microPledge : flexible multiple pledges

After first pledge starts, disable rest, at least as option.

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Currently, if you make multiple pledges they are all “firm” - you are signaling the intention to support all the projects you have pledged for, whenever they might start. It might benefit everyone, including developers, if it were possible to make pledges that are less firm.

If you think it is possible you may have to actually pay everything you have pledged, then you may only pledge to a few projects that interest you most. But there are far more possible projects than will ever get started, so most likely your pledge money will sit unused.

If you could pledge to all the projects you’re interested in with the intention of supporting only the first to start, and then re-evaluating, then you might pledge to more projects, increasing the chance that at least one of the projects you pledge to will start. There would be more money potentially available to each project, if they start immediately, increasing the chance they could start.

This doesn’t quite work with the current interface. You can remove your remaining pledges when the first one is called, if you act fast enough. But in theory, they could all be called at the same time (or close enough that there isn’t time to act). You are liable for the sum total of all your pledges.

A simple alternative interface is that when one of your pledges starts, all the remaining pledges are put in a disabled state. You could then re-evaluate your pledges, removing some, changing the amount for others, and then there would be a button to press to enable your pledges. Or you could wait until you next have some spare money. You are liable only up to your biggest single pledge.

For people with only a single pledge (as do most current users of microPledge), this would not change the interface at all.

This interface provides flexibility in a number of interesting ways. A pledger could be interested in a number of projects from a single developer, but want to see how the developer does on one of them (any one of them), before committing to support the rest. It also provides another way for developers to compete for the same idea, besides the quote system. Instead of having a separate quote period, the developers could compete up to the moment that one of them starts. The competing developers separate projects could have different specifications.

Another possible alternative interface would be to provide an option for the account to either work as microPledge does currently, or as described above. An even more fancy interface would be to allow individual control over pledges, making some firm and others conditional, to better signal intentions to developers.

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