On Sun, Jan 28, 2007 at 01:06:12PM -0500, Seth Ruskin wrote: > > First, let me apologize. I never meant to insult you or imply anything > about you or your situation. When involved in discussions like these, I use > "you" to refer to "the reader" and thus I'm addressing the list as a whole. > It's intended, and you're also apparently missing the point of a > reward. Seth, Apology accepted. If I didn't say it clearly last night, I'm sure you weren't intending to be hurtful. I have a lot of trust in the sort of people who choose to become Rabbits, that we're very much not the sort who would go out of our way to hurt people. I'm quoting the above to point out to you a place where you (to me) clearly weren't using "you" to refer to "the reader", but rather to me. I do this so that you might better understand where I was coming from in being frustrated with your response, and also to show you that you might not be as careful as you think you are with your use of language in emails like these. > It encourages the exchange of ideas, as if someone sees a flaw in my > reasoning, they're open to respond to it. If I used "I" and "me", then I > would've been talking to myself, shutting everyone else out of discussion. > If I used "he/she/they" I would be referring to a fictional person off > list, who wouldn't even have this issue, because they wouldn't be a Rabbit. This is an interesting idea, which I intend to think on further. > Second, I think understand what you see as a flaw. I just don't see it as > one, but as a benefit the Looneys put in to make things easier. But to take > the focus off of you (as Marc), I'll just explain why I see it as a benefit. I obviously can't tell whether you do. I think the flaw is a negative side-effect of the benefit. I think we can have the benefit without the flaw. [snip most of an excellent description of the current system and its benefits. Go read it if you haven't already.] > But Looney Labs has recognized that people don't always have the time to > run point-earning events or do point-earning projects. So they added in a > bonus feature on the Rabbit-exclusive items. Instead of having to bank > Rabbit Points until you have enough for the Rabbit-exclusive item, you only > have to spend 1 Rabbit point on it. Once you've spent that one Rabbit > Point, you now have the option of reducing the remaining Rabbit Point cost > of the item by 1 for each dollar you spend on it. Unfortunately, introducing this feature in the particular way they have has produced a side-effect which I think is negative. Because you have the option to substitute your dollars for points, you have the opportunity to engage in a degenerate form of banking which I think of as hoarding. The line of reasoning goes like this: You have a limited number of Rabbit Points. You don't know when you'll get more. There are items on which you need to spend a minimum of one Rabbit Point. You get to choose how many you actually spend on the item. Points, once spent, are gone. If you want to preserve the opportunity to get future rewards which require you to spend Points in an uncertain world, you should bank points against this possibility. The optimal choice would be to spend points in such a way that you always have the exact number you need to be able to make any point-required purchases you might wish to. If only you were prescient. Instead, you should be sure to keep enough Points in the bank to be able to make future purchases. In fact, the safest thing to do is to *never spend points unless required to*. You spend one point on any item for which points are required, and otherwise spend dollars, hoarding your points for possible future need. In fact, if the pace at which rewards which you desire become available is greater than the pace at which you expect to receive points, this is the optimal strategy. Point hoarding is completely contrary to the intent of the system. The person is thinking of the rewards as items to be purchased rather than as rewards, and the points as tokens which allow them to make these purchases. It also discourages the person from claiming rewards immediately in certain situations. I think it should be possible to tweak the system to remove the encouragement to this sort of behavior without introducing other flaws. > So now you have a greater opportunity to get Rabbit-exclusive items than > before. Yes, you still have to use budgeting skills if you want to ensure > that you have enough points for future purchases. But that's comes with > assigning different point values to items based on quality and/or rarity. > It's the necessary evil of variable cost systems. You just have more > flexibility in how you budget for future purchases under the Looney Labs > system, choosing how much to bank based on how much money you think you can > afford now and in the future. Partly. But it also comes partly with the variable expenditure system where you get to choose how much of the cost of a purchase you want to make in Rabbit Points, and how much in dollars. It's this second budgeting which has a degenerate case I see as a problem. > P.S. You (the reader) may have noticed that what was referred to as > "hoarding" I've labelled as "banking". It's just semantics. I've assigned a > positive connotation to concept by saying "banking" and I recognize it as > such. "Hoarding" has a negative connotation and would have made the above > jarring to read if I'd used it. This is interesting, because I'm also making a distinction here. "Hoarding" is what I think of as the unintented drive toward keeping points around in case they're *needed* for a later reward. This is a preference to spend dollars rather than points whenever possible (spending dollars in preference to points on any carrot-marked items). The extreme case of this is spending the minimum of one point on Rabbit-only items and spending dollars on everything else. I see this as being quite different than eschewing a lesser reward in order to save, or bank, points to be able to receive a larger reward later. The latter is a positive, and intended, outcome of the system. I'd suggest that the two-point variant system with variable "karma" costs for rewards removes the incentive to "hoard" (no incentive to hoard points, no ability to hoard "karma") and increases the incentive to "bank" "karma" (you can get the small reward now or bank the "karma" to spend on the bigger reward later).
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