Funded development thoughts (long)

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Funded development thoughts (long)

Bryce Harrington-3
There's been interest of late in figuring out some options for funding
development work on Inkscape.  I'm thrilled to hear this as I also think
it's an important direction for Inkscape's longer term health, and
something I've been working on directly myself for some time now.

I promised Martin I'd write a thorough response to his proposal,
including the course of action I think we should undertake, which makes
for a long read, so I apologize upfront about the length.


------------------------------------------------------------------------
First, let me share my thoughts on Patreon and why we should not rely on
it for our *project* needs.

Patreon looks interesting for individual developers, but for the
Inkscape project in general what we really need is a mechanism to direct
and focus funds towards the issues our donors, users, and developers
care about collectively, and to provide them with a level of
accountability that the funds are being put to good use for tangible,
predictable benefits.  Patreon is undirected, simply providing funding
for whatever the recipient wishes to do.  It provides no mechanisms for
review, guidance, or transparency.

Martin suggested advertising placement on the Inkscape website and
utilizing trademark legal enforcement as a carrot/stick mechanism to
help ensure the recipients are at least working actively on Inkscape.

However, website placement is likely going to be contentious since it
relies on donors selecting who to fund.  They'll either pick the most
popular, the guy at the top of the list, the biggest self-promotor, or
randomly.  We can strive very hard to make it "fair" but with money
involved there will always be complaints, and someone feeling that
someone else is getting more funding priority than they "deserve".
Despite our best of intentions, this feels likely to turn into a can of
worms.

The use of trademark enforcement is an interesting angle, by restricting
who can label themselves as "Inkscape Developers".  However, I believe
trademark law does not work that way, and even if it did would be
difficult to enforce, requiring the involvement of the Conservancy to
issue cease-and-desist letters -- I think we'd end up deciding the
marginal benefits would not make up for the time, manpower, and stress
investments of dealing with abusers flouting our trademark rules.  It
may work adequately as a gentlemen's agreement, but if someone truly
challenges it, I fear our enforcement will be revealed to be a paper
tiger.

But we needn't overthink it to that level - fundamentally, restricting
how other developers define themselves within our community is at odds
with our egalitarian principles, and does not respect the development
freedom we cherish.  If someone wants to refer to themselves as an
Inkscape Developer, we should encourage it.



------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fortunately, we can achieve a much better approach by focusing our
efforts more intently into the funded projects system already under way.

Paid developer work has been long discussed in our project.  We've
looked at bounty systems, direct patron sponsorship, straight up
contracting, and so on, that other projects have experimented with.
We approached the Software Conservancy with these ideas and hashed them
out into a workable system, after months of discussion and drafting.

The essence of the system is straightforward:

  1.  We post a list of approved jobs, similar to our GSoC lists.
  2.  Money from donations can be directed towards jobs the donors want
      to see done.  Small donations can be aggregated together to
      provide big funding for larger efforts.
  3.  We carefully vet developers who wish to take jobs, similar to how
      we vet GSoC students, but also judge their past work, history of
      Inkscape involvement, etc.
  4.  Vetted developers can take approved jobs when the funding level
      reaches the amount they feel is appropriate to the work, by
      sending in a Job Proposal (similar to GSoC), that we review and
      accept.
  5.  Developers are required to post monthly reports, just like GSoC.
      Each job also defines an expected time limit, like with GSoC.
  6.  On job completion, a Reviewer checks that the requirements were
      met, and the payment is cut.

The process is strongly modeled after Google Summer of Code, which has
been proven effective for us historically.  It builds in several
checkpoints to ensure bad actors don't enter the system, and to ensure
accountability and transparency into the development work.  It also
empowers and leverage donors to influence where their money gets
invested, both to give them a level of ownership and to use their
donation decisions as "crowd wisdom" to ensure we're putting money where
it will most benefit the Inkscape community's needs.

One important distinction from GSoC is that jobs don't need to be fixed
sized to fit 3-month summer schedules.  This system should work for
quick turn-around 1-2 week projects, up to multi-month or even year-long
efforts.  Whatever we need.  It also doesn't have to be feature work,
but could target bug fixing, website work, documentation.  Whatever we
need.

A final benefit - this system's already been reviewed and approved by
Software Conservancy's lawyers.  So, while there might be some bumps
along the way, there is no reason we can't start using it immediately.


What I have been working on myself is Django-based software that would
enable us to scale the system up to handle a multitude of project ideas,
track jobs in various states of completion, and coordiate work by
arbitrary numbers of developers, vetters, and reviewers.  It aims to
also directly hook the donation system into the project listings so a
donor has instant feedback of the effect of their funds.  This is
complex, as you can imagine, and with my time being in short supply it's
been slow going.

However, for small scale needs the software is superfluous, we can do
all the same steps manually, tracking status in a google spreadsheet or
whatever.  And for the near term, I think we should.  Here's what we'd
need to do:

  * Designate several people to defined roles:
    1.  Fundraising coordinator.
    2.  Vetter (must be a board member)
    3.  Reviewer

  * Add more Job definitions.
    + For each Job we define Completion Criteria
    + Board can vote to make certain of them immediately fundable.

  * Organize an online fundraiser.
    + Set up is just as we've done for hackfest fundraising, but with a
      detailed list of what Jobs are specifically being funded.
    + Donated funds are distributed equally to the specific Jobs we
      list.
    + Board can vote to assign Inkscape funds, too.

  * Recruit developers to participate
    + We already know of several (Mc, Tav); put out a call for more
    + Vetter will receive job proposals and review applicants, check
      that they've been actively contributing, and look able to complete
      assigned work, have provided payment details, etc.
    + Once vetter gives OK on a given job proposal, work can begin
      immediately

When the work is done, the Reviewer reviews it, and I notify Conservancy
to cut a check or wire transfer to the person that did it.


This system is set up to make payments after completion, rather than
reliably regular monthly payments, and I know that will be an issue for
people needing predictable income for covering monthly rent and so on.
One way we can hack around that is instead of defining one big 3-month
job, to break it up into three 1-month (160 hr, $2000+) jobs assigned to them
that they perform sequentially.  This will require more reviewer
involvement, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.


For all of this to work, though, I would need to recruit a number of you
to help out in various roles.  I don't think these roles will be time
consuming, but you'd need to commit to being available regularly as
stuff comes up.

How does this plan sound in concept?

Bryce

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Re: Funded development thoughts (long)

C R
Sounds great for the main project, however even a year long position is not much job security for full time developers.  This is where Patreon provides a convenient solution for some of our current developers - they can see what their monthly salary is and set it as high as they need to complete the work. 

That doesn't mean we can't do both. I think we should still support developers who want to use Patreon to do independent work on Inkscape. Also, self promotion need not be the only method of getting donors. We do have a new Vectors group whose job it is to promote Inkscape. We should offer its services to long time Inkscape developers who wish an independent way to raise funds for development work, even if it's just a hold over until Inkscape gets enough funds for permanent positions.

Either way, I'm at your service for graphics stuff, as I imagine are most of the other Vectors team members. Let us know what you need. :)

-C



On 6 Sep 2017 2:52 a.m., "Bryce Harrington" <[hidden email]> wrote:
There's been interest of late in figuring out some options for funding
development work on Inkscape.  I'm thrilled to hear this as I also think
it's an important direction for Inkscape's longer term health, and
something I've been working on directly myself for some time now.

I promised Martin I'd write a thorough response to his proposal,
including the course of action I think we should undertake, which makes
for a long read, so I apologize upfront about the length.


------------------------------------------------------------------------
First, let me share my thoughts on Patreon and why we should not rely on
it for our *project* needs.

Patreon looks interesting for individual developers, but for the
Inkscape project in general what we really need is a mechanism to direct
and focus funds towards the issues our donors, users, and developers
care about collectively, and to provide them with a level of
accountability that the funds are being put to good use for tangible,
predictable benefits.  Patreon is undirected, simply providing funding
for whatever the recipient wishes to do.  It provides no mechanisms for
review, guidance, or transparency.

Martin suggested advertising placement on the Inkscape website and
utilizing trademark legal enforcement as a carrot/stick mechanism to
help ensure the recipients are at least working actively on Inkscape.

However, website placement is likely going to be contentious since it
relies on donors selecting who to fund.  They'll either pick the most
popular, the guy at the top of the list, the biggest self-promotor, or
randomly.  We can strive very hard to make it "fair" but with money
involved there will always be complaints, and someone feeling that
someone else is getting more funding priority than they "deserve".
Despite our best of intentions, this feels likely to turn into a can of
worms.

The use of trademark enforcement is an interesting angle, by restricting
who can label themselves as "Inkscape Developers".  However, I believe
trademark law does not work that way, and even if it did would be
difficult to enforce, requiring the involvement of the Conservancy to
issue cease-and-desist letters -- I think we'd end up deciding the
marginal benefits would not make up for the time, manpower, and stress
investments of dealing with abusers flouting our trademark rules.  It
may work adequately as a gentlemen's agreement, but if someone truly
challenges it, I fear our enforcement will be revealed to be a paper
tiger.

But we needn't overthink it to that level - fundamentally, restricting
how other developers define themselves within our community is at odds
with our egalitarian principles, and does not respect the development
freedom we cherish.  If someone wants to refer to themselves as an
Inkscape Developer, we should encourage it.



------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fortunately, we can achieve a much better approach by focusing our
efforts more intently into the funded projects system already under way.

Paid developer work has been long discussed in our project.  We've
looked at bounty systems, direct patron sponsorship, straight up
contracting, and so on, that other projects have experimented with.
We approached the Software Conservancy with these ideas and hashed them
out into a workable system, after months of discussion and drafting.

The essence of the system is straightforward:

  1.  We post a list of approved jobs, similar to our GSoC lists.
  2.  Money from donations can be directed towards jobs the donors want
      to see done.  Small donations can be aggregated together to
      provide big funding for larger efforts.
  3.  We carefully vet developers who wish to take jobs, similar to how
      we vet GSoC students, but also judge their past work, history of
      Inkscape involvement, etc.
  4.  Vetted developers can take approved jobs when the funding level
      reaches the amount they feel is appropriate to the work, by
      sending in a Job Proposal (similar to GSoC), that we review and
      accept.
  5.  Developers are required to post monthly reports, just like GSoC.
      Each job also defines an expected time limit, like with GSoC.
  6.  On job completion, a Reviewer checks that the requirements were
      met, and the payment is cut.

The process is strongly modeled after Google Summer of Code, which has
been proven effective for us historically.  It builds in several
checkpoints to ensure bad actors don't enter the system, and to ensure
accountability and transparency into the development work.  It also
empowers and leverage donors to influence where their money gets
invested, both to give them a level of ownership and to use their
donation decisions as "crowd wisdom" to ensure we're putting money where
it will most benefit the Inkscape community's needs.

One important distinction from GSoC is that jobs don't need to be fixed
sized to fit 3-month summer schedules.  This system should work for
quick turn-around 1-2 week projects, up to multi-month or even year-long
efforts.  Whatever we need.  It also doesn't have to be feature work,
but could target bug fixing, website work, documentation.  Whatever we
need.

A final benefit - this system's already been reviewed and approved by
Software Conservancy's lawyers.  So, while there might be some bumps
along the way, there is no reason we can't start using it immediately.


What I have been working on myself is Django-based software that would
enable us to scale the system up to handle a multitude of project ideas,
track jobs in various states of completion, and coordiate work by
arbitrary numbers of developers, vetters, and reviewers.  It aims to
also directly hook the donation system into the project listings so a
donor has instant feedback of the effect of their funds.  This is
complex, as you can imagine, and with my time being in short supply it's
been slow going.

However, for small scale needs the software is superfluous, we can do
all the same steps manually, tracking status in a google spreadsheet or
whatever.  And for the near term, I think we should.  Here's what we'd
need to do:

  * Designate several people to defined roles:
    1.  Fundraising coordinator.
    2.  Vetter (must be a board member)
    3.  Reviewer

  * Add more Job definitions.
    + For each Job we define Completion Criteria
    + Board can vote to make certain of them immediately fundable.

  * Organize an online fundraiser.
    + Set up is just as we've done for hackfest fundraising, but with a
      detailed list of what Jobs are specifically being funded.
    + Donated funds are distributed equally to the specific Jobs we
      list.
    + Board can vote to assign Inkscape funds, too.

  * Recruit developers to participate
    + We already know of several (Mc, Tav); put out a call for more
    + Vetter will receive job proposals and review applicants, check
      that they've been actively contributing, and look able to complete
      assigned work, have provided payment details, etc.
    + Once vetter gives OK on a given job proposal, work can begin
      immediately

When the work is done, the Reviewer reviews it, and I notify Conservancy
to cut a check or wire transfer to the person that did it.


