Members Cheat (A Lot)

A holiday season story for you.

In one of my first video gaming communities, we tried to organise a secret santa for members.

One member volunteered to write a simple program which would enable members to opt-in, and randomly assign them another member to buy a simple gift for.

It turned out the program wasn’t as random as we had been led to believe.

Instead of assigning a member another username at random, the developer instead programmed it to send his name to the 2k+ members who had opted in.

He earned a small fortune in gift cards and we learned a valuable lesson; when any tangible reward is involved people will always find a way to cheat.

Worse yet, it’s hard to spot the scam until it’s too late.

The lesson? Don’t offer tangible rewards.

Better to offer things worth more than tangible rewards. Offer what money can’t buy, reputation, gratitude, influence, a sense of making a difference. Offer things the scammers and tricksters will never care about.

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