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A platform where local people help each other out when someone is in need

Image credit: Helena Lopes

Darko Savic
Darko Savic Jul 16, 2021
Local help finder - a platform where a person can ask for help from people in the area.

Karma as currency

To be able to ask for help you first need to build up some karma for your account. You do that by helping others first. You give a portion of your karma to others who come to help you out. It's OK to request help from multiple people if you have previously built up enough karma.

When you help someone, half of the karma you earn comes from the person you help and the other half is newly created and given to you by the platform.

  • Can't ask for money or donations.
  • All help is free. Nobody gets paid, ever.
  • The "ask" has to be well defined in advance. Anyone signing up to help you has to know exactly what they are getting into.
  • Spammers or salesmen abusing the platform get banned.
  • Reviewing how the encounter went is mandatory for everyone involved.
  • People's identities should be verified to ensure accountability and prevent abuse.
  • The one getting the help has to participate and help the helpers in every way they can.
The platform would be global but with geolocation so that people in the area are notified about pending requests for help.
Creative contributions

Being able to receive help without karma points

Povilas S
Povilas S Jul 17, 2021
I think it would be better if people could still receive help even if they didn't yet help anyone. You mention that there should be no money involved, but at the same time "karma points" would serve as platform's currency and the whole system would therefore be based on "give and then you can ask for repayment" concept. The beauty of helping is that you don't expect anything from the person you are helping out. If you do, then the act loses its purity. So I think it's better to base the platform on a "repayment-free" concept and not use karma points. Instead reviews from other users whom you helped and who helped you could serve as a trust-building tool and eliminate users who just receive but never give anyone.
Darko Savic
Darko Savic2 months ago
Yes, but in this sense, karma is not used as currency. It's used to protect altruistic people from being taken advantage of. Also to prevent social parasites from sucking the life out of the platform.
Povilas S
Povilas S2 months ago
Darko Savic Yes, I understand that's the main reason, but this also allows a perspective of "I'll help someone in order to be able to receive help", therefore brings a buying-selling mindset as a byproduct. Of course, it ultimately depends on a person, but the way the system is organized also has a big influence.

Nevertheless, in either of those cases, it would be a useful platform, just with different pros and cons. I think reviews might be enough to serve the protecting function.

This platform can be divided into two functions

Deru Xu
Deru Xu Jul 30, 2021
This platform can be divided into two functions: proactively seeking help and proactively providing help.
In addition to asking for help, we can also take the initiative to help others.Helping others can not only make people in trouble feel warm, but also make us feel more fulfilled. We can provide help to others as much as we can, but we don't know how to find those who need help.
Therefore,people can establish a platform.on the one hand, those who need help can put forward their demands, on the other hand, those who provide help can take the initiative to publish help information on the platform, describing in detail what kind of help can be provided. For example, Tom is an electrical repair expert, he can take the initiative to release some help information for those who need to repair electrical appliances to browse.
This application mainly helps people nearby. Therefore, different regions can be distinguished by positioning, and those who provide help will post information in the local section.

Can be a global platform

Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Jul 16, 2021
If the platform is global, it becomes more dynamic. When someone needs help at a particular moment, like mowing the lawn and preparing dinner before guests arrive, the "helpers" who are free and around the person asking for help can contribute. I may be at my friend's place in another city and if the help arises there, both my friend and I can contribute and earn karma. Of course, this is possible for help that requires minimal expertise and is required urgently. For more long-term though-out projects, people who reside in the nearby area are more eligible.

For such long-term projects, it would be great if the app records each user's profession (as @Spook suggested) and education level. The help requests can then go to only those that are elligible for providing the help instead of spamming every nearby user. Education level is important or help requests like filing taxes or budgeting.

The idea of using "karma" is definitely great; it avoids money and the problems that come with it.
Bob McInnis2 months ago
The same lie that keeps us from instinctually helping each other is the lie that has us living in fear of "being taken advantage of' . Altruism doesn't exist in reciprocity. Karma's reward is in the giving, not the receiving. Global-scale would bastardize the intent of caring concern for each other. The platform should be as local as possible to honor the gifts of our neighbors and the recognition that we are inexorably connected by proximity.
Darko Savic
Darko Savic2 months ago
Bob McInnis Yes. The platform would be global in the sense that where ever you are, you can participate right there and then with local people. Based on your geolocation the platform would find you local people to help or get help from.

