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Poll...and Query

First the poll: 

If you had a pocket full of cash, and all your bills paid,
Poll #1592044 If you had a pocket full of cash, and all your bills paid,

You are waiting for a train and a musician is playing music. You enjoy the music, and you notice their guitar case is open. You:

Tip the busker
Wait for the end of the song and say a few words
Just listen

You are waiting for a train and there's an artist drawing some really cool sidewalk-chalk art. You enjoy the art, and you notice they have a hat out. You:

Tip the artist
Chat with them and compliment their work
Just watch

You are waiting for a train and a break dancer or other performance artist is performing. You enjoy the performance, and see they have a bucket out. You:

Tip the artist
Compliment them at an appropriate pause in the performance
Just watch

You are using a secure internet connection, and you find a story online that you really enjoy. You see the artist has a tip button. You:

Tip the writer.
Leave a comment for the writer.
Just read.

You are using a secure internet connection, and you find some art you really enjoy. The artist has a tip jar. You:

Tip the artist.
Leave a comment for the artist.
Just look.
If, assuming that you had plenty of money and no urgent need to pay bills or put it in savings or the like, you answered the above questions differently, my query is simple:


What factors led you to take one imaginary action or another in these situations?


( 53 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jul. 14th, 2010 05:59 am (UTC)
I've actually done most of these things. I miss being able to do that; we've been so broke for so long, we haven't been able to get out much, let alone tip. But at least we get to the farmer's market occasionally, and it has buskers. I can smile and wave, or chat if I'm not rushed and roasting.
Jul. 15th, 2010 03:15 am (UTC)
Re: Thoughts
And you also do something that I didn't mention on these polls -- you talk about the things you find online that impress you, or that you think your friends/readers will be interested in.
Yes... - ysabetwordsmith - Jul. 15th, 2010 03:22 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Yes... - wyld_dandelyon - Jul. 15th, 2010 03:26 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 14th, 2010 06:08 am (UTC)
Live situations, I often add to the hat. If I have money in my pocket and my bills paid and I like it, I often still don't tip because I'd go broke if I did that every single time. But I try to tip on a ratio, like every fifth artist I see.

In internet situations, I'm much less likely to tip because it's so much easier than live busking. When you busk, you have to look people in the eye. You notice every person who ignores you, you get mistaken for a homeless person, you might get kicked, you might get "moved along", people might make change in your hat or just steal from it. In many ways, live busking is very rewarding, but it is also not for the faint of heart.

Also, on the internet, if I go looking for art or writing, there is huge, huge wealth. Searching for... an enjoyable webcomic, say, would be like attending a worldwide conference of balloon entertainers: they're everywhere! But one piccolo player on the streets of Madison lights up the air for blocks. There's nothing else going on, and that means there's scarcity, and that makes it more valuable.
Jul. 15th, 2010 03:18 am (UTC)
Yeah, I remember when busking first started in Chicago, and I was heading home from work and I heard a hammered dulcimer. Something about the shape of the sound told me it was live, not out of some boom box. It was a delightful surprise.

You don't get that online--you only find something online if you're out looking. (Unless your browser is hijacked, and that's not exactly a wonderful discovery.)

It's great to hear from you here.
Jul. 14th, 2010 06:10 am (UTC)
My biggest problem is that I'm almost never carrying cash anymore. It's hard to tip the meatspace artists with a credit card. So, I tend to tip the on-line ones, and not the meatspace. I'm also far, far shyer in person than I am when I can self-edit, and am more likely to leave a comment than strike up a conversation. Smile, yes, and even clap, but not interact.

Edited at 2010-07-14 06:11 am (UTC)
Jul. 14th, 2010 06:54 am (UTC)

Seriously I carry one single dollar usually and that's only because I'm paranoid because Illinois still has the vagrancy law on the books that if you don't have any cash on you they can haul you in.

But for almost everything now it's the debit card. *shrug*
(no subject) - wyld_dandelyon - Jul. 15th, 2010 03:21 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 14th, 2010 06:12 am (UTC)
My answers were the same for every case except the dancers; in that case, instead of saying I would both tip them and stop to comment, I said I would tip them but not stop to comment. The reason is that, in my experience, troupes of street dancers are more tightly focused on their work and not inclined to stop in between numbers to chat; they spend the time in between numbers sorting out with each other what they're going to do next, or just resting and grabbing a drink of water, since their work is more physical than most of the other types of artists you mention. Street musicians or chalk artists, in my experience, generally welcome compliments on their work; dancers seem to prefer to be left alone.
Jul. 15th, 2010 03:24 am (UTC)
It's so wonderful getting all these different perspectives!

And good to see you here, too.

I've seen dancers who were happy to talk, while they were passing around the hat. But yeah, if they were just getting ready to dance, they'd need their concentration.

