tag. It’s easy for it to slide out of control from the First Person Scholars and Bit Creatures of the world to the Kotakus and IGNs. There’s nothing wrong with pop culture sites, but there’s only a handful of them, and you can already aggregate them in a million ways.

        I think the public invite chain helps avoid a race to the lowest common denominator. Let’s say one person I invited, the EiC of a game criticism blog I work with, invited someone who filled the front page with articles from Gawker.

        Someone could, knowing we were responsible, send a polite private message to one of us asking that we teach the problem person to filter out only the best articles. The chain of accountability could break down as it grows, but it has a good chance of working out in the long term. It also seems to eliminate the need for passive-aggressive measures like domain blocks and invisible bans. Even Buzzfeed has a great article from time to time.