On framing the matching of the *increase* in pledge value

(This came up because the idea was included in an illustration idea at Ideas on how to present crowdmatching and budget limits )

For reference, the concept of more-and-more matching of each extra cent is something we presented early on at Snowdrift Wiki - The Snowdrift.coop Funding Mechanism: Crowdmatching — so the chart there is just another way to see the same pattern.

The math isn’t that far off, but the presentation is confusing. 10,000 people each giving a penny is $100. So, when the pledge value goes up by 1¢, the 10,000 patrons together give an extra $100.

Of course, in our crowdmatching, the only way to raise the pledge value by 1¢ is to get 10 new patrons. So, we actually get ~$200 extra because of the increase in pledge value and patron numbers.

  • Each of 9,990 patrons gives $9.99, project gets $99,800.10
  • Each of 10,000 patrons, gives $10, project gets, $100,000.
  • Each of 10,010 patrons, gives $10.01, project gets $100,200.10

Around 10,000 patrons, each penny more than I gave before is part of the project getting ~$200 extra (~$100 extra from the existing patrons plus ~$100 extra from 10 new patrons each giving ~$10).

@david noted this early on (EDIT: we’ve decided to deprecate that framing now).

Whether this framing is especially convincing or important, I’m not sure. But maybe this framing or variations of it could be tried to see how it connects with people.

Which math? I’m talking about this:


not being compatible with that:


Maybe I’m misreading this, but my problem is that we should not frame a cent being worth $100 when 10.000 people come together.

The difference between my numbers above and yours are:

  • me: 10 extra patrons = 1¢ more from you, ~$200 more for the project
  • you: 1 extra patron = 0.1¢ more from you ~$20 more for the project

Same math, it’s just that @fvila789 chose to do it by pennies (which is 10 new patrons) for the reason (I’m assuming) that pennies are easier to think about than 1/10 of a cent.

“Worth” is probably too strong…

the framing may be too complex for basic intro (click to expand)

For someone still learning about crowdmatching, the idea of “each extra penny is worth $100 (or $200)” is something that won’t be intuitive or obvious to many people.

A fully clear explanation is pretty verbose: “By 10,000 patrons, an extra penny from you (when 10 new patrons join) is part of an extra $200 for the project (from the combined increase of all the other patrons’ donations along with the new donations from the 10 new patrons).”

I’m not sure if we have (or can find) a way to say that where most people will really understand this readily enough.

The idea this gets at is just one of many possible variations of the general principle: each increase in my donation is matched by more and more patrons as the crowd grows. But that’s almost a truism if you already get the core concept.

Another variation: even as your donation rises, it’s a smaller and smaller fraction of the total. Many such framings are possible. Seeing crowdmatching from multiple frames may help some people reinforce their understanding, and some people may connect with one framing over another. But we need to prioritize whatever gets the most people to really appreciate crowdmatching and have the least confusion.

I think exploring framings like this is fine, but we need to test and refine them with people to figure out what works and what doesn’t. I could imagine having a wiki page or similar with many framings like this that we could test.

Don’t quite get the $200, my logic was 10,000 patrons * (+ 1 cent) = $100

The only way to get +1¢ is if there are 10 more patrons. So those 10 also add ~$10 each.

Let’s stick to talking about 1 additional patron for the moment to limit the number of variables involved.

I’m inclined to agree with @mray, that you are always being matched 1:1.

If there are 10k patrons, my decision to pledge/drop is “worth” ~$20/month to the project. Half of that came directly from me, and the other half came from people matching me. 1:1.

It’s true that I’m getting a “better deal” the more patrons there are: at 100 patrons, I’m pulling 1% of the weight; at 10k patrons, .01%. But that’s true without crowdmatching as well — the more others donating, the smaller a portion of the weight I have to pull.

I do think there’s merit in pointing this out, as a counterbalance to the fact that my pledge grows as more people join. However, we shouldn’t try to make it seem like this is a feature of crowdmatching specifically.

2 Appreciations

Yes, the biggest problem with focusing on the increase is that it implies that there’s a choice about increasing or not. And, indeed the only choice is to participate or not.

After discussion with @mray, I went further and removed the donut-chart from the mechanism wiki page, archiving it instead. It’s not crazy or technically wrong, but it’s certainly not the most straightforward way to explain things, and it could lead to incorrect assumptions.

We probably should just avoid this as too problematic. But:

The percentage of one patron is not a crowdmatching feature. But the idea that your extra increased donations necessarily come with identical increases from all the other patrons — that’s specific to crowdmatching. So, we could emphasize that basic fact.

Another way to put this whole thing: the 1:1 matching applies to all the increases in your donations too. But because increases only happen when new patrons join, each little increase in your donation always happens with the much greater than 1:1 increase that comes from both increases for everyone else and the new patron’s chunk.

Another wording: around 10,000 patrons, each extra penny out of your pocket is your part of the ~$100 in matching that is added to the ~$100 brought in from new patrons.

But we’re not going to focus on that framing, at least not in core introductory stuff.