What happens when you tack $80 in cash on corkboards

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/03/23/what-happens-when-you-tack-80.html


It’s almost as if we’re a communal species, and we’re capable of acting altruistically.


were any bitcoins pinned to the board?


What I find interesting is that the board was cleaned, but just once. That would be consistent with the theory that there are a limited number oh assholes, but they do disproportionately more damage.


or perhaps, that entire amount was what they needed?

Perhaps the $80 or whatever amount was now on the board was what allowed them to eat that week, or pay the rent? It is possible they were just a dickish person taking what they could, but there is no definitive way to conclude the pessimistic conclusion.


Nobody knows, but it sounds like the creators thought the same way.


Indeed. This is why I wrote “consistent with the theory” and not “it must be an asshole”.


The lesson ought to be that most folk, most of the time, have way more sense of civic responsibility than we admit. But sooner or later, an asshole will show up to clean out these boards once a week, and that person – representing 0.001% of the participants – will end up being 95% of the narrative. We should remember the ten thousand good people and the one bad person, but that’s not how we’re wired, especially once we paint the asshole as some kind of Other and become paranoid that all the other Others will behave the same.

That’s why I don’t like to get too rose-tinted about stories like this. It’s good to remember that nearly everyone is good, but it’s bad to forget that a very few people aren’t. The more you try to forget about bad actors, the worse it is when they eventually show up.


It’s a Really Really Free Market!

I think that percentage is closer to the 1%.


Ah, the true essentials in San Francisco.


Yup, this was a neat experiment, and I was a little surprised it began to refill after being cleaned out. But up till then it’s exactly what I would have expected. Bruce Schneier has a good book about this called Liars and Outliers.



Have a penny? Leave a penny.
Need a penny? Get a job!


bonus points for Far Side cartoon !!


Here in Austin it’s common to see people put out used/old items on the curb. Not for trash pick up but for anyone to snag if they want it. I’ve seen some really good furniture over the years but i don’t have a pickup or any friends i can rely on so i’ve had to pass. Also seen people leave out food and clothes. When i was really struggling with my income a few years ago i found a large box filled with brand new, never touched cans of tuna, still within date. There was something like 20-30 cans. I felt really weird grabbing it but i totally did. Also managed to get a box filled with freeze dried food for camping that had barely expired and i enjoyed that for a while.


The article says the Great Wall of Money was cleared out more than once

1 Like

I honestly need several hundred dollars to cover bills. But I’d be afraid to take more than $20 from such a board, because that would make me an asshole.


If I saw a board like that, I would be terrified of a psychology student springing out of the bushes, pointing out the hidden camera, and asking if I would like to be interviewed about my motives.

…Or, alternatively, that closer examination would reveal each bill to be a disguised evangelist tract, and that someone would spring out of the bushes and ask if I would be interested in joining a Bible study group.


This reminds me of the time i was walking over to a show and i was walking by a row of parked cars on a street. One was a newer nice car, think a BMW and the door was wide open and no one was near the car. I stop and look around like… am i being punked right now? I ended up locking and closing the door, and the car was kinda dusty so i wrote on the car “Hey your car door was open!”


A non-asshole who needs to eat leaves 5 bucks for someone else who needs to eat.