Crowdfunding Drupal: If you won't put a dollar in the pot, say why not!

Submitted by Benjamin Melançon on Thu, 03/15/2012 - 12:02

Would you give $20 for that feature/fix/documentation you've always wanted in a module/theme/distribution?

Yes? Great! Would you pledge $20 for the chance to give that $20? Wonderful! Please make your tax deductible contribution, which will only be charged if we raise enough to do this, in the next three days!

If not, why not? Serious question— the goal is not to extort money from you, the goal is to extort either money or information (or both). What would make you unwilling to pledge money toward something you think Drupal needs? Please let me know by contact form or in the comments.

So you have goals to evaluate for worthiness and practicality, we intend that Snowball (the platform to get community initiatives rolling) will:

  • Allow asynchronous aggregation of wants and needs. We don't want a mad rush of fundraising campaigns (like this one); instead we want to see what people are offering to put time or resources toward, and then help an actionable plan take shape.
  • Provide a platform for the instigators, the organizers, the advocates, who are crucial to making things happen in any community.
  • Give people with more money than time or talent (for a particular task, so that means most of us) a direct way to contribute.
  • Get your most-wanted improvement to Drupal made... provided we find enough other likeminded people who act on their convictions.
  • Make the world a better place.

Is this a fool's errand? If so, i have the credentials. but please say why Snowball as a concept doesn't hold together. If not a fool's errand, i think we can continue to broaden those involved in this "initiative to make more initiatives possible" until it is possible itself. Join in and even pledge a few bucks for the effort on CrowdTilt while every cent (if the funding level is reached at all) will go to build it.

Comments

Submitted by Alex on Thu, 03/15/2012 - 14:35

I'll give you 20 bucks to delete this post.

Just kidding.

I think it's a worthy initiative but I'm somewhat skeptical about the premise that this opens and what could be in store for the future. Imagine if merlinofchaos decides to hold Views ransom, so to speak. Whereas this is just a completely fictional example and obviously won't happen I fear that we might could potentially see module maintainers being lazy for certain fixes and improvements, waiting for a bounty to be offered.

I kind of like the way it works today, where the maintainer can be informally approached for a specific customization or bugfix that isn't at the top of his to-do list.

That said, it would be nice to remove some of the informality from this process...

One question, what project or initiative specifically is this crowdfunded tilt going to work on?

Submitted by Pat on Thu, 03/15/2012 - 14:43

Hi,

I really like this idea - I presented on something similar a while back (for reference XOT is www.nottingham.ac.uk/xerte)

https://docs.google.com/present/view?id=df5vn4hx_27c2mb7ndz

Might be some ideas in there for the project.

I'd like to help as well (although I am not the best coder).

Pat

Submitted by Adam Wood on Thu, 03/15/2012 - 14:47

This concept works very well in other areas, providing it's managed correctly.

Reminds me a bit of this from the gaming community, which is working great; http://www.wmdportal.com/about/

Submitted by ajayg on Thu, 03/15/2012 - 16:47

I would like to donate and have donated in the past. But I won't donate to this , Yet !

1. I don't know my money is going against exactly which feature/bug etc. yet. If I donate and the money ends for a feature I am never going to use , I may not get any benefit. If there was a fixed proposal/issue/idea then I would feel more comfortable to donate.

2. In the past , I had some bad experience. Once you donate and the feature is developed, the person taking the money ows atleast X days of support (for fixing known defects). I understand the X can't be very big number but it should not be 0 either. If there is some mechanism, the developer gets Y-Z money upfront but remaining Z, say 3 months later, there is incentive for developer to support and fix known issues resulted from his/her own contrbution.

my 2 cents :)

Submitted by George on Thu, 03/15/2012 - 19:54

I signed up to crowdtilt with full intention of supporting this idea only to discover that they only accept US credit cards... So that's a huge problem right there.

Submitted by Johan Falk on Fri, 03/16/2012 - 09:07

I've been thinking about the payment/reward model implemented by Flattr: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zrMlEEWBgY

In short:
1) Flattr users donate at least 2 euro each month.
2) Flattr users click "Flattr" buttons on content they like (or uses some of the other ways of flattring).
3) At the end of each month, a user's donations are spready equally over all the flattrings.

What I like with this is:
a) You only have to decide *once* that you want to donate money to good things – each time you have to make that decision is a threshold where you lose people.
b) It becomes really easy to donate.
c) You can donate not only to Drupal projects, but to just about anything you find on the web (and some things off-web too).

Submitted by Johan Falk on Fri, 03/16/2012 - 09:07

PS: "Deducing tax" assumes you live in the US, I guess. It doesn't work like that in Sweden.

Submitted by JThan on Fri, 03/16/2012 - 16:03

Hi.

The Drupal Community works fine without this. And I am not sure if this would be a help - the intentions are good, but the path might be wrong. I can see the old business thinking behind this and that scares me away.

Some of my basic thoughts, like in "imho".

