This topic crosses over both the development arm of K5 and K5 in the main. However, I believe it should be posted here, as discussion from the users of K5 is core to long-term growth.
The current system works. At the very least, it seems to work. In many cases, this is good enough. Stories that have little content or exploit flaws in the Scoop code get dumped quickly. Stories that have potential for conversation are posted. However, the current model is not scalable.
Kuro5hin currently has population of around 25,000 (plus or minus 5,000). This is a far cry from the supposed 600,000 on slashdot.org. The question is how K5 can avoid the problems slashdot is experiencing. From K5's perspective, one of the most relevant problems is its ability to handle large numbers of submissions.
Slashdot uses the model of a benevolent dictator. All articles must be approved by an editor prior to posting. K5 uses a democratic model, where articles supported by the community get posted. Each has their own advantages. As slashdot becomes bigger, just hire more editors. K5 offers more user participation. While (in my opinion) the approach adopted by K5 offers many more advantages over the slashdot approach (such as clearly representing community interest), it doesn't scale well.
What will happen in the future as the population on K5 doubles? Or triples? When we move from 25k people to 75k people? Over the past year, I've seen the average number of stories in the queue increase from around 2 to 6. The entire section area on the frontpage cycles on a daily basis. If our community population increases four times over, we'll start seeing 24 stories in the queue on a regular basis. If the cyclical rate increases, the chance of decent responses to an individual article decreases. If people don't respond to articles, it becomes less likely that people will submit articles, as there is little reward if no-one see the article. Rather than wait for this to happen, we should start planning a migration path now.
Fundamentally, I believe we want a large community. A larger community means more conversation, it means more articles, and it means we all learn or experience more. So how can we continue to grow without imploding under our own weight?
To see what the future holds, here's a simple scenario. Through slashdot migration and word of mouth, suppose we increase in size from 25k to 200k over the next 2 years (a not unreasonable prediction, I believe). This means we move from 6 article in the queue to 48. Who has time to look through all 48? How accessible are 48 articles for a newcomer? Alternatively, look at it the other way - what happens if all 48 articles are voted on by the majority of regular users? The sections would run of control - articles will drop from the frontpage of K5 in hours. People will never get a chance to comment on them. Either outcome is undesirable.
So what do we do? One option is to further modularise K5. Create multiple, personal homepages, based on individual preferences for sections. Think a collection of tickboxes identifying your topics of interest. Create the equivalent of slashboxes, one for each section. People can then choose what they want to see, based on their interests. Front page articles are still seen by everyone, as if the community deems them important enough to go to the front page, it's highly likely everyone should know about them. The submission rating queue would be tailored to correspond to your section preferences. All submitted articles would be shown, but your nominated sections are clearly separated from the bulk of submissions. These changes no not need to be implemented now, but they need to be planned for. We need to work out where we want to go now, rather than try to respond (and likely fail) in two years.
I'd hate to see K5 collapse under it's own weight. It's important that Rusty et al start developing a strategic plan for K5, rather than provide tactical responses. Financial concerns are core (witness text ads), but K5 needs to continue to grow if it's to remain viable. I, for one, want to see it survive. How can we solve this?