Mechanism re-proposal: Preshold

Hi, my name is Sandra.

I haven’t been here in a while and I haven’t kept up with what’s been going on here.

My position is simple:
I think that the bigger the crowd, the less each individual needs to pay.
That’s it. That’s my whole schtick.

To me this matches the original analogy of “clearing the snowdrift on the road” better. Many hands make light work.

To achieve this goal, I proposed preshold as an alternative algorithm a while back. Some might remember it.:heart:

I’m not married to the specifics of that protocol but I am committed to the idea that the idea of “crowdmatching” (that your monthly bill will grow the more people join) goes against the original game theory analogy.

To me, no matter if it gets locked to a few cents of increase, it’s still unappealing because it’s so backwards.

2 Appreciations

Hi Sandra, nice to see you again :slight_smile:

I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on crowdmatching, at least until we’ve gotten to the point where we’re really launched and can get some experimental evidence in one direction or another. However, a few things have happened in the meantime, which I think you’ll appreciate.[1]

The main one is that @msiep proposed a new approach to crowdmatching, specifically to address the problem of budget limits and “kicking people out” of the crowd. We’ve been calling it percent-of-goal:

  • The project sets a goal.[2]
  • Patrons make a pledge toward that goal.
  • Crowdmatching turns off when the goal is reached. Aka, the amount a patron pays each month is proportional to the progress toward the goal, capped at 100%.
    • There’s a variant, which he independently (I think) came up with, that uses the same over-capping mechanism as preshold, which we’ve been calling share-the-burden.

As expected, a serious discussion of updating the mechanism before launch sparked an explosion of other ideas and proposals which we discussed in just as long and painful longer and more painful detail[3] as preshold. We eventually decided to change the launch implementation[4] halfway: The pledge process and match rate stays the same (everyone at $1/1000 patrons, so there’s only one decision: in or out), and crowdmatching will turn off at an amount we set (for alpha, we are going with $36,000 = $6 x 6,000 patrons).

After that, the discussion of further changes stalled for a bit, but started up again earlier this week with an attempt to distill down the different ideas to their essence in a way that they’re more easily comparable to one another — very similar to how you’ve summarized preshold on the page you linked (Thank you for the succinct summary! I was planning to go back and re-read our long discussion but this makes it much easier). We can add preshold to that list if you’d like.

There’s some more I could say on the crowdmatching topic — especially, we’ve started to use a different framing to describe crowdmatching, as being a way to scale human coordination — but this post is already getting long and I don’t know how much I’d be duplicating discussion in other places, so I’ll leave it here.


  1. Partway through writing this, @wolftune let me know that he already PMed you, so this may not be anything new. I've already written most of it, so I'm going to finish & post anyway. ↩︎

  2. In patrons or money, yet to be decided ↩︎

  3. Seriously, not worth reading, except maybe the single post that starts each of the threads, which you can find under the crowdmatching tag. ↩︎

  4. ie, when we'll announce that pledging is live, even though it has been live for a while ↩︎

1 Appreciation

We referred to it as sharing the burden in the original Preshold thread too.

It’s just what follows naturally from the Snowdrift analogy. Two people shoveling have to shovel more to clear the snowdrift than five people shoveling. More people share the burden.

What I want is basically that more people should not mean more pay per person.

I want that to be on the official carved-in-granite record that I think it’s is a bad idea that my bill goes up the more people join—even if it’s just cents, even if it’s capped, even if it reverses after some number, even with any amount of patches, hacks, vents, fixes.

My position is that it’s backwards, it’s demotivating, it doesn’t solve the issues with other models (such as gaming the system). If you let go of that idea I’d be into it.

1 Appreciation

Thanks for making that so clear. It’s great that we have that perspective represented.

Others of us experience the motivation of crowdmatching differently. Are you opposed to even the standard practice of angel-fund matching offers? For example, Internet Archive commonly has a fundraiser where they say a big donor has offered $10,000 in matching funds, please donate and your contribution will be doubled. The big donor is having exactly what you are objecting to: their bill goes up as more people contribute. I’m sure they do not find that demotivating. The big donor wants to give all of their $10,000. What’s your position on that common (and very effective) fundraising method?

