What is the problem? As was so eloquently stated by gunner800 in this comment, K5 needs to get laid. I feel that his assessment is correct, and if the average k5'er were to get a little "wham-bam" every once in a while, the temptation to flame other posters and exhibit needless aggressive behavior would be tempered as everyone would be quite a bit more mellow. Hell, it may just fix the moderation abuse that everyone seems to enjoy talking about.
Since the desire to hook-up is as old as man, and too many here are not able to fulfill this biological prerogative, I feel that we should put our collective heads together and do what we do best -- making technology do all the work for us. Collaborative authoring? Pleeeze. Reader contributed news? Been there, doing that, and its getting old. Using all the aggregated data to spit out that fine someone you've been searching for? Now you have the killer app.
Thus, I propose that rusty implement a number of changes within the Scoop engine to facilitate hook-ups for K5 users. This implementation should consist of a number of separate "modules" which I will describe in detail.
Auto Desperation Warning System
The Auto Desperation Warning System is basically a bot that resides between the posting layers and the K5 story and comment databases. The purpose of this bot is to analyze the semantic content of all posts in order to determine whether the poster in need of a little lovin'. The bot would implement certain natural language artificial intelligence routines that would be developed under an Open Source(tm)-compatible license. Similar to the scoring system that is found with the story moderation, each poster would have a running desperation score. While zero would be the lower bound for this, a higher bound that is computed dynamically (more on this in a minute) would determine when a poster is requiring hook-up help. Each post that the user contributed would be analyzed for a number of factors (more on this in a minute). If the post contained a number of flags that signals that the poster is experiencing sexual frustration, their desperation score would be incremented. If signs support the conclusion that the poster is getting their quality time, the score would be decremented. After the counter passed a certain threshold, artificial intelligence routines would activate, spidering for an appropriate match for the frustrated poster.
The threshold that would determine when the desperation bot would kick in would be dynamically updated as the state of k5 changed. The user would have specified a number of additional preferences (more in a minute). When many users specified the same preferences and within the system were a number of "compatible" users, the threshold would lower. As the number of "compatibles" decreased, the threshold would raise, so that the limited number of available hook-ups would be reserved for those most in need.
Some of the factors that would determine the threshold would be tightly bound to the composition of contributing users on k5. Users would specify their partner preferences in their profile page, and this data would be used to determine the state of K5 with respect to hook-ups. If there were a similar number of heterosexual males and females, the threshold would be lowered. Similarly, if there were a similar number of homosexual users of the same gender, the threshold would also lower. As the disparity between compatible classes of users grows, so does the threshold. This is only meant as a crude indicator, more advanced and more detailed implementations of the threshold would account for not only for the numbers of compatibles, but also for the number of compatibles that are of similar desperation scores.
Active Hook-Up Assistance
The solutions discussed thus far are strictly passive measures. Other than posting, the user does nothing to activate the automatic system. For some users, this solution may be too slow, and they may desire to take a more active stance to get their jollies. Being an active community, I feel that K5 should take the necessary steps to allow these self-motivated people to help themselves. Drawing upon the success of the "am i hot or not" (AMIHON) experiment, K5 should implement a modified AMIHON protocol. Each user would post a picture and attached to the page with the picture, comment and diary links would be included. People looking for a fix would then evaluate the comments and picture and diary entries to determine if there was something about the poster that turned them on or off. A scale of one to ten would be used to determine the rating of the user. Compatible users who gave each other similarly high ratings would automatically be linked together through an automated matchmaking script. Implementation of the script may vary, but a possible implementation would be that the script masquerades as "a friend" of the other user and makes the suggestion (via a forged e-mail) that the two should meet up a random location taken from a database of locations on the planet Earth. Through co-branded partners such as 1-800-Flowers.Com and Travelocity, the software would create the date for the users and mail the details to the hapless couple. Of course, since K5 is a non-profit page, the bill for the date -- including the bill for the international plane ticket -- would be sent to the users upon the completion of the date.
Implementation of all the routines described above could be directly integrated with the Scoop engine, or it could be implemented as a library that would be called by other types of community engines. The advantage of developing this system as a engine-independent library is that it would allow linking of different sites to create a virtual space of desperation. While a user may not find a compatible on K5, they may have better chances on sites such as sites as Slashdot, or Technocrat, or any number of similar community-type sites.
These are just a few ideas, and I invite discussion and suggestion for further modules or refining the two described above.
Case Study A: Joe Stud
Joe Stud is the typical Wall Street investor type that has the beautiful blonde trophy wife and enough money and style to always attract women to sleep with him anyways.
Joe Stud's involvement on K5 involved "getting in the trenches" to catch the next hot Internet investment from the tech gurus at K5. He seldom posts, but when he posts, his refined style sends across a message that the post is coming from someone who is very much getting some pretty often, and he is well adjusted.
The bot behind the curtain analyzes Joe's posts, and while it knows that he thinks his wife is quite a pain in the ass and he should drop her for another honey, it also knows from the lexical structure of Joe's comments that he is capable of getting his jollies without the help of the K5 hookup modules. It continually scores his desperation at a 0, and Joe gets no hook-up pointers from the K5 bot.
Case Study B: Robert Shy
Robert Shy is that pasty white guy that sits in his room reading weblogs while his jock roommate brings home a cutie every other night. Feeling that random hook-ups are for less-evolved people, Bob figures that he will be happier waiting for that perfect gal that will fall into his lap sometime in the indeterminate future.
Bob's involvement in the K5 community consists of correcting those obvious technical errors in stories where well-meaning people post howto's and news of technical importance. Bob is the guy who will tell you that the fungus from Mir will not survive on Earth due to the fact that the FM transmissions will obviously make the fungus genetic material resonate the wrong way and self destruct. Bob keeps a diary on K5 where he talks about things like his latest certifications and what superior code he wrote for the Obfuscated C Contest.
The K5 bot behind the scenes receives Bob's posts and diary entries and sees that Bob is obviously lying about waiting for the perfect woman, and that he is just scared shitless of asking out a real woman. The bot increments Bob's desperation counter, and before long it is forging e-mails to a similarly-attituded Shelly Recluse. Bob and Shelly know that the e-mails are "obvious" fakes, and contact each other just to be sure. Over e-mail and #chat_rooms, they fall madly in love and eventually get married and have octuplets.
Case Study C: Randy Johnson
Randy thinks that he is the man. He is the president of the engineering honor society, and a god at playing ultimate frisbee. He is dismayed at all the chicks at school that do not see his eliteness and is looking for fresh meat online.
Randy reads K5 occasionally, especially when he is waiting for some monster code to compile. He notices that K5 has implemented a new hook-up feature, and intends to take full advantage of it. He keeps track of who has the higher score, and when he realizes that there is no way that he will top Robert Shy on the desperation scale, he resorts to the active means. He spends hours upon hours sifting through the female K5 readers, and (after have long forgotten about his code) finds the perfect chick. He rates her a 10, and hopes that she will eventually rate him.
Behind the scenes, in a galaxy far away, the perfect chick finds Randy Johnson and rates him a 10, as she is amused by his name. The K5 hook-up bot records this, and seeing that a match has been made, churns out a few random numbers that eventually translate into a rock-climbing date in Central America. The K5 bot suavely sends false e-mails to both parties that tell them about the date, and the tickets and itineraries to get there. The two meet, climb rocks, and have an incredible date. They promise to see each other when they get back home, and all those types of things. They see each other on weekends, and a couple of months after the initial date, a bill arrives from the online travel agent for a couple of thousand dollars.
Case Study D: ???
It could be you...