While I really appreciate the insights and perspective from the story approach Michael presented, it feels far too contrived to me. I'd like to see if we can capture some feel of the story-style narrative without pushing the limits too hard.
The problem I have with the story is that anything a little too far-fetched is hard to accept. People don't have the experience of living in a town that has no tax-funded public services. Perhaps if the story were described as a rural road out of town where there's no mayor or such, then it's just the individuals in the houses in the neighborhood dealing with the challenge of cooperation without an existing government structure for support. At any rate, the big issue is that Robert (alone among everyone in this regard, I think) feels that (A) we need to be able to talk to people about "solving the snowdrift dilemma" and the idea that e.g. Patreon doesn't "solve the snowdrift dilemma" etc. so have a core thing we get people to understand as "the snowdrift dilemma" which itself is the core cooperation dilemma, and so (B) any reference to toll-roads etc. shouldn't be a factor that people come to associate with "the snowdrift dilemma" because it brings up different dilemmas. I still do not agree with Robert's view, but I do think there's an important question about where the toll-road issue comes in when explaining things. So, I'm going to start a new thread on the discussion list about this question. One last point about Michael's story: I don't like the wordings that say "The same way it was hard for the townspeople to cooperate to clear the snowdrift, it's hard for people to cooperate to fund creation of 'public goods' that benefit us all." That and related wordings really push the idea that it's just a metaphor. I would rather say "the same dilemma applies to other public goods…" because that expresses that the snowdrift dilemma is an example, not just a metaphor. If we say "the snowdrift dilemma is an example of a public goods problem" that's just true completely and not a metaphor. When we say "software funding faces the snowdrift dilemma", it becomes a metaphor. Anyway, if we *directly* apply crowdmatching to the snowdrift problem, it's not a matching of volunteer time (although that's possible, it's not what we're doing). Instead, it's just crowdmatched funding to pay for the snow-plow. The accurate version of the story accepting a mayor and government is either (A) "so we passed a new tax to fund snow-clearing in the future" (that's it) or (B) "we tried to pass a new tax, but the people were opposed to new taxes, so came up with the best voluntary alternative: we set up a crowdmatching pledge where each of us agreed to pay a little bit times the number of donors to our snow-clearing fund, and thus we built up an adequate fund and were able to hire a snow-plow on our own terms, which meant no toll gates and billboards!" Anyway, will post to discuss list my bigger thought.
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