Just About

Just About
Content at Just About

Content at Just About

Our Community Content Lead (me) on what we want to publish

Content is - so said Bill Gates nearly 30 years ago - king. Here at Just About, we think we’re making some important (and overdue) changes to the way platforms treat members, moderators, and IP holders, but old Bill isn’t wrong: the stuff you read, watch, and hear is still what matters most.
In the second of what we’re calling our ‘departmental deep dives’ (our first is all about design at Just About, an excellent read by Tom), we’re going to talk about content: how we define it, how we evaluate it, and how we generate, curate, and reward it.

Content starts with community

We’re a community platform, which means content on Just About starts with you. We see all our members as creators: whether you’re just here to browse and comment, whether you have a million followers on YouTube, or are somewhere in between, it’s all content.
We do publish our own stuff - this article, for instance - because transparency and collaboration are among our core values. It’s important for us to talk to you often so we can be crystal clear about our promises to you and understand your needs (also, it’s fun <3).
But almost everything else you’ll see on Just About, which is already in the majority and will only increase in proportion as we grow, comes from our members. Curated articles may have staff bylines, but their source material is bounty submissions from the community.
This means that questions of content on Just About go hand in hand with questions of moderation, and that @JasonBoomer, our terrific Community Manager, works hand in hand with the content team.

What matters

Part of our thesis is that most community platforms could do a better job of handling their user-generated content. It’s hard to name such a platform with robust tools to categorise its content, distinguishing helpful, evergreen answers from topical discussions or laugh-and-forget memes. Wikis exist to answer your search queries, but don’t have the same community feel, and aren’t great at celebrating humour, memes, or much of what matters to fans beyond the encyclopaedia of the thing they enjoy.
There’s no reason a platform can’t do all of this, except that it’s very difficult and ambitious. It’s about building channels from the bubbling cauldron of community activity into appropriate buckets; about giving motivated people the tools to extract and organise all the knowledge, humour, and shitposts. Helpful content goes here, memes go here, and here’s the forum: grab a spoon and have fun.
If you were an AI talking to a secret agent on the roof of New York’s Federal Hall while an endgame boss (presumably) twiddles his robo-tentacles, you might say it’s Just About creating context. But, y’know, we’re less sinister:

We - and one day you - steer

Bounties are one of those channels. These enable us to request community content of a particular kind, alongside whichever discussions you’d like to start on your own. They give us a unique advantage over rivals: we don’t have to wait for members to create the kind of content that the community will find useful or enjoyable. We can just ask for it, and say ‘thank you’ to anyone who contributes with real-money rewards.
When setting bounties, our goals are these:
  • Promote individual creativity, community collaboration, and an atmosphere of positivity
  • Elicit submissions based on authentic, unique experiences
  • Inform, educate, and entertain: ensure a broad mix of bounties that not only drive the community’s growth through useful content, but serve its culture, and give all its members something to enjoy, use, or make
Doing this well means understanding the community. We take this extremely seriously - knowing what matters to our spaces, and using that knowledge to design bounties for the content you want to both make and see, is critical to your engagement in the platform and thus to our success.
Ultimately though, however good we get at this, we know we won’t match the passion and expertise of the communities themselves.
That’s why - when the platform is ready and our communities are big enough - we’ll hand the job to you. In the future, our content team will still jumpstart new communities, but we’ll only linger until potential home-grown caretakers emerge. Then we’ll be on hand to help them with anything they need, whether that’s designing bounties, curating content, or solving disputes.

Our goals and values

So what are we looking to curate? What makes valuable content?
We’ve got a very simple razor for this: if it’s important to you, it’s important to us. Does that mean we abandon our communities to the mercy of an algorithm, or an upvoting system?
No. We’re a little more hands-on than that. An entirely laissez-faire approach to moderation and content curation causes a number of harms which we’d prefer to avoid, and another part of our thesis is the belief that many of you would prefer the same.
If that doesn’t apply to you, that’s totally cool. There are plenty of other platforms out there that still believe in the laissez-faire approach; please enjoy them, no hard feelings! But we’re here to say clearly that we’d like to provide a more proactive, prosocial alternative. If that interests you, then stick around.
We want our curated content to be the best of its kind on the internet. We know our communities have the necessary knowledge for this, both in their membership and, soon, in their curation teams, and that the knowledge pool will only grow as they do. And that all it takes for us to update an article, or refresh a less-than-dank (subdank? Underdank?) meme collection, is to reissue its bounty. This is how we’ll not only make great stuff, but keep it fresh.

It’s already happening

Until this past summer, all of this was just theory. Hopefully you agree that it sounds pretty cool, but even the most idealistic vision - “we should launch an app, fix the internet, all we need is to do this, this, and this, hey look at that cloud” - can’t compare to dragging it into reality.
It’s been wonderful to see that all of this is already working, just at a small scale. We’ve got three communities live right now, all with different purposes and atmospheres; we’ve tested many different bounties across them, and proven that they can generate a range of content that hits our goals. Some recent highlights:
  • On Just About EVE, our interviews with CCP Hellmar and the Space Pope. We asked our community for questions and put them directly to one of its leading community figures and to its director, producing an “amazing interview,” as @funinc put it.  
  • On Just About Content Creators, our guide to managing the creator lifestyle. It’s one of three quality articles that fuse community wisdom with that of an expert panel at a live event, supporting up-and-coming creators as they embark on their dream career.
  • On Just About Video Games, we’re giving our gaming community a voice in defining the canon of their medium in our community reviews of classic games and our best RPG and best FPS genre lists.
Just About EVE is also growing a mighty bank of guides helping players navigate one of the most complex but rewarding games out there. To celebrate the launch of its Havoc expansion just today, we’re crowdsourcing community reviews in a bid to produce the capsuleers’ definitive verdicts, plus a ton of other bounties to get them digging into the expansion and bringing back its sights, sounds, and changes for everyone to enthuse over.
So what is good content on Just About? This👆
We want to publish content that’s helpful and entertaining to use, but also creatively energising for all of you to make; that’s high in quality, sensitive to community culture and need, and which sparks joy by existing. There’s (lots) more work to do as we scale up, but we’ve seen enough to think we’re onto something, that we’re just about right in those core theses.
Do you agree? How have you been finding the content on Just About so far? Whether that’s community discussions, bounties, articles from the team or curated content we’ve assembled, we want to know what’s working, what isn’t, and what else we could be doing to make Just About more useful and fun for you. Let us know in the comments!
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