Drupal is an open source product. Many developers have used their own time to work on drupal for free. They give it to you, and you can even make your living with it. WOW. Thanks to all those awesome developers. Why try to change this healthy environment? It came up with awesome drupal, which gets better everyday.

What could happen is (on the worst scenario), that developers don't do any work without getting funded on the plattform. Very BAD.

For every dollar given in the project for a new module feature, there should be given two to core team, just because without them nothing would work. Can you see where this goes? Not in the open source direction.

Okay, now lets get back to the problem. As I read it from your post, your problem is: There is a module, and you need a new feature for it. Cool. Your options: 1) Make a feature request in the issue queue. 2) Code it yourself. 3) Hire a coder/themer/documenter (I will talk about developers in the comment for better readability, just replace with your actual need).

First things first: If none of those 3 options look good to you, you do not need the feature badly enough!

Now lets look closer:
1) Make a feature request in the issue queue.
Describe your feature, the use case, get in contact with the module developer, help where you can. Works a lot of times. Sometimes the module maintainer will just do it. Sometimes she will say, she could do it for an amount of money (see 3) or asks you to contribute a patch (see 2 or 3). A good process, fair and open. Only one problem with this: Sometimes this is a long process. If you don't have time, see 2 or 3.

2) Code it yourself.
You can code? Get your hands dirty right now. You can code but don't want to? You don't need the feature badly enough. You cannot code? See 3) or (and this is a very good idea) learn to code (Really, it is not hard. It is not magic. On the other hand, good drawing is magic to me, so this might not be true for everyone. If you really don't want to learn coding, see 3). ).

3) Hire a coder. There are some on the market. You get a whole framework for free so sum up all your savings on this. Then look at what developers cost, laugh, instruct (this is the hard part) them good and get, what you pay for. You and the developer now could release the patch/module/feature/whatever back into the wild... if everyone would do this, we would be able to have very rich features (think about it)... and you know what: many do. It is called open source.

With all this chances and abilitys, I personally really don't see any need in what is proposed here. On the other hand I can code, so maybe I do not see the problems you have.

If I try to approach this from your side, I can see the idea of shared costs. I could pay a developer 2000 dollars for a feature. Or 10 people in need could pay 200 dollars. 100 people in need could pay 20. Okay understandable from your side. So, now get 100 people together, write a feature request that everyone understands in the same way, instruct the developer, make him do it, give him the money, code is released into the wild. If 100 people wanted the exact same thing, YEAH. How many times would this work before some say: "This is not what I thought this was all about. Now I did put money into it, where is my service? ..." If I try to think this trough I see multiple dangers for the community.

There are developers who accept funding on modules. There are some, who dont. Some you can hire, some not. For me it is good the way it is. I do not see any benefit for Drupal itself in your approach. I see a lot of danger for the community. This is why, at the moment, I would not give money for this. After seeing my thoughts written down and reading them, I wouldn't even spread this. You asked :) (Thanks for asking and letting random people tell you their thoughts. I really mean that.)

The last words: What everyone could do now.
- Join the Drupal Association. (Short: DA. Kids like it when you are in the DA (Dumbledores Army)).
- Join your national drupal group (for example: Drupal Initiative e.V. in Germany)
- Support local user groups (look for them at drupal.org)
- Support and sponsor events, like Drupal Camps, Drupal Sprints and so on.
- Go to user groups, talk to people, help beginners, atracct more people to Drupal.
- Get your hands dirty. Write documentation. test patches. Write Bug reports. Help to clean issue queues. Learn coding.

Always remember: Have a good time dealing with all this.

P.S.: As writing the last part, this idea came up: Maybe for some features or ideas the best way to approach this would be organizing a sprint. So this would be like a number 4) to the options above.

Submitted by Staratel on Thu, 08/16/2012 - 07:46


I don't know my money is going against exactly which feature/bug etc. yet.

@ajayg It is not a problem at all if donations could be collected on issue not on the whole module.
There is already a working solution with similar approach : PatchRanger which is patch crowd funding service. It is free and requires no registration.

I fear that we might could potentially see module maintainers being lazy for certain fixes and improvements, waiting for a bounty to be offered.

@Alex You could be interested in a discussion within the Prairie Initiative about ways of funding Drupal development. I have a post there describing how PatchRanger responds to some doubts and fears, yours is in the list : http://groups.drupal.org/node/142779#comment-800273 .

Once you donate and the feature is developed, the person taking the money ows atleast X days of support (for fixing known defects).

@ajayg In PatchRanger issue needs to be fixed for full 2 weeks – only after that developer will get paid.

If 100 people wanted the exact same thing, YEAH. How many times would this work before some say: "This is not what I thought this was all about. Now I did put money into it, where is my service? ..." If I try to think this trough I see multiple dangers for the community.

@JThan Every issue on drupal.org is already in fact a technical requirement. All community misunderstandings become clear while discussing concrete issue in issue queue. That is how drupal.org works already; PatchRanger only adds rewarding of committed patch submitter.

Add new comment