PolicyMic is an innovative and cutting edge platform in the world of news media. No other site so perfectly caters to the demands of today's millennials. The ability to direct the debate, contribute news, and interact on a global level directly appeals to our generation's wants and needs. I have been a part of PolicyMic, on and off, for over a year now. In my time I have published a few articles, written a few comments, and mic'd hundreds of people's input. Obviously the guys behind PolicyMic have got to be doing something right, right? These are a few suggestions that I have aimed at improving the PolicyMic experience for all.
My suggestion for the mic system:
This idea is that new accounts would still have their total lifetime mics listed, but as far as how many mic's they can award would be changed. Before someone reaches the level of "pundit," perhaps the amount of mics a fresh account can dole out should be throttled a bit.
1) New users should have a maximum amount of per diem mics they can earn ... perhaps around 10 Mics. This would encourage continual activity on PolicyMic and incentivize return visits.
2) The amount of mics they have to give should not exceed the amount of mics they have earned. So for every mic the new user earns, it goes into their total lifetime mics, but it also adds to their 'mics to give' bank. This would prevent random accounts from carpet bombing mics.
My suggestion for rankings:
The Mic's required to reach the level of Pundit should be raised. 100 mic's is too low for the ability to have 750 characters for commenting as well as the ability to publish an article.
1) Contributor could be raised to 50 mics & 500 characters.
2) Anchor could be raised to 125 mics & 750 characters.
3) Pundit should be predicated on 200 mics & 1,000 characters.
But, before a person is able to level up from anchor to pundit, they should have to publish one article before becoming a pundit. As an Anchor, their mics would stop at 190 and their article should be required to earn 10 Mics and 10 shares to get to the level of Pundit.
My suggestion for encouraging civil dialogue:
The current system for monitoring a user's demeanor and tone is either by flagging a comment for removal or, well, nothing. For obvious troll accounts, they can just have their comments flagged & their accounts deleted, but for established pundit accounts, an alternative is needed.
There should be a peer-review of accounts where users can deem someone to be too aggressive or belligerent and click on a review button on their profile. As more people contribute, the user's notoriety would increase, which would show systemic issue and not just one person angry at them. If too many people decide this person is not acting in good faith, this system could merit them a talking to by PolicyMic admin.
My suggestions for badges and trophies:
As far as I can tell, trophies for "Hotshot" and "Influencer" are in our profiles only as long as we remain on the leaderboard. But actually reaching the leaderboard is quite an achievement in and of itself. So perhaps even after our articles have faded from the leader board, we should be able to earn a trophy or badge that reflects that our article was once there.
The trophy or badge would be for an article that was either in the top position or in the top 5, and upon clicking on the badge or trophy, they would be linked to the article that appeared in the leaderboard. Similarly, that article should feature the badge that was earned on the page, perhaps below the author biography.
My suggestions for time stamps:
I've noticed that on articles and comments alike, that the closest thing to a time stamp is either "3 seconds ago" or "4 weeks ago." While this is a cool way of easily citing the recency of the article, it can prove to be quite inaccurate.
So perhaps an actual time and date stamp could be included somewhere in the article, like: "Nolan Kraszkiewicz in World, Middle East 1 year ago (Wednesday, 21 March 2012)." This would really help for citing an article in a bibliography and really pinning a date down. Most importantly, please do use the international norm Day, Month, Year format.
Like my suggestions? Disagree with my recommendations? Comment below or head over to the PolicyMic feedback page and let Chris Altchek have it!