Now, there is one type of performer I wouldn't try to chat with--one of those "statues". It's a good point that you don't want to disrupt the performance or the concentration of a performer.
(no subject) - rowyn - Jul. 16th, 2010 01:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 14th, 2010 06:14 am (UTC)
My credit card lives downstairs and I live upstairs is the lame answer to that.
Jul. 15th, 2010 03:29 am (UTC)
One of the things I do like about Paypal is that it is wherever I have a secure computer connection.

In theory, it's also available wherever I have a non-secure connection, but I'm not stupid.
Jul. 14th, 2010 08:51 am (UTC)
I never chat with artists and buskers, though I'd smile and pay them a quick compliment. That's not to be rude, but I figure that while they're chatting to me, they're not entertaining others and therefore missing out on potential money.

Jul. 15th, 2010 03:31 am (UTC)
Perhaps I chose the wrong word. I wasn't suggesting starting a long, deep conversation! :-D

Though that IS possible online, since the artist/writer can respond when they have time, rather than when you commented.
Jul. 14th, 2010 12:18 pm (UTC)
Of course, I never actually HAVE all my bills paid and cash in my pocket, but if I DID, I'd spend on supporting people whose work I valued.
I had the biggest issue with art online; it's rare I'd tip for that, because typically I'd rather buy a print or some other tangible object with the art on it.
Jul. 15th, 2010 03:37 am (UTC)
It's interesting to hear both from people who would rather have stuff, and from people who Don't Need More Stuff.

Thanks for stopping to comment!
Jul. 14th, 2010 12:30 pm (UTC)
Although, I'll confess, and it galls me to do so, that commenting is often a matter of time for me. I don't like leaving banal comments, even though, as a writer, I'm pleased even with "Great chapter, wow!" so if I can't think of anything great to say (or if their forums overwhelm me with the number of posters), I'll move on.
Jul. 14th, 2010 04:38 pm (UTC)
Me, too!
(*laughs at self* See, kinda banal... but it's true.)
(no subject) - wyld_dandelyon - Jul. 15th, 2010 02:58 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lissa_dora - Jul. 15th, 2010 01:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rowyn - Jul. 16th, 2010 02:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 14th, 2010 04:44 pm (UTC)
To tell you the truth
I can't stand most performance art. I've seen a hell of a lot of it, since I have artists in my family, and damned near all of it leaves me cold. The same with breakdancers. So there's a good chance I would turn my back, if possible.
Jul. 15th, 2010 03:39 am (UTC)
Re: To tell you the truth
What a great distinction between "you can tell they're good" and "you're enjoying the performance"!

And certainly you're entitled to "vote with your feet".
Jul. 14th, 2010 05:28 pm (UTC)
In all honesty, what keeps me from interacting with buskers in person is shyness. Even stepping forward to tip someone is a source of discomfort for me. (I should note that if I've stood there for a long time, enjoying the music/art/dance/what-have-you, I will tip quickly because I think that's the decent thing to do.) So I interact more in online venues because they tend not to turn me into a quivering ball of stress.
Jul. 15th, 2010 03:53 am (UTC)
So, would your shyness make you more likely to tip online if you could do so anonymously?

Although, as a busker, though I have always respected the shyness of people who tried to tip without letting me see them do it by not showing I noticed them doing it, I did appreciate that tiny bit of connection, as well as the cash.

As an online "busker", I think it's pretty cool to know who tipped me. I don't do a lot in the way of perks (though I've done thank-you icons for a few of my sponsors), but I do make an effort to pay particular attention if a sponsor responds to one of my "inspire me" posts. I also give my most regular sponsors the perk of getting to peek at unfinished fiction I'm posting to a limited audience for critiques, if they ask to be included, even if they don't have that skill. I couldn't give those kinds of perks to anonymous sponsors.
(no subject) - minor_architect - Jul. 15th, 2010 04:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 14th, 2010 07:23 pm (UTC)
I've never lived in a city where busking was a normal thing, and I've only barely ever seen anyone doing it when I've visited cities where it might happen. I don't like places where large crowds are thronging through. I avoid them fairly strongly. I can only think of a couple of times that I've ever seen anyone really busking, and they were so bad that if I'd thrown anything, it would have been a tomato, not money. I think that if I regularly passed by people playing for tips on street corners, and I had the spare money in my pocket, I'd hand a little out to the ones who stood out as brightening my day.

I think I would feel a little social pressure in one way: if I felt that my enjoyment of the performance was worthy of a quarter, but not a dollar, I might not actually throw in the quarter. I wouldn't be noticed at all if I just walked on, but if I threw in a quarter, I might be hurting the performer's feelings or looking like a cheapskate. Walking past is totally safe, but as soon as I do something more, I worry if I'm doing it right.

