On 10/18/2016 04:56 PM, Aaron Wolf wrote:
> Okay, the reply below is the unedited reply for now. I hope it's clear
> enough. I haven't had time to write the clear new thread I want to get
> to soon.
>> That seems like an effective concise way to refer to the snowdrift. I
>> think it also needs to point out the problem of whether the work will
>> get done at all, though. Also, a problem I see with saying "Other public
>> goods include music, software..." is that in our current world these
>> things are typically /not /public goods because of how they're
>> licensed.  I'm wondering if, for the sake of clarity, albeit at the
>> expense of simplicity, we should specify "free and open music,
>> software..." or something like that?  For example:
> Yes, that exact concern is the heart of the whole presentation challenge.
> Put simply (this is largely what I intend(ed) to post separate thread on):
> Club goods are a tragedy. The messaging is easiest if we ignore club
> goods and specify that we're only focused on public goods. But if we do
> mention club goods (which may actually be the most compelling and
> important thing to get people concerned about), do we say "within
> non-rivalrous goods, there's club goods and public goods, and the
> snowdrift dilemma only applies to public goods" OR do we say
> "non-rivalrous goods are *naturally* public goods and so face the
> snowdrift dilemma, and because of the dilemma we get stuck with the
> tragedy of mainly club goods"?
> Effectively:
> A. within broad scope of works to fund at all, we show how we're
> narrowed down to public goods (*FLO* music and software) and *that*
> scope brings up snowdrift dilemma, plain and simple. Elsewhere, we can
> describe why it *matters* to support public goods over club goods.
> or
> B. treat club goods as non-existent in terms of natural states of
> resources, assume all non-rivalrous stuff faces snowdrift dilemma and
> describe the negatives of club goods as an abortion from the failure to
> solve the snowdrift dilemma (which, though simplistic, has basis in
> reality).
> B is what I had been doing. It gets stronger at the assertion that club
> goods are themselves a tragic problem. I also want to assert that all
> support of club goods undermines the promotion of public goods and thus
> we have a second type of dilemma: Use your limited resources to pay
> tolls or donate to public goods, and there's a logical matrix for that
> dilemma.
> In that approach with B, I'm saying that, indeed the dilemma users at
> Snowdrift.coop face isn't just to donate or not to FLO public goods,
> it's whether to reject proprietary stuff so as to not help it keep
> out-competing the FLO public goods.
> I think the legitimate part of Robert's complaints is that B means
> presenting two related dilemmas instead of a single clear snowdrift dilemma.
> The reason I prefer B is because it gives no inherent legitimacy to club
> goods at all. If we do A and just acknowledge that club goods and public
> goods are the two categories of non-rivalrous goods and that the
> snowdrift dilemma and snowdrift.coop are just about the public goods…
> well, that's simple and clear but implies that club goods are a
> legitimate category that inherently exists.
> Practically speaking, many people will respond in ways we want to the
> assertion that all club goods *should* become public goods, the club
> goods category deserves no legitimacy. But there are certainly lots of
> people who currently believe without question that both categories are
> legitimate and don't think the decision to celebrate and support public
> goods needs to go along with any rejection of club goods. Those latter
> people we want first and foremost to be patrons still, even though I'd
> like to convince them to change their views on club goods.
> In arguments Robert and I had, we identified two views we do agree
> about: I assert that support for club goods (e.g. for proprietary
> software) undermines the goal of public (FLO) goods. The fact of
> competition for attention and resources and the network effects from
> people sharing and utilizing the same resources means that there is a
> choice between supporting and using proprietary stuff versus supporting
> and using FLO stuff. Robert insisted that no such choice exists. Anyone
> can use and support both, there's no inherent conflict. He didn't at all
> accept my assertion that time, money, attention are limited resources
> and giving them to proprietary stuff reduces the available amount for
> potential FLO support.
> In the end, I still want to and *will* spread the message that club
> goods are a tragedy, the toll-road choice itself means someone doesn't
> freeride on the public road but *is* avoiding the public road and still
> not helping. You cannot drive on both roads at once (or have one road be
> in both states at once).
> I want to have people consider this perspective while still
> understanding that "the snowdrift dilemma" at its core is just about the
> public goods and doesn't directly talk about what happens when we fail.
> I.e. "because we fail to solve the snowdrift dilemma, we end up with
> toll roads" not because toll-roads are part of the original dilemma,
> just that they are a real-world market-driven result of a world that
> fails to solve the snowdrift dilemma.
> But, I'm okay with taking the angle A from above where we just say there
> are these classes of resources, and we're focused on public goods where
> the snowdrift dilemma takes place. And we then can just later as an
> aside have messages saying how the club goods really are a tragedy and
> ought not exist and ought to all *become* public goods, if only we can
> fund them still. This approach A does have some advantages, and I'm open
> to being convinced it's the way to go.

I do think that for introductory purposes, angle A is better, both for
simplicity and to ensure that the core message appeals to all people
enthusiastic about public goods, whatever their current attitudes about
club goods may be.

I think we should certainly point out the unfortunate aspects of club
goods (though not necessarily in the top level intro) but keep the
overall tone strongly focused on positive feelings about public goods
and not on negativity about club goods.  For example, while I agree that
"time, money, attention are limited resources and giving them to
proprietary stuff reduces the available amount for potential FLO
support" I think it's much more productive to say, "Think how good it
will feel if you redirect some of those limited resources of yours to
supporting public goods!" rather than "You should feel bad about using
those limited resources of yours to support club goods!"

I'd like to promote an optimistic vision of public goods eventually
rendering club goods irrelevant, not because people who want to produce
or use club goods have been coerced or browbeaten into ceasing to do so,
but rather because people who love creating and using public goods are
putting so much good stuff out there for the benefit of everyone, and
getting so amply supported in return, that the desire to produce or use
club goods just wanes away naturally.

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