Author Topic: Why annual memberships are going away  (Read 3777 times)

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Offline theoretical

Why annual memberships are going away
« on: March 10, 2016, 06:50:03 am »
This is my personal opinion, not an official Cryptonomex statement on the matter.

Annual memberships are broken [1].  Annual memberships are unpopular [2].  They have been disabled in the GUI for approximately one month [3], and were never implemented in the CLI wallet in the first place.

The developers have already sunk more time into the annual membership feature -- indeed have sunk more time into discussing the potential ramifications of deprecating AM's -- than the feature has ever generated in value for the system.  The code is broken, doesn't do what it's supposed to do, and isn't economically worth fixing (it's actually less complicated to disable the old version of the feature and re-write a new version of it from scratch).

Maybe the idea of pricing tiers and lesser memberships is sound.  Maybe it can be made to work.  That's a larger business / marketing concern, which is not really my area.  My area is code.  And from the standpoint of code, if this is an idea that will ever be made to work, then it will be made to work with different code than what we have.  The existing design and code of this feature is simply too broken [4].

The medium-to-long-term decision about whether we'll retire or re-implement annual memberships is still unsettled.  (Although my personal point of view is that, while marketing theory unequivocally says offering AM's should be beneficial, the data [2] equally unequivocally directly contradicts the theory, and experiment is the ultimate arbiter of truth for any real-world project.  Which is why BitShares, and for that matter the whole blockchain industry, is a grand experiment -- although there are a lot of economic theories out there, you simply can't know for sure how real people will act with real money in real economic systems until they're built and deployed.)  Anyway, whichever way the decision of whether to retire or re-implement annual memberships goes [5], the short-term first steps are the same on either route:

The existing annual membership code must be retired [6].  The existing annual members should be given some non-broken replacement for the broken functionality they received.  By far the simplest, least expensive thing to do is simply give them a lifetime membership -- which is a non-broken thing we already have that is similar to (and actually strictly better than) what they were supposed to get.  So we're planning to upgrade every existing annual member to a lifetime member shortly after the next release.

We've maintained radio silence on this, except for advising the committee that annual memberships should be disabled (by increasing the fee to 1 billion BTS).  For the good and simple reason that we didn't want to encourage buying an AM upgrade as a backdoor route to a cheap LTM upgrade (which it would be, if it had been publicly known that AM's will receive a free LTM upgrade in the near future).  Now that AM's are disabled, we're free to discuss what their future should be.

[1] https://github.com/cryptonomex/graphene/issues/539
[2] As of this writing, 31 annual membership upgrade operations and 5744 lifetime membership upgrade operations have taken place on the chain.
[3] https://github.com/cryptonomex/graphene-ui/issues/730
[4] Why this is much more broken than any other part of Graphene involves a bit of Graphene history, but basically what happened is that the requirements of the referral system gained a lot of complexity over time and co-evolved with the code during Graphene's mid-to-late development, leading to an implementation with a sub-optimal design.  Annual memberships were added last, which meant they both had the most existing constraints/complexity to work with, and the most time pressure (the release date was already starting to loom large at the time they were added.)  If there's a second time around for the annual membership feature, hopefully we'll have a much better idea of exactly what we want to build before we start writing code, not be developing an entire new blockchain implementation alongside it, and not be under the same kind of time pressure, which should lead to much better code.
[5] Because of how broken they are, leaving them unchanged is simply not a viable approach from a technical standpoint -- they don't get what they're supposed to get, and in some cases get nothing!
[6] It can't be totally removed because future releases still have to understand the way past releases handled annual memberships in order to sync from genesis to the current state of the chain.
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Offline onceuponatime

Re: Why annual memberships are going away
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2016, 07:04:07 am »
The upgrade to Lifetime sounds like the right solution.

Offline Samupaha

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Re: Why annual memberships are going away
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2016, 08:31:14 am »
Yeah, LTM sounds good. Nobody will complain about that.

Offline xeroc

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Re: Why annual memberships are going away
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2016, 10:03:06 am »
+5%
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Offline abit

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Re: Why annual memberships are going away
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2016, 10:59:03 am »
Thanks for this detailed explanation.

I'll probably post my ideas about tier memberships some time in the future (which I have written some in this forum last month), but not now.
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Offline mint chocolate chip

Re: Why annual memberships are going away
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2016, 02:36:02 pm »
Yeah, LTM sounds good. Nobody will complain about that.
Unless you actually referred annual members...those referrers get screwed.

Offline theoretical

Re: Why annual memberships are going away
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2016, 03:43:03 pm »
Unless you actually referred annual members...those referrers get screwed.

