Micropayments For Threads?

Do not post support requests, bug reports or feature requests. Discuss phpBB here. Non-phpBB related discussion goes in General Discussion!
Get Involved
Xerographica
Registered User
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 4:43 pm
Contact:

Micropayments For Threads?

Post by Xerographica » Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:04 pm

Hi everybody!

I participate in way too many forums but don't actually own any forum myself. On one of the forums that I participate on I started a thread where I promoted the idea of members being able to allocate a penny or two...or twenty... to threads or posts that they really like. It turns out that most members are against the idea for one reason or another.

But I do really love the idea of micropayments! So I started wondering how difficult it would be to start my own forum... which is how I ended up here.

It doesn't seem like it would be too crazy difficult to start my own forum... but it would certainly require some time/money/effort to do so.

It's always preferable to avoid needlessly reinventing the wheel... so would any of you who already have your own forums be interested in testing out micropayments?

Here's how I see it working...

A member paypals you, say, $10 dollars. You update his forum "wallet" (FW) accordingly. If the member likes my thread, then he clicks the penny button and a penny is transferred from his FW to mine. When there are enough pennies in my FW, then I can request a withdrawal. You'd take your cut, paypal me the rest and update my FW accordingly.

In order to have a basically functional system you'd need to...

1. Add the FW column and total spending column to the members table
2. Add the total allocation column to the threads table
3. Create a table to keep track of how much each member has allocated to each thread/post
4. Add the coin buttons to the threads/posts
5. Write the code to update the tables accordingly
6. Write the code to hide/disable the coin buttons if a member's broke
7. Write the code to display FW balance
8. Write the code to display the individual and total allocation for each thread

I'm sure that I'm forgetting a few steps.

So are any of you interested in experimenting with micropayments? Or am I going to have to reinvent the wheel to test this idea out? If so... any tips or suggestions?

The goal would be test the most bare bones model. If nobody has any interest in valuing threads/posts... then it wouldn't be a huge loss of time/money/effort. But if it turns out that there is some interest... then the system can be improved over time.

If there are two forums that are exactly alike... but one facilitates micropayments... then I think that people who create the best threads will choose the forum where it's stupid easy for members to give them money.

What do you think? Am I barking up the wrong tree?

If you're not interested in experimenting on your own forum... but would be interested in experimenting with a new forum... then let me know and we can discuss splitting the costs. If two or more of us split the costs evenly then the risk/loss would be negligible. Plus, two heads are better than one!
Last edited by marian0810 on Fri May 01, 2015 5:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
MuhClaren
Registered User
Posts: 126
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2015 5:23 am

Re: Micropayments For Threads?

Post by MuhClaren » Fri May 01, 2015 7:07 pm

Welcome to the forums. Good luck with your idea! Follow your vision, friend.

User avatar
Lumpy Burgertushie
Registered User
Posts: 63196
Joined: Mon May 02, 2005 3:11 am
Contact:

Re: Micropayments For Threads?

Post by Lumpy Burgertushie » Sun May 03, 2015 2:46 pm

what costs do you think you will incur starting your own board?

other than hosting and domain name?

you can get decent hosting and a domain name for less than $50 US a year.

then you can install phpbb yourself and experiment with whatever you want.

personally, I don't see any point or benefit to what you are talking about but hey, what do I know.


robert
I am available for custom work on a donation basis. Please send me a PM with your needs.
Premium phpBB 3.2 Styles by PlanetStyles.net

New phpbb 3.0 support site

Xerographica
Registered User
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 4:43 pm
Contact:

Re: Micropayments For Threads?

Post by Xerographica » Sun May 03, 2015 7:55 pm

MuhClaren, thanks for the welcome and encouragement!

Lumpy Burgertushie, the monetary cost of $50 is pretty reasonable. Which host is that? Any hesitation on my part stems from possible opportunity costs. All the time spent figuring out a decent domain name that hasn't already been taken, and learning PHP, and writing the code, and debugging the code, and finding people to participate on the forum... all this time could be spent doing other things.

If there's already somebody who knows PHP, and has their own forum... and is willing and interested in trying out a new feature... then this would decrease my opportunity costs.

Regarding the point/benefit... yeah, unfortunately, the point/benefit of clarifying demand isn't readily apparent. Basically it's impossible for any forum/market to have an abundance of awesome threads if members/consumers can't incentivize/reward producers who create awesome threads.

