Seeking help on governance software

I’m writing a web application to deploy smart contracts to run online organizations. It’s called Torus - “Redefining global digital productivity.” It’s designed to handle everything necessary to run an organization including defining ownership, member responsibilities, payments, and more.

I’m looking for help from anyone who sees the vision and would consider contributing in some way. The project is currently closed source, but I’m strongly considering open-sourcing it. I’m willing to give away shares in Torus, which itself currently has a smart-contract on Torus :slight_smile: Torus is currently operating on Ethereum, but my ultimate aim is to move it onto Cardano as soon as a public Goguen testnet is available.

Edit: For the benefit of anyone who is just coming across this thread, I’m including more details here in the top post:

I have many additional details about the design and philosophy behind the project, as well as a getting-started guide here: https://torus.helpscoutdocs.com/

From the FAQ:

What can I use Torus for?

Torus is useful for managing organizations the are digital and distributed in nature. If most of your organization’s activity happens on computers and the internet and its members are physically located across the globe, then Torus will be a good fit for you.

Open source software projects are an excellent use case for Torus. Open source software usually involves contributions from a large number of people who may be located anywhere in the world and who may not personally know anyone else on the project. Using Torus in a situation like this will protect and organize your open source project beyond your own stewardship. The more control ceded to the Torus contract, the less centralized your organization will be, which will help it continue to thrive beyond any one single owner.

How is Torus different from other online organization management tools?

Torus is completely trustless. You don’t have to trust Torus or even the members of your organization. Torus doesn’t own any part of your organization’s data. Torus is simply a user interface to help you deploy code to the Ethereum blockchain, which is owned solely by its shareholders, whose access and power is controlled completely and immediately by the contract itself.

It’s possible to use your smart contract without using Torus at all, but it’s much more difficult and technical to do so.

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Welcome @x3haloed! Sounds like a wicked innitiative!

What do you need? What kind of people and their skills are you calling out to?
Sharing which phase of development you are at roughly, would also provide essential context.

Maybe explain why you plan to migrate the app (Never underestimate the power of flattery :wink: ).
Good luck!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to reply, @rin9s.

I was purposely being somewhat secretive to try and maintain a competitive advantage, but I’m softening on that policy lately. Here goes:

I’m in the alpha stage, experimenting a lot with what is possible on a blockchain and how that fits with governing an online organization. A working version is up and running, written in TypeScript/Angular, C#/ASP.NET Core, and Solidity.


Organization Overview Screen

I have many additional details about the design and philosophy behind the project, as well as a getting-started guide here: https://torus.helpscoutdocs.com/

I’m currently writing it on my off hours from my main job. I hope to earn my main income from Torus someday, but right now I’m struggling to gain traction and I need dev help to take it from Alpha to a finished product.

I really need help writing smart contracts. For now they will be in Solidity, but I look forward to migrating to Cardano when a public testnet is available, because I judge that Plutus is a safer and more secure platform than Solidity, and because I really believe in the vision of Cardano. Cardano inspired this project to begin with, because I can really get behind a vision where governance happens on the chain.

My main monetization plan so far has been to charge for SaaS access, but I’m highly considering going open source to gain some traction. I’d have to switch to a support- and enterprise-features-based pricing model like RedHat or MySQL. While I view that as risky, it would be worth it if the project could pick up an additional developer or two.

I don’t know if you have any further tips after my last post, @rin9s, but I would appreciate any feedback you might have :pray:

Oh yes, the old tension between competition and cooperation…
Not sure if this is what you were after, but I’m happy to share my own 2c on such a crucial topic -

As we both know, developers are hard to come by when capital is scarce. 1 in 100 can spare the time, and those are usually already working on their own project :smiley: .

The gist of my take is I find the system is too young atm for your proposition.

In your SaaS option, who would buy it? Do you know anyone looking to pay to build a distributed organization? Seriously asking.

And the people who would use this service would ultimately have to be professionals, paid to use your system to define novel organizations at scale.
Who would pay them to do that?
Sure, DAOs could run for profit, but for the members of the organization most likely, not the one who first built it. So where is the profit for the creator of the DAO?
Questions that lead to more, difficult questions. Murky questions. Lots of unknowns. What I may call, questions for a bit later :slight_smile: .

What that means to me is - it would be challenging to get current investors to “see the market” here (I’m talking about investment in creating DAOs, for profit or otherwise). It’s too early.
I would imagine they would be right. The market, even if it exists atm, is at most ethereal.
Don’t worry, not trying to get you off it :slight_smile: .

One option I would consider are partnerships (in order to find new options to get out of my main job and still pay the bills. Give up some equity). I would start by conversing with the fellows at @emurgo_io, some of them are quite active on the forum.
Notwithstanding, Gougen is not here yet, and it will take time for it to ripen. We are a diligent lot.

Option two, Get some kind of demo running “on your own” (as end2end as you can), and a very fancy slide deck, and go shopping for capital. Or, Getting creative, launch a crowdfunding campaign, and use the first batch of capital to hire a dedicated, driven, ninja freelancer, to get things off the ground. etc.

Lastly, to end on some due optimism, consider that all initiatives flowing from the Blockchain have capital built in. A developer of DAO infra such as yourself has 100 novel ways to “monetize”. F**k SaaS. Think about getting paid in the bonds/stocks of the DAOs you will help foster :slight_smile: .

I know you weren’t asking for an ad-hoc, under-informed business consultation, but that’s what you got :wink: :tophat:. Hope you find someone to help pull the wagon.

If you’re interested in help on the product side (specifically governance mechanism design), or the business side, we can move this chat to DM.
Good Night!

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Wow, thank you for taking the time to write out such thoughtful feedback! It’s clear to me that you have a ton of insight, and I would definitely love to talk more over DM.

Just a couple of quick public notes here: I’m reaching out to the Cardano community because my ultimate vision does lie with Cardano, and I’m hoping to pique the interest of like-minded developers who can see my vision - that organizations made up of people all over the world, who may not know each other or trust each other, can work together towards common goals through rules defined in smart contracts.

I do appreciate the mods allowing this post to remain here, even though the project is currently Ethereum-based.

Also, I’m having a hard time finding a DM feature. Is it because my account is new? If so, I’d be happy to move our discussion to another platform.

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Folks, do you know of anybody working, or planning to work, on something similar in the community?
I believe @x3haloed is planning to go open source, and that peoples should work together :bouquet::rainbow:.

@RobJF @Bullish @Haskell-plus @SeanAlimov @vantuz-subhuman

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Thanks, @rin9s! The code is now open :smile: Unfortunately, it’s not letting me post github links, but you can find the repository under the torus-online user, in the torus repo.

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OK, I think I might have something here. What do you think?

Here’s how I’m imagining “customer tokens” would work: Tokens are minted or pulled from reserve when a customer purchases and issued to the customer. Tokens could also possibly be purchased directly or on a subscription. Customers can then vote on anything the board puts to a tokenholder vote, including board membership itself. Upon voting, tokens are then placed back into the reserve. That should help prevent: A) any one holder from accumulating too much power and B) out-of-control inflation (or vote dilution, however you look at it).

This gives customers a reason to pay for software that could otherwise be obtained freely, because they now have some direct influence over the software they care about, and it provides structure for leadership and a funding source.

@rin9s – From a game-theory perspective, can you shoot any holes in this scheme? The weakness I see is that the system can be gamed by people with a lot of cash. Even if limits are placed on how many voting tokens can be spent from a wallet per voting matter, an adversary could simply spend from many wallets. Someone could get themselves elected onto the board via their own money. I hope a mitigating technique can be found, because I really like this overall concept.

Hey mate, I’m a bit sleepy, so forgive my eloquence.

Here at Cardano we :yum::sunglasses: know that governance needs its own level. When you stake ADA absolutely nothing happens with your coins, the whole process happens on another layer.

Separate money from ownership and control!
Somebody going out to buy a music player is not looking to become a member of a cooperative in the process, you know?
And I would always choose my contributors over my consumers when it comes to decision making and more. You can change your market, but your core team is harder to replace(!).

Separate consumers from investors!
You can have client investors that buy ownership stake, but it should not be the default or bundled. And your devs should definitely get ownership stake alongside their cash compensation.
To summarize looks like you would need at least 2 if not 3 (cash, ownership, control) layers on the token or some other mechanism to separate the 3.
Then devs could get ownership as part of compensation, and contributors can “level up” to gain control (or the right to purchase control more likely) where certain contribution/seniority combination would make those options available.

I would maybe consider using Appointments as part of this system. So if the the board elects someone to be CFO, or a Team Leader, then that (alongside their time in the role, other params, etc.), will confer certain privileges or benefits in the organization.

Rule example: Account appointed as CFO earns 2% ownership per year (from 2nd year on) and 1% control per year (from 3rd year on) for a max period of 8 years (it’s a dumb rule, and can be amount instead of %, and different params, so just an example).

Board Chair - Is it necessary?
Sure it’s nice for the snake to have a head, and you can have this function in the early stages of an org. anyway. But in the long run why do you need them?

Managerial/Professional decisions: You can have the board elect people who are responsible for a certain team or a certain theme/vertical. Meritocratic, flexible, contextual (focused). Just better I think.

Control/Strategy/Coordination: Do you really need it? At most I would suggest a time limited “Managing Partner” that’s a member of the board, or a more select group within it.

Have you read the Cardano documentation? Good place to start and there’s lots to read and crazy people out there to learn from :slight_smile: .

It feels like trying to reinvent the wheel a little bit . What are Dash doing? The only functional DAO on the planet should be your first reference point. I’m not really up to speed on their specifics myself.

PS - This was written in response to your first diagram (org flow chart), but it sort of responds to both. Back to the drawing board, good luck! :purple_heart:.

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Thanks, I’ll work on getting through the Treasury paper.

But I believe that open source is different – why would one choose open source over a proprietary solution?

  1. Belief in the FOSS ethos
  2. Don’t necessarily believe in FOSS, but need or want to edit source code for their own needs
  3. Don’t have the money or don’t want to spend it
  4. The open source solution is simply better

So feel free to counter here, but I’m tempted to strike #2 and #4 right off the list, because from what I’ve seen so far, the open source solutions are really only better when it comes to a handful of server application, and rarely does one have a specific need to alter a program just a little bit for themselves.

That leaves really just #1 or #3. And if we’re talking about ways to fund ongoing development, you can’t rely on segment #3, because by their very definition, they’re unable or unwilling to fund.

So it just segment #1 then. Since they believe in FOSS, I think they want to have a say in the future of the software they’re using, and may have the money and the desire to spend in order to make that happen. I would of course need to do market validation studies via interviews to confirm that this assumption is correct.

…because the special question we’re dealing with is specifically about open source projects. And the tough thing about open source is that you don’t want them to be for-profit, or else they will produce what their for-profit counterparts produce. So investors are out. And if the option of public investment is out, then to whom are the project managers/operators accountable? The answer is: A) the customers, and B) the contributors. The idea of a customer (or “voter”) token is that the managers/operators will be accountable to the customers. If they are not doing a good enough job satisfying the customers, they will be voted off of the board.

I’m mostly trying to not re-invent the wheel. I’m trying to find existing organizational models that are being used successfully today and adapt them for use in distributed and trustless online scenarios. I think the closest normal org model to OS software in real life is not-for-profit. The extra challenges involved here, and the reason why those org models cannot be cloned directly, is that the “goods” in question are software bits, and since the open design of the software necessarily means that anyone can just use it without paying for it. So where many traditional not-for-profits can fund their operations by charging for a tangible good that must be transferred in exchange for currency, and adaptation is needed for open source software development. And the other differentiating feature of open source software projects is that it is useful to allow people you have never met to contribute. And as the number of contributors grow and their responsibilities increase, you are suddenly running an organization full of people you may have never met in real life. And what’s more, if those people suddenly decide your way of doing things is not to their liking, they can just clone your work (fork it) and move on without you.

So while old “wheels” are useful for the terrain they were designed for, the landscape here is a little different, and they must be adapted for the following challenges:

  1. It’s impossible to stop the consumption of the product before payment is issued. So funding must be reinvented.
  2. It’s probable that organization contributors will not know each other in daily life, will come from a variety of cultures and national and regional law, and have little fundamental basis for trust.
  3. Since national law has little to say about whom is the rightful owner of open source code, much less require that public repos have any kind of formal organizational structure, the only real tool as a means for facilitating organizational change is via forum arguments and forking.

