Determining The Importance Of Things

2019-01-13T05:31:43.000Z Honest Cash

Just how important is quadratic voting (QV) anyways? For those of you who don’t know, QV is where you can buy votes, but the more you buy, the more expensive they become…

1 vote = $1
2 votes = $2
3 votes = $9
4 votes = $16
5 votes = $25

The point of QV is to measure some preference intensity without giving too much influence to rich people.

QV is the brainchild of Glen Weyl who recently teamed up with Vitalik Buterin to try and test QV and other ideas such as Harberger taxes. In order to help facilitate this goal they started an organization called RadicalxChange. Yesterday I joined their forum and created this thread


What does everybody think about QV? I think it's better than regular voting, but not as good as spending.

At a dog show the dogs are judged by a small handful of experts. Alternatively the dogs could be ranked by everybody voting. A third method would involve the dogs being ranked by donations. All the money could be given to the Humane Society, for example.

ranking by committee = socialism
ranking by voting = democracy
ranking by spending = market

Each ranking system is very different, so each one would rank the dogs very differently.

Of course the dogs could also be ranked by QV… and the ranking would fall somewhere in between the democratic ranking and the market ranking.

A dog show can be used to safely test and compare different allocation systems, yet… this has never been done. Does this blow your mind? It sure blows my mind.

How much do you think this experiment would cost? I'm guessing that it would be a lot less expensive than the upcoming conference.

Admittedly, perhaps the results would be a bit ambiguous. Like, here are the top-ranked dogs for each system….

socialism: pug
democracy: chihuahua
QV: poodle
market: golden retriever

Well, if you think that poodles are truly the best dog, then you'd join team QV. Or perhaps before doing so you'd want to see more evidence.

The same experiment could be conducted with countless things… movies, restaurants, books, economists, scholarly papers… threads in this forum.

So why aren't these experiments being conducted? Why do we endlessly debate different economic systems rather than simply and safely test them?


I’ve never been to a dog show before. Have you? Do you have a dog? I used to have dogs but now I have a cat. It isn’t my cat though, it’s my ex’s cat. She didn’t want to take it with her so I got stuck with it…

Two heads are better than one.

Yesterday my friend on Twitter posted this tweet and this other tweet about the Payless shoe prank. It’s pretty elaborate but they basically set up a fake fancy shoe store and invited a bunch of fashion “influencers” to see what they thought were luxury shoes. Some of the influencers actually spent hundreds of dollars for the shoes, which were really just Payless shoes. Afterwards Payless gave them their money back.

Here’s a paragraph from each article…

“The Palessi prank shows that people are not good at quantifying the value of products in dollars and cents. The problem of value quantification often arises because we don’t identify the important features that matter and assess their quality. And this happens because we don’t pay enough attention in inspecting these features.” - Utpal Dholakia, Why Did People Pay $600 For a Pair of $20 Payless Shoes?

“Payless products typically sell for less than $40. Most consumers aren’t able to discern premium construction from less expensive materials just by holding a shoe, especially if the product is styled to copy a luxury brand. The proof of quality is in the wearing, which can take weeks to determine. And some customers simply don’t care about quality if the style speaks to them.” - Wharton's Barbara Kahn and Lehigh University's Ludovica Cesareo discuss the Payless 'Bruno Palessi' prank.

With this in mind, let’s go back to the example of the dog show. There are certain objective standards that dog experts can use to judge a dog. Like… I don’t know. I’m not a dog expert. But here’s the thing… the judges, as a group, can’t have owned every single breed of dog. A group of judges might be able to give you a bunch of facts about lots of different breeds, but they can’t actually know what it’s like to live with them all.

What about all the people at the dog show? How many people is that anyways? In any case, as a group they probably can’t have owned every single breed of dog, but they certainly have lived with far more breeds than the judges have. The people at the show have collectively picked up far more dog poop than the judges have. The people at the show have also collectively spent far more money at the vets… and dealt with far more angry neighbors… and posted far more “lost dog” flyers… and…

Maybe it will help to borrow the wording from the second article… the proof of dog quality is in the owning, which can take years to determine. Owning a rottweiler puppy isn’t the same thing as owning a full grown rottweiler.

If you’re going to get a dog then naturally before you do so you should be able to easily tap into society’s vast dog experience and knowledge. Therefore… democracy?

A breed that’s owned by a lot of people is certainly popular. But what are the chances that the most popular breed is also the most wonderful?

Let’s switch to the age-old question of whether dogs or cats are better…

In order to really answer this question, we have to figure out which animal is more loved by society. Love is a function of sacrifice…

Here’s another age-old question… is Cent or Honest Cash (HC) better? It’s age-old in terms of the internet. Time flies so much faster here.

In case you missed it I did a comparison of Cent and HC. Maelstrohmblack promptly joined HC and his first post there was about Cent, which he posted about on Cent. Matthew replied…

“What are your thoughts and impressions after using Honest Cash? More than a handful of Centians have been talking about it recently. Anything that they are nailing out of the park?”

Maelstrohmblack answered…

“I'll have to wait before I can actually comment with an educated answer, as this is the one and only post I have produced since I joined that platform…”

Not too long afterwards, a member of HC… AnarchoVegandecided to give Cent a try.

What type of relationship should Cent and HC have? Maybe the most obvious answer is that their relationship should be purely competitive. Generally speaking, competition among producers is beneficial to consumers.

