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A better way to promote sharing
As many people are posting, and studies are finding, most gnutella users are freeloaders. I have to admit, I am one too. (Hey, I'm an economist, they taught me to do it in college...) It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone since there are no personal incentives for sharing but there is the penalty of bandwidth and computer resources. This is the externality that is killing the gnutella network.
The current ways of promoting sharing such as requiring one shared file or limiting download bandwidth as a percent of upload bandwidth are not working and were not very well thought out ideas to begin with. We need to unleash some economics on gnutella.
I have a proposal to the gnutella standard to promote and maintain efficient sharing.
Make it a “build up” game and set a price:
Think of it like those that sit and play “Everquest” for unbelievable amounts of time, people want to “build up” their resources. We can use this to gnutella’s advantage. By using good files like points, players can win by sharing the most useful files.
The price to download is to upload. Simple enough. This requires the client to keep track of the uploads and “useful files”. For every item that was sought to be uploaded, the user will obtain rights to download. This does not means that the file had to be uploaded or even completed from your computer (perhaps it was busy at the time with other uploads) but if you had the exact same file as someone else but it was being uploaded from their computer and not yours at the time, you should also get credit for sharing a useful file. That file should be marked by the client software as “useful” or with a cute star or a smiley face…. You get the idea. Also, the useful rating of the file should have a time limit of 1 month which will cause users to continuously need to strive to provide other users with good files rather than sit on some old outdated files and just be a leech. This policy will also eliminate freeloading by people that put a useless file in their share folder and start sucking the life out of gnutella.
For every useful byte that you share, you are allowed 10x that in return in full speed without bandwidth limitations. That means if you shared a file that was 1,000 bytes. As long as someone wants that file, and as long as you share that wanted file, you are entitled to 10,000 bytes at full speed in return for you contribution to the network. The client software can keep track of that. Otherwise, your total download bandwidth should be limited to 10 kb/s. However, if the max speed does not exceed 10 kb/s anyway, sharers shall not have their points deducted until they can download in excess of 10 kb/s.
Special “Tenure” rating:
Since sharing a single 3 Mb song is hardly sharing, it would be a good idea to promote some arbitrary amount of sharing that promotes putting files on the board. I’m saying 1 GB is a reasonable size that says, “Hey! I’m actually contributing to this network”. To those that share in excess of 1 GB, I would give them a “Tenure” rating for their service. Since not every file is a useful file, having 1 GB of useful files safely implies that the actual shared amount exceeds 1 GB by far. Users will need to share as much as possible and fill the demand of their fellow users to obtain and maintain the 1 GB tenure.
A tenure user sharing more than 1 GB of useful files should have unlimited bandwidth use of gnutella and also should be favored when downloading against “non-tenure”(10 kb/s) users. However, people entitled to their limited bytes at full speed are also treated as tenure for their limited bytes. So if multiple people on one server, a non-tenure user’s downloads will be paused if the server has limited bandwidth while tenure users download happily. Also, once sharing exceeds 1 GB, the user’s screen should turn gold and say “Tenure” and have fireworks to acknowledge their contribution to the gnutella network. Pride is good and necessary especially in an invisible place like the internet. Pride is the thing that can make something like gnutella work since no one is getting paid.
There are many inherent benefits to these policies. Many people will treat this like a role playing game where they build up useful files and obtain rights to download and obtain “Tenure” status. This will promote quality file sharing naturally and end freeloading by intentionally sharing useless files. This will also automatically ensure continuous quality improvement of the files being shared. People will be willing adhere to standards of file naming as renaming an identical file some other name will not likely get that file a “useful” status as people choose files with the most users providing it and not the odd ball. The speed of transfers should dramatically improve as more and more people seek to provide popular files for upload.
I hope this encourages discussion on how to improve sharing in gnutella. It would really be great if this or a more refined version of this can be implemented in the next gnutella standard. Thanks for reading.