So the proposed mechanisms are designed to help with (not completely solve) those differences via:

  1. Provide an incentive to the customer to pay for the product when they don’t have to.
  2. Provide a structure to enforce in-code through cryptographically-enforced consistency rules about who in the organization is allowed to do what, removing much of the burden of trust.
  3. Provide a means and a structure for controlling and enforcing in-code through cryptographically-enforced consistency who is allowed to make what decisions, how to hold the decision makers accountable to meaningful parties, and how to transition power effectively and completely when the decision makers are failing to do their jobs well.

I believe it’s very necessary for the continuing stability of open source projects. In my survey of the open source community, a “lack of coherent vision and leadership” has been cited multiple times as a top factor of instability in the open source development community. An organization absolutely needs a head for its lifespan if it wants to create, maintain, and enforce the pursuit of a cohesive vision. Otherwise it’s just up to the board members to bicker about which slice of the pie is most important to be spending time on.

Yes, you’re absolutely right about this. My proposed system has not accounted for stake in the organization to contributors, and it absolutely should. Since “ownership” in a non-profit will not pay dividends, and is therefore meaningless, I believe some sort of controlling or voting stake would apply here. So it’s possible to combine voting tokens into a single token across both contributors and users or it could be divided up into different segments with different powers.

So let’s play out the voting thing by example:

Board Member Election

  1. A successful OS org that is pleasing both its contributors and its users puts up their yearly vote to re-elect the current board members
  2. The motion is called.
  3. Both the users and the contributors place their votes using their tokens.
  4. As the org is making those groups happy, they have voted, in the majority, to re-elect the incumbants,
  5. The motion passes, and the organization continues to produce software that is satisfying to the users and compensating its contributors appropriately

Hostile Manager

  1. An organization is dealing with many cases of harassment within its contributor community, so the board puts forth a motion to ammend their code-of-conduct to include rules about hostile and harassing behavior
  2. The vote passes 4 - 1 among the board members, who generally see it as a positive step towards productivity. The “nay” vote was cast by the board member who has been the source of most of the complaints. He sees nothing wrong with his own behavior and sees the amendment as being overly restrictive.
  3. Hostile Manager continues hostile behavior.
  4. The contributors put forth a special motion to remove Hostile Manager from the board, because he is in direct violation of the code of conduct which has been officially passed.
  5. The contributors vote 25 - 8 to remove the board member
  6. The motion is passed and the smart contract automatically removes Hostile Manager from his position on the board as well as any company assets or secrets that comes with the position, including his right to vote on board.
  7. The organization goes on to be a good working environment and continues to create great software for its users.

Misguided User Request

  1. A band of enthusiastic users gets together and put forward a vote that the next version of ‘grep’ shall include a chat feature.
  2. Somehow, the vote passes at 200-187.
  3. The board, the chairman, or someone else who has the product manger role reviews the proposal and rejects it as being wildly outside of the vision of the organization.
  4. Org goes on to make grep a better grep.

Misguided User Request #2

  1. A band of enthusiastic users gets together and put forward a vote that GIMP be rewritten on the Electron platform.
  2. Somehow, the vote passes at 200-187.
  3. The board, the chairman, or someone else who in a technical role reviews the proposal and rejects it as being an improper technical decision.
  4. Org goes on to make GIMP a better GIMP.

On-point User Request meets Leadership Stubbornness

  1. A band of enthusiastic users gets together and put forward a vote that GIMP UI be overhauled to be more user-friendly.
  2. The vote passes at 200-18.
  3. The board, the chairman, or the PM rejects the proposal based on the grounds that the UI is good enough already, and other priorities are important.
  4. The userbase is adamant that the UI needs to be rethought.
  5. The org puts up their yearly vote to re-elect the current board members.
  6. 3 out of 4 board members are voted out on their refusal to serve the needs of the users. 3 new board members are elected based on their commitment to listening to the users’ frustrations about the UI and immediately beginning an initiative to redesign it.
  7. Org goes on to make GIMP a better GIMP.

I hope these examples demonstrate my proposals better.

