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paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15271
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Years ago I had an idea on how somebody could make a billion dollars.  I shared the idea with a few friends who ended up not implementing it.  So then I shared it in the private forum of the staff at JavaRanch.  No takers.  So then I heard about something similar that was already implemented, tried it and it sucked.  So then I moved my idea to a public forum and learned about tiptheweb.org.

Tiptheweb.org is a little different from my idea, but, at the same time, very close.

Here is the thread I wrote about plumnickel.

Suppose I have ten bucks in nickels.  That's 200 nickels.  And I go around the web and read all sorts of stuff.  A few pages are great, but most are shit.  For each of the few that are great, I toss a nickel.  I don't care if they ask for the nickel or not.  Nor do I care if they have the ability to receive this nickel.  Over a year I think I would be hard pressed to use up all 200 nickels.  Ten bucks a year. 

I spend a HUGE portion of my day, every day, deleting spam, telling people to stop being mean, and trying to come up with the words to help out in awkward situations. 

At the same time, I see icky people getting filthy rich because of their ickiness.  And I see good, decent people struggling to pay for their shithole.  Good websites get neglected because the people running them never monetized.  While shit sites run gobs of ads and keep going because of their dirty behavior. 

I like the idea of a system that rewards those people that are good and decent and never ask for a ..... nickel.  (Note, I am not one of these good and decent people - you will see that I do, indeed, have ads) 

I've had friends direct me to stuff at a site called "hyperbole and a half" several times.  And it has always been enjoyable.  Recently I saw this one:



http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/03/rural-montana-survival-guide.html

This was part of a segment that said "Learn to tell the difference between dangerous mountain-people and not-as-dangerous mountain-people" and it explains how the guy on the left (in overalls) is slightly safer. 

When I was done, I looked around to find an ad to click on.  No ads.  I looked for a paypal donate button.  Nothing.  I went to the FAQ and found out that the author doesn't want ads and doesn't want to beg for money.  She sells shirts and mugs and stuff and they just seemed weak.  I really don't need more stuff.  And I really respect the no ads / no begging philosophy.

I had been intending to do more with the tiptheweb stuff for about six months.  But this day was the day.  hyperboleandahalf now has some money whether she wants it or not.  Maybe someday there will be $5000 there and she'll be in need of $5000 and pop out there. 

More:  Jocelyn was telling me about one of her favorite bloggers "The gluten free girl" (gfg).  Apparently, gfg will stop posting at times because of nasty remarks from nasty people.  And I thought:  what if gfg had an ugly comment AND, for the same blog she received 200 nickels.  200 nickels is ten bucks, but more important than the ten bucks is that 200 people came and said "thumbs up - and not a shallow thumbs up, but actual cash."  Would that make her feel better?  It seems to me that content is often driven by the ugly people.  And by "driven" I mean that a lot of times sensitive, creative people stop producing content as a reaction to the ugly people.  I would like to see content driven by good people. 

I want all of you to, at the very least, visit the tiptheweb homepage.  http://tiptheweb.org/ ; --- get an idea of what they are doing.  I think that this is one tool that can make a big difference in making the world a better place.  Put in a dollar and go give out 20 nickels over the next month.





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Joined: Jul 01, 2011
Posts: 13
Location: California
We recently had a similar discussion on the ERE forums, see http://forum.earlyretirementextreme.com/topic.php?id=1463 , about how jobs were no longer a good way of distributing money, especially given the value someone contributes. This is, of course, a very old discussion in economics why compensation doesn't match the value provided, e.g. why is an ad executive who's marketing junk compensated more than the garbage collectors who keep people from dying.

A certain blogger expressed some bitterness about making substantially less than the (literally) tens or hundreds of millions in annual savings provided for his readers. There were some suggestions about charging 1 cent per pageview or $1/hour of reading time. Naturally, this turned out to be like pulling teeth.

I've previously experimented with paypal donations. About 0.5-1% will actually donate.

I'll try tiptheweb.org and see what happens. I just suspect voluntary payment is somewhat low on the list of what people will do. The distribution of donations is extremely skewed towards a few making large donations (like $10) while most make nothing at all compared to everybody donating 1 cent (which would make a much bigger impact).
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15271
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I guess I'm not thinking about this as a real income thing as much as a "make things right" sort of thing. 

I suppose I also think a bit about "no good deed goes unpunished" and those that go out on a limb and do things that are good are often the recipients of ugly nastiness from the ugly nasty people.  And this tiptheweb stuff would be a good way to mitigate that. 

Further still:  I suppose that if somebody's stuff is good enough, popular enough, and enough people do the tiptheweb stuff, then ... well ... yeah, I suppose a person could make a living doing it. 

I just think that this sort of thing is the foundation for lots of coolness ... lots of making the world a better place ... lots of relief for those that do good things and are crapped on for it. 

Personally, I would much rather receive a thousand nickels from a thousand different people than the same amount of money from one person.  If I put out a new video and get some nasty comment, and i get 400 nickels, the nasty seems about 20 times smaller because of the nickels.

If I spend $10 per year on nickels, I think I'm doing a lot more to make the world a better place than if I gave that same $10 to some charity.


                                  


Joined: Jul 01, 2011
Posts: 13
Location: California
paul wheaton wrote:
Personally, I would much rather receive a thousand nickels from a thousand different people than the same amount of money from one person.  If I put out a new video and get some nasty comment, and i get 400 nickels, the nasty seems about 20 times smaller because of the nickels.