The platform would need some protective measures to prevent it from being a haven for sociopaths that use altruists as their private workforce.
Darko Savic
Darko Savic2 months ago
Yes, it was meant to be a global platform but with geolocation so that people in the area are notified about pending requests for help

Identified users and proof that the stories are real

Darko Savic
Darko Savic Jul 30, 2021
Dealing with identified people is safer

This should not be mandatory but people could opt to have their identity verified in a similar way that crypto exchanges verify their users. Identity checks could be done through a 3rd party verifier who has a video chat with you and checks your IDs held up next to your face.

Proof of real stories

People are moved by stories. Depending on the situation, the person requesting help may want to attach some proof that the story is real. That way people don't have to worry about being taken advantage of.

Money can be used to motivate members

Samuel Bello
Samuel Bello Aug 26, 2021
Money can be used as a major source of motivation. More people will be active on the platform if there was a chance to make money from the platform. For example, if their karma points could earn them slots on a raffle draw where they win money or sponsored vacations, people will try to earn more points and end up doing favors that outweigh the value of the prize money. Other forms of encouragement can include recognition awards for some of the most helpful members of the platform.

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General comments

Samuel Bello
Samuel Bello23 days ago
How will the platform keep people from gaining karma points by staging the help? For example, person A could request for help that they do not need so that person B will pretend to do it and get karma points. That way they can rack up karma points and use them to request help without doing any actual work.
Darko Savic
Darko Savic23 days ago
Samuel Bello a worthy problem to think about! I imagine some kind of map of interactions where networks of repeating cooperations would be detected. Then a "moderator" could be sent in as a spy. If artificial karma boosting is discovered the entire network would be banned.

Ideally, people would have to be verified (ID, home address, video chat) so that they are safe to interact with. So that people are not lured into scam traps. If ID is required, and fake karma networks are busted, the platform could defend itself from social parasites.
Juran2 months ago
Do you think this idea would work in big cities? I understand that lawnmowing perfectly fits to this idea, but I can't think of a small free services that people, e.g. in cities, could ask for.

Also, because you need first to help someone in order to ask for help, wouldn7t that create a big problem for the platform to grow?
Darko Savic
Darko Savic2 months ago
Juran The initial users could be people that like the idea and want it to survive. They could be given some seed karma, enough to ask for help once.

I imagine stuff like:
- I'll be cleaning the trash from the park on Saturday and need a few people to help me
- I'm moving and need 2 guys to help me carry the furniture out of the building
- I'm going around the neighbourhood asking people who have pets if they can donate 1 bag of pet food to the local pet shelter. Is anyone willing to go with me?
- I'm building a wooden garden shed. I could use help from someone with experience.
- My child's computer crashed. I need someone knowledgeable to help me reinstall everything.

People in big cities need help just as anywhere else
Spook Louw
Spook Louw2 months ago
I had a very similar idea to this yesterday. Instead of an open platform as you suggested though, what I had in mind was closed groups consisting of one of everything. I would call it the Noah's Ark experiment.

The idea would be to create a network of people with different skillsets and qualifications who would make their services available to each other either free of charge or at least without profit. Imagine a lawyer, a doctor, a builder, an accountant, a restaurant owner, a gym instructor, a graphic designer etc all in one group. If any of them needed medical assistance (obviously more general checkups and the like) they would go to the one doctor in their group. In return, if he ever needed a lawyer or a builder, for instance, he would go to that person in the group.

This idea only works on a small scale, but it could be very effective if everyone plays their part.

In addition to offering their services to each other, they could also have scheduled meetings where everyone in the group is present and they could brainstorm members' problems together, with the advantage of getting inputs from a variety of different perspectives and skillsets.

Ideally, these people would all live in the same community.