Direct vs abstract replies in mechanism discussion

I’m posting this as a #support:meta reply because I’m hoping to discuss the issues with how we’re talking past each other. I hope to not see this topic itself grow into direct discussion of the mechanism details. I’m asking: why were the replies on the other thread avoiding dealing with the specific content that I posted?

Continuing the discussion from Patron based proposal for mechanism 1.1 (instead of $-based goals):

@mray I described very specific points. A game in which the goal will be met versus a game where it won’t be met. I mentioned the idea of contrasting two potential situations, like a counterfactual.

Your replies in that thread didn’t deal with my points directly. Instead, you seem to be switching to a different abstraction level as some way of avoiding engaging, even some claims that my points are somehow out of bounds or erroneous or irrelevant. But my points are fine, and you could just let them be or deal with them directly.

You didn't acknowledge my point about what's real or not

Nobody is counting money twice and there’s no mirage.

In a game between just you and I, if I say “I’ll give $5 if you do too”, then you can say that your decision to participate brought the project $10 that it wouldn’t have otherwise. I could say the same for myself. If either of us refuse to participate, the project won’t get that $10. It’s real $10. There’s no double counting. I’m not saying that I independently gave the project $10 and so did you. I’m saying that my decision and your decision were both necessary to get the project the $10. The fact that each of us only spends $5 to get the project $10 isn’t double counting. We both know what’s going on just fine.

If I instead describe my decision as either unilaterally giving $5 versus doing a matching agreement, then I’m only describing a $5 difference. If we consider both of us giving unilaterally versus as a matching agreement, then our matching agreement gives the project no extra money and the “matching” is an illusion. It all depends on what the alternative scenario is.

We could make the alternative be: what if we would each give $505 but when we make the matching agreement, we each only give $5. In that case, our decisions cost the project $1,000.

This is what I was saying about counterfactual. Every effect of any decision is only “real” in comparison to an alternate situation. And thus we have to consider what alternative is realistic.

Again, this logic applies to anything in the world. Nothing ever has any impact except in contrast to an imagined alternative scenario. The only question is which alternatives are realistic or worth comparing to.

To the point: if crowdmatching gets projects just the same money they would get without crowdmatching, then the matching is an illusion. If it actually gets projects more money, then that’s a real effect.

There’s nothing “wrong” with looking at the effect of a single patron making a pledge. (or with looking at any other two scenarios that have some specific distinction). Your rhetoric that aims to limit what scenarios we may look at is unhelpful. At most, it’s fair to ask that we recognize when a scenario is particularly bizarre or unrealistic.

Please stop suggesting that we can’t or shouldn’t or are wrong to look at real things in the mechanisms. If looking at something is leading anyone to make conclusions that are too strong, please criticize the process of coming to those conclusions.

This just completely ignores my points. I draw a distinction that very much changes the game in question. You focus on a way that the two games they are abstractly similar and then suggest you are “exposing the error of thinking” by using an invalid analogy. The difference between currencies does not create a different game situation. The distinction I described does create a different game situation (which I described clearly, but maybe visualizations would help see it better?)

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