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/r/EthTrader tried this with Donuts a while ago and it led to a community split to /r/EthFinance from all of the drama. Adding a monetary reward for comments and posts really skews the incentives of the community members who choose to participate. When you tie things like this to governance (your coins affect your vote weight on the polls) it really creates a perverse incentive for commercial products to come in and create astroturfing content to farm coins.

I think this is a neat experiment and it will be fun to watch what happens but I'm skeptical that this moves the subreddits in a positive direction.




> Adding a monetary reward for comments and posts really skews the incentives of the community members who choose to participate

People like to complain about FOX New's conservative bias (and to a lesser extent MSNBC's liberal bias), but they miss the fact that their real bias is towards viewership, and they've become news entertainment products, not sources of journalism.


I think this is a rather naive view of Fox News. There's a lot of money to be made in propaganda as well.


To put it another way, there is a lot of money to be made with confirmation bias.


You only make money with propaganda if their are people viewing it so viewership is very important.


That's an interesting way to describe it - that's really how I consider YouTube as well. The wacky conspiracy videos all do really well because they're interesting (in a what the hell is going on with this guy kind of way if nothing else) and entertaining while reality has a style more like CSPAN.


The conspiratorial and alt-political videos are an extension of reality TV online. Unfortunately if you expose yourself to too much of them you end up co-opting some of their views.

NYT did a really good job covering this recently with their podcast Rabbit Hole:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/22/podcasts/rabbit-hole-prol...


If you know how to think critically, look for and evaluate source material, account for author bias, etc, you should not be co-opting any nonsense views just by sheer amount of exposure. Think about nuclear engineers; dealing with radioactive material is not dangerous if you know what you're doing.


"co-opting some of their views" for sure happened to me. I don't think it's bad thing, though.

I'm curiously drawn towards anyone whom has people shouting "don't give them a platform!" or has suggestions that their ideas are so powerful that they may somehow corrupt minds weaker than, presumably, their own superior ones.

So I semi-regularly listen to these "alt" people. Alex Jones, McInnes, molyneux, and so on. The co-opting was largely realizing that in-between some of the crazy (there's a fair amount to filter out in Jones' case), there are these kernels of truth, often backed by government documents or reports.

The co-opting ideas, I guess, was a general realization that the common narrative doesn't necessarily reflect the entire reality. Even things which are presented as cut and dry, are often a frustrating messy grey once you dig into them. It's also given me a general skepticism of commonly held opinions about people in general. These "literal cult leader", "literal nazis", etc... have turned out to be less monsters and more humans with nuanced opinions which don't necessarily translate to 5min clips.


That is a very dangerous activity.

You freely admit that there's a fair amount of crazy. The signal/noise ratio is absurdly bad, even if we assume there's some kind of signal at all. The (usually banal, obvious) nuggets of truth are often intentionally thrown in as a way to make you let your guard down. If you are not 100% flawless at separating the nugget of truth from the shit, then over time your mind will inevitably fill with shit. Don't overestimate your own mental resilience. If people were half as strong-minded as they thought they were, there'd be no money in advertising.

Never listen to crazies. If there's something non-crazy in what they're saying, somebody non-crazy will be saying it too; listen to them instead.


fwiw, I actually think what you just said is significantly more "dangerous". "Cutting out someones tongue doesn't prove them a liar" and whatnot. As I mentioned in my (much disliked!) earlier comment, there's this strange notion to me that this wrongthink is so powerful, so alluring, so impervious to reality that no one can possibly sort through it, or reject it, or even walk away unscathed. That you need "mental resilience" to blanket shield yourself from someone's heretical ideas is a bit too 1984 for my tastes.

So, again, I'll throw on a podcast at the gym and try to form my own opinions. If you exclusively get your opinions from clips on twitter or reddit, I don't think the opinions you've formed are actually yours.

Despite being exposed to "dangerous" ideas (I assume you're mostly talking about Jones), I don't think inter-dimensional space aliens are actually behind everything. I've managed to stay at least partially sane.

...or maybe I'm just not ready to believe yet (dun dun dun!) :)


There are reasonable people who also can give you the "general realization that the common narrative doesn't necessarily reflect the entire reality", I would point to Noam Chomsky as a source of that very same wisdom but without the mania or toxicity.


I've always felt that the framing of "don't give them a platform" is off as it's more like "don't make me support and amplify these things I really disagree with".

Different communities are good for different things and there is such a thing as community standards. It doesn't have to get to the Alex Jones political level either, just think like how weird it is when people hit on each other on Nextdoor [1] or if some guy was trying to sell his lawnmower on Grindr/Tinder.

1 - https://twitter.com/bestofnextdoor/status/100265658134170009...


I think you really need to listen to the NYT podcast. Your comment eerily similar to the experience of one of the people they follow who was deep in the rabbit hole.


That's largely the point I'm making ^_^ but I'm just trying to clarify that it's not necessarily some scary negative thing, or that I've been warped or something.

