Will we be able to recognize if a pivot is in order?
I hope so. Hubski has birthed and killed features like there is no tomorrow. Personal tags. Editors. The possibility of revamping community tags again due to assholes using it to anonymously attack. We don't really pivot over here—we just sort of flow based on what is necessary at any given time.
This is one of the reasons we are doing this with fake bits - to see what happens. To see if people start to see their behavior changing and whether or not that is a positive or a negative for the larger community.
FYI, I heard about the idea for the first time last night. About a million thoughts ran through my head, "what if it does..." and "what if people start...". I was looking for areas for it to fail. Luckily, mk already had it ready to go and so we said fuck it. Let's go. Let's get answers. Let's see what happens.
If this works - truly works - it'll be so fucking awesome. If it encourages people to be awesome and gives everyone the ability to donate to Hubski while participating in Hubski, that is amazing. Furthermore, the utter passivity of it is wonderful. Donation micro-transactions like Gratipay and other bitcoin tipping services force users to take an action in order to contribute to things they find valuable. That's where those things fail. You don't have to be okay to make money, you have to game the system, A/B test, include calls to action, to get people to take the action you want them to take. Passivity it key to micro transactions.
My absolute favorite thing about this is you don't have have money to contribute to Hubski. By providing value to the users of Hubski - posts that are insightful, comments that are thoughtful, you gain bits. By passing those along to other people who do similar things and giving a portion to Hubski, you have contributed to our costs and make Hubski a better place.
A lot of my original questions about this mechanism revolved around "cashing out" because, the bits are bitcoin and your bits could be turned into real money for you, the Hubski user.
As I think about it more, I don't foresee the current subset of users cashing out though. I think people will throw in $5 or $10 or whatever they have, and it'll trickle down throughout the community and eventually end up in Hubski's pocket. But it's all passive and before it goes to pay for our servers, it goes to make Hubski a better place. It also means that you don't have to donate anything but time and posts and comments and, in the end, that holds the same weight as someone who just bought $5 in bits.
I know my thoughts are all over the place. In the end, I'm just really excited.