This system is set up to make payments after completion, rather than
reliably regular monthly payments, and I know that will be an issue for
people needing predictable income for covering monthly rent and so on.
One way we can hack around that is instead of defining one big 3-month
job, to break it up into three 1-month (160 hr, $2000+) jobs assigned to them
that they perform sequentially.  This will require more reviewer
involvement, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.


For all of this to work, though, I would need to recruit a number of you
to help out in various roles.  I don't think these roles will be time
consuming, but you'd need to commit to being available regularly as
stuff comes up.

How does this plan sound in concept?

Bryce

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Re: Funded development thoughts (long)

Jabier Arraiza
I think the founds recibed need to be parted a bit to founds, Inkscape related we/man power

If posible I want to add me to the list of devs

All the best, Javier.

Enviado desde TypeApp
En 6 sept. 2017, en 8:51, C R <[hidden email]> escribió:
Sounds great for the main project, however even a year long position is not much job security for full time developers.  This is where Patreon provides a convenient solution for some of our current developers - they can see what their monthly salary is and set it as high as they need to complete the work. 

That doesn't mean we can't do both. I think we should still support developers who want to use Patreon to do independent work on Inkscape. Also, self promotion need not be the only method of getting donors. We do have a new Vectors group whose job it is to promote Inkscape. We should offer its services to long time Inkscape developers who wish an independent way to raise funds for development work, even if it's just a hold over until Inkscape gets enough funds for permanent positions.

Either way, I'm at your service for graphics stuff, as I imagine are most of the other Vectors team members. Let us know what you need. :)

-C



On 6 Sep 2017 2:52 a.m., "Bryce Harrington" <[hidden email]> wrote:
There's been interest of late in figuring out some options for funding
development work on Inkscape.  I'm thrilled to hear this as I also think
it's an important direction for Inkscape's longer term health, and
something I've been working on directly myself for some time now.

I promised Martin I'd write a thorough response to his proposal,
including the course of action I think we should undertake, which makes
for a long read, so I apologize upfront about the length.


------------------------------------------------------------------------
First, let me share my thoughts on Patreon and why we should not rely on
it for our *project* needs.

Patreon looks interesting for individual developers, but for the
Inkscape project in general what we really need is a mechanism to direct
and focus funds towards the issues our donors, users, and developers
care about collectively, and to provide them with a level of
accountability that the funds are being put to good use for tangible,
predictable benefits.  Patreon is undirected, simply providing funding
for whatever the recipient wishes to do.  It provides no mechanisms for
review, guidance, or transparency.

Martin suggested advertising placement on the Inkscape website and
utilizing trademark legal enforcement as a carrot/stick mechanism to
help ensure the recipients are at least working actively on Inkscape.

However, website placement is likely going to be contentious since it
relies on donors selecting who to fund.  They'll either pick the most
popular, the guy at the top of the list, the biggest self-promotor, or
randomly.  We can strive very hard to make it "fair" but with money
involved there will always be complaints, and someone feeling that
someone else is getting more funding priority than they "deserve".
Despite our best of intentions, this feels likely to turn into a can of
worms.

The use of trademark enforcement is an interesting angle, by restricting
who can label themselves as "Inkscape Developers".  However, I believe
trademark law does not work that way, and even if it did would be
difficult to enforce, requiring the involvement of the Conservancy to
issue cease-and-desist letters -- I think we'd end up deciding the
marginal benefits would not make up for the time, manpower, and stress
investments of dealing with abusers flouting our trademark rules.  It
may work adequately as a gentlemen's agreement, but if someone truly
challenges it, I fear our enforcement will be revealed to be a paper
tiger.

But we needn't overthink it to that level - fundamentally, restricting
how other developers define themselves within our community is at odds
with our egalitarian principles, and does not respect the development
freedom we cherish.  If someone wants to refer to themselves as an
Inkscape Developer, we should encourage it.



------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fortunately, we can achieve a much better approach by focusing our
efforts more intently into the funded projects system already under way.

Paid developer work has been long discussed in our project.  We've
looked at bounty systems, direct patron sponsorship, straight up
contracting, and so on, that other projects have experimented with.
We approached the Software Conservancy with these ideas and hashed them
out into a workable system, after months of discussion and drafting.

The essence of the system is straightforward:

  1.  We post a list of approved jobs, similar to our GSoC lists.
  2.  Money from donations can be directed towards jobs the donors want
      to see done.  Small donations can be aggregated together to
      provide big funding for larger efforts.
  3.  We carefully vet developers who wish to take jobs, similar to how
      we vet GSoC students, but also judge their past work, history of
      Inkscape involvement, etc.
  4.  Vetted developers can take approved jobs when the funding level
      reaches the amount they feel is appropriate to the work, by
      sending in a Job Proposal (similar to GSoC), that we review and
      accept.
  5.  Developers are required to post monthly reports, just like GSoC.
      Each job also defines an expected time limit, like with GSoC.
  6.  On job completion, a Reviewer checks that the requirements were
      met, and the payment is cut.

The process is strongly modeled after Google Summer of Code, which has
been proven effective for us historically.  It builds in several
checkpoints to ensure bad actors don't enter the system, and to ensure
accountability and transparency into the development work.  It also
empowers and leverage donors to influence where their money gets
invested, both to give them a level of ownership and to use their
donation decisions as "crowd wisdom" to ensure we're putting money where
it will most benefit the Inkscape community's needs.

One important distinction from GSoC is that jobs don't need to be fixed
sized to fit 3-month summer schedules.  This system should work for
quick turn-around 1-2 week projects, up to multi-month or even year-long
efforts.  Whatever we need.  It also doesn't have to be feature work,
but could target bug fixing, website work, documentation.  Whatever we
need.

A final benefit - this system's already been reviewed and approved by
Software Conservancy's lawyers.  So, while there might be some bumps
along the way, there is no reason we can't start using it immediately.


What I have been working on myself is Django-based software that would
enable us to scale the system up to handle a multitude of project ideas,
track jobs in various states of completion, and coordiate work by
arbitrary numbers of developers, vetters, and reviewers.  It aims to
also directly hook the donation system into the project listings so a
donor has instant feedback of the effect of their funds.  This is
complex, as you can imagine, and with my time being in short supply it's
been slow going.

However, for small scale needs the software is superfluous, we can do
all the same steps manually, tracking status in a google spreadsheet or
whatever.  And for the near term, I think we should.  Here's what we'd
need to do:

  * Designate several people to defined roles:
    1.  Fundraising coordinator.
    2.  Vetter (must be a board member)
    3.  Reviewer

  * Add more Job definitions.
    + For each Job we define Completion Criteria
    + Board can vote to make certain of them immediately fundable.

  * Organize an online fundraiser.
    + Set up is just as we've done for hackfest fundraising, but with a
      detailed list of what Jobs are specifically being funded.
    + Donated funds are distributed equally to the specific Jobs we
      list.
    + Board can vote to assign Inkscape funds, too.

  * Recruit developers to participate
    + We already know of several (Mc, Tav); put out a call for more
    + Vetter will receive job proposals and review applicants, check
      that they've been actively contributing, and look able to complete
      assigned work, have provided payment details, etc.
    + Once vetter gives OK on a given job proposal, work can begin
      immediately

When the work is done, the Reviewer reviews it, and I notify Conservancy
to cut a check or wire transfer to the person that did it.


This system is set up to make payments after completion, rather than
reliably regular monthly payments, and I know that will be an issue for
people needing predictable income for covering monthly rent and so on.
One way we can hack around that is instead of defining one big 3-month
job, to break it up into three 1-month (160 hr, $2000+) jobs assigned to them
that they perform sequentially.  This will require more reviewer
involvement, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.


For all of this to work, though, I would need to recruit a number of you
to help out in various roles.  I don't think these roles will be time
consuming, but you'd need to commit to being available regularly as
stuff comes up.

How does this plan sound in concept?

Bryce

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Re: Funded development thoughts (long)

Ryan Gorley-2
Good points. I agree with C R that the two methods don't have to be mutually exclusive, but as a focus of our fundraising efforts this does seem a bit safer for contributors.

As Patreon has demonstrated, it can often be easier to get commitments of $5/mo. then $60 at a time during an annual fundraiser. Has recurring donation method been considered as part of the platform?

If not, i think we probably need to have at least some killer feature lined up to get larger donations during a periodic fundraiser.


On Sep 6, 2017 1:27 AM, "Jabier Arraiza" <[hidden email]> wrote:
I think the founds recibed need to be parted a bit to founds, Inkscape related we/man power

If posible I want to add me to the list of devs

All the best, Javier.

Enviado desde TypeApp
En 6 sept. 2017, en 8:51, C R <[hidden email]> escribió:
Sounds great for the main project, however even a year long position is not much job security for full time developers.  This is where Patreon provides a convenient solution for some of our current developers - they can see what their monthly salary is and set it as high as they need to complete the work. 

That doesn't mean we can't do both. I think we should still support developers who want to use Patreon to do independent work on Inkscape. Also, self promotion need not be the only method of getting donors. We do have a new Vectors group whose job it is to promote Inkscape. We should offer its services to long time Inkscape developers who wish an independent way to raise funds for development work, even if it's just a hold over until Inkscape gets enough funds for permanent positions.

Either way, I'm at your service for graphics stuff, as I imagine are most of the other Vectors team members. Let us know what you need. :)

-C



On 6 Sep 2017 2:52 a.m., "Bryce Harrington" <[hidden email]> wrote:
There's been interest of late in figuring out some options for funding
development work on Inkscape.  I'm thrilled to hear this as I also think
it's an important direction for Inkscape's longer term health, and
something I've been working on directly myself for some time now.

I promised Martin I'd write a thorough response to his proposal,
including the course of action I think we should undertake, which makes
for a long read, so I apologize upfront about the length.


------------------------------------------------------------------------
First, let me share my thoughts on Patreon and why we should not rely on
it for our *project* needs.

Patreon looks interesting for individual developers, but for the
Inkscape project in general what we really need is a mechanism to direct
and focus funds towards the issues our donors, users, and developers
care about collectively, and to provide them with a level of
accountability that the funds are being put to good use for tangible,
predictable benefits.  Patreon is undirected, simply providing funding
for whatever the recipient wishes to do.  It provides no mechanisms for
review, guidance, or transparency.

Martin suggested advertising placement on the Inkscape website and
utilizing trademark legal enforcement as a carrot/stick mechanism to
help ensure the recipients are at least working actively on Inkscape.

However, website placement is likely going to be contentious since it
relies on donors selecting who to fund.  They'll either pick the most
popular, the guy at the top of the list, the biggest self-promotor, or
randomly.  We can strive very hard to make it "fair" but with money
involved there will always be complaints, and someone feeling that
someone else is getting more funding priority than they "deserve".
Despite our best of intentions, this feels likely to turn into a can of
worms.

The use of trademark enforcement is an interesting angle, by restricting
who can label themselves as "Inkscape Developers".  However, I believe
trademark law does not work that way, and even if it did would be
difficult to enforce, requiring the involvement of the Conservancy to
issue cease-and-desist letters -- I think we'd end up deciding the
marginal benefits would not make up for the time, manpower, and stress
investments of dealing with abusers flouting our trademark rules.  It
may work adequately as a gentlemen's agreement, but if someone truly
challenges it, I fear our enforcement will be revealed to be a paper
tiger.

But we needn't overthink it to that level - fundamentally, restricting
how other developers define themselves within our community is at odds
with our egalitarian principles, and does not respect the development
freedom we cherish.  If someone wants to refer to themselves as an
Inkscape Developer, we should encourage it.



------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fortunately, we can achieve a much better approach by focusing our
efforts more intently into the funded projects system already under way.

Paid developer work has been long discussed in our project.  We've
looked at bounty systems, direct patron sponsorship, straight up
contracting, and so on, that other projects have experimented with.
We approached the Software Conservancy with these ideas and hashed them
out into a workable system, after months of discussion and drafting.

The essence of the system is straightforward:

  1.  We post a list of approved jobs, similar to our GSoC lists.
  2.  Money from donations can be directed towards jobs the donors want
      to see done.  Small donations can be aggregated together to
      provide big funding for larger efforts.
  3.  We carefully vet developers who wish to take jobs, similar to how
      we vet GSoC students, but also judge their past work, history of
      Inkscape involvement, etc.
  4.  Vetted developers can take approved jobs when the funding level
      reaches the amount they feel is appropriate to the work, by
      sending in a Job Proposal (similar to GSoC), that we review and
      accept.
  5.  Developers are required to post monthly reports, just like GSoC.
      Each job also defines an expected time limit, like with GSoC.
  6.  On job completion, a Reviewer checks that the requirements were
      met, and the payment is cut.