When it comes to the on-line piece, I again get hung up on my odd little foibles. If it's on a site where I'm already logged in, I'll often comment, but if I have to go through the rigamarole of signing up, I'll have to be really deeply moved. As for leaving a tip, if there were a site where I had the option of just pressing one button and leaving a quarter, I'd probably do so fairly freely. If it were a dollar, I'd do it if I liked the piece. But entering a credit card number is, to me, a big hassle. Instead of reaching into my pocket as I listen and tossing a coin in the guitar case, it turns into going home and getting my wallet as a psychological barrier.

I believe that what we need (where "we" is both the community of content consumers who'd like to be paying, and the community of content providers that I have some faint aspirations of joining) is an infrastructure that makes it very quick and easy mechanically and also fully socially acceptable and economically useful to make small, but still non-zero, donations in response to stuff we like. The problem is that I have enough motivation to bounce some ideas around in my head or over a beer with someone else but not nearly enough to write up a business case or actually crank out software.

Jul. 15th, 2010 12:26 am (UTC)
an infrastructure that makes it very quick and easy mechanically and also fully socially acceptable and economically useful to make small, but still non-zero, donations in response to stuff we like.

This is actually something I'm working on! :) Other (paying) projects and a hacker attack have taken precedence, but I'm working out the gears and whistles as we speak. Though, done my way, it will be fantasy/sci fi genre, probably... I'm ambivalent about managing a free-for-all site. If the software is awesome enough, I might make it open source and let other folks spread it further.
Hmm... - ysabetwordsmith - Jul. 15th, 2010 12:42 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wyld_dandelyon - Jul. 15th, 2010 04:04 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 14th, 2010 10:13 pm (UTC)
Interesting, I've never heard the term busker before. Outdoor performances really impress me--it takes guts to perform for an audience that may want nothing to do with you, compared to performing at a theatre where people have paid to see you. And often there's something very unique--I saw a guy playing very intricate music on a platform of partially filled water glasses. I could pick up a flute a play a note, perhaps badly but I could play it...I don't know the first place to begin with getting a glass to make noise like that. Unfortunately I didn't have any cash ):

I'm more discerning about what I tip for online because when I like to make a larger contribution. I feel weird about putting just a few dollars on my debit card, there are always signs in stores about minimum orders. I also spend more time with the online stuff...a podcast could give me weeks of entertainment whereas a street performer can offer an hour or so and I usually only stick around for a few minutes.
Jul. 15th, 2010 12:44 am (UTC)
Minimum payment varies by project. Some have specific amounts listed, but others don't. Many have multiple options: things you can sponsor individually, things you can cosponsor, and/or a variable donation button for whatever you want to chip in. There are really no standards in crowdfunding yet, and probably won't be for a while if ever.
(no subject) - wyld_dandelyon - Jul. 16th, 2010 01:49 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - zellie_bean - Jul. 16th, 2010 05:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 14th, 2010 11:29 pm (UTC)
In person, I will tip the busker/artist/etc if I was paying enough attention to notice (sometimes a high bar), and I liked their work enough to go out of my way to hear/see more (which is a fairly small fraction -- many cause me to flee), and I have reasonable units of cash with me. I will pretty much never strike up a conversation with a stranger. I will occasionally buy a CD or similar. I'm more likely to tip a solo busker than a performer at a street festival or similar, which now that I'm thinking about it seems incorrect. Also now that I'm thinking about it, at a street festival often the things I like best are for sale, and I don't necessarily want/need a thing to take home, but have no idea of the etiquette for "I am very glad this nifty thing you made was here for me to admire, but I do not have a proper home to offer it".

Online, there's vastly more stuff, the overhead of 'look for more' is much lower, the overhead of tipping is higher (in both my time and paypal fees), and tipping isn't so anonymous. I think I tip online more often overall but for a much smaller fraction of what I see/read, and the selection is a little more arbitrary. I am unlikely to comment unless I have something cogent to say or know the artist.

I mildly prefer music, story, and 3-d arts over 2-d arts and dance.

I'm aware (and thank you for the training) that not-particularly-cogent comments are still appreciated by at least some artists, but lurker inertia is still pretty strong.
Jul. 15th, 2010 04:10 am (UTC)
One thing I do like about Facebook is the unobtrusive, but easy to use and always available, "I like this" button. It would be cool if LJ had something similar.

I suppose I could add a poll to do that here, but I fear that would seem pushy.
(no subject) - kelkyag - Jul. 15th, 2010 06:20 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - zellie_bean - Jul. 16th, 2010 05:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 15th, 2010 01:24 am (UTC)
Kind words are great - I will always thank a perfoprmer/artist for their performance/work. But kind words don't put beans on the table. I've busked for coin a time or two when things were tight - I know the feelings.
Jul. 15th, 2010 03:01 am (UTC)
Cool to see you here!

Yeah, money (especially when you're broke) is much appreciated.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 15th, 2010 03:09 am (UTC)
Hi! Welcome!

Haikujaguar and djinni are artists who use tip buttons. I've also seen it with other LJ artists who, like djinni, do sketch days or icon days.
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( 53 comments — Leave a comment )


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