The supply of fruit is determined by the demand for fruit. And the demand for fruit isn't people ballot voting for fruit... it's not people giving fruit 5 stars on Netflix... it's not people liking fruit on Facebook... it's not people giving fruit a thumbs up on Youtube... it's not people giving fruit an upvote on Reddit... the demand for fruit is people allocating their own hard-earned money to fruit. This incentivizes/rewards the people who've used society's limited resources to produce fruit. As a result, there's an abundance of fruit.

Right now we do know what the demand for fruit is... but we don't know what the demand for threads is. Is it a problem that we don't know what the demand for threads is? Yup, just like it would be a problem if we didn't know what the demand for fruit is. The supply of bananas, oranges, grapes, pineapples, and guava would be all wrong. We'd have too much of some fruits (surplus) and not enough of other fruits (scarcity).

Micropayments would clarify the demand for threads. Here on this forum it would clarify the demand for feature/extension requests. Right now which feature/extension has the greatest demand? Nobody knows the answer because this forum doesn't facilitate micropayments. As a result, it's a given that programmers are going to misallocate their time/talent. They are going to develop features in the wrong order of importance.

How much content is on the internet? A lot. But we don't know what the demand is for this content. Which is a huge problem. This problem could be easily solved with micropayments. All it would take is just one website to get the ball rolling. When one forum successfully implements micropayments... then other forums would quickly adopt micropayments as well. And then Wired, The New York Times, Youtube, Netflix and all sort of other websites will adopt micropayments. Rather than searching and sorting by popularity... we'll sort by value. You'll be able to go to the New York Times website and see the most valuable story of the day. And if you value it too... then you'll be able to click one button to allocate a penny, nickle, dime or quarter to that story.

value <> popularity

value > popularity

How much money people are personally willing to spend on a story is a lot more informative than how many likes a story receives.

Big-Jim
Registered User
Posts: 113
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:54 pm

Re: Micropayments For Threads?

Post by Big-Jim » Sun May 03, 2015 8:16 pm

Personally, I think the idea is going to fly about as well as a lead zeppelin. But if you think it is going to be a big success, then I say, "go for it" because you won't know for sure until you try it.

User avatar
Lumpy Burgertushie
Registered User
Posts: 63196
Joined: Mon May 02, 2005 3:11 am
Contact:

Re: Micropayments For Threads?

Post by Lumpy Burgertushie » Sun May 03, 2015 9:59 pm

sorry but I think the whole idea is just crazy. why do you think people would spend money as opposed to a upvote or whatever they use today?

even a penny I would not do it if it was my penny.

I seriously doubt this would go over at all. people just don't think of content the same way they do fruit. I read your whole post above and thought, boy, he must be smoking some of that newly legal pot or something, this really makes no sense at all.

no offense.


robert
I am available for custom work on a donation basis. Please send me a PM with your needs.
Premium phpBB 3.2 Styles by PlanetStyles.net

New phpbb 3.0 support site

Xerographica
Registered User
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 4:43 pm
Contact:

Re: Micropayments For Threads?

Post by Xerographica » Sun May 03, 2015 10:41 pm

Lumpy Burgertushie wrote:sorry but I think the whole idea is just crazy. why do you think people would spend money as opposed to a upvote or whatever they use today?
An upvote says that that you like the content. A micropayment says how much you like the content. Society's limited resources can only be put to their most valuable uses when we know how much consumers like content. Because, if everybody liked all content equally, then there'd be absolutely no need for micropayments.
Lumpy Burgertushie wrote:even a penny I would not do it if it was my penny.
The content either is, or isn't, worth a penny to you. If it's not worth a penny to you... then of course you're not going to allocate a penny to it. If it is worth a penny to you... and you don't allocate a penny to it...and you're the rule rather than the exception... then this will logically result in the content being undersupplied. In economics this is known as the free-rider problem.

Facilitating (micro)payments doesn't solve the free-rider problem. It just makes it stupid easy for you to allocate money to the content that you value. Valuable content will still be undersupplied... but the shortage won't be as large.
Lumpy Burgertushie wrote:I seriously doubt this would go over at all. people just don't think of content the same way they do fruit.
Just because people don't think of content in the same way that they think of fruit... doesn't mean that the basic rules of economics don't apply to content. Supply and demand is just as relevant to content as it is to fruit. People respond to incentives whether we're talking about fruit or content. If we make it easier to reward people for producing valuable content... then the logical result will be a larger supply of valuable content.
Lumpy Burgertushie wrote:I read your whole post above and thought, boy, he must be smoking some of that newly legal pot or something, this really makes no sense at all.
If all it took was a couple of my forum posts for economics to make sense... then I'd be doing a 1000 times better than everybody who's ever won a Nobel Prize in economics.
Lumpy Burgertushie wrote:no offense.
None taken.

