Paying Community Members?


(Patrick Curtis) #1

Some of my community members on were recently joking that they wish that the Silver Bananas WSO awards for good content (peer reviewed, like an upvote) was actually worth real $.

I’m not opposed to paying out the top members for their great contributions should they want a token of appreciation. For example, if you set the price at say ~$0.05 per silver banana, even the most active member probably wouldn’t pass $200, but I’m more concerned about incentives and actually skeptical that it would encourage more participation (feels more like a job than a fun hobby to give advice)…

I was wondering has anyone seen any research on this topic?

thank you!

(Sarah Hawk) #2

Interesting topic!

Caveat: I haven’t come across any research or ever even seen this model in action, so these are just my thoughts.

In the past I’ve managed a community where people had to post x times before they were allowed a forum signature. Back in those days signatures were like gold (it was a dev community and people used them to advertise) so people fought hard for them. The upshot was a forum full of absolute rubbish. People posted fluff just to bump their count. We ended up canning it.

I imagine if you limited it to a group of people that had already earned a certain trust status that that may not happen, but then you might ostracise the rest of the community.

This model also makes me think of ambassadorial programs where people are financially incentivised to be part of the community/program. It can work, but the motivations for being involved are very different to those of a community based on intrinsic motivators. I imagine it could have a place if some people were in a mentor type role and were paid to support others. This topic is about that situation – it’s different to your question but it has some similarities and is worth a read.

My questions to you are what benefit do you see in paying people? And what constitutes a post worth paying for?

(Richard Millington) #3

Hey @Patrick_Curtis.

It’s a really interesting idea. I’d really recommend against it though. Once you start paying people you start creating really perverse and difficult to predict behavior and @HAWK mentions above.

The psychology against it is pretty strong too. Not to mention you might attract a flood of hackers who game the system.

Once tool you can use though is something we did in my very first paid role. Each month we totaled the scores of everyone that took an action.


Mike - 735 upvotes
Sarah - 425 upvotes
Jon - 321 upvotes.

Then did a raffle for a prize of some small value. Each upvotes equates to 1 ticket.

So the best contributor is the most likely to win, but it’s not a gaurantee.

Bitcoin’s mining system worked well on a similar principle to this too.

(kafka tamura) #4

This is an interesting question. A community that does this already exists so if you want to see the effects I’d check it out. The site is . They pay people in the steem cryptocurrency so how much you make is really dependent on steem coins value during that moment in time.

(Richard Millington) #5

Ah, yes, I remember @etherpunk talking about this some time back.

I haven’t spent much time digging into Steemit yet. I just signed up to it though and will see how it goes.

(Marcin Hakemer-Fernandez) #6

Let us know how it goes :slight_smile:

(Robert McIntosh) #7

I’ve been mulling over something like this, but not where the owner of the community pays, but where THE COMMUNITY pays

What you might consider is whether it is worth considering a community-currency where all members have to buy-in to the currency, and it is THEY who pay, and receive, the value.

In this way, it is about rewarding the exchange of information/education/entertainment value that each member receives from others - so if I LIKE your post, you get $0.02 (or whatever) but I spend the same amount, so it really has to matter to me.

I think this avoids the worst of the hacks and gaming of the system (since there is no system, but people).

It is not flawless, and you still need to consider the implications of the financialisation of the relationship between community members, but I do think it would be interesting.

Imagine if you really had to pay to post, like, share or comment on Facebook or Twitter - how much of the worst content might be removed??

Just a thought :slight_smile:

or to put it another way, just my $0.02 worth (feel free to transfer in BITCOIN if you want)

If you were designing a new platform today
(Patrick Curtis) #8

interesting, thank you Richard! sorry for delay in responding as well :slight_smile: