Unlike other sites, a user's ability to post to The List is determined by how much karma they have. This is different from the "post as much as you want" methodology present on sites like Hacker News, Reddit, and Digg. That methodology results in what is called the "tragedy of the commons". This term, often used in economics, describes a situation in which many people with their own interests in mind, sharing a resource together, causes the quality of the resource to deteriorate over time as more people use it. This happens because it is in each user's best interest to use the network as much as possible.
By privatizing the ability to post with a karma price-tag and weighting a post's rank on the list with some simple calculus, a board of ideas and links can thrive where quality does not deteriorate with quantity.
The List sports a set of "rules" that help automatically curate the order of the list for quality:
[TOTAL KARMA] = upvote karma - downvote karma + total discussion karma log10(abs([TOTAL KARMA]) + 1) * sign([TOTAL KARMA]) + (unix_timestamp([CREATED AT]) / 300000) DESC
The List runs on the flexible, Ruby programming language and it's powerful, rapid-development framework, Rails. This was a choice made by the developers to ensure the speed and stability of the web app. Check out what we're working on here.
The List was designed with the same methodology as a video game. The balance between user's, posts, and karma is one of the most well-thought-out elements of the application. On the surface, the site is minimal, but under the hood it sports an array of mass-relative algorithms to show the best posts first and keep poor quality content off of The List.
The List was designed to be minimal so that user's wouldn't be intimidated by the complexity of it's engine. With great power comes a great responsibility to simplify. Nothing on The List is hidden, it's all shown to you on every page of the website. It should always be clear the user where to go to perform a task on the website.
All information about coming features and bug reporting as well as the entire source code for The List can be found in this GitHub repo.