I think of listening to them largely in the spirit of Lincoln's “I don't like that man. I must get to know him better.” There's an entire machine telling me to hate these people, write them off, or that they're overall "bad." So I listened to a bunch of their content to see what it was about. That's kinda it, really.

I haven't turned into some conspiratorial nut job or joined some cult (I don't think!). I listened to a couple of podcasts to try to form my own opinions. The output of the exercise was that I don't think these people are evil demons. I think they're largely just... people. Complex, right sometimes, wrong sometimes, and fun to hate on by the general media.


I may live in a completely different world here, but I've never seen a single conspiracy video on YouTube. All I see when I open YouTube is videos about science, tech, diy projects, etc.

What am I doing wrong?


You simply haven't viewed any conspiracy videos. My YouTube was very clean forever as well but a few days ago I saw a bright light in the sky (far brighter than any reasonable star or satellite I'd seen) and I googled around to see if there was anything about it online. Watched a YouTube video of a bright light in the sky with no explanation provided. Next day I watched a suggested Joe Rogan video taking about UFOs. Now a good third of my suggestions are UFO conspiracies. It's been getting better as I avoid them but YouTube was very quick to suggest multitudes of conspiracy because of a single Google search, and I had no history of interests like that.

So it's possible to have a reasonable and logical YouTube. However, even a single video can trigger YouTube's algorithm to attempt to pull you in.


I pay for Youtube Premium, but I find it curious (and objectionable) that their "View in Incognito" function (in Youtube) will not reflect Premium-ness. They show ads. They still know who you are -- because it's just an option to leave Incognito mode to get back to Premium/not-incognito mode.


Fwiw you can always reset dynamic recommendations with the "Clear History" button in the History tab.

Nice to do this every once in a while anyways, just to find another pocket of Youtube that interests you.


Yellow journalism has been around forever


Society has a short memory it seems.


"That's an interesting way to describe it"

This sibling comment response is literally giving me chills. Is this like a bot or something or someone who literally thinks the idea of sensationalist journalism is like a "huh that's interesting, never thought of that" kind of thing?

I am pretty sure sensationalist journalism predates real journalism... Why would a feudal lord want his subjects to really know what was going on in the world?


And it's not even ideological bias, it's more like the tribes from Survivor.

Joe Biden is more conservative than Donald Trump in a lot of ways, as far as ideology and policy go. But MSNBC viewers love him and hate Trump, Fox News the opposite. They're not fair weather fans, they're committed to their teams.


They should instead produce content that people don’t want to watch?


Ideally, they would produce content that people would, after watching, be happiest that they did watch (or most regret if they instead hadn't watched.)

This is my big complaint about Hollywood, too: if they charged people after the movie, instead of before; and 100% of the base price went to the theatre itself, while people could "leave a tip" for the filmmakers; then "box office" would actually correlate to the quality of the movie itself, rather than to the amount of effort put into the marketing campaign.


>This is my big complaint about Hollywood, too: if they charged people after the movie, instead of before; and 100% of the base price went to the theatre itself, while people could "leave a tip" for the filmmakers; then "box office" would actually correlate to the quality of the movie itself, rather than to the amount of effort put into the marketing campaign.

I suspect that the "box office" would correlate with how wealthy the audience was (or at least felt like they were) just as much as the quality.


I bet your scheme would get a lot more movies encouraging giving money to artists, tipping large sums of money, and targeted at rich people who have the money to give large tips.


> a lot more movies encouraging giving money to artists

Doesn't sound like a bad thing, IMHO.

> tipping large sums of money

This would kind of suck, given the stupidity of current North American tipping norms. But I'm not sure whether they could actually manage to communicate "the existing tipping system should be venerated" during an experience that directly involves exposure to/use of a different tipping paradigm. It'd be like watching a movie about monarchy, as the result of the audience holding a democratic vote on what movie to watch.

To be clear, it's a "different tipping paradigm" because of these properties:

• tipping would be entirely optional, in a selfish-pragmatist sense: there's no way in which a lack of tipping would get you blackballed from the theatre or even given a bad look, because the tips don't go to the theatre or its employees;

• you'd be tipping a collective of unseen workers far away who produced the experience a while ago, rather than tipping an individual close-by who did the work just now;

• there would be no possibility for tipping to get you individually a better quality of service, because your tip would be anonymized through the hub-and-spoke (studio-theatre-audience) delivery model. The studio would just see a pile of tip money, at best traced back to particular theatres.

Really, it's more equivalent to how film-festivals ask for donations; but they'd be asking for donations on behalf of the movie maker, rather than for themselves.

> targeted at rich people who have the money to give large tips

This is true, but 1. I'm not sure it's worse than whatever kind of targeting we have right now given the system's current inventives (which would be... cinematic populism?); and 2. this would put film in line with most of the arts, which generally run off of commissions/patronage.

