It's a valid concern but I would first make the following observations:
- The principle on which we issue shares is that it should be for activity that benefits (or potentially benefits) the company
- Having an active forum most certainly benefits the company; it helps to build a core 'community' which is essential for the future growth and success of imutual
- The share incentive, if you agree that it influences people to post, has clearly been a major success. As evidenced by the amount of time spent by members on the forums and the record number of posts
- I see no evidence of there being a large number of 'worthless' posts as a result of this initiative.
- The maximum daily reward is only 2 shares. Compare that with 100 shares for a single sign-up via your referral link. If people were motivated to post purely by shares, they could spend their time more effectively on other methods
Having said all that, I think the forum is now probably mature enough for us to consider amending this reward scheme, with emphasis on quality rather than quantity of posts. The obvious measure to use would be how many times a poster gets thanked; I have reservations about whether this will create a "You thank me and I'll thank you" situation but I suggest we try it and see.
My proposed system is as follows:
Each member can receive a reward of up to 50 shares per month, based on thanks received for posts they have made (this is in addition to "Posts of the month" awards). You get 1 share for every member who thanks you (during the calendar month) BUT can only receive 1 share per post . So to receive the maximum of 50 shares, you need to get thanked by 50 different people for 50 different posts.
Kev (fictitious name, and resemblance to real people is purely coincidental etc etc) makes four posts, A, B, C and D
Post A is thanked by Bruce, Raich and Superman
Post B is thanked by Bruce and Raich
Post C is thanked by Bruce, Raich and Planteria
Post D receives no thanks
He has been thanked by 4 different people but only across 3 different posts. Therefore, he receives 3 shares
The above example sounds harsh, but the solution is to make more than one good post a month Note that in the above extreme scenario, his one post must also stand a good chance of winning a prize in "Post of the month"Example 2:
Garindan makes one post, which is thanked by 20 different people. He receives 1 share
The idea of capping rewards based on unique posts AND unique thankers is:
- To encourage members to post multiple quality posts, rather than relying on a single 'blockbuster' (already recognised in POTM)
- To minimise abuse of the system, where the same posters keep thanking each other
If people are reasonably happy with the above, I suggest we start using it from 1 February
I'm also intending to introduce share rewards for posting deals and using the "quick share links", but that will be the subject of a separate post
The only other aspect I wondered about is whether to give some kind of incentive for 'thanking'
**** UPDATE ****
Some figures to help put the current and proposed systems in context. During December, members earned a total of 142,076 shares. The percentage of these shares that were earned for posting was 0.84% (1188).
If we had operated the proposed system, the number of shares awarded for posting would have been reduced from 1188 to 394 (0.28%)