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Announcing the birth of the Pearl Dive – a chatroom dedicated to enhancing the quality of the material on the site, sieving out the pearls from the sand.

Caveat: I'm new to creating chatrooms, so I may need a couple of days to sort everything out. Currently the room description, list of owners, sticky notes etc are still very sketchy and/or non-existant.

The point of this post is to discuss the goals and functions of the chatroom a little before the chatroom truly begins to work.

What is it?

We have located a few users willing to spend their hard earned rep points to award and/or draw attention to high quality posts (=pearls) on our beloved site by placing bounties. The main purpose of this chat room is to make it easier for the sponsors to find material worth sponsoring. Finding the pearls in this site is not always easy, and the sponsors will need help from the other users.

This has been an on/off pet project of yours truly and a few diamond bearers. We thought about how to best do this and checked with a member of SE staff to hear their eventual objections.

Who can participate and how?

  • For this to function well, we of course need to locate willing sponsors - the more the merrier. In my vision the sponsors are altruistic users largely acting behind the scenes. The may see themselves as √©minence grise, or may be collectors of rare pearls. Others will likely see the role differently.
  • Users unable or unwilling to sponsor material themselves are also needed at least as endorsers/curators. I, for one, will have a hard time deciding whether an unanswered interesting looking question in an area I am unfamiliar with myself will benefit from a bounty. I (or another sponsor) may need help from a trusted relative expert in deciding which questions to sponsor.
  • Of course, everybody is warmly welcome to help by posting pearls!

House rules.

The following rules are obvious. We will add more if/when needed.

  1. No begging. Asking for attention to your own answer is a relatively sure way of turning off the sponsors. It is, perhaps, less unappetizing to ask for this kind of help in promoting your own question, but I don't want to encourage that either.

  2. We cannot help advertizing the pearls in the chatroom, that's the whole point. But we will not maintain lists of sponsored pearls outside the dive, most certainly not in meta threads like this. This is because we need to keep the competition with the "usual" bounties fair, and not try to game the system, turning attention away from the bounties started by users not affiliated with the Pearl Dive.

  3. Don't upvote somebody's posts in main simply because they became an active sponsor in the Pearl Dive. The voting in main should not be skewed for this reason. The sponsors are quite capable of getting more points, if they so desire.

Things to discuss.

I welcome all the input from the crowd, that is you. There may problems we have not foreseen. Or unclear points and/or policies. Such as:

  • At one point we discussed whether endorsers/curators should be by invitation from a sponsor only. I'm not sure the level of interest in this project is high enough to warrant that, and would like to keep the threshold for participation lower, at leat initially. If too many unqualified people promoting posts becomes a problem, this needs to be addressed. If only to keep the signal-to-noise-ratio in the Pearl Dive high enough.
  • While the sponsors are to remain mostly invisible, we probably want to keep a sponsors' honor roll visible in the chat room. There already exists a SEDE-query listing the most active bounty donors on the site, and stickying that should suffice. That list will include all the other bounties already given on the site, which is IMO the way it should be.
  • Also, particularly if we don't find a large pool of competent curators, the sponsors will likely want to specialize in certain areas/tags only. I suggest that the interested sponsors would write a post describing the type of posts they are most willing to help with. Ideally those should be visible from the chatroom, but I don't know of a way of doing that. If somebody knows of a mechanism of doing that within the chatroom, I'm all ears. An alternative would be to post such statements as answers to this post. Linking this thread from the chatroom is a good idea anyway, so these pieces of information then become accessible to visitors of the Pearl Dive.

This may go South in many ways, but I want to make a serious attempt anyway. You are all welcome to become a part of it.

Pearl Dive – the rep point does not stop here.

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    $\begingroup$ In case you are wondering about the (American?) English word dive having negative connotations in describing a bar, this is supposed to become a higher end place not unlike this from the Michelin list :-) $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Jan 3 at 16:07
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    $\begingroup$ A related recent thread. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Jan 3 at 16:39
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for having thought this through. I plan to be a sponsor and otherwise contribute. $\endgroup$ – hardmath Jan 3 at 18:31
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    $\begingroup$ This looks like it's going to add a lot to my enjoyment of the site. Thanks for coming up with the idea and working out all the details. $\endgroup$ – JonathanZ supports MonicaC Jan 3 at 22:40
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    $\begingroup$ This looks like a great idea and one that I would wholeheartedly support. $\endgroup$ – YiFan Jan 4 at 1:32
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    $\begingroup$ I understand that asking for attention to oneself's answer/question is discouraged, but what about when someone encourages placing a bounty to a (possible) "pearl" while waiting in the back to "dive" in with an answer already prepared? Is that discouraged in that room too? There is no secret that some users answer (mostly) only questions that got bounties on and sometimes even asks others to place bounties (e.g. in the comments) for them, and they might get interested in this room. $\endgroup$ – Zacky Jan 4 at 21:00
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    $\begingroup$ Here is a specific example of what I'm talking above(hope it's appropriate), but there might be also the case when one doesn't mention that about already having an answer. // By the way I was not sure if such messages are appropriate in the room, so I posted here to be sure. Perhaps an answer to this question (unless I missed one) would be helpful. $\endgroup$ – Zacky Jan 4 at 21:03
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    $\begingroup$ I like this idea; thanks for putting the idea forward! I hope that it turns into a useful resource in the future :) $\endgroup$ – Clayton Jan 9 at 1:17
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    $\begingroup$ I was browsing the user page of a soon-to-be-ex-mod of SO, and found the following similar (but not identical) suggestion - meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/254137/… $\endgroup$ – Calvin Khor Jan 15 at 7:41
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    $\begingroup$ I view it more as a vehicle for drawing attention to where answers are needed and giving recognition to exceptional content. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Gruber Jan 18 at 5:53
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    $\begingroup$ IMHO, in the name of transparency, if an answer gets extra exposure in some exceptional manner like this then one should always leave a comment indicating that, in order to be fair to other answers (both in that thread and (esp.) other (dupe) threads) that may not receive the extra exposure (even though they may (better) deserve so). If that is not always done then I strongly encourage others to not participate in such endeavors since it is not fair to others. That said, I am sympathetic to the goals if it is done properly and fairly. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Jan 20 at 21:55
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    $\begingroup$ @Zacky Shenanigans like said ransom bounty requests are, alas, one of the unfortunate bad side-effects of gamification. I hadn't seen the one you mentioned, but I confess that my jaw dropped when I noticed a moderator complied by posting such a ransom bounty. This is not something that should be encouraged. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Jan 20 at 22:15
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    $\begingroup$ @JyrkiLahtonen I think it is important to link to any external discussion (e.g. in your chat room) that leads to significant heightened exposure (above and beyond a normal bounty). $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Jan 21 at 7:44
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    $\begingroup$ @FedericoPoloni there are users here with an embarrassment of riches (measured both in rep. and mathematical skill). I think this is more akin to them finding more rewarding ways of using those riches wisely, rather than accumulating ever-greater amounts of rep. $\endgroup$ – samerivertwice Jan 27 at 18:34
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    $\begingroup$ I'm again amazed at your dedication to this site @JyrkiLahtonen. (: $\endgroup$ – Rebecca J. Stones Feb 7 at 3:11

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