Thanks for this, I was totally unaware of lussumo nevermind this addon, will try installing it on a test server tonight and having a play with it. There's actually a post-rating mod for phpBB already (PRS, by Alfatrion) which I've got working on my test server, and I was thinking of extending this to other aspects of content, but I currently lack the required skills.
This isn't the first time I've seen this type of idea floated past the phpBB community (perhaps it is a university assignment somewhere?)
This is encouraging, it re-enforces my thinking that considering this avenue of development is a kind of emergent property of modern society. By this I mean that there are underlying societal factors which are causing individuals to arrive at similar conclusions in isolation from each other (e.g. it wasn't until a couple of months ago that I discovered the term "Open Source Democracy" with a google search, up to that point I thought my ideas were unique to me!).
I doubt if there is a University assignment anywhere which would lead people to come here asking about this kind of idea (lol, I wish there was!).
At a technical level, this would be no small undertaking. One practical result of the technical and funding challenges related to large scale information processing is distributed computing. The Internet itself is about decentralization. To centralize problem solving in the way you suggest is swimming upstream, both technically and fiscally.
Very good point(s). I would effectively be relying on the community itself to meet the technical (and indeed fiscal) challenges associated with moving from "large" to "extremely large" numbers of users. I do however believe that if the initial configuration of the site was adequate for the purpose I intend then this kind of transition would be achievable. I don't foresee funding the project when it has a small, medium or even large number of users being a problem, its the technical challenges involved in making it work with medium-to-large numbers of users which concern me the most at present.
Regarding (de)centralisation and the internet, a friend has already raised this issue with me and its one of the more serious concerns I have about the project as a whole. I guess my answer is that I think the benefits of having something like this would far outweigh the cost associated with "swimming upstream".
Mills wrote:[...] and that certain aspects of the content should be rate-able along a number of criteria (e.g. importance, agreement).
That raises a red flag right there. Agreement is a dangerous thing in a forum, again causing large amounts of tension and potentially creating huge flamewars, but only if it's in a statistical form like that that you suggested. I suggest you become a regular member of a medium-sized forum somewhere, could give you some insight on what can happen in these kind of situations.
I was a very active member (and eventually moderator) on a medium-to-large sized forum back 6-10 years ago, and without that experience the project I'm discussing with you now would never have occurred to me. Admittedly though I haven't been involved in much on the internet since then, has the kind of activity taking place on discussion boards changed a lot in the last 5 years?
If I had a few hours (or maybe days!) to spend discussing this with you in person I am confident I could get across my understanding of the problems that would arise and the ways in which the system could be designed and configured to get around these. Unfortunately, the solutions I have in mind are themselves extremely complex. This renders the task of creating a post which could represent my ideas (in a way that was understandable to everyone) tantamount to impossible. If I thought this was an achievable goal I'd be working on it right now, but even if it were theoretically possible the resulting posts would be so long virtually nobody would read them.