2 Appreciations

We are repeating some of the exact same questions and perspectives as was brought up in the conversation three years ago.

Which I’m happy to do, for clarity’s sake.

What’s your position on that common (and very effective) fundraising method?

You wrote:

Let me put it this way: “if you pledge, 840 current patrons will donate more” is hugely motivating to me and many others.

I replied, back then:

OK, this paragraph did make a difference in my understanding of why you are so into crowdmatching. So there was a value mismatch after all.

For me, “[Big Corporation] will donate $1 for every $1 you donate” is motivating because it’s the faceless corp that I can influence. I’m glad to increase their burden.

Increasing the burden of my fellow individual patrons a la crowdmatching is demotivating to me personally. And then pledging to become one of those who can have my burden subsequently increased is also demotivating.

This post had more context and diagrams and a point-by-point outline/breakdown.

Let me re-reply to this one more time:

Let me put it this way: “if you pledge, 840 current patrons will donate more” is hugely motivating to me and many others.

To me this is something I viscerally—I mean in the gut, emotionally, just-feels-really-bad—disagree with. It’s not just how I tick. If you are right that many people feel like you on that (and I don’t have any data on that, I just know that I don’t), your take on crowdmatching will be a success. Good luck.

1 Appreciation

Perhaps the image in your mind is 840 people feeling burdened with extra cost, and you feel responsible for their extra cost? And so the whole story has a negative tinge to it?

Whereas in my mind, the story is that these 840 people are all sort of wishing that they could give all they can, but they are being hesitant and wanting to see that others agree, and when I join, I imagine them all feeling relief like “oh, I can give more and know that it’s because others are too” and they are smiling and happy and focused on their growing optimism for the outcome and the project and the social reinforcement.

Given that you are so clearly describing emotional reactions (as am I), there’s surely some significant distinctions in the stories in our minds about how we imagine people feeling and where their attention is.

1 Appreciation

Perhaps the image in your mind is 840 people feeling burdened with extra cost, and you feel responsible for their extra cost?

Correct. Thank you for hearing me on that.:heart:

Whereas in my mind, the story is that these 840 people are all sort of wishing that they could give all they can, but they are being hesitant and wanting to see that others agree

They all wanna give (say) $10 per month but they’ve all pledged that the fewer people there are, the less they need to each give. Which to me sounds reverse.

2 Appreciations

side-note: matchers and takers

There’s something here to Adam Grant’s concept of “givers” “takers” and “matchers” emotionally. Takers have a more selfish and defensive posture to others. Givers are generous and altruistic. Matchers are more transactional. I’m more of a giver but with trepidation. A common story is of givers who go a long time giving and get screwed over a bit too much and then burn out and become resentful matchers. I don’t want to encourage matcher attitudes or presume the world is all matchers and takers. But the dynamics of people being different in these ways does bring up a lot of relevant points about how the game theory plays out and what’s sustainable.

organizing discussion for what’s next

Anyway, don’t need to belabor this further here. The goal right now is that we have the different mechanism concepts clear and as comparable as we can get them in order to facilitate better discussion and decisions (and research).

2 Appreciations

A constructive and good goal.:heart:

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A separate issue is the whole quadraticity of crowdmatching. It doesn’t necessarily sit well with me that the more popular projects get proportionately more funding per donor compared to the more under-the-radar projects.

Sort of like in this XKCD image of a small, unknown project really doing a lot of good.

1 Appreciation

There’s indeed some orienting toward popularity, but it’s not exponential, it’s quadratic. Preshold still has a bit of this. Popular projects hit their thresholds and less popular do not.

As to the XKCD example, we can’t rely on democracy and votes and coordination to deal with upstream needs. We need to have the downstream projects take care of their dependencies. I do think downstream projects should more boldly and publicly list their dependencies.

1 Appreciation

Welcome back @sandra.snan ! Your perspective and input is highly appreciated, here and in these ongoing conversations. Just as an FYI, the current steps we are making towards a launch-ready mechanism include the potential for multiple formulas running side-by-side for different projects, in a sort of lab, as we figure out which steps to roll-out for the next iteration. Your earlier responses have absolutely influenced some of our recent discussions and I am excited to continue exploring them as we move forward.