The process is strongly modeled after Google Summer of Code, which has
been proven effective for us historically.  It builds in several
checkpoints to ensure bad actors don't enter the system, and to ensure
accountability and transparency into the development work.  It also
empowers and leverage donors to influence where their money gets
invested, both to give them a level of ownership and to use their
donation decisions as "crowd wisdom" to ensure we're putting money where
it will most benefit the Inkscape community's needs.

One important distinction from GSoC is that jobs don't need to be fixed
sized to fit 3-month summer schedules.  This system should work for
quick turn-around 1-2 week projects, up to multi-month or even year-long
efforts.  Whatever we need.  It also doesn't have to be feature work,
but could target bug fixing, website work, documentation.  Whatever we
need.

A final benefit - this system's already been reviewed and approved by
Software Conservancy's lawyers.  So, while there might be some bumps
along the way, there is no reason we can't start using it immediately.


What I have been working on myself is Django-based software that would
enable us to scale the system up to handle a multitude of project ideas,
track jobs in various states of completion, and coordiate work by
arbitrary numbers of developers, vetters, and reviewers.  It aims to
also directly hook the donation system into the project listings so a
donor has instant feedback of the effect of their funds.  This is
complex, as you can imagine, and with my time being in short supply it's
been slow going.

However, for small scale needs the software is superfluous, we can do
all the same steps manually, tracking status in a google spreadsheet or
whatever.  And for the near term, I think we should.  Here's what we'd
need to do:

  * Designate several people to defined roles:
    1.  Fundraising coordinator.
    2.  Vetter (must be a board member)
    3.  Reviewer

  * Add more Job definitions.
    + For each Job we define Completion Criteria
    + Board can vote to make certain of them immediately fundable.

  * Organize an online fundraiser.
    + Set up is just as we've done for hackfest fundraising, but with a
      detailed list of what Jobs are specifically being funded.
    + Donated funds are distributed equally to the specific Jobs we
      list.
    + Board can vote to assign Inkscape funds, too.

  * Recruit developers to participate
    + We already know of several (Mc, Tav); put out a call for more
    + Vetter will receive job proposals and review applicants, check
      that they've been actively contributing, and look able to complete
      assigned work, have provided payment details, etc.
    + Once vetter gives OK on a given job proposal, work can begin
      immediately

When the work is done, the Reviewer reviews it, and I notify Conservancy
to cut a check or wire transfer to the person that did it.


This system is set up to make payments after completion, rather than
reliably regular monthly payments, and I know that will be an issue for
people needing predictable income for covering monthly rent and so on.
One way we can hack around that is instead of defining one big 3-month
job, to break it up into three 1-month (160 hr, $2000+) jobs assigned to them
that they perform sequentially.  This will require more reviewer
involvement, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.


For all of this to work, though, I would need to recruit a number of you
to help out in various roles.  I don't think these roles will be time
consuming, but you'd need to commit to being available regularly as
stuff comes up.

How does this plan sound in concept?

Bryce

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Re: Funded development response (long)

Martin Owens-2
In reply to this post by Bryce Harrington-3
Thanks for putting together your thoughts Bryce,

These are my considerations for why I've changed my mind somewhat
(although not completely) in terms of how we should layout project
funding.

> -------------------------------------------------------------------
> -----
> First, let me share my thoughts on Patreon and why we should not rely
> on it for our *project* needs.

This sounds like you would be happy to have patreon be a part of the
mix. And I'd be happy to conspire to have both, more below.

> Patreon looks interesting for individual developers, but for the
> Inkscape project in general what we really need is a mechanism to
> direct
> and focus funds towards the issues our donors, users, and developers
> care about collectively, and to provide them with a level of
> accountability that the funds are being put to good use for tangible,
> predictable benefits.  Patreon is undirected, simply providing
> funding for whatever the recipient wishes to do.  It provides no
> mechanisms for review, guidance, or transparency.

The mechanisms are one to many. i.e. they act to patreon users from
thier funded projects. Each person on the site is responsible for their
upkeep to make sure their users are happy. The mechanism for keeping
users happy is transparency.

From a project perspective; we don't get special guidance or review.
Only normal guidance and review, that we would normal have with any
developer.

And to my mind, this is good. Part of what makes this a good option is
that users themselves have more direct control over what the developer
spends their time on without excessive filtering by gate keepers. To an
odd degree, patreon fits better with inkscape's flat developer model
than the majority of more rigid foss project hierarchies.

> However, website placement is likely going to be contentious since it
> relies on donors selecting who to fund.  ... We can strive very hard
> to make it "fair"

Yeah, that's not an easy thing to solve. But random plus funding step
sort would be most useful I think. The funding step is how patreon
organises how productive you can be for your users at each funding
level. And this information would be invaluable to any placement links
we do on our website.

> but with money
> involved there will always be complaints, and someone feeling that
> someone else is getting more funding priority than they "deserve".
> Despite our best of intentions, this feels likely to turn into a can
> of worms.

There are no more or fewer worms or possible complaints about
unfairness. We know the thicket of risk on this one.

> The use of trademark enforcement is an interesting angle, by
> restricting who can label themselves as "Inkscape
> Developers".  However, I believe trademark law does not work that
> way,

I think you're right. No need to make it complicated.

> But we needn't overthink it to that level - fundamentally,
> restricting how other developers define themselves within our
> community is at odds with our egalitarian principles, and does not
> respect the development freedom we cherish.  If someone wants to
> refer to themselves as an Inkscape Developer, we should encourage it.

Without any sort of control over who does and does not add themselves
to patreon, we will be the most egalitarian possible. That has it's own
risks of course. But I'm happy to proceed on the basis of trust.

> -------------------------------------------------------------------
> Paid developer work has been long discussed in our project.  We've
> looked at bounty systems, direct patron sponsorship, straight up
> contracting, and so on, that other projects have experimented with.
> We approached the Software Conservancy with these ideas and hashed
> them out into a workable system, after months of discussion and
> drafting.

We all put work into (although you the most) the project mechanism. We
should be careful though, it could be a sunken time fallacy if we're
not careful.

> The process is strongly modeled after Google Summer of Code, which
> has
> been proven effective for us historically.  It builds in several
> checkpoints to ensure bad actors don't enter the system, and to
> ensure
> accountability and transparency into the development work.  It also
> empowers and leverage donors to influence where their money gets
> invested, both to give them a level of ownership and to use their
> donation decisions as "crowd wisdom" to ensure we're putting money
> where
> it will most benefit the Inkscape community's needs.

The number of steps required, the amount of intervention from volunteer
project members. It's a HEAVY system. By comparison, the weight of the
patreon model is mostly self-contained and responsibility is placed on
the individual developer.

This also goes so far as the weight and costs in regards to the
conservancy. The conservancy's responsiveness makes me very scared,
since they'd be the ones paying people real money for real rent. This
has all sorts of issues and the conservancy may not even be able to pay
some developers in some countries.

I'm not saying the conservancy couldn't pull it out. But they're a
small team without the same level of automation of the patreon system.

> One important distinction from GSoC is that jobs don't need to be
> fixed sized to fit 3-month summer schedules.  This system should work
> for quick turn-around 1-2 week projects, up to multi-month or even
> year-long efforts.  Whatever we need.  It also doesn't have to be
> feature work, but could target bug fixing, website work,
> documentation.  Whatever we need.

One of the advantages of having a more fluid system, is that a
developer could focus on bug triage, or making icons, or any number of
smaller tasks and could report on it to their patreons. The project
model is focused on larger proejcts and we know we're retrofitting it
to work for smaller items.

> This system is set up to make payments after completion, rather than
> reliably regular monthly payments, and I know that will be an issue
> for
> people needing predictable income for covering monthly rent and so
> on.
> One way we can hack around that is instead of defining one big 3-
> month
> job, to break it up into three 1-month (160 hr, $2000+) jobs assigned
> to them
> that they perform sequentially.  This will require more reviewer
> involvement, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
>
>
> For all of this to work, though, I would need to recruit a number of
> you
> to help out in various roles.  I don't think these roles will be time
> consuming, but you'd need to commit to being available regularly as
> stuff comes up.
>
> How does this plan sound in concept?

So, the parts that are missing is the types of donators to both types
of funding models. Patreon donators are more likely to be small,
individual users. $1, $5 amounts and the 5% cut goes to patreon when
the money is withdrawn.

The project funding however can come from donors who give us $10k, or
$100. If we promoted patreon, we'd probably see a reduction in smaller
donations to the main fund, but we'd probably still get quite a lot.
The conservancy will take 10% at donation time.

The project model is still a good model, but it's a different model. We
shouldn't kid ourselves that all the filtering, reviewing and deep
personal attention means projects are what /developers/ want for the
project. Which is not a bad thing at all. But part of the filtering is
filtering out user direction.

Having patreons doesn't mean we shouldn't have projects. It just means
we have a more user directed, developers contracted by a mass of users,
sort of method too.

I support the promotion of both with the idea that our projects are run
more like GSoC projects with known rewards with known reviews and the
alternative fluid, more risky but less work patreon system which can
run along side.

Thoughts?

Best Regards, Martin Owens

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Re: Funded development response (long)

Bryce Harrington-3
On Wed, Sep 06, 2017 at 10:51:41AM -0400, Martin Owens wrote:

> Thanks for putting together your thoughts Bryce,
>
> These are my considerations for why I've changed my mind somewhat
> (although not completely) in terms of how we should layout project
> funding.
>
> > -------------------------------------------------------------------
> > -----
> > First, let me share my thoughts on Patreon and why we should not rely
> > on it for our *project* needs.
>
> This sounds like you would be happy to have patreon be a part of the
> mix. And I'd be happy to conspire to have both, more below.

No.  Perhaps my politeness here has left some room for ambiguity,
so let me be clear:

Circumventing the Software Conservancy with the scheme you're promoting
is probably not legally permitted.  Certainly it is highly disloyal to
the agreements we've entered with them.  It is unethical.

Privatizing our donor base would be divisive and bad for the project,
and would not address the *project*'s needs.

-1.  No.  Full stop.  I am opposed.


We can get far, far more money and be much more successful working
together as a group than splitting up and dealing with funding
individually.  Patreon is the *wrong* solution for Inkscape.

I totally get why the idea sounds appealing to you.  Frankly, there's no
reason you couldn't run your self-funding idea, just do it completely
independently from Inkscape.

You are wanting to leverage the Inkscape project's name and reputation,
and the free promotional labor of its volunteers.  The value we have
here is the group.  Our brand.  Our collective effort, specializations,
and divisions of labor.  Our efficiency of scale, and resiliency through
our group identity.

Shouldn't we be using that group power for the *group*'s benefit, and
for the benefit of the Inkscape software itself, rather than subverting
it to benefit a privileged few?

The mere addition of Patreon use won't magically increase the number of
donations we get, it will subtract from our existing donations.  Our
volunteers would have to redouble their outreach efforts to make up the
difference.  Would they do it, knowing that a significant proportion of
their effort would go to line individuals' pockets with no say in what
those people do?


In Inkscape's early days, donations went to my own personal account.  I
paid the taxes out of my own pocket, and did not use the Inkscape money
to pay for anything.  Because people were donating not to *me* but to
*us*.  I saw it as a duty to handle their money not as mine but as
*ours*, and to use it respectfully and responsibly.

This is why so much time and effort was invested into joining the
Conservancy and moving our assets there, to build a group resource we
maintain collectively as a team to benefit *Inkscape* and its needs, not
to create personal income sources for ourselves.  Focusing on Patreon
disrespects that history and regresses us as a project.

I was originally against us taking donations at all, in fact.  Sodipodi
had left a bad taste there.  But donors were clamoring for it.  My mind
was changed by a donor saying, "I don't want to 'just send a patch', I'm
not a coder!  I have money and I want to throw the money at you guys, so
that *you* fix it."  Donors don't care about you or me; they care about
Inkscape and about their personal needs.  They trust us as a group with
their money, to use it responsibly to address what the _software_ needs.
Their objective isn't to create full paid jobs for us, as much as we
might want that, we mustn't think that way.

Just look at the most _recent_ big sponsors we've gotten as evidence.
The money didn't come to me personally, or to any one other person, but
to *US*.  The donors like giving us money as a *group*, they aren't
seeking us out individually.

Patreon does not address Inkscape's needs either.  Our freeform
development culture makes development very convenient, but has the
downside of incurring prodigious technical debt.  Developers complain to
me about this all the time.  No stretch of the imagination is needed to
consider using donated money to pay for work on technical debt.  But
Patreon is simply not structured to do that; sexy feature work is what
gets donor attention.  "I refactor code, triage and fix bugs, and write
test cases," will get Nada.  But that sort of work is what will actually
improve the project.

