I recently got an invite to Imzy. After a bit of research, I found a few articles about the site and was surprised to see that the platform supports "tipping" users and moderators.

Imzy is a new kind of online community, currently still in early testing it already boasts some 10,000 users, where moderators are paid and a tipping system is built into the platform.

As part of Imzy’s beta users can tip each other or moderators as a reward for good work.

Who doesn't like a bit more cash?

However, I'm interested in data from communities that already reward voluntary moderators with a cash incentive. Does this help the moderation team and the community?

I have an assumption, but no personal experience, that it rewards the users for a while but eventually the cash incentives become a weight around the neck of aspects of the community. To get more cash, you have to participate more and more and as the community grows you have more competition to compete against. Few users actually tip, and now with more content available the tips are spread thinner. The return on your time dimishes.

I manage a couple different communities and have done some different moderation delivery models in those.

I run the support community for the company I work for and I have small team of Community Managers that moderate and own our forums. We have high standards for quality control so we have to keep content in-line with those standards.

For the other communities that I help with, we do not pay for moderators. We treat moderation as a perk of being a power user but we also do some additional activities with those folks to incentivize them to stay around. You are not going to keep everyone forever, so developing a moderation "bench" is important.

I would be very wary about paying someone to moderate a forum if they didn't report to me, especially if it is open to anyone looking for a tip. That could build some bad behaviors within the platform's moderators or result in over-moderation of topics.

I know that this isn't any real "data" but it's my perspective after I have been involved in helping/owning multiple communities over the years.

  • Welcome to Community Building, and thank you for sharing your experiences in this answer! – Monica Cellio Jul 12 '16 at 3:30

If you could afford to pay the volunteers (people) an amount equal to their contributions, they would not be volunteers they would be paid staff.

This leaves you with an option of paying the people who are supporting your community less than they deserve.

If your volunteers are motivated by money, then paying them less than the deserve is going to be counterproductive.

If your volunteers are NOT motivated by money, then paying them does not add value.

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