2 Appreciations

With the XKCD example I didn’t mean only dependency issues. Just that small can be important.

Preshold still has a bit of this. Popular projects hit their thresholds and less popular do not.

This is a problem with all funding other than UBI.
Preshold tries to mitigate it somewhat by making the amount of money a project receives less of a factor of how many patrons it has. Of course, the monthly re-settable thresholds factor then partially mitigate that mitigation back into some amount of popularity contest.

Crowdmatching is a form of leverage a.k.a. gearing. Leverage/gearing can be good in some applications and bad in other contexts.

It can reduce or increase precision; in the case of crowdmatching it is reducing the precision.

I have a radio where when I turn the tuning wheel, it’s geared so that the real tuning wheel turns much more slowly than the one I move by hand. The gearing gives me more precision to find the right radio station.

Crowdmatching is geared the other way around. When a project is struggling because there are few patrons, well, with crowdmatching it will really struggle.

As a child I remember an explanatory comic book why insurance exists. Because you don’t know which house is going to burn. We share the burden. Fire insurance is a way to gear towards each separate home making a smaller investment, an investment that’s hopefully not even needed.

  • X, Y and Z all pay $33. Y’s house burns down. The $99 helps rebuild it. Contrasted with the “un-geared”:
  • X, Y, and Z all pay $0. Y’s house burns down. Y spends $99 out of pocket to rebuild it.

The gearing in that example is meant as a democratization effort, a fairness effort, a mutual aid effort.

The gearing in crowdmatching is tuned in the other direction.

  • X, Y and Z are projects in a non-crowdmatched, non-preshold, simple donor-ware world. X has ten patrons, Y has twenty patrons, and Z has thirty patrons. Neither can really make rent and all need day jobs, but the cup of coffee a week that ten patrons can buy is appreciated even by X. That’s ungeared. Now, the backwards-geared:
  • X, Y, and Z are projects in a crowdmatched world. X has ten patrons, Y has twenty patrons, and Z has thirty patrons. Y’s situation is the same as in the other world. Z is really blossoming and can buy luxury items. X got basically nothing. Nickels and dimes.

I would ideally want it to be tweaked a bit, adjusted. To give X, Y and Z the same amount of coffee cups (or whatever, I don’t even drink coffee, I don’t know where this “I’ll buy you a drink” euphemism for donationware came from) per month. X and Z pooling their efforts as a sort of, uh, insurance-style cooperation system to average out their support to reach Y levels. Or, if not the same, then maybe Z can give some of its coffee cups to X, maybe not to even out completely but a little bit.

Preshold doesn’t do that. Preshold is unskewed. This is a flaw in preshold, but, the “overshoot refund” (a.k.a share-the-burden mechanism) at least mitigates that by making sure that patrons to popular projects get a refund (which they can, optionally, give to other projects, evening things out overall).

Crowdmatching skews in the other direction.

The basic value mismatch between traditionally “left” politics and traditionally “right” politics is question “What is fair?”. Left says “From each according to ability, to each according to need.” Right says “Quid pro quo.” Now, it’s hard to reconcile those two groups, but in today’s day and age there are many issues where that particular “What is fair?” question isn’t very relevant—climate issues, diseases, externalities, exploitation, other obvious bugs in market capitalism that should be in the interest of all humans [even if not all corporations] to address, before coming to blows about “the fairness question”.

Left says “From each according to ability, to each according to need.” Right says “Quid pro quo.”

Insurance is a way to set up a “from ability to need” system.
Traditional donation/coffeebegging/busking–ware keeps it “quid pro quo”, kind of.
Crowdmatching skews it beyond quid pro quo. The less need you have (because you have a lot of patrons), the more you get. It’s the anti-insurance in that regard.

That’s not really what I want.

1 Appreciation

I appreciate the depth of thinking you’re sharing here. It seems to me to be still coming from a different set of base assumptions.

