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An economic approach


In many MOOs quota are given out on a ``merit'' basis. Let's quote ([Farmer et al., 1994, lines 166ff.,]):

``Economies exist everywhere in Cyberspace. These economies provide a mechanism for the communities to flourish.

MUDs have two constrained resources: memory and compute cycles. The memory problem is addressed using distribution units called "quota". Quota allows MUD citizens to create objects and extend their virtual world. A fixed amount of quota is allocated to each new citizen, usually by a system administrator. Each object created by a participant consumes some amount of quota, and when the preassigned amount of quota is exhausted, the user must appeal to the administrator for more. This is an economy, but a very socialist one. Several MUDs admin- istratively require that the person applying for more quota prove that their work is deserving of consideration, perhaps meeting some theme-oriented or social-improvement goal. Prove to the central government that you are worthy, and you shall be granted the power to create. Citizens are (usually) not free to trade quota with each other. In these systems, a large amount of quota is a powerful status symbol.''

That idea can be pushed further, e.g. like on Habitat, or some MOOs like ptMOOt, 2025 a money system can be implemented. So why not use money to buy quota ? And conversely receive money from the government for having built nice objets ? This is certainly a good strategy for social MOOs where a lot of effort goes into building sophisticated MOO objects. In serious MOOs such an approach would fail for both social and technical reasons. Technical reasons are simple: You don't want to punish somebody for putting up large class-notes for example eating up all his byte quota.

Daniel K. Schneider
vendredi, 16 février 1996, 13:41:58 MET