“So far as this is the case, it is evident that government, by excluding or even by superseding individual agency, either substitutes a less qualified instrumentality for one better qualified, or at any rate substitutes its own mode of accomplishing the work, for all the variety of modes which would be tried by a number of equally qualified persons aiming at the same end; a competition by many degrees more propitious to the progress of improvement than any uniformity of system.” - J.S. Mill, Principles of Political Economy with some of their Applications to Social Philosophy

Here’s how Hayek put it…

“It is probably true that, at any given moment, a unified organization designed by the best experts that authority can select will be the most efficient that can be created. But it is not likely to remain so for long if it is made the only starting point for all future developments and if those initially put in charge also become the sole judges of what changes are necessary. It is an error to believe that the best or cheapest way of doing anything can, in the long run, be secured by advance design rather than by the constant re-evaluation of available resources. The principle that all sheltered monopolies become inefficient in the course of time applies here as much as elsewhere.

True, if we want at any time to make sure that we achieve as quickly as we can all that is definitely known to be possible, the deliberate organization of all the resources to be devoted to that end is the best way. In the field of social security, to rely on the gradual evolution of suitable institutions would undoubtedly mean that some individual needs which a centralized organization would at once care for might for some time get inadequate attention. To the impatient reformer, who will be satisfied with nothing short of the immediate abolition of all avoidable evils, the creation of a single apparatus with full powers to do what can be done now appears therefore as the only appropriate method. In the long run, however, the price we have to pay for this, even in terms of the achievement in a particular field, may be very high. If we commit ourselves to a single comprehensive organization because its immediate coverage is greater, we may well prevent the evolution of other organizations whose eventual contribution to welfare might have been greater.” - Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty

Imagine if bitcoin had been given a legal monopoly on cryptocurrency. Do you think that this would have been beneficial to consumers? There certainly wouldn’t be… it’s a long list of things that includes Cent and probably HC. If bitcoin had been a monopoly then far less ground would have been covered so most of the important crypto discoveries and innovations would not have been made.

When I posted my Cent and HC comparison, @mckie replied…

“No one cares lmao. Been there, don’t that with They’ll give up in <6months.”

Do you think any of us will truly benefit if either HC or Cent fails? We really won’t.

Here’s something that Matthew shared

“I like Paul Buchheit's suggestion of trying to make something that at least someone really loves. As long as you've made something that a few users are ecstatic about, you're on the right track. It will be good for your morale to have even a handful of users who really love you, and startups run on morale. But also it will tell you what to focus on. What is it about you that they love? Can you do more of that? Where can you find more people who love that sort of thing? As long as you have some core of users who love you, all you have to do is expand it. It may take a while, but as long as you keep plugging away, you'll win in the end.” - Paul Graham, How Not To Die

I’m ecstatic about Cent and HC because they both give us the opportunity to use our money to reveal how much we love something.

After joining Cent, AnarchoVegan posted four suggestions for HC, one of which was for in-browser notifications. Cent has this, which I’m sure that he saw and appreciated.

The question is… just how important is this feature to AnarchoVegan? Does it matter? Well yeah, of course it matters. It matters how important this feature is to each and every member of HC.

One issue is that AnarchoVegan bundled his suggestions together. If we spend our money on his post, it won’t be clear which suggestions the money is for, which is a problem. In order to see the social importance of suggestions, they must be unbundled.

Another issue is that, if AnarchoVegan does unbundle his suggestions, he won’t be able to spend his money on them. This is a huge problem… and right now both HC and Cent have it.

If Maelstrohmblack creates a post on HC that requests the implementation of bounties (like on Cent), then he should be able to spend as much money as he wants on his post. Naturally the money shouldn’t go into his wallet, it should go into HC’s wallet.

So is he going to create such a post? If so, how much money would he spend on it? How much money would AnarchoVegan spend on it? How much money would I spend on it?

Cent’s founders implemented their bounty feature without actually knowing the demand for it. Just like HC’s founder implemented the auto-saving drafts feature without actually knowing the demand for it. Because… that’s how things worked in the dark ages. Fuck the dark ages.

On Cent we can see that the demand for the auto-saving drafts feature is 63 cents. That’s pretty low, but perhaps it would be higher if one of the founders hadn’t replied that Cent plans to implement it. If a feature is going to be supplied anyways, it doesn’t make much sense to spend your money on the request for it.

It’s intuitive that neither Cent or HC should implement useless features. Right? Instead, they should implement the most useful features. Doing so depends on determining how useful a feature is, which is what HC and Cent can potentially do better than any other website, given that they provide us with the incredible opportunity to use our money to quantify usefulness.

Cent and HC have different features and this is a good thing. It means that we can determine the usefulness of more features in less time.

So what kind of relationship should Cent and HC have? They should have a symbiotic/synergistic relationship that will maximize their chances of success. Their relationship could potentially be the most beneficial feedback loop ever.

One practical suggestion is, if you’re going to tell somebody about one website, then also tell them about the other. For example

“On Steemit the most *popular* content gets rewarded. So it's allocation by democracy (lowest common denominator). For a real marketplace of ideas, check out these two beta sites… and @honest_cash @Cent”

Everybody likes options, and this increases the chances that the person will join and participate on at least one of the websites. Even if you prefer Cent, you benefit from somebody joining HC because they will help determine the usefulness of its features and suggest new ones. Again, everybody benefits when more ground is covered in less time.

Questions? Concerns? Objections? 

Also posted on Cent: Determining The Importance Of Things