Climate CoLab Points

This page outlines how Climate CoLab points were structured and distributed in 2015.  Please note that this may change in future years.


Why Climate CoLab points? 

An integrated proposal includes ideas from all the people who contributed to the sub-proposals, not just those who created the integrated proposal itself. 

To recognize all these contributions, a winning integrated proposal receives CoLab Points that are distributed among all these people. Each community member's profile will show the points he or she has received

How are CoLab Points allocated to proposals?

All CoLab Points are first allocated to winning proposals in the Global contest. The Judges will choose how to divide the total number of points among winning proposals (for example, they may give the first place proposal more than the second place, or give tied winners the same number of points, and so forth). Below demonstrates one way the Judges might distribute points:

  • 1st place            5,000 points
  • 2nd place           2,500 points
  • 3rd place            1,500 points
  • 4th place               700 points
  • 5th place              250 points

These points are then further allocated among all the people responsible for the content of that proposal, including those who wrote the global proposal itself, as well as those who contributed to creating all the proposals it contains at the regional and basic levels. The system for distributing points is intended to allocate points roughly in proportion to how hard and how important the different tasks are.

See details of how points are distributed among proposals.


How are CoLab Points allocated to individuals?

The CoLab Points received by proposal creators are allocated as follows:

  • 90%    Team members (each proposal will include a section where the team members can specify how they want to allocate among themselves 90% of any points their proposal receives). 
  • 10%    Other contributors (each proposal will also include a section where the team members can list other community members who have made especially useful contributions through the Comments section of a proposal, by email, or in other ways).

What if a proposal team doesn't specify any point allocations for their proposal? 

When a proposal team doesn’t specify point allocations, 90% of any points the proposal receives will be divided equally among all the team members. The remaining 10% (for other contributors) will not be awarded to anyone.  

What does this mean for how people work together in the Climate CoLab?

The CoLab Point system is designed to encourage people to collaborate in many ways: 

  • If you're a member of a team creating an integrated proposal, your proposal will be judged, in part, on how well you assembled a collection of sub-proposals that are all good, relevant, and mutually compatible. That means you want to:
    • Help sub-proposal creators develop good proposals that you can include.
    • Create new sub-proposals yourself if you need a sub-proposal on a specific topic, and you can't find anyone else to create a good one
    • Help sub-proposal creators make proposals that are compatible with each other; for example, an integrated proposal shouldn't combine a sub-proposal for China that assumes a global price on carbon emissions with a sub-proposal for the US that assumes no price on carbon emissions.
    • Not include sub-proposals that are bad, redundant, or irrelevant to your overall proposal
  • If you're a member of a team creating a sub-proposal, you will receive points for every winning integrated proposal that includes your sub-proposal.  For instance, if your sub-proposal is included in the 1st, 2nd, and 4th place integrated proposals you will get a share of the points from all three of these winning proposals.  That means you want to:
    • Create a good proposal that lots of integrated proposal creators will want to include.
    • Make sure integrated proposal creators know about your proposal, but only if:
      • those proposals would benefit from including yours, and
      • they have a chance of winning.
    • Work with integrated proposal creators to make your proposal fit as well as possible into their proposal.
  • If you have ideas that could improve a proposal, but you're not a member of the proposal team, you may want to:
    • Ask the proposal team if you can join and help them make the proposal better, or
    • Give them suggestions in the Comments tab on their proposal, by email, or in some other way.    

Why is this approach to problem solving desirable?

The combination of integrated proposals and CoLab Points is a novel way to do very large-scale collective problem solving online. Like traditional organizational structures often used in business organizations, it breaks a problem into pieces and then puts the pieces back together. But unlike a traditional hierarchical organization, there are many paths for a given idea to get used in an overall solution. Many people are looking for good ideas in many places, and no one can single-handedly prevent a good idea from being used elsewhere.

In a sense, this approach is more like what happens in a market. An integrated proposal team can "buy" component parts from any number of sub-proposal teams in hopes of creating a product the integrated contest judges want to buy. But unlike in a traditional market, the same sub-proposal can be "sold" an unlimited number of times to different integrated proposals, and the creators of a sub-proposal can’t stop anyone from buying their product.

In economic terms, then, you might call this approach a knowledge economy with mandatory licensing of intellectual property. We believe this approach to large-scale collective problem solving has the potential to be useful, not only in addressing climate change, but also in solving many other kinds of business, scientific, and societal problems.