Patreon does not automatically create paid time development positions.
I totally get that people would like to work on Inkscape full time, and
still be able to cover their rent and expenses.  It's a lovely idea.
I'd like that too.  Real jobs are hard, I've been balancing work on
Inkscape with a job and family myself for two decades now, it's tough.
But at this stage in our project, working on Inkscape full time is as
unrealistic as a rainbow-farting unicorn.  Even if you cannibalized all
of Inkscape's donor base, it's not even enough to pay one half-time
position; we simply don't see that level of donation.  The math is
clear, at least as it stands now.


But, we do have a solid model that works.  We've brought in many tens of
thousands of dollars.  We've worked collectively to bolster and improve
our infrastructure, outreach, and management of the money.  Yes, it
involves some overhead, but that's part of what donors expect.  Our
donor base is growing - slowly, but growing.  The biggest thing that
helps is getting releases out the door - which is why I make that a
personal priority for my own time.  Outreach efforts work - which is why
I have championed getting the Vectors team established.  Sponsor
solicitation, hackfest-related donation calls, and tending our website
all work - and again the reason I make these personal priorities is in
service of building our donor base further.  I would like to build up
more of our revenue - merchandising for instance.  I continue to invest
myself in these things because I can see them paying off tangibly.

The flip side is to develop our capacity to *spend* the money.
Bradley pointed this out to me directly, and is what got me pushing for
hackfests, and encouraging other ideas people come up with.  We need to
get good at taking money in for the project, and paying it out to
the tangible benefit of the project.

The ultimate goal, though, is funded development.  That's what I have
had my eye on since that donor convinced me of it.  But it needs to be
done in service to the project, by ensuring that we retain our
collectively say in how it's used, and can direct it to specifically
what will improve the software.


I could keep going, but I will bring it to a close.  If I haven't
convinced you by now and your feet are going to remain dug in, then
continued dissertating is just wasting my breath.  I read and understand
your points below, but the arguments fail to persuade me.

I totally understand people want to see income for their development
work, and we totally can achieve that working together.  Patreon isn't
the right direction, it serves to splinter us not strengthen us.

Ideally, I would like to convince you, Martin, that instead of putting
your Django time into the Patreon concept you are proposing doing on
your own, that you should team up with me and collaborate on building
something bigger and better.  We can get quantitatively more money to
more developers in a fairer way that satisfies donors and honors our
volunteers by ensuring they can directly influence how donations are
invested and incorporating them as equals in the processes.  We can make
something that goes far beyond what can be achieved by Patreon, that may
well change how FOSS is funded throughout the industry.

Yes, the software I have in mind will take effort to work, but it's not
terribly beyond the scope of systems you've skillfully put in place
already.  We can do it, and it will be something you and I can be proud
to put our names to.

Bryce


> > Patreon looks interesting for individual developers, but for the
> > Inkscape project in general what we really need is a mechanism to
> > direct
> > and focus funds towards the issues our donors, users, and developers
> > care about collectively, and to provide them with a level of
> > accountability that the funds are being put to good use for tangible,
> > predictable benefits.  Patreon is undirected, simply providing
> > funding for whatever the recipient wishes to do.  It provides no
> > mechanisms for review, guidance, or transparency.
>
> The mechanisms are one to many. i.e. they act to patreon users from
> thier funded projects. Each person on the site is responsible for their
> upkeep to make sure their users are happy. The mechanism for keeping
> users happy is transparency.
>
> >From a project perspective; we don't get special guidance or review.
> Only normal guidance and review, that we would normal have with any
> developer.
>
> And to my mind, this is good. Part of what makes this a good option is
> that users themselves have more direct control over what the developer
> spends their time on without excessive filtering by gate keepers. To an
> odd degree, patreon fits better with inkscape's flat developer model
> than the majority of more rigid foss project hierarchies.
>
> > However, website placement is likely going to be contentious since it
> > relies on donors selecting who to fund.  ... We can strive very hard
> > to make it "fair"
>
> Yeah, that's not an easy thing to solve. But random plus funding step
> sort would be most useful I think. The funding step is how patreon
> organises how productive you can be for your users at each funding
> level. And this information would be invaluable to any placement links
> we do on our website.
>
> > but with money
> > involved there will always be complaints, and someone feeling that
> > someone else is getting more funding priority than they "deserve".
> > Despite our best of intentions, this feels likely to turn into a can
> > of worms.
>
> There are no more or fewer worms or possible complaints about
> unfairness. We know the thicket of risk on this one.
>
> > The use of trademark enforcement is an interesting angle, by
> > restricting who can label themselves as "Inkscape
> > Developers".  However, I believe trademark law does not work that
> > way,
>
> I think you're right. No need to make it complicated.
>
> > But we needn't overthink it to that level - fundamentally,
> > restricting how other developers define themselves within our
> > community is at odds with our egalitarian principles, and does not
> > respect the development freedom we cherish.  If someone wants to
> > refer to themselves as an Inkscape Developer, we should encourage it.
>
> Without any sort of control over who does and does not add themselves
> to patreon, we will be the most egalitarian possible. That has it's own
> risks of course. But I'm happy to proceed on the basis of trust.
>
> > -------------------------------------------------------------------
> > Paid developer work has been long discussed in our project.  We've
> > looked at bounty systems, direct patron sponsorship, straight up
> > contracting, and so on, that other projects have experimented with.
> > We approached the Software Conservancy with these ideas and hashed
> > them out into a workable system, after months of discussion and
> > drafting.
>
> We all put work into (although you the most) the project mechanism. We
> should be careful though, it could be a sunken time fallacy if we're
> not careful.
>
> > The process is strongly modeled after Google Summer of Code, which
> > has
> > been proven effective for us historically.  It builds in several
> > checkpoints to ensure bad actors don't enter the system, and to
> > ensure
> > accountability and transparency into the development work.  It also
> > empowers and leverage donors to influence where their money gets
> > invested, both to give them a level of ownership and to use their
> > donation decisions as "crowd wisdom" to ensure we're putting money
> > where
> > it will most benefit the Inkscape community's needs.
>
> The number of steps required, the amount of intervention from volunteer
> project members. It's a HEAVY system. By comparison, the weight of the
> patreon model is mostly self-contained and responsibility is placed on
> the individual developer.
>
> This also goes so far as the weight and costs in regards to the
> conservancy. The conservancy's responsiveness makes me very scared,
> since they'd be the ones paying people real money for real rent. This
> has all sorts of issues and the conservancy may not even be able to pay
> some developers in some countries.
>
> I'm not saying the conservancy couldn't pull it out. But they're a
> small team without the same level of automation of the patreon system.
>
> > One important distinction from GSoC is that jobs don't need to be
> > fixed sized to fit 3-month summer schedules.  This system should work
> > for quick turn-around 1-2 week projects, up to multi-month or even
> > year-long efforts.  Whatever we need.  It also doesn't have to be
> > feature work, but could target bug fixing, website work,
> > documentation.  Whatever we need.
>
> One of the advantages of having a more fluid system, is that a
> developer could focus on bug triage, or making icons, or any number of
> smaller tasks and could report on it to their patreons. The project
> model is focused on larger proejcts and we know we're retrofitting it
> to work for smaller items.
>
> > This system is set up to make payments after completion, rather than
> > reliably regular monthly payments, and I know that will be an issue
> > for
> > people needing predictable income for covering monthly rent and so
> > on.
> > One way we can hack around that is instead of defining one big 3-
> > month
> > job, to break it up into three 1-month (160 hr, $2000+) jobs assigned
> > to them
> > that they perform sequentially.  This will require more reviewer
> > involvement, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
> >
> >
> > For all of this to work, though, I would need to recruit a number of
> > you
> > to help out in various roles.  I don't think these roles will be time
> > consuming, but you'd need to commit to being available regularly as
> > stuff comes up.
> >
> > How does this plan sound in concept?
>
> So, the parts that are missing is the types of donators to both types
> of funding models. Patreon donators are more likely to be small,
> individual users. $1, $5 amounts and the 5% cut goes to patreon when
> the money is withdrawn.
>
> The project funding however can come from donors who give us $10k, or
> $100. If we promoted patreon, we'd probably see a reduction in smaller
> donations to the main fund, but we'd probably still get quite a lot.
> The conservancy will take 10% at donation time.
>
> The project model is still a good model, but it's a different model. We
> shouldn't kid ourselves that all the filtering, reviewing and deep
> personal attention means projects are what /developers/ want for the
> project. Which is not a bad thing at all. But part of the filtering is
> filtering out user direction.
>
> Having patreons doesn't mean we shouldn't have projects. It just means
> we have a more user directed, developers contracted by a mass of users,
> sort of method too.
>
> I support the promotion of both with the idea that our projects are run
> more like GSoC projects with known rewards with known reviews and the
> alternative fluid, more risky but less work patreon system which can
> run along side.
>
> Thoughts?
>
> Best Regards, Martin Owens


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Re: Funded development response (long)

Martin Owens-2
Bryce,

There is much to recommend your arguments, but considering the higher
than normal emotional bandwidth required to conduct the discussion, we
are going to have to pause this discussion until we can both be in the
same room and have the high bandwidth debate this deserves.

Know that I have done no work on any patreon system and have only
talked and thought. There has been no technical time spent on it and I
would not disrespect the project or yourself bryce by making a move on
such a delicate subject without a fully developed consensus. 

I remain at service to the project's will.

Kind Regards, Martin Owens

On Wed, 2017-09-06 at 21:20 -0700, Bryce Harrington wrote:

