Good Heart Week: Extending the Experiment

The Good Heart Leaderboard, at the time of writing.

Yesterday we launched Good Heart Tokens, and said they could be exchanged for 1 USD each.

Today I’m here to tell you: this is actually happening and it will last a week. You will get a payout if you give us a PayPal/​ETH address or name a charity of your choosing.

Note that voting rings and fundraising are now out of scope, we will be removing and banning users who do that kind of thing starting now. More on this at the end of the post.

Also, we’re tentatively changing posts to be worth 4x the Good Heart Tokens of comments (Update: we decided on 3x instead, and it just went live, at around 4:20PM PT on April 2nd).

Why is this experiment continuing?

Let me state the obvious: if this new system were to last for many months or years, I expect these financial rewards would change the site culture for the worse. It would select on pretty different motives for being here, and importantly select on different people who are doing the voting, and then the game would be up.

(Also I would spend a lot of my life catching people explicitly trying to game the system.)

However, while granting this, I suspect that in the short run giving LessWrong members and lurkers a stronger incentive than usual to write well-received stuff has the potential to be great for the site.

For instance, I think the effect yesterday on site regulars was pretty good. I’ll quote AprilSR who said:

I am not very good at directing my monkey brain, so it helped a lot that my System 1 really anticipated getting money from spending time on LessWrong today.

...There’s probably better systems than “literally give out $1/​karma” but it’s surprisingly effective at motivating me in particular in ways that other things which have been tried very much aren’t.

I think lots of people wrote good stuff, much more than a normal day. Personally my favorite thing that happened due to this yesterday was when people published a bunch of their drafts that had been sitting around, some of which I thought were excellent. I hope this will be a kick for many people to actually sit down and write that post they’ve had in their heads for a while.

(I certainly don’t think money will be a motivator for all people, but I suspect it is true for enough that it will be worth it for us given the Lightcone Infrastructure team’s value of money.)

I’m really interested to find out what happens over a week, I have a hope it will be pretty good, and the Lightcone Infrastructure team has the resources that makes the price worth it to us. So I invite you into this experiment with us :)

Info and Rules

Here’s the basic info and rules:

  • Date: Good Heart Tokens will continue to be accrued until EOD Thursday April 7th (Pacific Time). I do not expect to extend it beyond then.

  • Scope: We are no longer continuing with “fun” uses of the karma system. Voting rings, fundraising posts, etc, are no longer within scope. Things like John Wentworth’s and Aphyer’s voting ring, and G Gordon Worley III’s Donation Lottery were both playful and fine uses of the system on April 1st, but from now I’d like to ask these to stop.

  • Moderation: We’ll bring mod powers against accounts that are abusing the system. We’ll also do a pass over the votes at the end of the week to check for any suspicious behavior (while aiming to minimize any deanonymization).

  • Eligible: LW mods and employees of the Center for Applied Rationality are not eligible for prizes.

  • Votes: Reminder that only votes from pre-existing accounts are turned into Good Heart Tokens. (But new accounts can still earn tokens!) And of course self-votes are not counted.

  • Cap Change: We’re lifting the 600 token cap to 1000. (If people start getting to 1000, we will consider raising it further, but no promises.)

  • Weight Change: We’re tentatively changing it so that votes on posts are now worth 4x votes on comments. (Update: we decided on 3x instead, and it just went live, at around 4:20PM PT on April 2nd.)

  • Getting Money: To receive your funds, please log in and enter your payment info at​payments/​account. The minimum amount you can get is $25.

  • Catch-all: From some perspectives this is a crazy experiment, so I want to acknowledge up-front that if something pretty bad and unexpected happens we’ll do what seems best to us. Nothing is certain, and there are some worlds where we don’t end up paying out things that some of you had hoped. We’ll adapt as we go.

Go forth and write excellent posts and comments!