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I'm writing a book about independent microblogging, and launching a publishing platform called
I'm writing a book about independent microblogging, and launching a publishing platform called
3,080 backers pledged $86,696 to help bring this project to life.

New feature and stretch goal

Posted by Manton Reece (Creator)

I've got some news to share. Since I launched 2 weeks ago and quickly surpassed my funding goal, many people have asked if I would add stretch goals and new rewards to keep the campaign growing.

I knew I didn't want to do this carelessly. I could add mugs and t-shirts and try to double my funding, but that would just be a distraction from the most important aspects of this project.

To me, a stretch goal should be about enabling something new that wasn't possible before. I've been thinking a lot about this and I'm ready to announce a stretch goal for the last half of the campaign.

I'm working on a new feature for I alluded to it at the end of the Kickstarter video: that we should draw a line between the social network and the content at your own site. Your web site is your own, where you have the freedom to write about whatever you want, but a service like has a responsibility to build a safe community for its users.

The line is crossed when someone you don't follow starts @-replying you. We've all seen the effects of crossing this line on Twitter. It can make for new friendships, but it can also bring out the worst in people and even lead to harassment.

This line will be my focus for a new feature to preemptively combat abuse. I call this feature Safe Replies.

The core of the Safe Replies feature will be automated in code, but that approach will only get me so far. To do this correctly I will need help from someone with a different kind of experience than just writing code. That brings me to the stretch goal.

If the Kickstarter reaches $80,000, I will use some of the money to make my very first part-time hire for a community manager. The community manager will help set the tone for the service, work on documentation and best practices, and be responsible for curation when Safe Replies fails to automatically catch emerging problems.

I know that is ambitious. I know that I'm just one person. But I'm committed to this, to helping other people write more on the open web, and I'm very thankful for your support and the opportunity to build something special.

I've also added a new reward tier: $500, which includes the printed book and a lifetime paid account on I realize this is outside most people's budget. But for those of you who can afford to give more to the project, or know those who can, it might make the difference on whether the stretch goal can be reached.

Share a link with your friends. If you have any feedback or questions, please let me know.

— Manton

Tim Jacobs, Karl Oscar Weber, and 35 more people like this update.


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    1. Missing avatar

      Shrutarshi Basu on

      One idea for a stretch goal would be to commission a report (drawing on relevant articles, as well as academic publications) detailing Twitter's harassment and user behavior issues, and detailed, actionable suggestions how they can be avoided by a new social network (such as I'm sure there is a lot of such information floating around the Internet, and collecting it into a single document would be a great community service.

    2. Reed Mangino on

      Thank you Manton - much appreciated!

    3. Manton Reece Creator on

      Reed: Thanks for the feedback and for your support! I think your suggestion is one facet to this. I also think there are some types of objectionable content that should be flagged by default and sort of quarantined. I'm particularly concerned about catching messages that could end up as interruptions to your phone as a push notification.

      You're right that it's not just one thing, and neither a community manager nor smart software will solve all problems. There will be multiple levels to Safe Replies, some designed to catch problems in real-time and some more focused on flagging potential issues to review later. My hope is that a community manager will have an important role both in fine-tuning how the software should work and in reacting to problems on as they come up.

    4. Reed Mangino on

      Thank you for the update Manton. Instead of relying solely on a community manager wouldn't another option be an opt-in feature that requires a user to "approve" @replies that come from people they don't follow? The user would have the option of permanently blocking that user at the same time. If the user doesn't approve the @reply it simply doesn't show up on their timeline (and is thus not visible to their followers either). I realize it isn't as simple as that but a community manager doesn't solve real-time issues either. Thanks for all your hard work!