Echo chambers are social places whose mechanics encourages people within them to think alive. Echo chambers discourage opposing opinions. This is nothing new. What's new is how unhealthy and isolating these places have become. Up-votes, likes and their associated algorithms have sorted people into
like-minded groups. Humans have always faced a challenge of coming up with common ground. Reaching common ground is the pinnacle of human civilization. Echo chambers and their divide and conquer mechanics make this ever present challenge even more daunting.
Echo chambers are not inherently harmful. At small size, echo chambers act as incubators for new ideas. They let new ideas grow and mature before those ideas get trampled on by the masses of the "real world". However, when an idea is finally mature enough, it must leave the womb of the echo chamber and test the real world challenge: Does this idea bring us together? Or does this divide us?
What we need is an alternative to the echo chamber. We need to tweak it to encourage ideas to pass the real world test. But before we do that let's look at how a typical echo chamber algorithm works:
1) Tally up all likes/dislikes
2) Greatest number of likes "goes to the top"
3) Greatest number of dislikes gets discarded
4) Notoriety attracts more like minded people. When they make a consistent comment with other like minded people, their comment gets rewarded. If they make a comment that's not consistent with the majority opinion, it's discarded.
This echo chamber algorithm is elegant and simple, but it hides a nasty feedback loop that can run amok. What we need to do is eliminate the feedback loop to prevent the run-away social reaction. To do that I propose a consensus chamber algorithm:
1) Tally up all the likes/dislikes
2) Keep track of which users have liked/disliked your ideas before
3) Ideas with greatest number of converts go to the top. In other words, if you get a like from a friend who has been liking every single thing you say, getting another like from them is relatively meaningless. However, if you finally get a like from someone who has disliked most things you've said in the past, that is very meaningful
The interesting side effect of this new algorithm is that it also reduces the problem of spam and astroturfing. If you get bunch of votes from click-bot army that promotes your view inside a consensus chamber, it's going to do very little for your social score. The incentive for people hijacking the voting process to promote their ideas by faking likes will be greatly reduced.
Likes must have a meaning. Meaning should come from new relationship or a new understanding that begins to grow, not from the repetition of social ruts.
A good idea is predictably liked by like minded individuals
A revolutionary idea is surprisingly liked by everyone