> On Wed, Sep 06, 2017 at 10:51:41AM -0400, Martin Owens wrote:
> >
> > Thanks for putting together your thoughts Bryce,
> >
> > These are my considerations for why I've changed my mind somewhat
> > (although not completely) in terms of how we should layout project
> > funding.
> >
> > >
> > > ---------------------------------------------------------------
> > > ----
> > > -----
> > > First, let me share my thoughts on Patreon and why we should not
> > > rely
> > > on it for our *project* needs.
> > This sounds like you would be happy to have patreon be a part of
> > the
> > mix. And I'd be happy to conspire to have both, more below.
> No.  Perhaps my politeness here has left some room for ambiguity,
> so let me be clear:
>
> Circumventing the Software Conservancy with the scheme you're
> promoting
> is probably not legally permitted.  Certainly it is highly disloyal
> to
> the agreements we've entered with them.  It is unethical.
>
> Privatizing our donor base would be divisive and bad for the project,
> and would not address the *project*'s needs.
>
> -1.  No.  Full stop.  I am opposed.
>
>
> We can get far, far more money and be much more successful working
> together as a group than splitting up and dealing with funding
> individually.  Patreon is the *wrong* solution for Inkscape.
>
> I totally get why the idea sounds appealing to you.  Frankly, there's
> no
> reason you couldn't run your self-funding idea, just do it completely
> independently from Inkscape.
>
> You are wanting to leverage the Inkscape project's name and
> reputation,
> and the free promotional labor of its volunteers.  The value we have
> here is the group.  Our brand.  Our collective effort,
> specializations,
> and divisions of labor.  Our efficiency of scale, and resiliency
> through
> our group identity.
>
> Shouldn't we be using that group power for the *group*'s benefit, and
> for the benefit of the Inkscape software itself, rather than
> subverting
> it to benefit a privileged few?
>
> The mere addition of Patreon use won't magically increase the number
> of
> donations we get, it will subtract from our existing donations.  Our
> volunteers would have to redouble their outreach efforts to make up
> the
> difference.  Would they do it, knowing that a significant proportion
> of
> their effort would go to line individuals' pockets with no say in
> what
> those people do?
>
>
> In Inkscape's early days, donations went to my own personal
> account.  I
> paid the taxes out of my own pocket, and did not use the Inkscape
> money
> to pay for anything.  Because people were donating not to *me* but to
> *us*.  I saw it as a duty to handle their money not as mine but as
> *ours*, and to use it respectfully and responsibly.
>
> This is why so much time and effort was invested into joining the
> Conservancy and moving our assets there, to build a group resource we
> maintain collectively as a team to benefit *Inkscape* and its needs,
> not
> to create personal income sources for ourselves.  Focusing on Patreon
> disrespects that history and regresses us as a project.
>
> I was originally against us taking donations at all, in
> fact.  Sodipodi
> had left a bad taste there.  But donors were clamoring for it.  My
> mind
> was changed by a donor saying, "I don't want to 'just send a patch',
> I'm
> not a coder!  I have money and I want to throw the money at you guys,
> so
> that *you* fix it."  Donors don't care about you or me; they care
> about
> Inkscape and about their personal needs.  They trust us as a group
> with
> their money, to use it responsibly to address what the _software_
> needs.
> Their objective isn't to create full paid jobs for us, as much as we
> might want that, we mustn't think that way.
>
> Just look at the most _recent_ big sponsors we've gotten as evidence.
> The money didn't come to me personally, or to any one other person,
> but
> to *US*.  The donors like giving us money as a *group*, they aren't
> seeking us out individually.
>
> Patreon does not address Inkscape's needs either.  Our freeform
> development culture makes development very convenient, but has the
> downside of incurring prodigious technical debt.  Developers complain
> to
> me about this all the time.  No stretch of the imagination is needed
> to
> consider using donated money to pay for work on technical debt.  But
> Patreon is simply not structured to do that; sexy feature work is
> what
> gets donor attention.  "I refactor code, triage and fix bugs, and
> write
> test cases," will get Nada.  But that sort of work is what will
> actually
> improve the project.
>
> Patreon does not automatically create paid time development
> positions.
> I totally get that people would like to work on Inkscape full time,
> and
> still be able to cover their rent and expenses.  It's a lovely idea.
> I'd like that too.  Real jobs are hard, I've been balancing work on
> Inkscape with a job and family myself for two decades now, it's
> tough.
> But at this stage in our project, working on Inkscape full time is as
> unrealistic as a rainbow-farting unicorn.  Even if you cannibalized
> all
> of Inkscape's donor base, it's not even enough to pay one half-time
> position; we simply don't see that level of donation.  The math is
> clear, at least as it stands now.
>
>
> But, we do have a solid model that works.  We've brought in many tens
> of
> thousands of dollars.  We've worked collectively to bolster and
> improve
> our infrastructure, outreach, and management of the money.  Yes, it
> involves some overhead, but that's part of what donors expect.  Our
> donor base is growing - slowly, but growing.  The biggest thing that
> helps is getting releases out the door - which is why I make that a
> personal priority for my own time.  Outreach efforts work - which is
> why
> I have championed getting the Vectors team established.  Sponsor
> solicitation, hackfest-related donation calls, and tending our
> website
> all work - and again the reason I make these personal priorities is
> in
> service of building our donor base further.  I would like to build up
> more of our revenue - merchandising for instance.  I continue to
> invest
> myself in these things because I can see them paying off tangibly.
>
> The flip side is to develop our capacity to *spend* the money.
> Bradley pointed this out to me directly, and is what got me pushing
> for
> hackfests, and encouraging other ideas people come up with.  We need
> to
> get good at taking money in for the project, and paying it out to
> the tangible benefit of the project.
>
> The ultimate goal, though, is funded development.  That's what I have
> had my eye on since that donor convinced me of it.  But it needs to
> be
> done in service to the project, by ensuring that we retain our
> collectively say in how it's used, and can direct it to specifically
> what will improve the software.
>
>
> I could keep going, but I will bring it to a close.  If I haven't
> convinced you by now and your feet are going to remain dug in, then
> continued dissertating is just wasting my breath.  I read and
> understand
> your points below, but the arguments fail to persuade me.
>
> I totally understand people want to see income for their development
> work, and we totally can achieve that working together.  Patreon
> isn't
> the right direction, it serves to splinter us not strengthen us.
>
> Ideally, I would like to convince you, Martin, that instead of
> putting
> your Django time into the Patreon concept you are proposing doing on
> your own, that you should team up with me and collaborate on building
> something bigger and better.  We can get quantitatively more money to
> more developers in a fairer way that satisfies donors and honors our
> volunteers by ensuring they can directly influence how donations are
> invested and incorporating them as equals in the processes.  We can
> make
> something that goes far beyond what can be achieved by Patreon, that
> may
> well change how FOSS is funded throughout the industry.
>
> Yes, the software I have in mind will take effort to work, but it's
> not
> terribly beyond the scope of systems you've skillfully put in place
> already.  We can do it, and it will be something you and I can be
> proud
> to put our names to.
>
> Bryce
>
>
> >
> > >
> > > Patreon looks interesting for individual developers, but for the
> > > Inkscape project in general what we really need is a mechanism to
> > > direct
> > > and focus funds towards the issues our donors, users, and
> > > developers
> > > care about collectively, and to provide them with a level of
> > > accountability that the funds are being put to good use for
> > > tangible,
> > > predictable benefits.  Patreon is undirected, simply providing
> > > funding for whatever the recipient wishes to do.  It provides no
> > > mechanisms for review, guidance, or transparency.
> > The mechanisms are one to many. i.e. they act to patreon users from
> > thier funded projects. Each person on the site is responsible for
> > their
> > upkeep to make sure their users are happy. The mechanism for
> > keeping
> > users happy is transparency.
> >
> > >
> > > From a project perspective; we don't get special guidance or
> > > review.
> > Only normal guidance and review, that we would normal have with any
> > developer.
> >
> > And to my mind, this is good. Part of what makes this a good option
> > is
> > that users themselves have more direct control over what the
> > developer
> > spends their time on without excessive filtering by gate keepers.
> > To an
> > odd degree, patreon fits better with inkscape's flat developer
> > model
> > than the majority of more rigid foss project hierarchies.
> >
> > >
> > > However, website placement is likely going to be contentious
> > > since it
> > > relies on donors selecting who to fund.  ... We can strive very
> > > hard
> > > to make it "fair"
> > Yeah, that's not an easy thing to solve. But random plus funding
> > step
> > sort would be most useful I think. The funding step is how patreon
> > organises how productive you can be for your users at each funding
> > level. And this information would be invaluable to any placement
> > links
> > we do on our website.
> >
> > >
> > > but with money
> > > involved there will always be complaints, and someone feeling
> > > that
> > > someone else is getting more funding priority than they
> > > "deserve".
> > > Despite our best of intentions, this feels likely to turn into a
> > > can
> > > of worms.
> > There are no more or fewer worms or possible complaints about
> > unfairness. We know the thicket of risk on this one.
> >
> > >
> > > The use of trademark enforcement is an interesting angle, by
> > > restricting who can label themselves as "Inkscape
> > > Developers".  However, I believe trademark law does not work that
> > > way,
> > I think you're right. No need to make it complicated.
> >
> > >
> > > But we needn't overthink it to that level - fundamentally,
> > > restricting how other developers define themselves within our
> > > community is at odds with our egalitarian principles, and does
> > > not
> > > respect the development freedom we cherish.  If someone wants to
> > > refer to themselves as an Inkscape Developer, we should encourage
> > > it.
> > Without any sort of control over who does and does not add
> > themselves
> > to patreon, we will be the most egalitarian possible. That has it's
> > own
> > risks of course. But I'm happy to proceed on the basis of trust.
> >
> > >
> > > ---------------------------------------------------------------
> > > ----
> > > Paid developer work has been long discussed in our
> > > project.  We've
> > > looked at bounty systems, direct patron sponsorship, straight up
> > > contracting, and so on, that other projects have experimented
> > > with.
> > > We approached the Software Conservancy with these ideas and
> > > hashed
> > > them out into a workable system, after months of discussion and
> > > drafting.
> > We all put work into (although you the most) the project mechanism.
> > We
> > should be careful though, it could be a sunken time fallacy if
> > we're
> > not careful.
> >
> > >
> > > The process is strongly modeled after Google Summer of Code,
> > > which
> > > has
> > > been proven effective for us historically.  It builds in several
> > > checkpoints to ensure bad actors don't enter the system, and to
> > > ensure
> > > accountability and transparency into the development work.  It
> > > also
> > > empowers and leverage donors to influence where their money gets
> > > invested, both to give them a level of ownership and to use their
> > > donation decisions as "crowd wisdom" to ensure we're putting
> > > money
> > > where
> > > it will most benefit the Inkscape community's needs.
> > The number of steps required, the amount of intervention from
> > volunteer
> > project members. It's a HEAVY system. By comparison, the weight of
> > the
> > patreon model is mostly self-contained and responsibility is placed
> > on
> > the individual developer.
> >
> > This also goes so far as the weight and costs in regards to the
> > conservancy. The conservancy's responsiveness makes me very scared,
> > since they'd be the ones paying people real money for real rent.
> > This
> > has all sorts of issues and the conservancy may not even be able to
> > pay
> > some developers in some countries.
> >
> > I'm not saying the conservancy couldn't pull it out. But they're a
> > small team without the same level of automation of the patreon
> > system.
> >
> > >
> > > One important distinction from GSoC is that jobs don't need to be
> > > fixed sized to fit 3-month summer schedules.  This system should
> > > work
> > > for quick turn-around 1-2 week projects, up to multi-month or
> > > even
> > > year-long efforts.  Whatever we need.  It also doesn't have to be
> > > feature work, but could target bug fixing, website work,
> > > documentation.  Whatever we need.
> > One of the advantages of having a more fluid system, is that a
> > developer could focus on bug triage, or making icons, or any number
> > of
> > smaller tasks and could report on it to their patreons. The project
> > model is focused on larger proejcts and we know we're retrofitting
> > it
> > to work for smaller items.
> >
> > >
> > > This system is set up to make payments after completion, rather
> > > than
> > > reliably regular monthly payments, and I know that will be an
> > > issue
> > > for
> > > people needing predictable income for covering monthly rent and
> > > so
> > > on.
> > > One way we can hack around that is instead of defining one big 3-
> > > month
> > > job, to break it up into three 1-month (160 hr, $2000+) jobs
> > > assigned
> > > to them
> > > that they perform sequentially.  This will require more reviewer
> > > involvement, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
> > >
> > >
> > > For all of this to work, though, I would need to recruit a number
> > > of
> > > you
> > > to help out in various roles.  I don't think these roles will be
> > > time
> > > consuming, but you'd need to commit to being available regularly
> > > as
> > > stuff comes up.
> > >
> > > How does this plan sound in concept?
> > So, the parts that are missing is the types of donators to both
> > types
> > of funding models. Patreon donators are more likely to be small,
> > individual users. $1, $5 amounts and the 5% cut goes to patreon
> > when
> > the money is withdrawn.
> >
> > The project funding however can come from donors who give us $10k,
> > or
> > $100. If we promoted patreon, we'd probably see a reduction in
> > smaller
> > donations to the main fund, but we'd probably still get quite a
> > lot.
> > The conservancy will take 10% at donation time.
> >
> > The project model is still a good model, but it's a different
> > model. We
> > shouldn't kid ourselves that all the filtering, reviewing and deep
> > personal attention means projects are what /developers/ want for
> > the
> > project. Which is not a bad thing at all. But part of the filtering
> > is
> > filtering out user direction.
> >
> > Having patreons doesn't mean we shouldn't have projects. It just
> > means
> > we have a more user directed, developers contracted by a mass of
> > users,
> > sort of method too.
> >
> > I support the promotion of both with the idea that our projects are
> > run
> > more like GSoC projects with known rewards with known reviews and
> > the
> > alternative fluid, more risky but less work patreon system which
> > can
> > run along side.
> >
> > Thoughts?
> >
> > Best Regards, Martin Owens

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Re: Funded development response (long)

C R
Just wanted to say, I don't think anyone was suggesting that Patreon
is the optimal long-term solution for the project. It just seems like
something that could get us by for now and address the needs of some
of our current (long term) developers. Most of this you can blame me
for, it was my idea to use Patreon in the short term while the project
decides if it wants to support full-time developers. It was me who
offered it as a solution for our contributing students who will need
to enter the job market soon, and could be working on Inkscape
full-time instead of searching for a job (or two) to make ends meet.
It's something we discussed at length at the hackfest.

It is also me that is offering help through the new Vectors Team to
promote Patreon pages of our developers who have proven to be
reliable. This is no more than we would do for anyone else who wants
to make money through promotion and spreading of open source software.

So I insist you blame me for it. It's not that our current developers
demand payment for their work, it's that I offered it to them. I came
to them and said "we in the community would like to fund your work on
inkscape, so you can work full time on it, and make it better,
faster." That was ME. No criticism of any kind should fall on the
developers for considering this offer.

I personally believe that any skilled developer who wants to work full
time on Inkscape instead of following a possibly much more lucrative
career of software engineering should be met with open arms and the
utmost respect by the project. Patreon is not risk-free, and funds can
dry up. No system is fool-proof, and there are no guarantees.

Blame me.