Most of the 31 annual members were either registered by OpenLedger or existed at genesis.  There are exactly four actual referrals of annual memberships, by three people.  If the community thinks reimbursing them is important, it would be possible to set up a worker to pay them manually (or make arrangements with an existing worker to do this).  One of those four annual memberships upgraded to LTM on its own, so their referrer has already been paid.  The remaining two referrers (two of the three accounts were referred by the same referrer) are:

1.2.97634 (referred annual member in block #3028579)
1.2.32176 (referred annual members 1.2.97382, 1.2.101152 who upgraded in blocks #1391978, #3255854)
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Offline mint chocolate chip

Re: Why annual memberships are going away
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2016, 08:14:59 pm »
Unless you actually referred annual members...those referrers get screwed.

Most of the 31 annual members were either registered by OpenLedger or existed at genesis.  There are exactly four actual referrals of annual memberships, by three people.  If the community thinks reimbursing them is important, it would be possible to set up a worker to pay them manually (or make arrangements with an existing worker to do this).  One of those four annual memberships upgraded to LTM on its own, so their referrer has already been paid.  The remaining two referrers (two of the three accounts were referred by the same referrer) are:

1.2.97634 (referred annual member in block #3028579)
1.2.32176 (referred annual members 1.2.97382, 1.2.101152 who upgraded in blocks #1391978, #3255854)
Woohoo! I am the winner who is the loser by having referred 2 of the 3 annuals who get upgraded and will lose out on the 30% for the year and all future upgrade revenue.

Don't get me wrong...I agree with the getting rid of annual memberships, but do not like being the one who loses out.

Why would anyone have an annual membership at genesis...buddy buddy hook-up? The only free upgrades that were announced iirc were lifetime members for referring someone before the upgrade annoucement.

Offline bytemaster

Re: Why annual memberships are going away
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2016, 11:31:35 pm »
Unless you actually referred annual members...those referrers get screwed.

Most of the 31 annual members were either registered by OpenLedger or existed at genesis.  There are exactly four actual referrals of annual memberships, by three people.  If the community thinks reimbursing them is important, it would be possible to set up a worker to pay them manually (or make arrangements with an existing worker to do this).  One of those four annual memberships upgraded to LTM on its own, so their referrer has already been paid.  The remaining two referrers (two of the three accounts were referred by the same referrer) are:

1.2.97634 (referred annual member in block #3028579)
1.2.32176 (referred annual members 1.2.97382, 1.2.101152 who upgraded in blocks #1391978, #3255854)
Woohoo! I am the winner who is the loser by having referred 2 of the 3 annuals who get upgraded and will lose out on the 30% for the year and all future upgrade revenue.

Don't get me wrong...I agree with the getting rid of annual memberships, but do not like being the one who loses out.

Why would anyone have an annual membership at genesis...buddy buddy hook-up? The only free upgrades that were announced iirc were lifetime members for referring someone before the upgrade annoucement.

mint, I will send you $200 BitUSD for your trouble.   That should even things up a bit.
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Offline mint chocolate chip

Re: Why annual memberships are going away
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2016, 12:05:14 am »
Unless you actually referred annual members...those referrers get screwed.

Most of the 31 annual members were either registered by OpenLedger or existed at genesis.  There are exactly four actual referrals of annual memberships, by three people.  If the community thinks reimbursing them is important, it would be possible to set up a worker to pay them manually (or make arrangements with an existing worker to do this).  One of those four annual memberships upgraded to LTM on its own, so their referrer has already been paid.  The remaining two referrers (two of the three accounts were referred by the same referrer) are:

1.2.97634 (referred annual member in block #3028579)
1.2.32176 (referred annual members 1.2.97382, 1.2.101152 who upgraded in blocks #1391978, #3255854)
Woohoo! I am the winner who is the loser by having referred 2 of the 3 annuals who get upgraded and will lose out on the 30% for the year and all future upgrade revenue.

Don't get me wrong...I agree with the getting rid of annual memberships, but do not like being the one who loses out.

Why would anyone have an annual membership at genesis...buddy buddy hook-up? The only free upgrades that were announced iirc were lifetime members for referring someone before the upgrade annoucement.

mint, I will send you $200 BitUSD for your trouble.   That should even things up a bit.
Fair deal...tyvm.

Offline hcf27

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Re: Why annual memberships are going away
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2016, 08:26:58 pm »

The existing annual membership code must be retired [6].  The existing annual members should be given some non-broken replacement for the broken functionality they received.  By far the simplest, least expensive thing to do is simply give them a lifetime membership -- which is a non-broken thing we already have that is similar to (and actually strictly better than) what they were supposed to get.  So we're planning to upgrade every existing annual member to a lifetime member shortly after the next release.