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As your response is quite long I will break up my response into parts:

My example was a bad example. I was thinking about either support/custom features as clients, or a freemium model (so not a music player :slight_smile: ) .
I’m not sure that the list you gave is comprehensive, but consider -

A. Public Sector/NPO/NGO: If you align your platforms with either PS needs or PS agenda they will give you money. And if they use your product directly, they will need a **** ton of services to go with it. They would also be the extreme example of an investor who may not even be interested/allowed to purchase ownership/control. Donations from PS are nice, but collaborations is where the real $ is, seek out to make solutions for PS pains, and give them tools to promote their agendas.
With NPO/NGO you get the added advantage of being able to build grassroot partnerships, and scratch each other’s backs’ with incredible precision.

So #2 could be more generalized to “those who need extra services with their software”, not just limited to custom code. I think providing a solution+maintenance would be very attractive to richer NPOs who’ve heard of the power of OS.

And yes, this whole thing works better as B2B or B2E, and not B2C. I think we can agree on that regarding OS in general.

The power of building a platform is that you can initially push certain products (made on the platform) custom made for clients already lined up to buy it, or which have paid in advance, as your cash lifeline.
So what kind of distributed/blockchain/SC are 2nd & 3rd sectors interested in? - I guess that’s our question.

I could even see SMBs paying for a pinpoint solutions through OS, but then you have to deliver. There is no particular advantage to other custom development (price could be one), but I think the reputation of OS is improving, and if you can get an SMB to trust you, they could consider getting their solution this way. Especially if they understand they are more protected in case the project fails midway, by switching devs without losing existing code (if devs are available). So I think something like that could be feasible once a platform gains some reputation and its developers are prolific.

Wow, relax there cowboy, not so general! :cowboy_hat_face: “Classic investors” are out, maybe.
But even them, why wouldn’t they want a stock in a growing, sustainable organization?
A DAO with an ownership stock has its own market value based on supply/demand which are in turn based on perception. So you can get classic investors, but if (when!) you separate ownership from control you do not get the classic corporate control model, you don’t have to be accountable to your shareholders, and that’s a wonderful thing imo.
Your stock actually belongs to the market, but your board doesn’t have to (shouldn’t).

Let me just tweak that, and I’ll explain -
A. The contributors B. The customers

I’m sorry but I don’t think that’s the right headspace.
The product should be accountable to the client, not people.
The org. should be accountable to their contributors and clients in a mix dependent on market conditions. In the case of FOSS SW today I think that mix leans heavily towards the former, just my opinion.

That is just the opposite of FOSS mentality imho. Thinking that people in the OS community will do what the clients want just because you pay them may be naive, I think they get enough of that *** at work already.
Ask yourself this, could you compete with the 1st sector over them, if money is their main incentive? And right now the existing OS community is all we have, which is more than plenty!

You are sabotaging yourself by dismissing the natural competitive advantages of the OS space.
I don’t want you to think about how much I could have charged you for this type of consultation in the “Private Sector”, which I am delighted to provide free of charge, I want you to think about the fact that in that universe this conversation would have never happened. So harness the flexibility and business agility “free” gives you. Don’t try to work around them.

I disagree somewhat with some of the things in your next paragraph, but for brevity’s sake I’ll address one -

There’s a real question. Are you, personally, willing to let go of control?
If not, then you are in the wrong space. If you are, you will get there anyway.

Because If you have the same opinion as the majority of contributors/clients/community/board, then you are not that worried about the minority forking. But if your opinion’s in the minority of whoever holds the voting power, the platform will continue without you/your vision, with, or without a fork.
Of course some scenarios will not be very clear cut, but the question stands, I just happen to believe mutiny and betrayal have similar effectiveness in most sectors. And I try not to let my patents or DNCs do the heavy lifting of protecting me from such risks.

As for the rest of it, I find many false assumptions there based on my experience.
But we’ll continue this chat elsewhere, thanks for sharing this important topic!

I loved all the scenarios btw, helps see clearly, though it’s not clear who in tthem (contrib., users, clients, world, board) votes on what.

Hmmm. I feel like there is a fundamental misunderstanding between us. Here are the points leading me to believe so:

Yup. I’m willing to let go. That’s why my proposal includes a mechanism for transferring power in a stable way.