If I spend $10 per year on nickels, I think I'm doing a lot more to make the world a better place than if I gave that same $10 to some charity.


I agree with the sentiment.

I don't care for the money as much as I care for the sentiment behind the money. Like with my book sales, it's not so much the money I'm making on selling it as it is the fact that people are willing to pay money to read my ideas. In the same same, 400 people with a nickel means that 400 people are willing to give up a hard earned nickel because they thought you did good. That would be a huge signal compared to one person giving $10 or even $100.

I can say though that I'm having a hard time even getting people to click on a facebook like button which costs them nothing. A really well-liked post will get maybe 8 likes ... and that will have been read by 8000 people. It could of course be that my stuff overall sucks, but that's really not the impression I'm getting.

I suspect that reality simply is that only about 1% is willing to give back.

Tiptheweb is useful because it's way faster/convenient than clicking on a paypal donate button. However, facebook is equally easy and it's not used very much.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15271
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I set up a badge on my cast iron skillet article.  I gave the badge to the tiptheweb guys.  They said "why a nickel?  For that article, it should be at least a dollar." and my thinking is that what I want the most is the transaction.  The upvote.  The appreciation.  The recognition.  

Further, I like the idea that if somebody likes my stuff, that they have paid for it.  It feels like a transaction.  And since the norm is to currently pay nothing, (and the payment of nothing is what I agreed to when I posted it) then I prefer the idea that people that are decent enough to pay for it, experience almost no change in finances compared to those that consumed, found value, and paid nothing.

When I visited the hyperboleandahalf page, I thought it was really good.  I felt it would be wrong of me to leave without compensating the author.  

Many years ago I was in downtown seattle with my teenage daughter.  We encountered a guy playing a sax.  He was good.  We spent a minute enjoying it and my daughter asked me for a coupla bucks to put in his case.  I ponied up the coupla bucks.   We walked two blocks and encountered a guy with a bunch of buckets and cans and drumsticks making amazing music with junk.  Another coupla bucks.  Then we encountered a young fella with nothing but a hat.  "spare change?" My daughter asked for another coupla bucks.  Nope.  My daughter is probably still angry about my "greed and selfishness" and that guy in the street.

I guess I'm just wired different from my daughter.  And maybe I'm wired different from most folks.  

I do REALLY like the idea of passing out 200 nickels each year.  Maybe I'll even pass out more.  I currently pay $50 per month to be connected to the internet.  I'm willing to pay $1 per month to hand out some nickels to the creative minds that made the best content.



paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15271
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
facebook like:  I don't like to click on it.  Frankly, I don't like facebook.  It strikes me as slimy and ...  well ... lame.

I have to admit, that if I have 10,000 views of something, and I get 50 likes, I kinda wonder if it sucks.  On reddit, everybody gets an upvote and a downvote, so it can be clearer, but still ... 

So it is both for me:  I like to receive the nickels for when I have published nickel-worthy things.  And I like to give the nickels out for nickel-worthy things, in the hopes that the creator might received a million nickels.

Bud Nye


Joined: May 26, 2011
Posts: 10
I think that the problem has a fundamental thermodynamic basis: Entropy. It is easier to break things than to make them. It is easier to destroy a culture or sub-culture than to construct one. It is easier to react in negative, hurtful ways than in positive, supportive ways. Life works at creating order at the expense of an energy input (ultimately sunlight, either present or "saved" in some way such as carbohydrates or oil). Also related to the problem: our likely fatal downfall as a species lies in the fact that the immediate consequences of our actions control our behavior much more strongly than the longer-term consequences do. Based on these principles, I think it highly unlikely that, given the immediate gratification that users have ALREADY RECEIVED from their use of the internet, many will subsequently expend time and energy giving positive feedback. Though I agree with you and would prefer that things did not work as they do, the results of your experiments to date and other similar experiments support this conjecture.
                                  


Joined: Jul 01, 2011
Posts: 13
Location: California
I just wrote a looong post about the tipping model. I hope it becomes widely adapted and used.

http://earlyretirementextreme.com/greshams-law-of-content-tipping-content-providers-and-providing-a-better-compensation-model.html/
Valerie Dawnstar


Joined: Dec 07, 2009
Posts: 165
Location: North Central New York
    
    2
I like the idea in theory and it seems it would accomplish it's stated purpose -- in our understanding of our current economy.  But what about those who are striving toward a gift economy and would like to see people motivated for the intrinsic value of their actions?  That's why people have started blogs anyway.  While I believe I will try it, I don't see this as moving away from a defunct economical system.


Furthering Permaculture next to Lake Ontario

Rocket Mass Heater workshop (Ernie & Erica Wisner) in April 2015 - https://www.facebook.com/events/298154697021978/?ref=2&ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming
                              


Joined: Jan 26, 2011
Posts: 47
Location: Colorado, Zone 5, Cold Semi-arid
Thanks for that link, Paul, and this thread.

I've wanted a way to monetarily "reward" content for quite a while.  I hate advertising, even the truly witty stuff is ultimately annoying for being what it is.

I see a lot of content that I like, and would like to give a bit to help out.  I like the idea that my one nickel could be added to several hundred more nickels, and that might just make somebody's day.  Cool.

If I produced content, I think this would be an equally cool way to get "rewarded" for going to the trouble of producing content.

Great idea.
                          


Joined: Aug 19, 2011
Posts: 4
love it! thanks for letting us know!
 
Have you seen Paul's rant on CFLs?
 
subject: tiptheweb.org
 
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