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epiphyte

Micropay, Vote Or Dance For Quality Content

Unburied Treasure  

3 members have voted

  1. 1. Which system would you prefer?

    • Unlimited micropayments
      2
    • Limited micropayments
      0
    • Likes/Votes
      0
    • Dancing
      0
    • Current
      1


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epiphyte
The problem with forums is that they're full of buried treasure. Unless a thread is stickied, no matter how much useful information it contains... it will eventually be pushed off the first page. And then it will be pushed off the second page... and then the third page and so on.
A google search can easily help people find buried treasure... but, it can just as easily help people find buried trash! And the internet has a lot more trash than treasure.
What's needed is some group rating effort to highlight the quality content. Here are some possibilities...
1. Unlimited micropayments
Each member would have the option of using paypal to put money into their digital wallet. Under each post would be four coin buttons... penny, nickle, dime and quarter. If you value this post at a nickle, then you'd click the nickle button. A nickle would be transferred from your wallet to my wallet and the value of the post would increase by a nickle. I could spend the nickle on other posts... or save up my nickles and cash out and buy an orchid.
If I spent my money on my own posts... their value would go up accordingly... but my money would be transferred to the forum owner's wallet.
2. Limited micropayments
Everything else is the same as the previous system... but there's no paypal. Everybody initially gets a dollar in their wallet. If you spend all your pennies... and want to spend more pennies... then you'll have to earn money by creating posts/threads that other members spend their pennies on. The supply of money in the forum only increases when a new member joins.
3. Likes/Votes
Rather than using money to rate posts/threads... members could "like" posts/threads. There are quite a few websites that use "likes" (or votes) to rate posts/threads... for example Reddit, Quora and StackExchange.
4. Dancing
Bees dance more vigorously to communicate when they discover an especially good food source. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjPau5QYtYs.
Analysis
In order to help people find the most valued or liked post/threads... it would have to be possible to sort posts/threads by their value, likes... or dance vigor.
The problem with dancing as a rating system is that... uhhhh. We'd have to watch a lot of dance videos?
The problem with voting as a rating system is that you don't equally value everything that you like. For example, the most voted for post in the Reddit orchids group has 84 votes. This effectively communicates the post's popularity, but tells us absolutely nothing about the post's value. In order for us to have a better idea of the post's value... Reddit would have to facilitate micropayments.
It might help if you can see the disparity between like/value. Let's say that Netflix allowed all 60 million of its members to allocate their monthly fee. Assuming a monthly fee of $10 dollars... then here's what one of my monthly allocations might look like...
Pragmatarianism-Netflix-MMC-dollar-votin
Even though I like all of these movies/shows, clearly I don't value them all equally. The higher the blue bar (payment), the more I value it, the more pressing my perception of scarcity/shortage. The reason that I value The Man From Earth the most is because I perceive a severe scarcity/shortage of educational and entertaining movies. And the more money allocated to The Man From Earth... the faster we'd have an abundance of educational and entertaining movies.
Just like the more money allocated to the drought tolerant epiphytic orchid Laelia speciosa... the faster we'd have an abundance of Laelia speciosa. And the more money allocated to glowing plants... the faster we'd have an abundance of glowing plants. Can you imagine a midnight stroll down a street that has trees covered in glowing orchids?
The more money we pay, the shorter the path from scarcity to abundance. This is why limited micropayments are better than likes and unlimited micropayments are better than limited micropayments. We don't want to limit the incentive for creators to allocate more of their limited time/energy/effort/expertise to the creation of educational/entertaining posts/threads. Not biting the hand that feeds you? Good. Paying the hand that serves you quality content? Better.
Micropayments aren't difficult to facilitate. I recently proved this by programming/launching a very basic, no frills, micropayments forum... RudeBagel. Please sign up and give it a try! You'll find $5 dollars already in your wallet so you can see how it works. I haven't set up sorting by value yet because there's not enough content. So you can give me a hand by posting anything you want.
And to be very clear, the point of RudeBagel is simply to demonstrate that it's very possible for forums, and other websites, to facilitate micropayments. The code that I've written is publicly available and I'll do the same with any future code that I write. If anybody happens to be proficient at php then let me know. Given enough eyeballs all bugs are shallow! (Linus's Law... equally true for debugging orchids...)
The goal is for every website to facilitate micropayments. On the homepage of every website would be 5 tabs...
24 hours, week, month, year, all time
The default tab would be 24 hours. When you visited the homepage you'd see the 20 or 40 most valuable threads/stories/articles/videos/photos that had been created in the past 24 hours. If you clicked on the "all time" tab you'd see the website's most valuable content ever. On the right hand side of the page would be keywords/tags/checkboxes for popular categories. You could use them to filter out results that didn't interest you.
Right now the Orchids on Trees flickr group has 2,400 photos in it. The photos are sorted by date added... but you should also be able to sort by value and filter by date/keywords. And in order for the values to be correct... you should be able to easily spend a penny, nickle, dime or quarter on your favorite photos. Not only will this help other people find the treasure... but it will also incentivize photographers to supply more of those same type of photos.
The clear internet trend has been to make it easier and easier to share content. Each second a new mountain of content is created on the internet. When there's so much content... we're going to need a lot of prospectors! In order to accurately communicate to others the quality of a content discovery... we can either spend more money... or we can vote... or we can dance more vigorously.
Let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
Edited by epiphyte

