The old man’s plan?

Right down the old man’s plan for dealing with the child bullies and your own QIC (question, insight, connection).


an activity as an end in its own right; directly fulfill a basic desire; independent of downstream consequences; activities which are fun, interesting, or challenging; or, (broadly) anything people perform without external incentives
an activity performed to achieve some other outcome (KrautEtal2012bso, “Building Successful Online Communities”, p. 24, 41, 58)

Kohn: Why rewards fail [p. 55-63]

1. Rewards punish

2. Rewards rupture relationships

3. Rewards ignore reasons

… rewards do not require any attention to the reasons that the trouble developed in the first place.

4. Rewards discourage risk-taking

… when we are working for reward, we do exactly what is necessary to get it and no more.

5. Crowding??

How long can extrinsic “crowd out” intrinsic?


A single, one-time reward for doing something you used to enjoy can kill your interest in it for weeks. [13] It can have that effect on a long-term basis, in fact, even if it didn’t seem to be controlling your behavior at the time you received. [14] The reward may also spillover to spoil your attitude about brand-new activities, [15] in effect making you more dependent on extrinsic incentives generally. (Kohn1999pbr, “Punished by Rewards”, p. 74)

Why does extrinsic “crowd out” intrinsic? [pp. 76-79]]


… rewards are usually experienced as controlling, and we tend to recoil from situations where our autonomy has been diminished. (Kohn1999pbr, “Punished by Rewards”, p. 78)



Get rewards out of people’s faces…

Offer rewards after the fact, as a surprise…

Never turn the quest for rewards into a contest…

Make rewards as similar as possible to the task…

Give people as much choice as possible about how rewards are used…

Try to immunize individuals against the motivation-killing effects of rewards. (Kohn1999pbr, “Punished by Rewards”, pp. 92-94)

Are extrinsic rewards ever merited?



revamp homepage

There’s something about the way we present Gittip on the homepage that’s off. It has to do with the fact that talking about money can lead to resentment. Here’s where I think this first cropped up: #64. Things:

  • replace “top givers” with “patrons” (only includes explicit patrons, not just anyone)
  • replace “top receivers” with “user spotlight”–random profile
  • replace “new receivers” with “recent activity”–includes sign-ups but also other events (tip, toot, etc.)
  • add “communities”–show active + in formation

ex. Improve incentive system