Here you misunderstand again. Forking is not something to be feared, but by its very nature it’s a splintering. As stated my goal is to bring stability and direction. If people disagree and they leave and start their own project, then let them. But these utter meltdowns in projects like the various Node.js forks is highly unproductive. Again, not that a project owner should clutch at their jewels, lying awake at night worrying about their project being forked. Rather, they should be lying awake at night worrying that the project is going nowhere because there is massive disagreement and no facility to swiftly resolve it one way or the other. They should be worrying about all the time in contributors’ lives wasted on duplicating their efforts and losing their focus. All the suffering and disappointment that the users experienced without getting fixes and features they were hoping for and expecting. This is what I am trying to emphasize. There are always two sides to this. The developers matter, the project matters, and the users matter. I believe that right now, the only ones not being screwed in OSS are developers who don’t give a damn about anybody but their own gratification. But if that’s the very nature of OSS, then count me out. I’d rather pioneer a new class of projects that is beneficial to more than a few egos.

I don’t think there’s anything there against the principles of FOSS. Sure, lots of people involved in FOSS have the “you can use what I made or you can F*** off” mentality. But that is a problem keeping FOSS from flourishing. For any arrangement, there needs to be a beneficial pay-out to all parties. If OSS development only feeds the ego of the developer, it doesn’t flourish. If it only cares about the users and not the contributors, it doesn’t flourish. And the “You can F*** off if you don’t like it” mentality doesn’t contribute to a productive, mutually-beneficial arrangement. The people with that mentality are free to keep it, but they also aren’t useful to a software project that’s trying to flourish.

So I suppose what I’m seeing as a misunderstanding is that there are certain things I am trying to change and certain things I accept as they are.

I accept:

  • Peoples’ wants, needs, and behaviors

I am trying to change:

  • People not getting what they need due to a lack of structure.
    • OSS devs can’t contribute as much as they want to without getting paid
    • Users get subpar software because contributors can’t show up as much without getting paid
    • Nobody gets what they want when there’s no leadership (except of course for the rogue developers who just want to do whatever they want without a leader, but I already addressed that as the “F*** you” mentality.)

And I suppose the last point is that I’m not trying to change the entire landscape of OSS or create a universal model to account for every possible user, developer, or business owner. I just want OSS to flourish, and I think I can do that by providing the option of adding structure to projects that are without it. How am I going to reach my goal of being financially independent by helping OSS flourish in this way? I have no idea right now, but as you said, that’s a problem to solve after I already have something of value.

So I have to weed out a ton of the endless possibilities and focus on a case or two. The case I’m focusing on now are the B2C and B2H (business-to-hacker) cases, because I care about those the most. I’m talking about Ubuntu, elementaryOS, Pop_OS!, Blender, Audacity, GIMP, Matrix/Synapse, Inkscape, and hopefully many more to come.

At the end of the day, whether my ideas will be a positive or neutral force on OSS projects, I don’t know, but I still don’t see any logical fallacies in it, and it’s a novel take on solving real problems that concern real people.

But endless flexibility leads to endlessly going nowhere. That at least is what my experience in business has taught me. Flexibility is useful. Flexibility without planning, decisions, determination, or accountability is a recipe for dissolution. I don’t see how keeping project leaders accountable to the needs of its users squanders flexibility to an impractical degree. I see it as supporting a healthy relationship between the two that should be the fertilizer for growth.
And just because there is accountability, decision-making structure, and compensation, that doesn’t mean that free exchange of ideas is not possible, beneficial, or virtuous. It should proceed the way it is now. I’m getting something out of this conversation, and it seems that you are too. An OSS project such as mine doesn’t have extra money to give, but if you are getting something ephemeral out of this conversation, then that value is still there. If my OSS project was running on the Torus contract platform as I have outlined here, you might even be considered a contributor. If you contribute long enough, maybe you would receive payment based on the fact that you have been such a helpful consultant. That’s the magic in my thinking. You do what you want and if it’s working out well for both you and the project you are contributing too, you actually could get paid to keep doing it! Full time! When workspaces are only free-as-in-beer there is thought and labor to exchange – and only what can be scrounged up around the time you spend earning your bread. But the opportunity here is to contribute to ideas and projects that you want to given the opportunity to also earn your bread from it too.