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PALM MOD

We already have a "likes/votes" system here and nobody uses it. Look for the green up arrow at the bottom of every post.

And I don't know how you think we would integrate any "micro-payment" system into the core forum software. And any other method (add-on, extension, etc.) sounds like a major headache to keep secure and updated through all the version upgrades and patches that are constantly being applied.

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John Case

We already have a "likes/votes" system here and nobody uses it. Look for the green up arrow at the bottom of every post.

And I don't know how you think we would integrate any "micro-payment" system into the core forum software. And any other method (add-on, extension, etc.) sounds like a major headache to keep secure and updated through all the version upgrades and patches that are constantly being applied.

Dean, I liked your post....so I guess someone uses it! :yay:

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_Keith

We already have a "likes/votes" system here and nobody uses it. Look for the green up arrow at the bottom of every post.

And I don't know how you think we would integrate any "micro-payment" system into the core forum software. And any other method (add-on, extension, etc.) sounds like a major headache to keep secure and updated through all the version upgrades and patches that are constantly being applied.

Dean, I liked your post....so I guess someone uses it! :yay:

Dean, I liked your post, too, both figuratively and literally now that I have noticed that feature. Perhaps, if not too much work, it could be brought out a little more.

All of that other stuff is way too much, imho. I prescribe to the quote, "Perfection is Achieved Not When There Is Nothing More to Add, But When There Is Nothing Left to Take Away"

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epiphyte

We already have a "likes/votes" system here and nobody uses it. Look for the green up arrow at the bottom of every post.

And I don't know how you think we would integrate any "micro-payment" system into the core forum software. And any other method (add-on, extension, etc.) sounds like a major headache to keep secure and updated through all the version upgrades and patches that are constantly being applied.

I had no idea that the green up arrow was a "likes/votes" button.

Regarding integration of micropayments... in theory... new features/functions should be based on demand. "In theory". When I suggested that the Orchid Society of Southern California (OSSC) create a facebook page for their society... I was met with a lot of blank faces (zero demand). One person asked why the OSSC would need a facebook page. But I went ahead and created one anyways and now it's up to around 1500 likes... OSSC on facebook.

I'm pretty sure that facilitating micropayments is an infinitely better idea than creating a facebook page for a plant society. Micropayments would allow us to know the demand for new features/functions. It would also allow us to know the demand for topics.... such as tours.

Here's an awesome thread... The Garden of Loran Whitelock. What's the demand for it? We don't know. Freakypalmguy took the time and made the effort to photo document and share a wonderful garden that most people never had a chance to see in person. Did freakypalmguy do it for money? No. But if we had the option to give him money for doing so... then giving him money wouldn't be for him... it would be for us.

If his thread received a total of $10 dollars... sure, freakypalmguy could go out and buy a palm seedling. But what we, as consumers get, is the chance to put $10 dollars into every person's head. If you happen to get the opportunity to visit a wonderful garden... the $10 dollars will be floating around in your head. You'll know what the demand is for you to make the effort to take and share photos with the rest of us. The $10 dollars allows you to make an informed decision whether it's worth it to supply something that we demand.

Personally, I was fortunate enough to visit Whitelock's garden as well. I didn't take as many photos as freakypalmguy... but being an epiphyte enthusiast... I certainly took different photos. Most of these photos aren't on the internet... they are sitting on my computer. Knowing the demand for freakypalmguy's thread would help me make an informed decision whether it's worth it to share the photos with the rest of you. The greater the demand for his thread... the greater the chances that I'll make the effort to supply more of the same.

Am I the only member of this forum that has unshared photos of Whitelock's garden sitting on his computer? Probably not. Am I the only member of this forum that has unshared photos of palms in Afghanistan? Maybe?

