Discourse as a system for collaborative digital gardening

As I’ve discussed before, Discourse has a lot going for it as a digital gardening platform. I’ve set it up as a place for all my own personal writing, but because of its original purpose as a community discussion platform, it also appears to be a great system to actually build a digital garden collaboratively. Few - if any - of the existing systems I have seen seem to really be well-suited for that (if they even have “multiplayer” features at all). Github is probably the one exception, and while that can work decently with appropriate permission management, or someone handling the merge requests, I think Discourse could handle this much more organically…

Imagine a garden much like this one here, that starts with one or perhaps a few people’s writings, each in their own category. Like this one, comments and other public interaction are open to anyone who wants to register. Over time as the author(s) expand the content, there is more and more interaction from other potential gardeners.

Now, Discourse has a set of “trust levels” that users can move through simply by engaging with the platform. High quality posts and other interactions can allow people to get “promoted”, and you can associate different permissions with different trust levels. So now imagine that we set the permissions such that, once someone reaches e.g. Trust Level 2 (from e.g. posting a reply 20 times), they now have permission to actually edit any post marked as a “Wiki”. The core authors of the garden may want to collaborate themselves, and now with their visitors, on various topics, and this allows that seamlessly.

Let’s go a step further and set permissions for Trust Level 3 so that those users can actually create their own tags in a “public gardening plots” category. Now they can have their own little corner of things just by tagging a topic with e.g. “Johns-Garden”. But we can go further still and for anyone who really gets into participating, they could get promoted to Trust Level 4 or Moderator and be able to create their own category.

Essentially what I’m describing is a largely automated system that rewards interaction with greater power to differentiate and surface one’s writing. And of course, though I haven’t mentioned it, all the regular Discourse capabilities would be a part of this. Participants could quote and link to each other’s topics, participate in each other’s wikis, etc. But rather than having the ability to create structure be centrally managed by one or a very few administrators, this could allow a “merit”-based, adaptive approach to surface the content of the most engaged users. And to me that seems like one possible goal of multi-user digital gardening…

How would you like to see multi-user work, beyond simply allowing “replies” (as I do here)?