And I suppose that is the crux of a debate. Should compensation (money) enter the picture such that F in FOSS only stands for free-as-in-freedom, what should happen to this open culture of having nothing and sharing everything? If funding doesn’t belong in FOSS, then the state of OSS will remain as it is: good for hobbyists to play with and corporations to leach off of. I don’t know about you, but I would prefer to see a flourishing ecosystem of people contributing where they want, when they want, all day long and be able to afford a roof over their head instead of earning a paycheck from Microsoft, whose executives are the ones really earning the money and reaping the benefits of your free side work on your open source project they stuffed into their proprietary product and sold back to you.

And how should a product be held accountable for something? What is a product if not the result of a series of decisions and labors of an actor? A product is the people. There is not a product without makers, and the makers decide what the product is. If I am to look at a product and dislike its qualities, it’s not the product’s fault for being so, and it cannot be held accountable to that. In fact, my dissatisfaction is with that of the actions of its makers. And when products dissatisfy customers, nobody uses them. And when they are not used, there is no fuel to continue product development. And when that happens, the makers continue on making something that pleases only themselves, or they disband in pursuit of something new. It is the last case I am trying to prevent. And how do you prevent that but to transition decision-making power away from deciders who make poor products and towards those who make better decisions?

I think I have extracted a belief from you, whether you know you have it or not: that OSS is fundamentally incompatible with compensation. I think it’s summed up well in your statement here:

This places OSS activity squarely in the realm of being a hobby.

And if that’s the case, I don’t know why the number one issue people in OSS are worried about is funding. Hobbies don’t get funding.

Whomever these people are who consider themselves part of the OSS community and whose #1 concern is funding – these are the people I want to help.

It’s clear we have some misunderstandings @x3haloed .
But from the speed and the length of your reply it seems you hardly took any time to think about what I wrote’ or consider what I meant. Seems you used the time for typing and then sent without editing.

One misunderstanding is clear to me now -
You are focused on finding a scenario you can implement ASAP to have a running pilot and get results.
I am focused on the theoretical side, and how to best help designers create the most effective solutions for the space.
If we both remember that I think we’ll get along on that point.

That’s a pretty patronizing way of putting it. A passive way of dismissing someone, and I’d like to think you didn’t mean it like that. Let’s rise above.

I do not believe that at all.

This part just means that people can be, and are, loyal to the product they work on as well as to their clients. And it’s not binary, people do what they do, work or hobby, for a set of reasons usually. I think you are confusing market motivation with individual motivation in this case.

I can’t even agree with that (though I would consider contributing to OS SW “work”). If they are popular they get sponsors, and tons of funding. The amateur sports team I play on gets funding from its members. And it goes well beyond sports.

Work or hobby doesn’t matter, The thing that matters is value generated (which I think we agree on). Regardless of context. (I don’t know if we agree on that.)

What I believe is that when/where value does not get compensated appropriately in our society, it must mean either a market failure, or a crime (in the ethical sense).

But let’s try to stay on topic, it’s not just for you and me :wink: .

Then I will let our diversion go. I do want to spend a moment on cleanup though.

I was trying a new approach, because over a series of back-and-forth, I was feeling like I was understanding you less and less, and I was hoping to shift the conversation back to a common ground. I think I got carried away and defensive after a while though.

Yes, that’s accurate about me. I think you keep pulling it into the abstract and I keep wanting to have something concrete to work on.

I didn’t mean it that way, but I can see how it would sound that way. I was trying to be insightful and again, trying to find something concrete to latch onto – something you could definitively agree with or explain further. Which you did!

Thank you for taking the time to clarify your positions and what you mean about compensation, work vs. hobby, and motivation. That is helping me understand your point of view and assertions.

Thank you for continuing to engage with me on this topic without charging a consulting fee :slight_smile:. I apologize for getting defensive.

I know that the conversation has drifted far away from the subject I originally wrote, but I feel like our public debate here could be useful for others to consider, including the history of how the conversation got here.

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I feel the same. That’s why I keep engaging. :smiley:
So to sum up this tangent, the theorist certainly looks at the world through abstract glasses. But theory doesn’t have to be abstract. It’s great that are focuses are different.

You are truly contending with some massive, novel problems here. And with lack of best practices, I don’t know if you will be able to avoid a bit of innovation. Heck, this whole thing falls under the category :smile:.

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