I was thinking over the week about the dynamics of the points system, and I thought to myself, "where do the points actually come from?"
This led me into a thought experiment comparing MGoPoints to a national economy. I am not an economist so I won't use the official terms for a lot of this, but I think everyone can get the basic idea. If someone wants to go all Chicago School on me, well, knock yourself out.Consider:
- The points themselves begin as "original production" from which all economic activity must spring.
- Points come from "intrinsic value" - people making new posts. Points also come from "market value" - users up- or -neg-banging posts produces a "price" reflecting the value of the idea in the community's mind. Like in a real economy, the coalescence of talent around a quality original production produces extra value and drives economic growth.
- Points can be "taxed" by the blog community if it decides to uniformly punish a user or group. As in national politics, certain disfavorable interest groups have a disproportionate tax burden. (I'm talking about you, Mr "its all about DENARD")
- Political infighting and prejudice (vindictive neg-banging for long-forgotten reasons) exists as a distasteful but incorrigible
- Population pressures from outside have a mixed and controversial effect (Irish, MLivers).
- As it is in Congress, Ohio is a burdensome element but nonetheless tolerated by the community because it provides a substrate against which one's political success can be achieved.
- There are occasional calls for a change in the system (advocating for the NFL's brand of football, for example, or suggesting we tactically root for Moo U), but the very nature of our body politic is usually considered sacrosanct.
- Brian doesn't own the means of production, but he does own the marketplace where the values are established - the public exchange, if you will, or perhaps the money supply.
- Although we haven't seen it, I am sure Brian could "bail out" certain individuals or interest groups if he saw fit...for example, normally-productive posters who were "too big to fail," or alternatively a welfare system for posters who just can't make it by themselves.
- Like contractors or Congressional coalitions, Brian has, quite wisely in my view, seen fit to form a limited consortium of trusted members (Tim, Steve Sharik and others) that gives blog posting access to connected individuals.
The more I think about MGoBlog as a economic and political assembly, the more I feel the need to take good care of my privileges and keep the place from turning into a hack board. But maybe I'm wrong - some people might take it too seriously and go Howard Dean on the community.