I want to offer feedback. I only mean it to be useful so I hope it is.
Every month I have $X amount of money in my budget that I spend on donations at Patreon to support people/products I like. I know people like to complain about Patreon, but for my needs - it is exactly what I want. I know exactly how much I spend every month and I know exactly what day the one payment hits my credit card but more importantly, I know where every dollar goes.
I almost exclusively use FLOSS. I want to be able to send the project/creator of the software a regular donation. Maybe the application on my tablet (mild use) from f-droid gets 1$ and f-droid gets 2$ while the applications on my daily-use desktop get 5$. I don’t know what the final tallies are, but that’s what I would like to see happen.
So if Patreon is working so well, why have I spent the last few hours poking around at snowdrift and writing this?
Because I’ve been encouraging several Open Source Projects to get on Patreon for a long time, but overwhelmingly many of them want nothing to do with Patreon due to its requirements and issues for creators. They don’t want to deal with Patreons hassles as they would rather be coding. Instead, many of them set up their own donation system.
What is wrong with that?
Well, take IPFire for example. I love IPFire for my firewall - I’ve been using it for years and I’m so tweaked-and-tuned around it at my house that I honestly don’t know what I would do if it went away. I’ve tried several times to donate. Took me a month to get the bank to finally get my first donation to them because they are overseas and my bank freaked. Even after I told them I wanted to do a regular donation the bank was none-too-pleased. Especially at the little-a-month-I-could-afford prices. So I tried Paypal. That was 3 months of misery where Paypal basically stole my money (in various “fees” but the point is the money never made it to IPFire nor back to me).
The big projects like FSF or Debian? Oh yeah, trivial to donate to them and they are 401c tax donation setup. But that isn’t my intent when I try to convince projects to sign up for Patreon. I just want to send a portion of a “Thank You” that I can afford on a known budget to the projects I care about.
What about liberapay as an option?
I’ve really considered them, but I’m not sure I like their wallet system for payments and with them based in France I am hesitant to try - considering what happened with my attempts at donating to IPFire. :-/
So why this feedback?
Well to start - my skill set lays elsewhere and so I’m reading these posts about game-theory and it is all going over my head. So I am relying on the basic stuff for my information that I hopefully understand correctly (https://snowdrift.coop/how-it-works). However, I have a couple of things that I haven’t resolved while reading wiki/posts/Gitlab (Kudos on that BTW. Love love love Gitlab.)
One - I worry about not knowing how much is coming out of my budget every month if a project has enough contributors or if the price has changed on me. I would much rather specify “this gets exactly 1$ and not a penny more” than have even a slight chance my budget fluctuating on me.
Two - I’m not sure I want a “kickstarter clone for FLOSS”. Some of the posts I read it seemed a little iffy on if this was to support existing projects or new ones. I’m assuming the majority will be existing projects, but just to be clear - I REALLY want to support the projects that make an impact on my daily life.
Three - Even if this platform isn’t something that suites my wants/needs/desires, if it can be useful to the projects that I care about I would want to tell them. But it is not clear yet as to how I can do that or even what to tell them. Using the above examples of f-droid and ipfire, I have accounts in their community so I feel it might be more likely to be heard if I (or other users) were to say “I use this software, I’m in the community, and I want to fund you by using this new site - please take a look.” But I would want to give them information on how to contact and be a part. I don’t yet see that information (I am assuming it is coming soon, but again, felt like I should be upfront and clear about it as something I would like to have before approaching projects).
Four - I worry about funding “a developer” over “a project that developer created”. I’m still not quite sure how that works in your system. I would like to ask that is made a bit more obvious/clear. It’s not that I don’t want to fund a developer, but I can give examples of where one project is high on my list but the developer does 30 other projects that I have no intention of using. I would like my “Thank you, here’s a $X” to be specific to the project I use so they know why I’m donating to them. Also, if the lead dev gets bored but the project community carries on - I would like my “Thank you, here’s a $X” to go to the project community that is supporting what I use.
Five - I’m still not quite sure how “mega” projects are going to work. Take Nextcloud. Love it! However, it comprises a LOT of projects. 132 as of right now!! (https://github.com/nextcloud) I didn’t even know it had that many until I just looked it up! I certainly don’t use that many aspects of Nextcloud. However, if Contacts, News, and Notes went away…oh…I would have a very very bad day. I would probably be forever frozen on the last version those three worked. Honestly, if I lost just one of those three I would be hurting in my personal workflow because I use them so much. It would be far far FAR more valuable to me that Nextcloud KNEW without out a doubt that at the very least I was donating $X total to Nextcloud but $Y1 was for News, $Y2 was for Contacts, and $Y3 was for Notes. I’m not clear how that would work with Snowdrift.
I hope that this feedback from a complete outsider with just a few hours of reading was useful. If I completely missed the mark - then I am really sorry for taking your time.
Thank you for reading.