A market for palms is important because consumers incentivize producers to take the time and make the effort to germinate palm seeds. Take away the market for palms and sure, some people are still going to grow palms from seed. But the supply would be decimated. The variety and quantity of palms would largely disappear. Gardens both public and private would have a lot less palms.

Is a market for palm information more or less important than a market for palms? Whether we're talking about the time and effort involved in growing palms from seed... or the time and effort involved in documenting and sharing photos from a wonderful garden... it's all time and effort. If we want more palms and more palm information... then we need a market. Facilitating micropayments would turn this forum into a market.

Well... while I'm at it... might as well dig into the economics a bit more. The difference between a market for palms and a market for palm information is the free-rider problem. You can read/enjoy/consume freakypalmguy's thread whether or not you pay for it. So why pay for it if you don't have to? Well... I already answered that question. If you enjoy it... then paying for it increases the chances that more people will supply more of the same.

Facilitating micropayments doesn't eliminate the free-rider problem.... it eliminates the forced-free-rider problem (FFRP). The FFRP is where somebody would be willing to pay a little something for an awesome thread... but they can't because the option isn't available. Facilitating micropayments gives them the option... and hence eliminates the FFRP.

The free-rider problem would be eliminated if enough forums facilitated micropayments. This is because each forum would experiment with different methods of dealing with free-riders. If the OrchidBoard charged each member $1 dollar/year... but allowed them to allocate their pennies to their favorite threads... would this result in a larger supply of awesome threads? If so, then other forums would follow suit and experiment with charging $2 dollars/year. If this forum offered members perks/privileges/parades based on contribution sizes like the Huntington does... and this resulted in a larger supply of awesome threads... then other forums would follow suit.

Anyways, I know it sounds like a hassle to integrate micropayments. But I'm pretty sure a market for palm information is just as important as a market for palms is. A palm market depends on information. A better (and more accessible) supply of palm information will certainly result in a better palm market.

My friend Gene always goes around with his palm "bible" in his pocket. The first time I saw it I was green with envy, "Hey! How come the OSSC doesn't have the same thing!?" Whoever put that little palm bible together had the right idea. It helps palm consumers make informed decisions. It increases the chances they'll choose palms that will thrive. And that's what plant societies should be all about.

Nowadays the idea of a printed booklet is "quaint". Nearly everybody has a smart phone in their pocket. Every person interested in buying a palm should be able to search this forum for the palm and quickly find the most valuable thread/post. What's the most value thread/post on Elaeis guineensis or Raphia farinifera or Ravenea xerophila or Roystonea elata? These are just a few of the palms that orchids grow on in the wild... heh.

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John Case

Maybe I am dense here (many would agree) but I am trying to figure out what the point of this exercise is. I have no idea what the micropayments are or what the money would be used for. The amounts talked about are so small that I do not any incentive at all for anyone to react to wither getting these payments or receiving them.

Maybe a short description of how the money flows and why anyone would pay to see something that today can be seen for free? The IPS reserves the copyright and pays for the operation of this website.......wouldn't they be within their rights to claim some monetary benefit if money to see posts was flowing between users, especially those that use PT but are not IPS members.

I just do not get it.

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PALM MOD

I'm with you John - I don't get it. I anticipate that the cost to managing and administrating to the software and accounting that would keep track of all these payments, would cost more than the payments.

I would assume payments would be made electronically through PayPal, Credit Card, Google Wallet, ApplePay, direct withdrawals, etc. But by whatever means, a lot of people's private sensitive data would have to be either stored, encrypted, and securely protected, or entered manually on a one time basis for each transaction.

And if it was stored, a successful hack of that data would open the IPS to liability (like Target, Home Depot, etc). It sounds like a nightmare. Just collecting memberships once a year is an expensive and substantial accounting task.

BTW epiphyte- what is this "Palm Bible" you are speaking of?

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epiphyte

bepah, the point of paying is to let producers know that they are on the right track. The more money you give them... the greater the chances that they'll stay on the right track. And the greater the chances that other producers will get on the same track.

I grow quite a few different types of plants... but two of my favorite groups are tree Aloes and epiphytes. Let's say that I post a thread about tree Aloes... and another thread about epiphytes. If you spend 0 cents on my tree Aloe thread... and 25 cents on my epiphyte thread... then you're communicating to me that the epiphyte topic is the right track. And the more people that communicate the same thing.... the greater the chances that I'll write more about epiphytes and less about tree Aloes.

Does this make sense?

The IPS would get money when forum members spend money on their own threads/posts. If I create a thread about epiphytes and spend $1 dollar on it... then I'd essentially be telling all of you... "Hey! Y'all! Epiphytes are the right track!" It wouldn't make sense for the $1 dollar I spend on my own thread to go back into my digital wallet. Therefore, it would go into the IPS's digital wallet.