Society doesn't generally outright reject the output of those fields of endeavor, despite their being mostly tuned to the tastes of their (rich) clients/patrons.

(Society does feel more "detached" from such works, though; there's a lot of "I don't get it" in art galleries, mainly because many works were created to be understood mostly by the patron and the social-milieu of people they showed it to, rather than by any passerby.)


> Doesn't sound like a bad thing, IMHO.

It's not really supposed to, it's just something to think about.

> But I'm not sure whether they could actually manage to communicate "the existing tipping system should be venerated" during an experience that directly involves exposure to/use of a different tipping paradigm.

They could emphasize how bad "being cheap" is. Make "looking poor" and "being stingy" be bad qualities that cause people to look down on you, that ruin relationships, and so on.


news 'ideally' has nothing to do with 'want' it is about the latest new information. It is not supposed to be entertaining, it is supposed to transfer information. Again, those are ideals, and reality of human behavior rarely meets them.


So do you force people to watch it? Nothing is being transferred if nobody watches.


CNN is really going after awards choosing luminaries such as Greta Thunberg for their COVID-19 Town Hall this evening.


Something bugged me about her during her 2019 UN climate action summit speech:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMrtLsQbaok

She delvers a "how dare you..." line at the beginning that gets a good round of applause. Then she continues with her speech. Maybe I'm armchair QB-ing it, but she should have called out the audience for clapping. They're clapping for what she's saying, but as world leaders, it's their failure she's pointing out.


I mean it wasn't in the script so why would she?


I think it _could_ work out well if posting a comment had a tiny cost. This would incentivize users to be mindful about what they write in their comments. I think this would be really fun to watch. The only thing is that there is a "chicken or egg" problem now, which would have to be solved with some sort of a donation from the Reddit itself.


Yes, I believe it's well understood in the social sciences that when you give people an extrinsic reward for some activity, it drastically reduces any intrinsic rewards they were getting for it. Some weird quirk of human psychology.

You can get people to do things out of the goodness of their heart, or you can pay them to do things, but it's really hard to do both at the same time.


Are there any schemes where it costs some tiny amount of eth/gas/whateverCoin to post content?

Theoretically that should decrease spam and increase high effort posts, but I could see it also reducing open source style contribution and increasing advertising masquerading as content. This is a hard problem to solve.


It is worth seeing if these negatives outcomes actually occur and of so they are not counterable in some way. If these risks can be mitigated then what is left is perhaps quite a useful tool - a metric for community contribution that can be used to make sybil-resistant governance decisions and monetary reward within a local economy.


Historically society has not greatly benefited by coupling governance power to wealth, but sure, it’ll work this time...


Yes, this is why governance in this system should be tied to your original earned points so it cannot, at least directly, be bought. The scheme that this system currently employs, for instance, is weight = min(earned_points, current_transferable_points).


So the only problem with a plutocratic system is that in real life the wrong people happen to be richest?


This is not governance of a state. It's governance of a private entity. Having token holders control the subreddit is no different than having shareholders govern a company. Assigning shares to owners, and having decisions made through shareholder vote, has proven to be the best way to govern large companies.


It’s not really clear if having a lot of these virtual tokens count the same as “wealth” though. Are there “wealthy” World of Warcraft players because WoW gold can turn into USD or are they just “rich?” I think it’s worth experimenting with at the very least.


100% Guarantee that anything with any monetary value will skew user behavior in non benevolent ways.

If the coin has no monetary value - then it could work, but then what’s the point?


Damn near, if not entirely, everything has monetary value to someone. Someone is going to want the premium features without putting in the work; they can buy coins from the people that do put in the work to buy the premium features.


The introduction of karma/upvotes had a similar impact on forums, and eventually led to forums improving in quality.

You could see karma/upvotes as a sort of proto-money, with a limited range of monetary qualities.

This just takes the same effect, and magnifies it, by fully monetizing those points, so I anticipate it will lead to better content and curation, just as karma/upvotes did when introduced.


I personally think it would definitely be useful to use the metric even without monetary value - imagine Reddit communities where the contributors have real, direct influence over rules, moderation style, mod team.


Why would that work?

The job of moderation is soul sucking and involves rule creation and rule enforcement. You end up dealing with rule breakers regularly as opposed to only occasionally, skewing your perspective.

There is little overlap with content creation.


Reddit: Mostly feature complete

Developers: Let's fix it with blockchain!


Ever use d2jsp back in the day? Massive community / forum with a currency tied to each user ( and a black market to go with ), atleast back then it worked

Perhaps with the reddit demographic it may be a little different, however I have always wondered what a similar system would be like on reddit


> Adding a monetary reward for comments and posts really skews the incentives of the community members who choose to participate.

This is something Joel Spolskey and/or Jeff Atwood brought up many years ago when making Stack Overflow.


"create astroturfing content to farm coins." - this is reddit already


BAT rewards have been live on seemingly all reddit comments for a year or so now.




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