If the premise is a fixed set of patrons and costs, and it’s just about distribution, I’m not supportive of crowdmatching at all. Crowdmatching is not designed for that premise. Applied to that premise, crowdmatching has a popularity-contest effect. Or like the pareto principle: if 80% of the value comes from 20% of the projects, crowdmatching works against the 80% of lower-value projects that are nonetheless super important for a healthy ecosystem. We don’t want that result.

The entire foundational premise of crowdmatching is that we need to motivate latent patrons, currently freeriding. That the point is to demonstrate to the cynics that people aren’t entirely selfish and would freeride unless forced otherwise, but instead it’s the game theory coordination problem etc. If we can change from X Y Z projects with these small number of patrons to orders of magnitude more funding in the system, that’s transformational. We’re aiming to grow the pie. If anything is zero-sum it’s the desire to move resources from proprietary to FLO. But that itself would mean the FLO side isn’t zero-sum, it’s growing.

If we can get the amount of resources to FLO that the whole ecosystem actually needs, crowdmatching would be the wrong tool for allocation.

Put another way, my political views are in the from-each-by-ability-to-each-by-need direction. Crowdmatching exists in a reality that I assess as getting much less than people are able (and even willing, with the right motivation) to contribute, and the vast majority of projects are underfunded.

All that said, if we can motivate the same number of patrons to make the same resources available, within that, I want our mechanism to allocate according to need as best as it can. The way I’ve thought of that is outside the funding model. I’ve emphasized requiring projects to express transparency in their funding and build a social norm of supporting projects by need. So, I want to encourage patrons to pledge to projects with the most need and most value. If patrons come to the platform and look at the state of projects, we should be orienting them to care about where their pledges are most needed. That doesn’t have to be part of the mechanism itself though.

Anyway, we can and should continue these discussions when we have the mechanisms ready for clear comparison. We can have charts and examples with as close to comparable scenarios as possible. I think that will help. Something is off in the current discussion when two of us who seem to share values and politics are somehow disagreeing. The story in my mind is that the disagreements are not based in differing politics or values or worldviews or goals, those all seem to line up to me.

1 Appreciation

Yes, that seems like a more concise, and better, way to say what I tried to say with the whole gearing/insurance analogy.

Each month, the amount of patrons and each patron’s available donatable money is a number. The next month that number might be bigger or smaller, but in this moment the number is what it is.

That number will be skewed by the Pop-Con Pareto effect.

You want to increase that number, or, rather, shift money that people are “investing” in Beanie Babies, Charizards, and tulips, into growing FLO works.

That’s a fine goal. That’s why “which setup is going to motivate people to participate in the funding” is important.

I think freeriding is a good thing.
It’s good that people can participate freely in FLO culture.

As Amelia Earhart said in 1935:

Candle dipping, weaving and crude methods of manufacturing necessities are things of the past for an increasing majority. Today, light, heat and power may be obtained by pushing buttons […]
One hears a lament that a mechanized world would not be a pleasant one in which to live. Quite the contrary should be true. And it can be true if the fine minds who have accomplished so much in the realms of applied science will unite with the same enthusiasm to control their creations against social misuse.
Obviously, research regarding technological unemployment is as vital today as further refinement or production of labor saving and comfort giving devices.

That’s also why I like the share-the-burden mechanism.
We pay for the rides because we want the road to be clear enough to ride on, but, payers can get “cheaper” rides if more people pitch in.

In the giving/​crowdfunding/​Kickstarter/​Patreon/​gofundme/​bug-bounties/​Twitch-subscription/​YouTube-superchat/​Itchio/​DriveThru/​Bandcamp world, I see two kinds of money.

“Outside money” (money that comes from outside of the internet), and “community money”. “Community money” is money earned inside the online community (artists, journalists, musicians, many other things) via things like Patreon.

Alice makes fan art and has a Patreon up (which earns her “community money”). She also has a dayjob digging ditches (which brings in “outside money”). She spends some of her combined money on rent and some of it to her own favorite creators’ Patreons, let’s say she gives to Bob’s and Carol’s. Alice dreams about living on her fan art alone and not having to do her day job anymore.