-C

On Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 5:47 AM, Martin Owens <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Bryce,
>
> There is much to recommend your arguments, but considering the higher
> than normal emotional bandwidth required to conduct the discussion, we
> are going to have to pause this discussion until we can both be in the
> same room and have the high bandwidth debate this deserves.
>
> Know that I have done no work on any patreon system and have only
> talked and thought. There has been no technical time spent on it and I
> would not disrespect the project or yourself bryce by making a move on
> such a delicate subject without a fully developed consensus.
>
> I remain at service to the project's will.
>
> Kind Regards, Martin Owens
>
> On Wed, 2017-09-06 at 21:20 -0700, Bryce Harrington wrote:
>> On Wed, Sep 06, 2017 at 10:51:41AM -0400, Martin Owens wrote:
>> >
>> > Thanks for putting together your thoughts Bryce,
>> >
>> > These are my considerations for why I've changed my mind somewhat
>> > (although not completely) in terms of how we should layout project
>> > funding.
>> >
>> > >
>> > > ---------------------------------------------------------------
>> > > ----
>> > > -----
>> > > First, let me share my thoughts on Patreon and why we should not
>> > > rely
>> > > on it for our *project* needs.
>> > This sounds like you would be happy to have patreon be a part of
>> > the
>> > mix. And I'd be happy to conspire to have both, more below.
>> No.  Perhaps my politeness here has left some room for ambiguity,
>> so let me be clear:
>>
>> Circumventing the Software Conservancy with the scheme you're
>> promoting
>> is probably not legally permitted.  Certainly it is highly disloyal
>> to
>> the agreements we've entered with them.  It is unethical.
>>
>> Privatizing our donor base would be divisive and bad for the project,
>> and would not address the *project*'s needs.
>>
>> -1.  No.  Full stop.  I am opposed.
>>
>>
>> We can get far, far more money and be much more successful working
>> together as a group than splitting up and dealing with funding
>> individually.  Patreon is the *wrong* solution for Inkscape.
>>
>> I totally get why the idea sounds appealing to you.  Frankly, there's
>> no
>> reason you couldn't run your self-funding idea, just do it completely
>> independently from Inkscape.
>>
>> You are wanting to leverage the Inkscape project's name and
>> reputation,
>> and the free promotional labor of its volunteers.  The value we have
>> here is the group.  Our brand.  Our collective effort,
>> specializations,
>> and divisions of labor.  Our efficiency of scale, and resiliency
>> through
>> our group identity.
>>
>> Shouldn't we be using that group power for the *group*'s benefit, and
>> for the benefit of the Inkscape software itself, rather than
>> subverting
>> it to benefit a privileged few?
>>
>> The mere addition of Patreon use won't magically increase the number
>> of
>> donations we get, it will subtract from our existing donations.  Our
>> volunteers would have to redouble their outreach efforts to make up
>> the
>> difference.  Would they do it, knowing that a significant proportion
>> of
>> their effort would go to line individuals' pockets with no say in
>> what
>> those people do?
>>
>>
>> In Inkscape's early days, donations went to my own personal
>> account.  I
>> paid the taxes out of my own pocket, and did not use the Inkscape
>> money
>> to pay for anything.  Because people were donating not to *me* but to
>> *us*.  I saw it as a duty to handle their money not as mine but as
>> *ours*, and to use it respectfully and responsibly.
>>
>> This is why so much time and effort was invested into joining the
>> Conservancy and moving our assets there, to build a group resource we
>> maintain collectively as a team to benefit *Inkscape* and its needs,
>> not
>> to create personal income sources for ourselves.  Focusing on Patreon
>> disrespects that history and regresses us as a project.
>>
>> I was originally against us taking donations at all, in
>> fact.  Sodipodi
>> had left a bad taste there.  But donors were clamoring for it.  My
>> mind
>> was changed by a donor saying, "I don't want to 'just send a patch',
>> I'm
>> not a coder!  I have money and I want to throw the money at you guys,
>> so
>> that *you* fix it."  Donors don't care about you or me; they care
>> about
>> Inkscape and about their personal needs.  They trust us as a group
>> with
>> their money, to use it responsibly to address what the _software_
>> needs.
>> Their objective isn't to create full paid jobs for us, as much as we
>> might want that, we mustn't think that way.
>>
>> Just look at the most _recent_ big sponsors we've gotten as evidence.
>> The money didn't come to me personally, or to any one other person,
>> but
>> to *US*.  The donors like giving us money as a *group*, they aren't
>> seeking us out individually.
>>
>> Patreon does not address Inkscape's needs either.  Our freeform
>> development culture makes development very convenient, but has the
>> downside of incurring prodigious technical debt.  Developers complain
>> to
>> me about this all the time.  No stretch of the imagination is needed
>> to
>> consider using donated money to pay for work on technical debt.  But
>> Patreon is simply not structured to do that; sexy feature work is
>> what
>> gets donor attention.  "I refactor code, triage and fix bugs, and
>> write
>> test cases," will get Nada.  But that sort of work is what will
>> actually
>> improve the project.
>>
>> Patreon does not automatically create paid time development
>> positions.
>> I totally get that people would like to work on Inkscape full time,
>> and
>> still be able to cover their rent and expenses.  It's a lovely idea.
>> I'd like that too.  Real jobs are hard, I've been balancing work on
>> Inkscape with a job and family myself for two decades now, it's
>> tough.
>> But at this stage in our project, working on Inkscape full time is as
>> unrealistic as a rainbow-farting unicorn.  Even if you cannibalized
>> all
>> of Inkscape's donor base, it's not even enough to pay one half-time
>> position; we simply don't see that level of donation.  The math is
>> clear, at least as it stands now.
>>
>>
>> But, we do have a solid model that works.  We've brought in many tens
>> of
>> thousands of dollars.  We've worked collectively to bolster and
>> improve
>> our infrastructure, outreach, and management of the money.  Yes, it
>> involves some overhead, but that's part of what donors expect.  Our
>> donor base is growing - slowly, but growing.  The biggest thing that
>> helps is getting releases out the door - which is why I make that a
>> personal priority for my own time.  Outreach efforts work - which is
>> why
>> I have championed getting the Vectors team established.  Sponsor
>> solicitation, hackfest-related donation calls, and tending our
>> website
>> all work - and again the reason I make these personal priorities is
>> in
>> service of building our donor base further.  I would like to build up
>> more of our revenue - merchandising for instance.  I continue to
>> invest
>> myself in these things because I can see them paying off tangibly.
>>
>> The flip side is to develop our capacity to *spend* the money.
>> Bradley pointed this out to me directly, and is what got me pushing
>> for
>> hackfests, and encouraging other ideas people come up with.  We need
>> to
>> get good at taking money in for the project, and paying it out to
>> the tangible benefit of the project.
>>
>> The ultimate goal, though, is funded development.  That's what I have
>> had my eye on since that donor convinced me of it.  But it needs to
>> be
>> done in service to the project, by ensuring that we retain our
>> collectively say in how it's used, and can direct it to specifically
>> what will improve the software.
>>
>>
>> I could keep going, but I will bring it to a close.  If I haven't
>> convinced you by now and your feet are going to remain dug in, then
>> continued dissertating is just wasting my breath.  I read and
>> understand
>> your points below, but the arguments fail to persuade me.
>>
>> I totally understand people want to see income for their development
>> work, and we totally can achieve that working together.  Patreon
>> isn't
>> the right direction, it serves to splinter us not strengthen us.
>>
>> Ideally, I would like to convince you, Martin, that instead of
>> putting
>> your Django time into the Patreon concept you are proposing doing on
>> your own, that you should team up with me and collaborate on building
>> something bigger and better.  We can get quantitatively more money to
>> more developers in a fairer way that satisfies donors and honors our
>> volunteers by ensuring they can directly influence how donations are
>> invested and incorporating them as equals in the processes.  We can
>> make
>> something that goes far beyond what can be achieved by Patreon, that
>> may
>> well change how FOSS is funded throughout the industry.
>>
>> Yes, the software I have in mind will take effort to work, but it's
>> not
>> terribly beyond the scope of systems you've skillfully put in place
>> already.  We can do it, and it will be something you and I can be
>> proud
>> to put our names to.
>>
>> Bryce
>>
>>
>> >
>> > >
>> > > Patreon looks interesting for individual developers, but for the
>> > > Inkscape project in general what we really need is a mechanism to
>> > > direct
>> > > and focus funds towards the issues our donors, users, and
>> > > developers
>> > > care about collectively, and to provide them with a level of
>> > > accountability that the funds are being put to good use for
>> > > tangible,
>> > > predictable benefits.  Patreon is undirected, simply providing
>> > > funding for whatever the recipient wishes to do.  It provides no
>> > > mechanisms for review, guidance, or transparency.
>> > The mechanisms are one to many. i.e. they act to patreon users from
>> > thier funded projects. Each person on the site is responsible for
>> > their
>> > upkeep to make sure their users are happy. The mechanism for
>> > keeping
>> > users happy is transparency.
>> >
>> > >
>> > > From a project perspective; we don't get special guidance or
>> > > review.
>> > Only normal guidance and review, that we would normal have with any
>> > developer.
>> >
>> > And to my mind, this is good. Part of what makes this a good option
>> > is
>> > that users themselves have more direct control over what the
>> > developer
>> > spends their time on without excessive filtering by gate keepers.
>> > To an
>> > odd degree, patreon fits better with inkscape's flat developer
>> > model
>> > than the majority of more rigid foss project hierarchies.
>> >
>> > >
>> > > However, website placement is likely going to be contentious
>> > > since it
>> > > relies on donors selecting who to fund.  ... We can strive very
>> > > hard
>> > > to make it "fair"
>> > Yeah, that's not an easy thing to solve. But random plus funding
>> > step
>> > sort would be most useful I think. The funding step is how patreon
>> > organises how productive you can be for your users at each funding
>> > level. And this information would be invaluable to any placement
>> > links
>> > we do on our website.
>> >
>> > >
>> > > but with money
>> > > involved there will always be complaints, and someone feeling
>> > > that
>> > > someone else is getting more funding priority than they
>> > > "deserve".
>> > > Despite our best of intentions, this feels likely to turn into a
>> > > can
>> > > of worms.
>> > There are no more or fewer worms or possible complaints about
>> > unfairness. We know the thicket of risk on this one.
>> >
>> > >
>> > > The use of trademark enforcement is an interesting angle, by
>> > > restricting who can label themselves as "Inkscape
>> > > Developers".  However, I believe trademark law does not work that
>> > > way,
>> > I think you're right. No need to make it complicated.
>> >
>> > >
>> > > But we needn't overthink it to that level - fundamentally,
>> > > restricting how other developers define themselves within our
>> > > community is at odds with our egalitarian principles, and does
>> > > not
>> > > respect the development freedom we cherish.  If someone wants to
>> > > refer to themselves as an Inkscape Developer, we should encourage
>> > > it.
>> > Without any sort of control over who does and does not add
>> > themselves
>> > to patreon, we will be the most egalitarian possible. That has it's
>> > own
>> > risks of course. But I'm happy to proceed on the basis of trust.
>> >
>> > >
>> > > ---------------------------------------------------------------
>> > > ----
>> > > Paid developer work has been long discussed in our
>> > > project.  We've
>> > > looked at bounty systems, direct patron sponsorship, straight up
>> > > contracting, and so on, that other projects have experimented
>> > > with.
>> > > We approached the Software Conservancy with these ideas and
>> > > hashed
>> > > them out into a workable system, after months of discussion and
>> > > drafting.
>> > We all put work into (although you the most) the project mechanism.
>> > We
>> > should be careful though, it could be a sunken time fallacy if
>> > we're
>> > not careful.
>> >
>> > >
>> > > The process is strongly modeled after Google Summer of Code,
>> > > which
>> > > has
>> > > been proven effective for us historically.  It builds in several
>> > > checkpoints to ensure bad actors don't enter the system, and to
>> > > ensure
>> > > accountability and transparency into the development work.  It
>> > > also
>> > > empowers and leverage donors to influence where their money gets
>> > > invested, both to give them a level of ownership and to use their
>> > > donation decisions as "crowd wisdom" to ensure we're putting
>> > > money
>> > > where
>> > > it will most benefit the Inkscape community's needs.
>> > The number of steps required, the amount of intervention from
>> > volunteer
>> > project members. It's a HEAVY system. By comparison, the weight of
>> > the
>> > patreon model is mostly self-contained and responsibility is placed
>> > on
>> > the individual developer.
>> >
>> > This also goes so far as the weight and costs in regards to the
>> > conservancy. The conservancy's responsiveness makes me very scared,
>> > since they'd be the ones paying people real money for real rent.
>> > This
>> > has all sorts of issues and the conservancy may not even be able to
>> > pay
>> > some developers in some countries.
>> >
>> > I'm not saying the conservancy couldn't pull it out. But they're a
>> > small team without the same level of automation of the patreon
>> > system.
>> >
>> > >
>> > > One important distinction from GSoC is that jobs don't need to be
>> > > fixed sized to fit 3-month summer schedules.  This system should
>> > > work
>> > > for quick turn-around 1-2 week projects, up to multi-month or
>> > > even
>> > > year-long efforts.  Whatever we need.  It also doesn't have to be
>> > > feature work, but could target bug fixing, website work,
>> > > documentation.  Whatever we need.
>> > One of the advantages of having a more fluid system, is that a
>> > developer could focus on bug triage, or making icons, or any number
>> > of
>> > smaller tasks and could report on it to their patreons. The project
>> > model is focused on larger proejcts and we know we're retrofitting
>> > it
>> > to work for smaller items.
>> >
>> > >
>> > > This system is set up to make payments after completion, rather
>> > > than
>> > > reliably regular monthly payments, and I know that will be an
>> > > issue
>> > > for
>> > > people needing predictable income for covering monthly rent and
>> > > so
>> > > on.
>> > > One way we can hack around that is instead of defining one big 3-
>> > > month
>> > > job, to break it up into three 1-month (160 hr, $2000+) jobs
>> > > assigned
>> > > to them
>> > > that they perform sequentially.  This will require more reviewer
>> > > involvement, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
>> > >
>> > >
>> > > For all of this to work, though, I would need to recruit a number
>> > > of
>> > > you
>> > > to help out in various roles.  I don't think these roles will be
>> > > time
>> > > consuming, but you'd need to commit to being available regularly
>> > > as
>> > > stuff comes up.
>> > >
>> > > How does this plan sound in concept?
>> > So, the parts that are missing is the types of donators to both
>> > types
>> > of funding models. Patreon donators are more likely to be small,
>> > individual users. $1, $5 amounts and the 5% cut goes to patreon
>> > when
>> > the money is withdrawn.
>> >
>> > The project funding however can come from donors who give us $10k,
>> > or
>> > $100. If we promoted patreon, we'd probably see a reduction in
>> > smaller
>> > donations to the main fund, but we'd probably still get quite a
>> > lot.
>> > The conservancy will take 10% at donation time.
>> >
>> > The project model is still a good model, but it's a different
>> > model. We
>> > shouldn't kid ourselves that all the filtering, reviewing and deep
>> > personal attention means projects are what /developers/ want for
>> > the
>> > project. Which is not a bad thing at all. But part of the filtering
>> > is
>> > filtering out user direction.
>> >
>> > Having patreons doesn't mean we shouldn't have projects. It just
>> > means
>> > we have a more user directed, developers contracted by a mass of
>> > users,
>> > sort of method too.
>> >
>> > I support the promotion of both with the idea that our projects are
>> > run
>> > more like GSoC projects with known rewards with known reviews and
>> > the
>> > alternative fluid, more risky but less work patreon system which
>> > can
>> > run along side.
>> >
>> > Thoughts?
>> >
>> > Best Regards, Martin Owens
>
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Re: Funded development response (long)

