CitizenX is closing its doors to the public,
January 9, 2002 8:39 AM   Subscribe

CitizenX is closing its doors to the public, and is going to only have core members be a part of the site now. There will still be a public lounge, but citizenship will now be by invite or by application.
posted by Mark (6 comments total)
The site is getting hit a little hard this morning. You can also read the farewell email here.
posted by halcyon at 8:59 AM on January 9, 2002

Is it the costs involved, or the difficulty in maintaining a community (the main references are to the buzz-kills) that is the main driver to creating a private arena that is invite-only?

Perhaps both, but which is the bigger driver? Or is there something else I missed?
posted by rich at 11:19 AM on January 9, 2002

Could someone provide some background here? I've never heard of them.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 11:22 AM on January 9, 2002

CitizenX is (was) a 140,000 registered member webcam community run by me.

It hosted HugNation, Globalgasm, Digital Grace, and a score of other Digital Intimacy experiments.

(more history)

The money was the initial motivator. We realized we didn't have enough cash to make it through Jan. But once we started discussing shutting down the site with the community, the passion went through the roof. (Imagine if Matt said, "we may have to close MeFi")

But keeping it open would require SO much effort. Part of me was thinking "we've gone as far as we can with this experiment."

I'd been thinking lots lately about the potential of closed communities...about how they mimic my real life relationships so much more.

When I go to a party, I know that everyone there is a friend of a friend of a friend. Its a much different vibe than the rowdy collection of strangers in a nightclub. Much less guarded.

You can build so much more trust.

When faced with the potential of shutting down, it became the extreme circumstance needed to try something radical.

Our hope is that with a smaller community, we can cut costs and increase the value of the community to those who are members.

I have been immeasurably pleased with what happened with CitizenX. But the universe is telling us to aim even higher.

We'll see.
posted by halcyon at 11:48 AM on January 9, 2002

There are literally thousands of such closed communities online... I'm not certain why Citizen X's "experiment" is any more interesting than all of these others, which function in their nice little niches with nary a word of publicity (or need for it). I'm glad you've found a way to keep something going in your world, but not sure why it was posted to Mefi in the first place.
posted by yarf at 12:03 PM on January 9, 2002

I find the question of closed versus open communities much more interesting, though.

As you say, Halcyon, there is a different vibe, but also you end up restricting the influx of new blood that inevitably can make any community experience better and reducing the potential for homogeniality, group-think, and so forth.

Even if you allow for the invite of new members, it would typically be based upon the recommendation of current members, re-enforcing the dominant profile that exists already within the community as opposed to expanding and enriching it.

Someone may be a good addition for the community, but perhaps there is a deciding voice that doesn't like that person and they are not allowed in. Or even someone who doesn't know the members of the community and therefore wouldn't be invited.
posted by rich at 12:14 PM on January 9, 2002

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