A problem with this setup is that “community money” is never actually generated. It all starts as outside money, from people doing outside work, and becomes “community money” as it enters the online ecosystem. (Of course, some of it becomes “outside money” again as it’s being spent on rent and food and drugs.) The community money only sloshes around and is trickled up in a big popularity contest pyramid scheme. The more popular creators and projects get the most money.

I also really love some of those bigger projects and popular creators, don’t get me wrong, I’m not slagging them. I’m just not eager to continue to building on this pyramid structure. Or even ascerbate it, which to me crowdmatching seems to do.

FLO goods&services are de jure freeridable. That’s a feature. You record a song once and it can be enjoyed by millions of times. A dish at a restaurant doesn’t have the same property.

What we should build is a system that really respect the burden of generating outside money, digging ditches and such, for the working class. That’s why I put such an emphasis on trying to create a system where they, if they decide they want a particular FLO project to exist, only should have to pay as little as humanly possible for that project to exist.

Now, most “outside money” that exist come from the gambling halls of Wall Street and similar corrupt and gross shenanigans. Market capitalism’s two biggest bugs are externalities and exploitation and heaven knows that a lot of value is concentrated by those two mechanisms. That’s not a good thing and not something I want to depend on. I dig trying to fix that issue radically (for example favoring worker coops), or to trying to alleviate it via things like taxation or via really motivating donation schemes. And what’s the most motivating donation scheme? The one where you have to pay as little as possible but enough for the project to exist.

Some mechanims and systems can influence some people’s behavior to some extent some amount of the time. The “rules of the game” of the original snowdrift game is that the earlier you get out and dig the wetter, tireder, and miserabler you are gonna get, and the game theory is that that might influence some people into being less likely to go out early and shovel.

That is exactly the phenomenon that the original treshold pledge system (including, but not limited to, preshold) is designed to alleviate.
You sign up, but you don’t have to do any actual shoveling until there is enough sign-ups to clear that road.

“Safer giving.”

So let’s try to apply that to a situation where “flexible funding” (or, as Erudition calls it, “half-assed funding”) for some reason would be desirable. (Now, I think I read somewhere there is a lot of data out there that shows that flexible funding campaigns are less successful compared to fixed threshold campaigns. But that kind of data-gathering isn’t my area of expertise exactly.)

You sign up to shovel one hour, but, if fewer people show up, you only have to shovel a few minutes. “Symbolically”…? Because you are making a significantly smaller dent in that road, Pareto style.

The purpose of share-the-burden is, of course, that you sign up to shovel one hour but if more people show up—enough people to really start working on that road!—you only have to shovel a few minutes.

You summoned me and, after catching up, I see that the opportunity to clarify the mechanisms in this level of detail is now, and that’s what I’m trying to do here.

All I’m saying is that if today someone could give me convincing info that crowdmatching would fail, we wouldn’t proceed.

I wouldn’t necessarily go that far. Testing things out can be valuable.

However, it’s better that I write about my thoughts and ideas and analyses now while I have them, rather than wait until I’ve forgotten them.

That can help you both with your “patching/tweaking crowdmatching” efforts (which I don’t support) and your “implementation of alternative (‘better’, in my mind) mechanisms” efforts. After all, a lot of the difficult implementiation work made would be similar. Handling payments is hard.

The reason I brought up the question of “what is fair” is not to put your values in that regard into question. I just want to establish the larger context here.

All throughout yesterday, and continuing here, you’re approach comes across “We have different stories in mind and if Sandra could only adjust her story in her head, we would agree”. Something I opened the door to by, on IRC, saying:

Talking to smichel17 and wolftune about it is interesting because there is this original seed of an idea, the eponymous “crowdmatching”, that I never got onboard with and you both are very committed to and it’s become a lens for you, something you want to apply to every other protocol.
I never bought into that idea in the first place.
So crowdmatching seems to be a for-its-own-sake motivated thing for you.

And now you are serving up my own medicine to me. That’s fair, but, it makes me realize that we’re not moving forward, which was my hope by opening up that avenue of reasoning.

As you try to associate crowdmatching into various narratives, such as “people who are currently not donating but could afford to donate would donate”, please don’t abbreviate the narratives by eliding other facts and consequences about crowdmatching.

