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CLS 2015 Session notes: Gift economy Vs. Whats in it for me


Thanks to Esther for the note taking and @chanthaboune for the facilitation :sunny:

Sunday afternoon 1 PM - 2 PM (Room #2)

Definition of a “Gift Economy”:
· When an organization/person gives a gift with no explicit guarantee of a 1:1 return
· However, there is implied reciprocity

Questions proposed:
· Is the gift economy the “right” model for community engagement?
o Is it sustainable? (ever volunteer has a threshold for participating/giving) If not, what is the alternative?
o How explicit or implicit should the reciprocity be?
· What is the value proposition for participation even before a gift is given?
· How do you manage volunteer expectations?
· What are the cultural differences affecting the gift economy?

Cultural considerations:
o Presumption that contributions are made without any expectation of anything in return (altruism) may be false
o There is a challenge of proportional representation of non-Western contributors to OSS projects. Hesitancies may be due to:
· Shyness, difficulty putting yourself out there
· Hierarchy - connected to people more powerful
Social networks and friendships are critical to getting business done when in a corrupt system

Incentives (as brainstormed by group):
o Training, mentorship
o Monetary compensation
o Recognition through badges
o Some just volunteer to give back: structure, clear expectations, gratitude is enough
o Raw material, documentation
o Feedback
o What value do people get from answering questions?
· Motivated by interest in topic
· Learning derived from responding to another’s questions
· Profile boost (recognition for activity)
· “feels good” to help somebody
o Opportunity to spread influence for a perspective or skill or contribution
o Be a role model
o Helping folks to find a voice
o Gratitude for tremendous gifts received: self identity
o Civic duty - good citizen
o Noblesse oblige
o Social justice
o Lessons learned
o Empowering people to find their own expertise/path
o Dissatisfaction with status quo or existing system and provide an alternative
o Appreciation
o Prestige, recognition

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