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[ox-en] Designing a currency for encouraging online outreach

I share my letter with the Oekonux list as a follow-up on my talk on "Social Infrastructure for Virtual Flash Mobs"
which we've pursued at  Andrius Kulikauskas

Thank you to Bala Pillai of MindEcos and John Rogers of the Wales Institute for Community Currencies for leading our Minciu Sodas laboratory into the promising area of community currency.

WICC is funding our lab to develop a "currency design tool" based on the research of Geoff Thomas, Becky Booth, John Rogers and Sarah James. Our latest version is at:
We appreciate your thoughts.  See also our further ideas at:

I'm also making steps toward designing a currency for our Minciu Sodas lab and our Open People network I'm coding pages where we can easily submit URLs that we think are noteworthy, but especially to our letters (such as at our Cyfranogi archive As each URL is entered, it will be possible to include excerpts or comments in the Public Domain. And then it will be possible to categorize those excerpts (such as thank yous, kind words, offers to help, requests for help, important ideas, introductions, welcomes, opportunities, statements of principle, strategies, etc.) It will then also be possible to note the people involved (such as the one who thanks and the one who is thanked) and credit them both. Each such instance is vetted by our community and the fact that we naturally keep noise down means that such expressions are quite genuine and therefore "sound currency". The result is that we can have a currency that is not "zero-sum" but whose purpose is to let us know who in our community we should be rallying round and not forgetting. Once a month or so, those people who have participated the most actively (somebody like Lucas) will get to choose how to redeem their points (we oblige them to!): - they can "cash out" (based on the modest income our community is earning through our lab's activities) - they can use their point for some of our non-cash rewards or services (such as our "virtual flash mobs") - they can use their points for decision-making power regarding particular questions at hand (for example, Lucas might say - I want our lab to reach out to the Spanish-speaking world!)
- they can give their points away to somebody else.
In this way, their sum is reduced and then next month or so we give the choice to whoever is on top.

In this way, I can give more and more "paid work" to our lab and network volunteers because so long as the work gets done it doesn't matter why. I think a small bit of money will go a long way if we can use the currency as a rebalancing mechanism.

Note that the record-keeping overhead is eliminated because we're using the natural "record-keeping" as our currency! I mean that there are 10% or so of letters (or activity) that we want to return to some day, and so by recording that we naturally highlight what is valuable. And then we may perhaps focus on 10% of that as especially needing to be "counterbalanced" so our community is vibrant. So really I hope this currency might serve to continuously recenter our community (help it find its "center of value") rather than to measure the tit-for-tat exchanges which I think is destructive.

Another way to think of this is that our community would want its resources to be primarily in the hands of those who are most generous. We want to keep returning our "money" to them - keep coming back to them for instruction. The kind of generosity that is most important to us independent thinkers is "outreach" so that we keep having a wider variety of minds for our social framework. So the resources should go to the parties involved in that outreach - those who reach out, and those they reach out to. I think we'll find a way to sort through the "excerpts" that we collect and figure out what metric is relevant for encouraging this outreach (and increase our "wealth as relationships").

Why do we need such a metric? We have resources that we can mobilize (I'm happy with our most reason virtual flash mob for Global Learn Day 8 Currently, we're relying on unilateral declarations which I'm not shy to make. But they would be more effective if there was more weight behind them, more of a social contract. Also, it's straightforward for me to declare support for Janet Feldman or for But it's much more subtle to realize that at some point we should get behind Lucas Gonzalez Santa Cruz, and explain that logic to him and others. Or what do we owe to Bala Pillai? How can we understand that? A metric helps us acknowledge each other and also (if it's multidimensional) helps us to convert that into some kind of authority vested (such as strategic direction) that is not reduced to one-dimensional money (and thereby diminished). [Bala, I'm following with interest the development of your MindEcos website. How might we connect with Open People?]

I think we'll be able to tap into this to help us reap economies large and small. This should help us motivate ourselves to grow our wikis. It should also help us rally ourselves to help each other in our paid work.

I'm also hoping that we can use this economy to connect with some of the larger companies like Hewlett-Packard, Apple, Sun, Intel. I and others have need for laptops and it would make sense for those companies to offer us (social entrepreneurs and social activists) equipment or discounts. In return, we would to offer something of value. I think that we can, through such an economy, mobilize people for them in ways that they can't through money alone, partly because of the overhead in using money for small rewards. Whereas I think that we can and do encourage many people to make very small contributions (and that can't be done by handing out one dollar bills). So I hope that OneVillage and others might help us contact such companies and figure out how we might work out such a useful connection. What purpose would it serve them? Perhaps something that helps them reach difficult markets (such as markets in exotic languages or niche geek cultures or specialty industries that we can reach out to).

What would we like such a point system accomplish?


Andrius Kulikauskas
Minciu Sodas

Organization: projekt

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