What a jackass - instead of spending whatever amount of time it took you to write your little treatise on gnutella economics, you could have taken 2 minutes to configure your client to actually share files.
People like you are the reason the "freeloader" filter was included [and, in my case used to ensure people who want my files are actually contributing to the network] in the client.
Why bicker? There is a seed of a good idea in this post.
I think # of shared files method can definitely be improved upon. Putting in a reward for sharing desirable files and lots of them would be a good idea. Remember that the majority of freeloaders are just ignorant, not malicious.
What we need is some very simple way of communicating that you will get better performance by sharing more in-demand files. Some people are really out to freeload and cheat the system, and they will probably always find a way, but I think most people wouldn't mind sharing files if they knew how important it was.
I think it would be good if the client program kept count of how many successful uploads I had made. I guess this would be very easy to implement. I often check to see what's being uploaded, for no reason other than I like to think I'm contributing in some small way to the community. If I could keep track and it gave me a gold star or whatever (like on eBay) for 1000 uploads or whatever, I expect I'd be pleased to see that.
As a next step, that information could be transfered to Limewire and they could show a league table on their website.
None of this would solve the freeloader problem, but it would give a small reward to those people who do share files.
I'm all for reducing freeloading, but there other things to consider:
1. Rating people on their uploads wouldn't work - I could put the latest top 5 pop albums in my library and probably get a great score. However, if I share a file that is a little more obsure, but is still useful nonetheless, then I wouldn't get as many hits. Why would you want to have a hall of fame for people who have uploaded the most files? See point 3 for consequences.
2. There is a lot of talk about 'useful' files - but a useful file to one individual may not necessarily be useful to another. The variety of files on the network is one of its strongest points.
3. I think much of that 'economics' theory could have been condensed into a single line - "why doesn't LimeWire implement a ratio scheme." - it promotes quantity and not quality (how long have I been telling my girlfriend that it's the other way around?!). I personally, don't think that ratio's work - they exclude new joiners to the network from getting involved and they encourage people to d/l for the sake of it, just to improve their score. That would cause precious bandwidth to be wasted.
4. I don't think that the current anti-freeloader feature is too bad - it penalises freeloading (good) but lets some requests get through, so if you're new, then you might stand a chance of finding something (good). But, I wonder how many people have abused this feature and instantly set to the maximum integer allowed (bad)? What about an anti-greedy-b***ard feature?
What is this? '96 FTPing? Ratios? I thought those went out a long time ago. I HATE ratios.
I share about 5,000 files (now that I have DSL) about 40GB worth of data. I'm sure not ALL of those would be considered "useful", but that doesn't mean that people don't download them. I try to house as much obscure and hard to find stuff, 'cause that's why I like, and since it's hard to find, I try to make a little bit easier. So, since I have a lot of hard to find stuff that *most* people won't download, does that mean I should get a lower rating? Or, does that one person who has been searching for an obscure file for a week, and finally gets it from me mean that I am serving a MORE useful file than the latest Britney Spears track?
And there are anti-freeloader measures in place. I love them. That's one of the top three reasons I use LimeWire. I have my freeloader limit set pretty high in an attempt to encourage people to share more.
And as far as the anti-greedy-******* feature, LimeWire 2 has a maxinum files per user setting. I use to hate when people would download 20 files from me AT ONCE, 'cause it's denying others from downloading. So, I would sit there and constantly stop their transfers and let other people get some stuff.
I don't think anyone would play this like a role playing game, but instead move to another, less annoying program or network.
Lastly, I sure as hell don't want LimeWire posting on a site that I shared the most files in a month. That's one HUGE red flag to the RIAA (HEY, THIS GUY IS SHARING A LOT OF FILES, IF WE TAKE HIM OUT, WE CAN CRIPPLE GNUTELLA). No thank you ... I'd rather NOT be singled out and rewarded for sharing a large number of files. There is some strength in obscurity.
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