Victor Westmann
So it's all your fault! Kidding. :)

Do you guys know if this is feasible for indicator project?




On Sep 7, 2017 12:38 AM, "C R" <[hidden email]> wrote:
Just wanted to say, I don't think anyone was suggesting that Patreon
is the optimal long-term solution for the project. It just seems like
something that could get us by for now and address the needs of some
of our current (long term) developers. Most of this you can blame me
for, it was my idea to use Patreon in the short term while the project
decides if it wants to support full-time developers. It was me who
offered it as a solution for our contributing students who will need
to enter the job market soon, and could be working on Inkscape
full-time instead of searching for a job (or two) to make ends meet.
It's something we discussed at length at the hackfest.

It is also me that is offering help through the new Vectors Team to
promote Patreon pages of our developers who have proven to be
reliable. This is no more than we would do for anyone else who wants
to make money through promotion and spreading of open source software.

So I insist you blame me for it. It's not that our current developers
demand payment for their work, it's that I offered it to them. I came
to them and said "we in the community would like to fund your work on
inkscape, so you can work full time on it, and make it better,
faster." That was ME. No criticism of any kind should fall on the
developers for considering this offer.

I personally believe that any skilled developer who wants to work full
time on Inkscape instead of following a possibly much more lucrative
career of software engineering should be met with open arms and the
utmost respect by the project. Patreon is not risk-free, and funds can
dry up. No system is fool-proof, and there are no guarantees.

Blame me.

-C

On Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 5:47 AM, Martin Owens <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Bryce,
>
> There is much to recommend your arguments, but considering the higher
> than normal emotional bandwidth required to conduct the discussion, we
> are going to have to pause this discussion until we can both be in the
> same room and have the high bandwidth debate this deserves.
>
> Know that I have done no work on any patreon system and have only
> talked and thought. There has been no technical time spent on it and I
> would not disrespect the project or yourself bryce by making a move on
> such a delicate subject without a fully developed consensus.
>
> I remain at service to the project's will.
>
> Kind Regards, Martin Owens
>
> On Wed, 2017-09-06 at 21:20 -0700, Bryce Harrington wrote:
>> On Wed, Sep 06, 2017 at 10:51:41AM -0400, Martin Owens wrote:
>> >
>> > Thanks for putting together your thoughts Bryce,
>> >
>> > These are my considerations for why I've changed my mind somewhat
>> > (although not completely) in terms of how we should layout project
>> > funding.
>> >
>> > >
>> > > ---------------------------------------------------------------
>> > > ----
>> > > -----
>> > > First, let me share my thoughts on Patreon and why we should not
>> > > rely
>> > > on it for our *project* needs.
>> > This sounds like you would be happy to have patreon be a part of
>> > the
>> > mix. And I'd be happy to conspire to have both, more below.
>> No.  Perhaps my politeness here has left some room for ambiguity,
>> so let me be clear:
>>
>> Circumventing the Software Conservancy with the scheme you're
>> promoting
>> is probably not legally permitted.  Certainly it is highly disloyal
>> to
>> the agreements we've entered with them.  It is unethical.
>>
>> Privatizing our donor base would be divisive and bad for the project,
>> and would not address the *project*'s needs.
>>
>> -1.  No.  Full stop.  I am opposed.
>>
>>
>> We can get far, far more money and be much more successful working
>> together as a group than splitting up and dealing with funding
>> individually.  Patreon is the *wrong* solution for Inkscape.
>>
>> I totally get why the idea sounds appealing to you.  Frankly, there's
>> no
>> reason you couldn't run your self-funding idea, just do it completely
>> independently from Inkscape.
>>
>> You are wanting to leverage the Inkscape project's name and
>> reputation,
>> and the free promotional labor of its volunteers.  The value we have
>> here is the group.  Our brand.  Our collective effort,
>> specializations,
>> and divisions of labor.  Our efficiency of scale, and resiliency
>> through
>> our group identity.
>>
>> Shouldn't we be using that group power for the *group*'s benefit, and
>> for the benefit of the Inkscape software itself, rather than
>> subverting
>> it to benefit a privileged few?
>>
>> The mere addition of Patreon use won't magically increase the number
>> of
>> donations we get, it will subtract from our existing donations.  Our
>> volunteers would have to redouble their outreach efforts to make up
>> the
>> difference.  Would they do it, knowing that a significant proportion
>> of
>> their effort would go to line individuals' pockets with no say in
>> what
>> those people do?
>>
>>
>> In Inkscape's early days, donations went to my own personal
>> account.  I
>> paid the taxes out of my own pocket, and did not use the Inkscape
>> money
>> to pay for anything.  Because people were donating not to *me* but to
>> *us*.  I saw it as a duty to handle their money not as mine but as
>> *ours*, and to use it respectfully and responsibly.
>>
>> This is why so much time and effort was invested into joining the
>> Conservancy and moving our assets there, to build a group resource we
>> maintain collectively as a team to benefit *Inkscape* and its needs,
>> not
>> to create personal income sources for ourselves.  Focusing on Patreon
>> disrespects that history and regresses us as a project.
>>
>> I was originally against us taking donations at all, in
>> fact.  Sodipodi
>> had left a bad taste there.  But donors were clamoring for it.  My
>> mind
>> was changed by a donor saying, "I don't want to 'just send a patch',
>> I'm
>> not a coder!  I have money and I want to throw the money at you guys,
>> so
>> that *you* fix it."  Donors don't care about you or me; they care
>> about
>> Inkscape and about their personal needs.  They trust us as a group
>> with
>> their money, to use it responsibly to address what the _software_
>> needs.
>> Their objective isn't to create full paid jobs for us, as much as we
>> might want that, we mustn't think that way.
>>
>> Just look at the most _recent_ big sponsors we've gotten as evidence.
>> The money didn't come to me personally, or to any one other person,
>> but
>> to *US*.  The donors like giving us money as a *group*, they aren't
>> seeking us out individually.
>>
>> Patreon does not address Inkscape's needs either.  Our freeform
>> development culture makes development very convenient, but has the
>> downside of incurring prodigious technical debt.  Developers complain
>> to
>> me about this all the time.  No stretch of the imagination is needed
>> to
>> consider using donated money to pay for work on technical debt.  But
>> Patreon is simply not structured to do that; sexy feature work is
>> what
>> gets donor attention.  "I refactor code, triage and fix bugs, and
>> write
>> test cases," will get Nada.  But that sort of work is what will
>> actually
>> improve the project.
>>
>> Patreon does not automatically create paid time development
>> positions.
>> I totally get that people would like to work on Inkscape full time,
>> and
>> still be able to cover their rent and expenses.  It's a lovely idea.
>> I'd like that too.  Real jobs are hard, I've been balancing work on
>> Inkscape with a job and family myself for two decades now, it's
>> tough.
>> But at this stage in our project, working on Inkscape full time is as
>> unrealistic as a rainbow-farting unicorn.  Even if you cannibalized
>> all
>> of Inkscape's donor base, it's not even enough to pay one half-time
>> position; we simply don't see that level of donation.  The math is
>> clear, at least as it stands now.
>>
>>
>> But, we do have a solid model that works.  We've brought in many tens
>> of
>> thousands of dollars.  We've worked collectively to bolster and
>> improve
>> our infrastructure, outreach, and management of the money.  Yes, it
>> involves some overhead, but that's part of what donors expect.  Our
>> donor base is growing - slowly, but growing.  The biggest thing that
>> helps is getting releases out the door - which is why I make that a
>> personal priority for my own time.  Outreach efforts work - which is
>> why
>> I have championed getting the Vectors team established.  Sponsor
>> solicitation, hackfest-related donation calls, and tending our
>> website
>> all work - and again the reason I make these personal priorities is
>> in
>> service of building our donor base further.  I would like to build up
>> more of our revenue - merchandising for instance.  I continue to
>> invest
>> myself in these things because I can see them paying off tangibly.
>>
>> The flip side is to develop our capacity to *spend* the money.
>> Bradley pointed this out to me directly, and is what got me pushing
>> for
>> hackfests, and encouraging other ideas people come up with.  We need
>> to
>> get good at taking money in for the project, and paying it out to
>> the tangible benefit of the project.
>>
>> The ultimate goal, though, is funded development.  That's what I have
>> had my eye on since that donor convinced me of it.  But it needs to
>> be
>> done in service to the project, by ensuring that we retain our
>> collectively say in how it's used, and can direct it to specifically
>> what will improve the software.
>>
>>
>> I could keep going, but I will bring it to a close.  If I haven't
>> convinced you by now and your feet are going to remain dug in, then
>> continued dissertating is just wasting my breath.  I read and
>> understand
>> your points below, but the arguments fail to persuade me.
>>
>> I totally understand people want to see income for their development
>> work, and we totally can achieve that working together.  Patreon
>> isn't
>> the right direction, it serves to splinter us not strengthen us.
>>
>> Ideally, I would like to convince you, Martin, that instead of
>> putting
>> your Django time into the Patreon concept you are proposing doing on
>> your own, that you should team up with me and collaborate on building
>> something bigger and better.  We can get quantitatively more money to
>> more developers in a fairer way that satisfies donors and honors our
>> volunteers by ensuring they can directly influence how donations are
>> invested and incorporating them as equals in the processes.  We can
>> make
>> something that goes far beyond what can be achieved by Patreon, that
>> may
>> well change how FOSS is funded throughout the industry.
>>
>> Yes, the software I have in mind will take effort to work, but it's
>> not
>> terribly beyond the scope of systems you've skillfully put in place
>> already.  We can do it, and it will be something you and I can be
>> proud
>> to put our names to.
>>
>> Bryce
>>
>>
>> >
>> > >
>> > > Patreon looks interesting for individual developers, but for the
>> > > Inkscape project in general what we really need is a mechanism to
>> > > direct
>> > > and focus funds towards the issues our donors, users, and
>> > > developers
>> > > care about collectively, and to provide them with a level of
>> > > accountability that the funds are being put to good use for
>> > > tangible,
>> > > predictable benefits.  Patreon is undirected, simply providing
>> > > funding for whatever the recipient wishes to do.  It provides no
>> > > mechanisms for review, guidance, or transparency.
>> > The mechanisms are one to many. i.e. they act to patreon users from
>> > thier funded projects. Each person on the site is responsible for
>> > their
>> > upkeep to make sure their users are happy. The mechanism for
>> > keeping
>> > users happy is transparency.
>> >
>> > >
>> > > From a project perspective; we don't get special guidance or
>> > > review.
>> > Only normal guidance and review, that we would normal have with any
>> > developer.
>> >
>> > And to my mind, this is good. Part of what makes this a good option
>> > is
>> > that users themselves have more direct control over what the
>> > developer
>> > spends their time on without excessive filtering by gate keepers.
>> > To an
>> > odd degree, patreon fits better with inkscape's flat developer
>> > model
>> > than the majority of more rigid foss project hierarchies.
>> >
>> > >
>> > > However, website placement is likely going to be contentious
>> > > since it
>> > > relies on donors selecting who to fund.  ... We can strive very
>> > > hard
>> > > to make it "fair"
>> > Yeah, that's not an easy thing to solve. But random plus funding
>> > step
>> > sort would be most useful I think. The funding step is how patreon
>> > organises how productive you can be for your users at each funding
>> > level. And this information would be invaluable to any placement
>> > links
>> > we do on our website.
>> >
>> > >
>> > > but with money
>> > > involved there will always be complaints, and someone feeling
>> > > that
>> > > someone else is getting more funding priority than they
>> > > "deserve".
>> > > Despite our best of intentions, this feels likely to turn into a
>> > > can
>> > > of worms.
>> > There are no more or fewer worms or possible complaints about
>> > unfairness. We know the thicket of risk on this one.
>> >
>> > >
>> > > The use of trademark enforcement is an interesting angle, by
>> > > restricting who can label themselves as "Inkscape
>> > > Developers".  However, I believe trademark law does not work that
>> > > way,
>> > I think you're right. No need to make it complicated.
>> >
>> > >
>> > > But we needn't overthink it to that level - fundamentally,
>> > > restricting how other developers define themselves within our
>> > > community is at odds with our egalitarian principles, and does
>> > > not
>> > > respect the development freedom we cherish.  If someone wants to
>> > > refer to themselves as an Inkscape Developer, we should encourage
>> > > it.
>> > Without any sort of control over who does and does not add
>> > themselves
>> > to patreon, we will be the most egalitarian possible. That has it's
>> > own
>> > risks of course. But I'm happy to proceed on the basis of trust.
>> >
>> > >
>> > > ---------------------------------------------------------------
>> > > ----
>> > > Paid developer work has been long discussed in our
>> > > project.  We've
>> > > looked at bounty systems, direct patron sponsorship, straight up
>> > > contracting, and so on, that other projects have experimented
>> > > with.
>> > > We approached the Software Conservancy with these ideas and
>> > > hashed
>> > > them out into a workable system, after months of discussion and
>> > > drafting.
>> > We all put work into (although you the most) the project mechanism.
>> > We
>> > should be careful though, it could be a sunken time fallacy if
>> > we're
>> > not careful.
>> >
>> > >
>> > > The process is strongly modeled after Google Summer of Code,
>> > > which
>> > > has
>> > > been proven effective for us historically.  It builds in several
>> > > checkpoints to ensure bad actors don't enter the system, and to
>> > > ensure
>> > > accountability and transparency into the development work.  It
>> > > also
>> > > empowers and leverage donors to influence where their money gets
>> > > invested, both to give them a level of ownership and to use their
>> > > donation decisions as "crowd wisdom" to ensure we're putting
>> > > money
>> > > where
>> > > it will most benefit the Inkscape community's needs.
>> > The number of steps required, the amount of intervention from
>> > volunteer
>> > project members. It's a HEAVY system. By comparison, the weight of
>> > the
>> > patreon model is mostly self-contained and responsibility is placed
>> > on
>> > the individual developer.
>> >
>> > This also goes so far as the weight and costs in regards to the
>> > conservancy. The conservancy's responsiveness makes me very scared,
>> > since they'd be the ones paying people real money for real rent.
>> > This
>> > has all sorts of issues and the conservancy may not even be able to
>> > pay
>> > some developers in some countries.
>> >
>> > I'm not saying the conservancy couldn't pull it out. But they're a
>> > small team without the same level of automation of the patreon
>> > system.
>> >
>> > >
>> > > One important distinction from GSoC is that jobs don't need to be
>> > > fixed sized to fit 3-month summer schedules.  This system should
>> > > work
>> > > for quick turn-around 1-2 week projects, up to multi-month or
>> > > even
>> > > year-long efforts.  Whatever we need.  It also doesn't have to be
>> > > feature work, but could target bug fixing, website work,
>> > > documentation.  Whatever we need.
>> > One of the advantages of having a more fluid system, is that a
>> > developer could focus on bug triage, or making icons, or any number
>> > of
>> > smaller tasks and could report on it to their patreons. The project
>> > model is focused on larger proejcts and we know we're retrofitting
>> > it
>> > to work for smaller items.
>> >
>> > >
>> > > This system is set up to make payments after completion, rather
>> > > than
>> > > reliably regular monthly payments, and I know that will be an
>> > > issue
>> > > for
>> > > people needing predictable income for covering monthly rent and
>> > > so
>> > > on.
>> > > One way we can hack around that is instead of defining one big 3-
>> > > month
>> > > job, to break it up into three 1-month (160 hr, $2000+) jobs
>> > > assigned
>> > > to them
>> > > that they perform sequentially.  This will require more reviewer
>> > > involvement, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
>> > >
>> > >
>> > > For all of this to work, though, I would need to recruit a number
>> > > of
>> > > you
>> > > to help out in various roles.  I don't think these roles will be
>> > > time
>> > > consuming, but you'd need to commit to being available regularly
>> > > as
>> > > stuff comes up.
>> > >
>> > > How does this plan sound in concept?
>> > So, the parts that are missing is the types of donators to both
>> > types
>> > of funding models. Patreon donators are more likely to be small,
>> > individual users. $1, $5 amounts and the 5% cut goes to patreon
>> > when
>> > the money is withdrawn.
>> >
>> > The project funding however can come from donors who give us $10k,
>> > or
>> > $100. If we promoted patreon, we'd probably see a reduction in
>> > smaller
>> > donations to the main fund, but we'd probably still get quite a
>> > lot.
>> > The conservancy will take 10% at donation time.
>> >
>> > The project model is still a good model, but it's a different
>> > model. We
>> > shouldn't kid ourselves that all the filtering, reviewing and deep
>> > personal attention means projects are what /developers/ want for
>> > the
>> > project. Which is not a bad thing at all. But part of the filtering
>> > is
>> > filtering out user direction.
>> >
>> > Having patreons doesn't mean we shouldn't have projects. It just
>> > means
>> > we have a more user directed, developers contracted by a mass of
>> > users,
>> > sort of method too.
>> >
>> > I support the promotion of both with the idea that our projects are
>> > run
>> > more like GSoC projects with known rewards with known reviews and
>> > the
>> > alternative fluid, more risky but less work patreon system which
>> > can
>> > run along side.
>> >
>> > Thoughts?
>> >
>> > Best Regards, Martin Owens
>
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Re: Funded development response (long)

