Jun 8, 2021
a) When lending, the two frames overlap each other. Never seen this on other lending projects, assume html blip.
b) After funding, the Facebook/Twitter/e-mail buttons are missing to "share" the loan; might just be removed while in beta, but thought I'd mention. (Also, let's consider adding some alt-tech platform buttons as well, we can also switch to using the smaller square buttons instead of the large rectangles if pixels end up being at a premium)
Laurie and Ketty Shamakamba like this.
Jun 8, 2021
Thanks for pointing these issues out! Did the frame overlap happen with a tablet device? We will look into it.
The share icons are temporarily removed because the program is in private beta and isn't yet visible to the public. I like the small square design for the buttons!
The frame overlapping issue should now be fixed. Thanks again for reporting it!
Laurie and Makepeace-Boyle Family like this.
A few minor thoughts regarding the FAQ/system jump to mind...
a) The "Inviting one guest to PIF for every $30 paid forward" seems very high (low?) in that I imagine the entrepreneurs will be raising substantial funds for medium/large scale projects - rather than the $50 "beta testing" we're going through now...each successful candidate inviting 10-20 friends onboard seems like we may not have an easily scalable system. Assume you've got number crunchers on it, it just caught my attention - though it's possible the FAQ was ambiguous and you meant every $30 beyond the initial funds raised.
b) I know we allow loans for alcohol purchases on the "normal" Zidisha platform, but I would hope there might be a conversation about limiting the funds in PIF funding so they cannot be used for purchasing alcohol, cigarettes, recreational drugs, lotto tickets, etc. Insofar as this is a "best of the best" selection, there would be value to it avoiding socially disadvantageous outlets. Funders often do not carefully distinguish what they are funding (either through automatic relending which has led to issues in the past where accidental approvals for a campaign titled "efjaieanganeag4a98439a" were fully funded on a promise they intended to use the funds for "32jfo4ahonfauhnoa", or Paul, etc) - and at the risk of being deemed a moralist, it would behoove Zidisha to focus the "greatest good" of its PIF program on projects that appear to have social benefit. (The 4-5 pilot projects all being great examples)
c) "For now, you may raise a Pay It Forward project while repaying a Zidisha loan, as long as you are up to date with scheduled payments of your loan." - while I appreciate the first two words, the risk-averse side of me raises an eyebrow at the theory simply due to the high number of defaulters with which the platform still struggles.
d) PIF projects funded appear to not show up in "Your Impact > List of Projects Funded" in the thumbnail/links section - although it does correctly list 1 PIF funded in the text section (although without a name/link/photo).
e) Possible alt-tech platforms to consider adding buttons for to diversify the lender-base would include Diaspora, Gab, Livejournal, etc. There was a Nigerian alternative to Facebook being passed around small circles recently of which I don't recall the name - will obviously report back if I do find it. Might be worth asking some of the borrowers about smaller social networks that are IN Ghana/Nigeria/Zambia/etc as it may encourage local lenders as well and a more local economical circle. Or you can go full raw.githubusercontent.com/b... - with github.com/bradvin/social-s...
f) I know I advocated before, but PIF-launch is the time to reiterate the idea that instead of " Zambia Volunteer Mentor Rent-to-own cookstoves", the title on the thumbnail gallery page should include the borrower's NAME (whole name, or just first name) to keep things less impersonal. "Francis Mbewe, Zambia, Volunteer Mentor, Rent-to-own cookstoves" is much nicer. (And you can shorten "Volunteer Mentor" to "Mentor" if pixels are at a premium - or even just leave the star and nix the wording entirely)
Laurie and Scott Walker like this.
Jun 10, 2021
Thanks for this thoughtful feedback.
The system currently allows entrepreneurs to invite a new member to Pay It Forward for every $30 that they pay back into the community. We anticipate that this will be manageable for the time being as all Pay It Forward members start with fundraising limits of $50. In the future as limits increase, we may adjust this parameter as needed.
Re limiting the purpose of loans, this is something that we have struggled with a great deal. On the one hand, we would like funding to go to the most socially beneficial purposes. On the other hand, one of our strongest values is to respect entrepreneurs' decisions in how to use project funding, and deciding what constitutes a beneficial project can be contentious. And in practice, disallowing certain funding categories would likely create an incentive to deceive lenders rather than to stop engaging in the prohibited activities. Our current policy is that borrowers may raise funds for whatever they choose as long as it is legal and ethical.
The beta test participants are allowed to raise projects while having an outstanding loan, but non-beta participants must have repaid their loan before raising a project. (That section is already updated in the FAQs).
