The long-term viability of websee and the social and scientific intiatives it hopes to support are uncertain, but for the chance of a long-term existence, it is important to lay a vision of where things should go, and when possible, how they will be manifested.
Maintaining a structure for an organization that maximixes public benefit is a poorly investigated discipline. In the event that it can be sustainable, Websee will become an experiment in creating such an organization. Traditionaly, organizations that scale beyond a small number of individuals have been recognized by government in two general categories: non-profit organizations, such as 501(c)(3), and for-profit organizations, such as C corporations. In the past few years, a new entity has come to be legally recognized: benefit corporations. The primary importance of these organizations is their ability to operate towards the maximization of goals independent of financial gain, while still being able to enjoy the creation of financial value. It is shocking that such organizations have only been recognized by government (and still in only 30 states and DC, in the United States) for six years, the first coming into existence in 2010. Fortunately, it also beautifully indicative of the dawn of a new generation of organizations. While traditional corporations are strangled by legal requirements to maximize shareholder value, non-profit organizations are strangled by an inability to attract and retain the most effective people. With such restrictions in activity, how can a collection of individuals working to create maximum benefit effectively operate? Fortunately, benefit corporations enjoy the best of both worlds: a freedom to pursue good over profit, and a freedom to attract, retain, and reward great contributors with fair compensation.
Ideals of doing good are okay, but how does an organization actually neutralize negative, financially-motivated tendencies and ensure that the primary focus of the organization is creating maximum, long-term good above all else? Considering the fact that the legal framework for potentially maximally good organizations has only existed for six years, it is unlikely anyone truly knows. However, if Websee sustains its existence, it will be an experiment in the aim of such beautiful balance with the following core difference (as far as we know) from any organization currently in existence:
Websee, if it ever profits, will donate the majority of its profits to charity, projects, and organizations of the webseers' choice. Instead of voting with shares, voting will be weighted by webseers' reputations through contributions to the community and network. It is far too premature to dive into implementation details for such a system, but it should be stated in no uncertain terms that if the spirit of this policy is ever breached by future (or current) operators of Websee, the community should engage in mass exodus and work to build a more ethical organization from the ashes. It is the hope that such a strong attention to giving will form the fabric of an organization that would never tolerate or engage in such belligerence, and do good both with funds earned, and in the earnings of funds itself.
The earning of funds for operation and profit is uncertain. That being said, if a time comes in which monetization is possible, it is critical that any monetization strategy aligns with the greater goals of the organization. It is expected that with the knowledge that the majority of profits will be given away anyway, such strategy will align with the rest of the organization in maximizing good before maximizing profit, with profit being a simple side-effect of creating value.
Beyond centralized organizational structure, the potential for a future decentralized and distributed websee seems extremely promising. It's not yet clear exactly how this will be shaped, and there is still need for substantial engineering to build the backbone to support such applications, but the convergence of emerging technologies like Ethereum
, and Docker for MacOS and Windows
, and other technologies could allow anyone and everyone to become part of the infrastructure of the web. Creating such a system
for Websee and the wider web is integral to the future of information freedom and resilience, and thus something Websee will allocate substantial resources to creating and sustaining.
Further, to ensure content ranking algorithms are fair and unbiased, all such algorithms will be published, and a domain specific language will be developed so people can write, run, and share the results of ranking algorithms on websee.