Intro video [previous version] feedback and discussion

I shared the intro video with a few family members, and asked for questions/comments/feedback. One response I got was:

It’s still confusing to me. What am I contributing to? And usually the more people join the less you pay. It’s unclear why it is the reverse.

I’m guessing they’re not the only one with this reaction, so I thought we could respond publicly, here. Then I can share this discussion (and maybe they’ll join in!).

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I’m planning a blog post about the video that will help clarify all the known issues it has and reflect on the ups and downs of the video process etc. But I can answer the two questions easily enough.

Specific public goods project(s) that sign up to our platform and that you choose to support.

We’re only focused on those that are significant, large enough, really deserve and need much more widespread support than they have already. When we get some initial projects signed up, the concrete examples will make everything clearer.

Short answer: each patron is saying, “okay, I’ll do more if you others will do more too” for projects that are still really needing more total.

Paying less as more people join is only usual for cases that are already fully-funded. It’s not usual at all for something with a long ways to go, such as most public goods and other charities or ambitious causes.

Imperfect analogy: consider a charity-raffle.

Consider a case where the charity is truly a good cause and the prize is not really a big deal besides the fun of being the winner. You want to support the charity, and it’s a funny social game we play to encourage one another to donate.

We all want the charity drive to succeed, so everyone is encouraging each other to buy more tickets. Each ticket I buy (or that a new person buys) reduces your chance of winning. But I don’t actually want others to buy no tickets so that I can win. I want to challenge others to donate more. For the sake of the charity, I want to see tickets sold to as many other people as possible.

So, as more people join, others put in still more. Everyone is thrilled at how much they ended up giving together to make a difference (that is probably still nowhere near enough to solve the problems the charity is working on). Few people would feel as good if they either (A) skipped the raffle out of selfish calculation or (B) gave the same final large amount to the charity while nearly everyone else gave nothing.


Again, it will be clearest once we have real projects on the site. Consider a generic example for now: “I would like robust journalism released as public goods with no paywalls or usage restrictions and free from the influence of ads or of specific major grants. For every 1,000 patrons who give with me, I will donate $1 each month to this particular organization doing that sort of journalism”.

Framing it as a pledge that way makes it clear: the reason we give more as more join is because we pledged to match others when they join us. [EDIT: I updated the video to better frame this as a pledge specifically — the thing each patron is saying (see updated video in reply below)]

Implicit in that pledge are two factors (A) that we aren’t starting off already sacrificing as much as we can and (B) that the job isn’t fully-funded already.

If we actually succeed at getting some project fully funded to reach all the reasonable goals and potential they have, then of course we won’t need to continue further matching beyond that.

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Well, I wanted to avoid extra work, but I already felt uncomfortable with the “everyone chips in more” line and how it felt… I think I can and will change the narration at that point and can better capture the feeling I really think is needed.

It will only require re-recording the narration (which is not a trivial task but totally doable). I’m going to do it.

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Lets get more feedback, and from a real situation that presents the video in the right context (assuming you showed the video not on the homepage).

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One thing that keeps on confusing me are the different terms that people have been using for various verbs and nouns within this project in general I think project clarification would also lead to the video being more self-evident to a lay person.
For example:
Supporter/Patron/Donator/Pledger
Pledge/Commit/Donate/Support/Patronage/Match/Give

Personally I think Pledge is more accurate than Donate. As you have pledged 1/10 cent per person who also pledged UP TO $10 Max. You’ve pledged up to $10, but then give only whatever the match level is.

The narration tried to avoid too much repetition of identical words as it can sound awkward… but the update I plan still will be at least better though not perfect.

We do clarify terms precisely here: https://wiki.snowdrift.coop/about/terminology

Not exact quotes:

  • Donate/donation: the actual giving of real money from a patron to project
  • Pledge: joining the crowd in order to donate monthly going forward

As is right now, you’ve pledged up to $10/month over all projects you support, but then only donate whatever the match level is. (“Give” is not a term we use precisely but is synonymous with “donate”)

I fixed the narration

There’s a ton of subtle ways that this is better (and even fits the visuals better). Some questions and confusion will remain, but this better captures the whole motivation and inspiration, the overall gist.

I think this answers the questions around giving more as more patrons join, but it makes only minimal improvement on what-is-being-funded (my answer above still applies, we’re not going to get that clarity better within the video).

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