On IRC, I wrote:

Isn’t it correct that the core pitch of crowdmatching is that N (N rather than X since N here is a non-static, variable number) people get together?
They all wanna donate $10, but, they pledge that the fewer they are, the more they will withhold.
As the group grows, the less of the $10 they will withhold.

You responded:

[T]hat pitch certainly doesn’t get a “that’s right” from me. It’s definitely not the story in my head.

Is the issue that you hope that crowdmatching will motivate more people to join, or something else?

3 Appreciations

I think this is the key point of distinction. Crowdmatching is supposed to reach both freeriders and people who are currently not involved in the community. The N you discuss is real, but there are other groups that never considered themselves as a part of that group, but, we think, would join if provided the opportunity differently.

Anyhow, still split in many other places, but love seeing this active discussion and having everyone debate/question each others perspectives and assumptions. Thanks!

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agreed there too!

And there

That’s because it has no mutual assurance. If you pledge and nobody else does, you’re out 100% of your funds with nobody else helping.

There have never been any campaigns that work that way. Flexible is you sign up for an hour, and you still do your whole hour alone if nobody else joins you. Crowdmatching is the new mechanism where you do less than your full pledge and there is a mutual-assurance for you to do more.

Let’s make this clear: everyone agrees with some form of share-the-burden as soon as we’re in the state where projects are adequately funded. Our statement all along is that our hope is to get to where that is our problem. How to spread the burden is the problem we wish for. But right now, we have the problem of getting projects funded enough to sustain or reach potential in the first place.

That’s not the story in my mind. My story is: “if Sandra could fully get the perspective I have in mind, and I get the one she has in mind, then we would understand each other fully”. I don’t know what we would agree on and certainly wasn’t expecting that you fully understanding my position would mean that you would agree with it.

Getting to “that’s right” is about listening and understanding, all directions. It’s a potential step to agreement. Reductio ad absurdem: We could listen to some bigot and get to “that’s right” in our understanding of them, and that would have value in itself, but we still wouldn’t agree with their bigotry.

Yes, at its core, I do hope that crowdmatching will motivate more people to join. I also hope that it will be a sustainable motivation. I know that with all-or-nothing thresholds like Kickstarter, it motivates people to join but when some portion of projects fail (or worse, succeed in their campaign but it turns out the threshold was set wrongly and they don’t have enough after all), those people become cynical and discouraged. I’m not concerned only about what motivates an initial willingness to pledge. I’m concerned about what builds a sustainable long-term FLO ecosystem. And I see a large portion of projects not having the reality of an all-or-nothing state. I see roads that could be cleared to the point where there’s one lane you can slowly go over with risk of getting stuck all the way to roads that get cleared fully but with a lot of delay, the clearing is much slower than it could be.

Core tension: I don’t think thresholds reflect reality

This is why I want to get concrete with real projects and situations. The story in my mind is that most all-or-nothing threshold points are somewhat arbitrary guesses we use for practicality but 90% of the funding actually would make a difference almost no matter how you set the threshold. Setting it to 90%, 90% of that will still be useful. And getting zero until the threshold is met is something I imagine will both (A) discourage patrons and project over the long-run and (B) lose the actual progress that would be achieved with partial funding.

I believe there are projects where all-or-nothing thresholds exist, but I think we impose the idea on situations because it is easier to think about. I believe the vast majority of situations do not actually fit that model, estimates are generally widely off, and nearly every person and project and community could do more or less with more or less resources, and the thresholds are out of touch with reality and are a blunt tool we use just for conceptual simplicity. Thresholds are like a hammer, they make us see every situation as nails. And they will only accommodate the subset of projects where we can use that hammer effectively, and they force projects to do the extra work of conforming to that model even when it’s an ill-fit.

1 Appreciation

I can pretty easily be convinced that flexible giving without a threshold has advantages especially in situations where projects is far from being funded. The whole “You don’t need a penny just to hang around, but if you’ve got a nickel, won’t you lay your money down?” classic busking mentality.

