Re: SIAI: Donate Today and Tomorrow

From: Psy-Kosh (
Date: Fri Oct 22 2004 - 16:00:58 MDT

> I ask of SIAI's donors: Speak up, and hold your heads high without shame!

Sequence of events: dug through email, dug through method of donation
(never used paypal before (more on that later)), set up donation, dug
through more emails, now typing about it. :)

Figured I might as well say my observations on some of the forces and
such that had gone on in my mind that had delayed me from donating until
now, not as un excuse, but simply under the theory of "I am sufficiently
similar to other people that the data may be useful toward figuring out
what the hech is going on in our heads with regards to this, and what
can be done with it."

One thing is that for a long time I've been meaning to donate, not
necceserally waiting "until I have enough money" or whatever, but more
"when I get around to it."

ie "don't feel like finding the donation page and so on now, will do it
tomorrow" etc..., forget, wash, rinse, repeat.

A related really strange thing I've found going on is this: I can easily
see that if someone had been going door to door or something collecting
for SIAI (gedanken experiment, don't jump in about practicalities here.
:)) I would have, and gleefully, immediately grabed a blob of cash and
handed it over.

I don't think this is a bystander effect thing though:

What I noticed in myself, which is really strange, is I have this
feeling that, well, I guess the best way to describe it is "boy, it will
be so much effort to actually go to the page, enter the credit card
number, etc..."

WTF? There is no huge effort here, when I'm doing it, I don't experience
any kind of (de)illusion that is hard. I know rationally that this is
not any effort or anything, so why does a part of me have the feeling
that setting up the payment would be "ugh... so much effort... later..."?

Methinks there are some really screwey psychological things going on
here. I mean, even screwier than some of the stuff that's already been
mentioned. (or maybe that just happens to me... All I'll say on this is
that it affects many things in my life... would already be a physics
grad student if I didn't have so many incompletes (not due to
incomplrehension or such, but due to undone lab reports mostly. wheeee.
Well, if there is anyone else that's noticed some of these mental
patterns, well, let's figure out what in the name of all that is Baysian
is going on and how to fix it. :))

Also, another pattern that I think I've noticed in myself sometimes
would be something that could be described by "I ought to donate... but
I wouldn't be donating too much right now... I can't make a small
donation to this, this is IMPORTANT(tm)..." so I end up not making a
small donation.... or any other. And yes, I don't need to be told that
this is not rational behavior, but there it is. :)

As far as the original message/minicampaign, one other pattern I
noticed. "hrm... telling me about all these psych strings that delay
donations and such... hrm.. trying to get me to donate... hrm... getting
closer to donating... but if I do I'll have 'fallen for it.'"

Dang it! Even though it was just helping me actually do something I've
been wanting to do, there was a bit of that. Still did get me to donate,
  (yay! :)) but, for the sake of increasing the effectiveness of future
requests for donations, perhaps see if there's any obvious way of fixing
that reaction and such?

Oh, also with regards to the Paypal thing. I'm not claiming it was a
reason I had delayed, just that there have been many reports of problems
with Paypal. If this is practical, perhaps set up a way to give
donations online without having to go through paypal? I do know I'm not
the only one that's hesitant about using them.


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