Big-Jim
Registered User
Posts: 113
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:54 pm

Re: Micropayments For Threads?

Post by Big-Jim » Mon May 04, 2015 3:20 am

If you are convinced it is a good idea, then you should go ahead and implement it. After a year or so, come back and tell us how it worked out for you.

User avatar
Mess
Registered User
Posts: 985
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 6:37 am
Name: Kim

Re: Micropayments For Threads?

Post by Mess » Mon May 04, 2015 11:56 am

Big-Jim wrote:If you are convinced it is a good idea, then you should go ahead and implement it. After a year or so, come back and tell us how it worked out for you.
Better yet. If its a success. Don't tell anyone and keep all the profits for yourself. :D

User avatar
Pony99CA
Registered User
Posts: 4783
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 3:13 pm
Location: Hollister, CA
Name: Steve
Contact:

Re: Micropayments For Threads?

Post by Pony99CA » Wed May 06, 2015 1:23 am

Instead of implementing forum wallets and trusting the Board Admin to maintain those, why not just add a PayPal custom profile field and a "Donate" button to the mini-profile (and profile) that automatically sends something to the person (and maybe logs the transaction to show much each person has made)?

Steve
Silicon Valley Pocket PC (http://www.svpocketpc.com)
Creator of manage_bots and spoof_user (ask me)
Need hosting for a small forum with full cPanel & MySQL access? Contact me or PM me.

Xerographica
Registered User
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 4:43 pm
Contact:

Re: Micropayments For Threads?

Post by Xerographica » Wed May 06, 2015 2:13 am

Pony99CA wrote:Instead of implementing forum wallets and trusting the Board Admin to maintain those, why not just add a PayPal custom profile field and a "Donate" button to the mini-profile (and profile) that automatically sends something to the person (and maybe logs the transaction to show much each person has made)?

Steve
Part of the problem with paypal functioning as the wallet would be that the transaction fees would be prohibitive for micropayments. You're not going pay a nickle to give a nickle. Does paypal even allow you to send a nickle? Plus, when the wallet is in the forum database... this facilitates a lot of additional functionality. You can keep track of the total amount of money that a member has spent... and sort members accordingly. You can keep track of the total amount of money that's been spent in a thread. You can display how much each member has spent on any given post... and you can sort threads/posts by total value. When a thread has pages and pages of replies... if you don't have time to read through them all... it will be really useful to sort the posts by value and read/valuate the most valuable posts.

Imagine if on the front page of a forum you could see the top 10 most valuable threads/posts of the day...week... or month.

Not quite sure what you mean by "trusting the Board Admin to maintain" the forum wallets (FWs). Is your concern with lazy admins or shady admins? In terms of laziness... it shouldn't be too difficult to automate using paypal to put money into your FW. Not quite sure though how you'd automate withdrawal.

In terms of shadiness... it's doubtful that large sums of money will be involved... at least initially. If the idea catches on then consumers will be protected by competition. The more alternatives there are to choose from... the less shadiness is a concern. If people are worried about being ripped off... then they'll foot/dollar vote for the safest/securest forums.

Even though there's barely any interest in micropayments for forums... I couldn't help but shell out $60 for a domain and hosting for a phpBB forum. Modifying the database was easy enough. Now I'm banging my head against the wall trying to figure out how to get the info from the db to the webpage.

I'm looking back and forth between the viewtopic.php and viewtopic_body.html pages trying to figure out why my "value" field in the "posts" table won't show up.

On the php page...

'post_subject' => $row['post_subject'],
'post_value' => $row['post_value'],


On the html page...

<div class="signature">{postrow.post_value}</div>

Eh, I'll figure it out... eventually!

User avatar
Pony99CA
Registered User
Posts: 4783
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 3:13 pm
Location: Hollister, CA
Name: Steve
Contact:

Re: Micropayments For Threads?