 +5% to that, I got an annual membership when I just started to really use BTS and it sucked big time not getting anything in return so I would be more than happy with a LTM.

« Last Edit: March 11, 2016, 08:29:32 pm by hcf27 »

Offline fuzzy

Re: Why annual memberships are going away
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2016, 06:19:49 pm »
Unless you actually referred annual members...those referrers get screwed.

Most of the 31 annual members were either registered by OpenLedger or existed at genesis.  There are exactly four actual referrals of annual memberships, by three people.  If the community thinks reimbursing them is important, it would be possible to set up a worker to pay them manually (or make arrangements with an existing worker to do this).  One of those four annual memberships upgraded to LTM on its own, so their referrer has already been paid.  The remaining two referrers (two of the three accounts were referred by the same referrer) are:

1.2.97634 (referred annual member in block #3028579)
1.2.32176 (referred annual members 1.2.97382, 1.2.101152 who upgraded in blocks #1391978, #3255854)

Not against getting rid of annual membership for the time being because i too believe it is not the most important inclusion. however i must say that drawing meaning from the data of the existing experiment is not as simple as you suggest. there are many other factors that come into play. most namely is the UI and UE.  most people who have joined us have done so at a time when the wallet was not at all user friendly...which i believe is one of the primary reasons most our marketing efforts have yet to have paid off. 

remember that any of these studies that showed the effectiveness, if done correctly, have been tested in environments when the final product was considered finished so this element would not bias results.  i personally do not know of which studies you are talking about though. 

if you want ill gladly look over them :)
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Offline cube

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Re: Why annual memberships are going away
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2016, 04:23:57 am »
Unless you actually referred annual members...those referrers get screwed.

Most of the 31 annual members were either registered by OpenLedger or existed at genesis.  There are exactly four actual referrals of annual memberships, by three people.  If the community thinks reimbursing them is important, it would be possible to set up a worker to pay them manually (or make arrangements with an existing worker to do this).  One of those four annual memberships upgraded to LTM on its own, so their referrer has already been paid.  The remaining two referrers (two of the three accounts were referred by the same referrer) are:

1.2.97634 (referred annual member in block #3028579)
1.2.32176 (referred annual members 1.2.97382, 1.2.101152 who upgraded in blocks #1391978, #3255854)

Not against getting rid of annual membership for the time being because i too believe it is not the most important inclusion. however i must say that drawing meaning from the data of the existing experiment is not as simple as you suggest. there are many other factors that come into play. most namely is the UI and UE.  most people who have joined us have done so at a time when the wallet was not at all user friendly...which i believe is one of the primary reasons most our marketing efforts have yet to have paid off. 

remember that any of these studies that showed the effectiveness, if done correctly, have been tested in environments when the final product was considered finished so this element would not bias results.  i personally do not know of which studies you are talking about though. 

if you want ill gladly look over them :)

I too, believe that annual membership should come back at a later date, perhaps when LTM becomes popular.
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Offline BunkerChainLabs-DataSecurityNode

Re: Why annual memberships are going away
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2016, 04:07:57 am »


 +5%

Out of all the membership levels annual only accounted for 0.4%.

If any kind of other levels are to be introduced they cannot be based on the same premise as the original membership was designed for, which was based on fee structures primarily.
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Offline merivercap

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Re: Why annual memberships are going away
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2016, 04:45:49 am »
Hey thanks for the post in addressing this issue [member=3002]theoretical[/member] .  I understand some features are not worth keeping if the cost is prohibitive.  However there are a couple things I would like to note:

1. Coming from the marketing standpoint, I think annual membership is very important.  Using current membership numbers skews  the ratio in favor of LTMs because most of the people who even know about memberships are long-time community members and HODLRs. (BTW great to hear there are that many strong Bitshares supporters!)  Anyways the ratio of annual to lifetime members will be much different for new users.   The current referral program is hardly being used for growth because we don't have many businesses using our ecosystem yet.  We at Bitcash plan to take advantage of the referral program and annual memberships.

2.  Secondly and most importantly I've followed the Github issues and the code seems to behave as designed and documented  last year before the big upgrade and after.  There was some confusion about the referrer/registrar split because most people, myself included, didn't understand that the registrar would be able to decide the split and that may not have been clear during the big announcement in May/June of last year.   However the mechanics make sense and everything seems to be behaving as expected.  Note: Wouldn't genesis accounts just have to upgrade using a registrar that set's the referral percentage to 100%. 

If you can clarify if there are any additional issues I'm missing other than the confusion from the referrer/registrar split that would be great [member=3002]theoretical[/member].  Thank you. 
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