Maybe a special page where members can list their projects, or offer their computer-related services (web design, programming, art, etc.). ... Another idea: ... we could show random boxes with info about member sites.
I like this, especially the "another idea". It seems to me that it's not really advertising. It's almost "fun information" about the community, that might be better targeted to the rest of the community than, say, google ads (although it may need to be policed for abuse).
FWIW, I'm not worried about the censorship angle that's been discussed here. For one thing, this is a private site and not subject to the 1st Amendment. But more importantly, we're not talking about gagging anyone, simply allowing individuals to be selective about what they consume
. There's no obligation for me to listen to
what someone else says.
Regarding karma, I would mention that /. uses karma, and I refuse to read that site anymore due to the density of offensive flaming, vapidity, and knee-jerk contrarianism. I don't know if these facts are related at all, but it bears considering. Perhaps if only paid members can award karma, the need to put your money where your mouth is would avoid the /. cesspool.