Post by Pony99CA » Thu May 07, 2015 2:40 am

Xerographica wrote:
Pony99CA wrote:Instead of implementing forum wallets and trusting the Board Admin to maintain those, why not just add a PayPal custom profile field and a "Donate" button to the mini-profile (and profile) that automatically sends something to the person (and maybe logs the transaction to show much each person has made)?
Part of the problem with paypal functioning as the wallet would be that the transaction fees would be prohibitive for micropayments. You're not going pay a nickle to give a nickle. Does paypal even allow you to send a nickle?
As far as I know, fees are only taken out of the recipient's end (and only then if the recipient accepts credit cards). That may have changed since I started accepting credit cards.
Xerographica wrote:Plus, when the wallet is in the forum database... this facilitates a lot of additional functionality. You can keep track of the total amount of money that a member has spent... and sort members accordingly. You can keep track of the total amount of money that's been spent in a thread. You can display how much each member has spent on any given post... and you can sort threads/posts by total value. When a thread has pages and pages of replies... if you don't have time to read through them all... it will be really useful to sort the posts by value and read/valuate the most valuable posts.

Imagine if on the front page of a forum you could see the top 10 most valuable threads/posts of the day...week... or month.
As I said, you could log transactions. That doesn't require a forum wallet. In fact, the only thing that a forum wallet would be useful for is tracking who had the most money in their wallets (or related transactions like daily balances), but everything that you suggested does not require a wallet, just a place to log transactions.
Xerographica wrote:Not quite sure what you mean by "trusting the Board Admin to maintain" the forum wallets (FWs). Is your concern with lazy admins or shady admins?
Mostly shadiness. If you can convince enough members to upload, say, $5 to their wallets, you could make a couple of hundred dollars. In some countries, that would be a nice take.

But why have a middleman at all other than PayPal (or whatever micropayment service you decide to use)? Plus, why would I want the Admin to make anything on this? I'm paying authors, not the board Admin. If he tries to take a cut, I won't use the system. If the Admin wants money, he can ask for donations or charge a subscription fee.
Xerographica wrote:Even though there's barely any interest in micropayments for forums... I couldn't help but shell out $60 for a domain and hosting for a phpBB forum. Modifying the database was easy enough. Now I'm banging my head against the wall trying to figure out how to get the info from the db to the webpage.

I'm looking back and forth between the viewtopic.php and viewtopic_body.html pages trying to figure out why my "value" field in the "posts" table won't show up.

On the php page...

'post_subject' => $row['post_subject'],
'post_value' => $row['post_value'],


On the html page...

<div class="signature">{postrow.post_value}</div>
Whenever you change a page template, you have to refresh the style.

Steve
Silicon Valley Pocket PC (http://www.svpocketpc.com)
Creator of manage_bots and spoof_user (ask me)
Need hosting for a small forum with full cPanel & MySQL access? Contact me or PM me.

Xerographica
Registered User
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 4:43 pm
Contact:

Re: Micropayments For Threads?

Post by Xerographica » Thu May 07, 2015 10:38 am

Pony99CA wrote:As far as I know, fees are only taken out of the recipient's end (and only then if the recipient accepts credit cards). That may have changed since I started accepting credit cards.
How many steps do you think are involved in the process? I don't think that most people are going to log into their paypal account to send less than 10 cents. When the wallet is within the website, you'd have one click giving. This would facilitate a lot more giving.

What's great about disqus, the commenting system, is that you're always logged in. Not always but long enough. For me it often makes the difference whether or not I comment on an article or blog entry. If there was some payment system like disqus where you're always logged in... and you can give with one click... then in some ways this would be superior to a system where the wallet is within the website.
Pony99CA wrote:As I said, you could log transactions. That doesn't require a forum wallet. In fact, the only thing that a forum wallet would be useful for is tracking who had the most money in their wallets (or related transactions like daily balances), but everything that you suggested does not require a wallet, just a place to log transactions.
You're probably right... it's just hard for me to imagine a frictionless paypal system for threads/posts. You're reading through a thread, read a post that makes you LOL... and you're going to click the paypal button? Which will take you to another page... where you have to log in to submit a $0.05 cent payment? I think that if you're reading the posts in the thread... you're probably not going to want to stop. So you'll tell yourself that you'll come back and make the payment when you've read all the posts in the thread. Except you'll get distracted and you won't remember.
Pony99CA wrote:Mostly shadiness. If you can convince enough members to upload, say, $5 to their wallets, you could make a couple of hundred dollars. In some countries, that would be a nice take.
If/when I get my forum up and running... are you going to join my forum and upload $5 to your wallet? Heh. Probably not... right? I just don't see many people starting off uploading $5 to their wallet. Maybe a few people start with $1... and then, as there's more members and better content... people add more and more to their wallets. How long is this process going to take? If it takes a month to get up to an average of $5 in each wallet... why not wait another month until there are twice as many members with an average of $10 in each wallet? By then though you've got a thriving market/community. It seems like, if you've gotten this far... you might as well see how much more you can grow.
Pony99CA wrote:But why have a middleman at all other than PayPal (or whatever micropayment service you decide to use)? Plus, why would I want the Admin to make anything on this? I'm paying authors, not the board Admin. If he tries to take a cut, I won't use the system. If the Admin wants money, he can ask for donations or charge a subscription fee.
If you want to pay the authors, and the admin has the only website where it's stupid easy to do so, then he's going to have the upper hand. Maybe he'll charge what the market will bear. If his site thrives though, then other forum owners will quickly follow suit. And with more alternatives to choose from, the average cut will decrease accordingly.

