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A central site would handle content, but would not distribute it massively as HTML. Instead, a streamlined "pure content" would be provided to a number of web servers, which would "skin" the content with whatever they would like. The servers might compete with their skins, but they might also put ads if they would wish. Anyway, it would be the users, which would decide which web server to choose.
In this way, the cost of running the central server would be reduced, and the main cost - bandwidth and HTML generation, would be distributed to the community.
Dedicated protocols would likely be the most efficient ones, when it comes to minimising costs of running the central site.
The central site would need to provide full contents of a story only to a "new" server. Then, only diffs, in the form of e.g. single moderations and comments, would suffice.
The central site would be obliged to provide regular dumps, so that it could be replaced, if users vote to do so. The dumps might be made from scratch only e.g. once a month. Then, only differential dumps would be made, only e.g. once a day.
The cost or running the central server would likely me minimal. A single moderation per second and a single comment each 10 seconds probably indicate quite a busy site, yet in terms of CPU and bandwidth usage, such values are almost negligible.
The dumps might be mirrored, for further decrease of costs.