Jun 10, 2021
Glad to hear 2-3 of them were just pilot rules for the first crew, which then makes complete sense - I was just worried about scalability but you're already on top of it.
-add names to TGP (probably not just on PIF), add additional "share" buttons to less common social networks (probably not just on PIF), list of funded PIFs bug needs attention
-Just keep in mind "ethical" may well entail a ruling on financing a business that preys on addictions that decrease lifespan, productivity and quality of life in economically depressed areas. Keep in mind it appears cannabis farming and cocaine possession appear to have been recently decriminalized in Ghana - at some point "intoxicants" will need to be addressed (not sure how domestic law works but it's even possible American lenders could potentially be breaking laws by financing such operations). But I've said my piece on it, and I don't need to convince you - so long as you understand my position and considered it to yourself.
-Possibly "creative social benefit" PIFs could simply have a small 5% bonus to their max where the average "buy mobile time" does not have the bonus, and the "the alcoholics in town will pay highly at this time of year for my stock" projects have a slight decrease - though simply phrased on a "Standard social benefit", "Increased social benefit", "Maximum social benefit" so as to not sound too judgemental ;)
Laurie likes this.
Jun 11, 2021
I agree with you, Makepeace-Boyle Family. In addition to some of the concerns you raised, I additionally consider it quite unethical to raise chickens crammed tightly together in cages, exploiting them for their eggs, and/or for their meat (their limbs and the rest of their bodies). I never knowingly fund any such project (sometimes a borrower soon changes or adds to what they do). Anyway, while it bothers me to see unethical projects on the website, as lenders (or as funders of "Pay It Forward" projects in the future), we have a choice and can just refuse to support those projects, which is what I do.
And what Julia mentioned, too, I've always thought as well, that even if Zidisha were to prohibit certain types of projects, some borrowers would just deceive the platform and how would we know? Zidisha isn't in a financial position to be able to visit every borrower to make sure they're doing what they say. I like that there are photo and video updates, as that helps (although some of those, too, possibly could be fraudulent). Anyway, not everyone posts photo and video updates (as they should), so short of visiting every borrower's place of business, and on a regular basis, since projects change often, we unwittingly could be funding projects that we otherwise wouldn't fund. In fact, I imagine that's probably already happened sometimes, and it probably would be worse if Zidisha were to prohibit some types of legal projects altogether.
Re: "...Keep in mind it appears cannabis farming and cocaine possession appear to have been recently decriminalized in Ghana - at some point 'intoxicants' will need to be addressed (not sure how domestic law works but it's even possible American lenders could potentially be breaking laws by financing such operations)..." Cannabis is legal in some parts of the United States now, too, in some places only for medicinal purposes, and some places allow recreational use now, as well. Still, though, you raise a good point. So far, I haven't seen any projects on Zidisha offered by anyone growing cannabis (which I maybe would help fund, if it wouldn't be illegal to do so) or, God forbid, selling cocaine (which I never would help fund). I've never helped to fund any projects selling alcohol or tobacco, at least as far as I know. I agree with you about that and, as I mentioned, we all have a choice about what to help fund. I do hear you, though, and I do lean more toward your way of thinking. It's just that I also do see Julia's point of view, too.
That said, if I could have my full choice in the matter, there would be a magic wand that could be waved to make the world a lot closer to my view of "perfect" than it is, meaning, in part, that (a) there never would be any projects of animal exploitation or any projects of selling alcohol or tobacco allowed on Zidisha, (b) there never would be any borrowers deceiving any lenders/funders about anything, and (c) there never would be any people engaging in the types of projects I just mentioned in the first place.
I like the idea for the "Pay It Forward" projects of rewarding higher social-benefit projects. I wouldn't classify a project selling alcohol "standard social benefit", though... selling fried fish (for example) could be that... but, rather, I'd classify that as "minimal social benefit" (not going so far with the judgement as to classify it as "no social benefit" or "socially detrimental" which you and/or I might actually prefer)... and then projects such as promoting cleaner energy choices, selling solar-powered products (for example), and growing vegetables organically (as another example), could be classified as "maximum social benefit".
Julia, ever since the Credit-Risk Fee was implemented on loans, I and some others have wanted a way to be provided directly on the platform for one or more lenders to cover all or a portion of that fee for any borrowers of our choosing (those with a repayment rate of 90% or higher and other factors), but the "Pay It Forward" program I think is a great way to do even better than that.
I always wondered why you hadn't responded about that idea, and now I know it's because you had a better idea in mind! :)
[Edited just to correct a couple of typos]
Christian Golo, Oluwashola Emmanuella Liasu and Scott Walker like this.
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