One puzzle I had was if members could valuate their own posts. If you have $20 in your FW... and post a thread... and allocate $20 to the thread that you just posted... then it doesn't make sense for the thread's value to be $20 and for your $20 to go straight back into your FW! But it also doesn't make sense to say that you can't valuate your own threads/posts. The solution that I came up with is that, if you want to valuate your own posts, then the money would go into the admin's FW.

If we assume that the most highly valued posts end up on the front page... then people would be essentially bidding for exposure. This would fundamentally disrupt advertising as we know it. If it's a political forum... and you've written an anti-minimum wage thread... then you can try and allocate enough money to your thread to get it displayed on the front page. Other anti-minwage people might chip in to help give your thread a hand. And then the pro-minwage people retaliate with their own article. And a bidding war ensues. We can imagine the same process with presidential candidates. What's great is that it's completely transparent. You'd know exactly how much you'd have to spend to edge out the competition.
Pony99CA wrote:Whenever you change a page template, you have to refresh the style.
I'm pretty sure that the issue is on the php page. I've determined that the preexisting query retrieves the data from the new field... but then the subsequent code/queries somehow drop the data. The data goes into an array, which is processed, and then it goes into a different array, and then some of its cached and then there's more processing and more arrays. It's really hard to try and figure out what's going on. I really want to say that there's a bunch of redundancy... but it's probably me just failing to grasp the necessity of the various steps.

I created a thread in another forum where I documented all the steps it takes to recreate the problem... Linus's Law. But the thread was locked because the moderator was worried that as soon as you allow one programming thread... a million more are sure to follow!

User avatar
Mick
Support Team Member
Support Team Member
Posts: 18111
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:49 am
Location: Cardiff

Re: Micropayments For Threads?

Post by Mick » Thu May 07, 2015 11:38 am

How is this going anyway, have you started building your board yet? By the way, there are no threads in phpBB.
"The more connected we get the more alone we become" - Kyle Broflovski

There are no ‘threads’ in phpBB, they are topics.
Forza Garibaldi

Xerographica
Registered User
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 4:43 pm
Contact:

Re: Micropayments For Threads?

Post by Xerographica » Thu May 07, 2015 12:59 pm

Mick wrote:How is this going anyway, have you started building your board yet?
Yup, I've already started building! The viewtopic.php page kicked my butt for a while but I just managed to fix whatever it was that I was doing wrong. So now the viewtopic page displays the total value of each post. The next step will be to display the logged in user's valuation of each post. This is stored in a separate table "user_value"...

post_id
user_id
user_value
user_value_id

I'll have to figure out how best to add this table to the original query...

Code: Select all

SELECT u.*, z.friend, z.foe, p.* FROM (gpa_users u CROSS JOIN gpa_posts p) LEFT JOIN gpa_zebra z ON (z.user_id = 2 AND z.zebra_id = p.poster_id) WHERE p.post_id IN (1, 2) AND u.user_id = p.poster_id
Sheesh. Any suggestions? My sql is a "bit" rusty.

Maybe it's not that important for a logged in user to see how much money that they've already allocated to the posts? heh.

Will anybody want to sort the posts in a topic by their valuation? If a topic has 300 pages... and you've valuated 50 of the posts... maybe you'd want to sort the posts by your valuations? Because if not, then the data could be supplied via ajax.

In any case, the "user_value" table makes it possible for people to click on a post's total value and see all the users who've allocated money to that post.
Mick wrote:By the way, there are no threads in phpBB.
Threads = topics? That's going to be a hard habit to break.

Post Reply

Return to “phpBB Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: JimA, LaxSlash1993 and 22 guests

cron