The IPS would get rich quick! Well... I have no idea how much money people would spend on their own posts. But I'm pretty sure that it's a lot more than the IPS could make from banner ads.

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John Case

bepah, the point of paying is to let producers know that they are on the right track. The more money you give them... the greater the chances that they'll stay on the right track. And the greater the chances that other producers will get on the same track.

I grow quite a few different types of plants... but two of my favorite groups are tree Aloes and epiphytes. Let's say that I post a thread about tree Aloes... and another thread about epiphytes. If you spend 0 cents on my tree Aloe thread... and 25 cents on my epiphyte thread... then you're communicating to me that the epiphyte topic is the right track. And the more people that communicate the same thing.... the greater the chances that I'll write more about epiphytes and less about tree Aloes.

Does this make sense?

The IPS would get money when forum members spend money on their own threads/posts. If I create a thread about epiphytes and spend $1 dollar on it... then I'd essentially be telling all of you... "Hey! Y'all! Epiphytes are the right track!" It wouldn't make sense for the $1 dollar I spend on my own thread to go back into my digital wallet. Therefore, it would go into the IPS's digital wallet.

The IPS would get rich quick! Well... I have no idea how much money people would spend on their own posts. But I'm pretty sure that it's a lot more than the IPS could make from banner ads.

I do not think that I agree with your analysis on how much people would pay to either post threads or to read them. Today, the barrier of entry for both of these activities is low (free). If a charge for these activities was to be initiated, usage of PalmTalk would quickly go to zero as active users would quickly migrate to other platforms, which already exist.......you must understand human behavior to make use of economics.....

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_Keith

I do not think that I agree with your analysis on how much people would pay to either post threads or to read them. Today, the barrier of entry for both of these activities is low (free). If a charge for these activities was to be initiated, usage of PalmTalk would quickly go to zero as active users would quickly migrate to other platforms, which already exist.......you must understand human behavior to make use of economics.....

Agreed.

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epiphyte

bepah, posting and reading would be entirely free. Micropayments would just be for "boosting" a thread/post.

Right now we're in the "ADMINISTRATION" category. If you click that link you'll see that this thread of mine is at the top of the list. This is because the default sorting for categories is the date of the last post. This thread has the most recent post/reply... which is why it's at the top of the list.

If we facilitated micropayments... then you'd have the option of sorting all the threads in this category by their value. And "value" is the total amount of money that's been spent on a thread.

Let's say that we facilitated micropayments and I sorted this category by value. Would my thread still be at the top of the list? I don't know. But let's say it was at the very bottom of the list. It was all the way on the 5th page. If I wanted it to be on the fourth page... then I'd boost my thread. I'd spend just enough money on it so that it jumps from the 5th page to the 4th page. You could boost my post as well. The more people that boost my thread... the closer it gets to the first page.

When other people boost my post... the money goes into my wallet. When I boost my own post... the money goes into the IPS's wallet.

So posting and reading are entirely free. Paying is only an issue if you want a thread or post to show up higher on the list when people sort by value.

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PALM MOD

This is totally a moot point until there is some compatible, tested, and supported software available that would do what you are proposing.

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epiphyte

This is totally a moot point until there is some compatible, tested, and supported software available that would do what you are proposing.

I already created most of the software and have a demo forum up and running... rudebagel. I haven't written the code to sort by value yet though. It's not difficult... it would just take a bit of time.

If the palmtalk forum was based on the free forum software... phpbb... then it would be really easy to make the necessary changes to facilitate micropayments. I would be happy to do it for free. Or walk somebody through the steps.

But this forum isn't based on phpbb software... it's based on invisionpower forum software... which isn't free. Unless you folks are getting a non-profit deal?

Both forum systems are written in php... so the code that I've written would still work. But I'm not sure if invisionpower allows its software to be modified. Probably not.

So in order to facilitate micropayments...

1. invisionpower would have to update its software accordingly... and I'd be happy to give them my code

2. palmtalk would have to switch over to phpbb

I would be surprised, pleasantly so, if invisionpower updated their software to facilitate micropayments. I think they'd have to lose quite a few customers before they realized the value of facilitating micropayments.

Regarding switching over to phpbb... on the one hand you'd save money (assuming you're paying money for the invisionpower forum software). Plus, you'd have 100% control over the software. On the other hand... there would be inevitable gripes and complaints because nobody likes change.

Facilitating micropayments is entirely feasible. Whether it's worth it to do so is open to debate.

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