We’re running out of money at Agreelist (see our expenses on OpenCollective) and we need to decide what to do. Please if you like/care about Agreelist, I’d love to hear what you think. If you don’t know Agreelist, please have a look at the list of who does and who does not agree that AI might cause mass unemployment or who thinks that a basic income or a carbon tax is a good idea (and why).
All options are on the table:
– Close it. We have been told that it’s a useful resource for society but we don’t have enough users so it’s not clear whether it is worth to keep spending effort building something that, maybe, nobody wants. It doesn’t help the fact that it doesn’t solve a clear problem.
– Keep it running as it is, paying for the hosting, but no further improvements.
– Keep it live and do something meaningful (still as a non-profit). See below some of the things we could do.
– Turn it to a for-profit venture. We created it as a non-profit because we thought that more people would be willing to collaborate, add opinions, help with our open-source codebase or donating money. But it hasn’t been the case. Therefore, as a for-profit – but with a strong social propose – we could access to some resources to make it grow.
Some of the improvements we could do:
– A widget so blogs and news sites can embed a topic’s content into their articles. They would do this in order to keep their visitors engaged more time on their websites. This technique was used by Polar – acquired by Google. They contacted blogs and newspapers when they just posted an article to embed a poll related to their content.
– We could also integrate it with Zapier and other tools so anyone could, for example, create bots on Twitter for their favourite topics or people.
– Half-automate the addition of new opinions. We could automatically find all new articles who have the words “Barack Obama” and any of the key words we’re interested (e.g. Carbon Tax). Then, users could see “opinions to classify” where they’d see the text and a question: “Does this text indicates that Barack Obama agrees on a Carbon Tax? Yes, it does / No, it doesn’t”.
– We could allow more than one opinion per person in a given topic. This way we could organize all relevant opinions from relevant people on key topics.
– Something else we could do is to turn it into a place to organize quotes and invite users to add any quote they find interesting.
– Finally, another option would be to infer what people and users think on topics they haven’t stated their opinion yet – based on their current opinions, the people they follow, etc. Then, we could send a weekly email with the new topics you’d possibly agree or disagree and let you change your statement if it was wrong. We could then potentially know what the world, a city, university or company thinks about any issue.
What do you think? Why do you care about Agreelist? Would you keep it non-profit or turn it for-profit? If you would keep it non-profit, would you collaborate or donate? Otherwise, as a for-profit, would you like to be involved or invest? Or would you close it? Please let me know what you think.