I do believe that thresholds is the best-idea-yet to get cynics to contribute, but, I don’t see thresholds as as core as the following:

The whole “mutual-assurance for you to do more” thing. The quadratic curve shape. This doesn’t appeal to me. It feels “unfair” to me in ways that strike deep and intuitive. Like, when we were kids we hadn’t figured out the “one person divides, the other person splits” protocol so it was always a stingy measuring-tape-and-rules type situation. Learning about that pie-division protocol was like an immediate “Oh, that sounds fair!”

And the idea here that you commit to match each other by donating more and more is… uh, that’s not even the protocol as proposed. You don’t commit to matching each other’s donations; you commit to bumping your donation as a factor of head-count.

Even without a threshold it should’ve been the reverse:
You commit to donating $10 but you get to donate less if more people join. Let’s say two people donate $10 each, three people donate $9 each or whatever: the sum is still going up, so we get the benefits (and the drawbacks of “half-assed funding” that I and Erudition has pointed out) of thresholdless that you requested, but each person is “shoveling less” the more people join in. We get burden-sharing right away. I’m gonna call this the “many-hands” protocol. The scaling factor for each donation decrease with headcount N but the scaling factor is kept bigger than 1/N. It’s X/N where X is a number higher than 1. That way the sum will always go up even as each hand’s work is lightening.

2 Appreciations

smichel17, I disagreed with the multi-goal version of Preshold (the one that ended up being isomorphic to a stepped/quantized crowdmatching), but a multi-goal version of Preshold that ends up isomorphic to a stepped/quantized version of many-hands I could get behind.

This sounds to me like feeling a mild sense of disgust / revulsion / discomfort and then seeking intellectual justification for the feeling. What’s most insightful to me is that your intuition exists and is surely not unique to you.

That is one variant of the mechanisms which @mray has been emphasizing and proposing. It’s not the one we originally started with or the framing we have decided to use. The mechanism in which you give in proportion to the total funds compared to a goal, as @msiep originally suggested for our next iteration, that one is indeed matching each-other’s-donations. In that, two people could decide to bump one another higher by increasing their pledges.

The overall concept is that I do not want to start out paying all my taxes while the rest of my neighbors cheat on theirs. I want to express that I’m willing to pay my taxes as long as others are paying theirs… but I’m not willing to wait for some threshold to hit and live until then in a community that is totally broke and can’t pay for basic services at all. We who agree to already be paying our taxes are telling others that we will be willing to pay more fully the more we know that the rest of the community is paying theirs. And I’d still prefer progressive taxation of some sort where poorer people scraping by are allowed to freeride, but we need some sustainable equilibrium. We can’t have almost everyone freeriding or things break down.

How do I choose $10? I could do $20. What if very few others join? Hmm, I don’t really want to do $20 just on my own for very little results. Maybe I’ll test this system with $5. Oh, hey there’s another project that has a dozen supporters already… should I put in $5 there? Well, hmm. It’ll cost me $5, but the project will only get $3 of that (or whatever). Maybe by reducing the other patrons’ burden, they will be more likely to stick around long-term at least?

Sandra, how about presenting this as a formal mechanism? Even if nobody seriously advocates for it, I think this is a good thought experiment, a good comparison against which to test various hypotheses. It’s the sort of model I’d like to see empirical research done to see how people in fact pledge or not and how it plays out compared to others.

As a social signal, I see crowdmatching as a crowd saying “hey, we’re really happy to give more if it goes along with you helping, please join us and we’ll be even more enthusiastic, together we can change the world!” and your share-burden-from-beginning as the crowd saying, “hey, look we put our money where our mouth is, we’re doing this, but there’s more to do, and this is a real burden, would you please just come help out… many hands make light work”.

I could see a lot of interesting thoughts here. This simple proposal does have some form of mutual-assurance / interconnection. It’s not just unilateral giving. And it doesn’t have hard thresholds with all the things I complain about with those. What I want out of a good mechanism is flexibility, sustainability, motivation for growth, and explicit connection in how the crowd works together, building a sense of shared community responsibility where my participation is related to the agreement to work together and not just me choosing binary sides between self-sacrifice vs freeriding.

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