Bryce Harrington-3
In reply to this post by C R
On Thu, Sep 07, 2017 at 08:37:30AM +0100, C R wrote:

> Just wanted to say, I don't think anyone was suggesting that Patreon
> is the optimal long-term solution for the project. It just seems like
> something that could get us by for now and address the needs of some
> of our current (long term) developers. Most of this you can blame me
> for, it was my idea to use Patreon in the short term while the project
> decides if it wants to support full-time developers. It was me who
> offered it as a solution for our contributing students who will need
> to enter the job market soon, and could be working on Inkscape
> full-time instead of searching for a job (or two) to make ends meet.
> It's something we discussed at length at the hackfest.

Aha, thank you CR very much for the explanation.  Indeed, it was my
misinterpretation that the objective was a long-term solution, not
merely as a short-term workaround.  So I evidently missed a chunk of
context.  If I'd been there, I could have helped steer that discussion
to something implementable and avoid getting stuck in a dead end, and
I'm very sorry I didn't make it.  Martin is exactly right that syncing
ourselves up would be far easier in face to face communication.

What's great is that we all share the same ultimate goal here - making
the Inkscape software as good as it can be.  And, secondarily, those of
us following these discussion threads also recognize the immense value
that donors can and are bringing to our project, and share the same
interest in using their contributions to solve problems that face our
software, community, and developers.

I mentioned earlier, that this is a topic I've been passionate about for
quite some time.  So seeing ideas being proposed is wonderful, and it's
enthusiastic to see others getting interested and finding passion in
this space.  We may find ourselves starting on different pages, but at
least we're in the same book!

As they say, you have to crawl before you walk, and walk before you run.
Unfortunately, we're very far from being able to manage a payroll, both
financially and managerially.  Personally I think from a management
standpoint we're at a point we might be able to handle some limited
contract work (on the scale of GSoC, maybe with a few tweaks and
enhancements), but if we do, we need to tie it very tightly to donors
and their desires so we don't disappoint them, but instead strengthen
their interest in continuing their support of us.  Financially, our
income is healthy but irregular; I don't feel it is steady enough to
depend on longer term, and think we need to do a lot more to strengthen
it before we can think of it that way.

So if you raised some expectations with students wishing for reliable
employment opportunities, it's a bit of a shame - that's something that
would be great if we could do, but honestly it's far beyond our
abilities to commit to right now.  I would hate to put them in a
position of dependency on us, when there's a large risk we'd let them
down.

If we did have the means to start paying for full-time work, it's not at
all clear that we'd want to fund entry-level workers.  Inkscape might
benefit more from hiring for experience.  It might even make sense not
to hire a core developer, but someone to work on non-core areas that
need desperately but fail to find any volunteers.

Anyway, again, thank you C R for identifying where this got offtrack,
and explaining the larger context.  I'm glad we're all of similar mind
on the main goals, we just need to work harder to get on the same page.

I will have to humbly admit here, that while I have done a fair amount
of thinking in this area, I've been horribly untransparent at sharing my
personal findings and conclusions.  I'm sure that has only served to
further disconnect our collective understanding, and I'm very sorry
about that.  Having only me convinced of something doesn't help us as a
group, and ultimately it's all of us that matter, not me.

Bryce

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Re: Funded development response (long)

C R
> If I'd been there, I could have helped steer that discussion
> to something implementable and avoid getting stuck in a dead end, and
> I'm very sorry I didn't make it.  Martin is exactly right that syncing
> ourselves up would be far easier in face to face communication.

It would be great to talk in person. I do hope you can make it to the
next one! :)

> What's great is that we all share the same ultimate goal here - making
> the Inkscape software as good as it can be.  And, secondarily, those of
> us following these discussion threads also recognize the immense value
> that donors can and are bringing to our project, and share the same
> interest in using their contributions to solve problems that face our
> software, community, and developers.

Definitely. :)

> We may find ourselves starting on different pages, but at
> least we're in the same book!

Agree! It's great and motivating to share the success of this
wonderful project, and work to make it better.

> As they say, you have to crawl before you walk, and walk before you run.

Yes. This is why the short term solutions were being considered - we
didn't want to rush anything.

> Unfortunately, we're very far from being able to manage a payroll, both
> financially and managerially.

Absolutely. This is in fact the entire reason Patreon came up - it has
proven to be an effective tool for various developers in other FLOSS
projects to make a living writing code for projects that are
understaffed, and/or have yet to take the first steps to supporting
part-time/fulltime work.

> Personally I think from a management
> standpoint we're at a point we might be able to handle some limited
> contract work (on the scale of GSoC, maybe with a few tweaks and
> enhancements), but if we do, we need to tie it very tightly to donors
> and their desires so we don't disappoint them, but instead strengthen
> their interest in continuing their support of us.

I agree, however I don't think Patreon will cannibalize current
inkscape funds. It just gives people a more direct way to fund parts
of the program they wish to see accelerated development on. A good
example is øyvind kolås (pippin) of the GIMP project who is now able
to work full-time developing GEGL which is what GIMP now uses for it's
pixel-processing core. This has not affected GIMP's project funds. So
I don't believe it's one or the other.

> Financially, our
> income is healthy but irregular; I don't feel it is steady enough to
> depend on longer term, and think we need to do a lot more to strengthen
> it before we can think of it that way.

I think that's right on the money, if you'll pardon the pun. :)

> So if you raised some expectations with students wishing for reliable
> employment opportunities, it's a bit of a shame - that's something that
> would be great if we could do, but honestly it's far beyond our
> abilities to commit to right now.

Agreed, but it was far from a promise. All I said was that Patreon has
worked for others in the FLOSS development world (as well as countless
other fields where independent content creators work), and it could
work as a short term measure. That's far from a guarantee. It's highly
dependant on their own presentation and follow through, which was the
point - it has accountability built into the payment model. Patrons
can withdraw funding (it's a monthly donation system) if they aren't
seeing any progress.

> I would hate to put them in a
> position of dependency on us, when there's a large risk we'd let them
> down.

Precisely why I've suggested Patreon. It's a way for independents to
self-fund - it's not really different than raising your own hackfest
travel money, for example. :)

> If we did have the means to start paying for full-time work, it's not at
> all clear that we'd want to fund entry-level workers.  Inkscape might
> benefit more from hiring for experience.

Yes, this Patreon suggestion was made to two of our long time
developers. This is why I said to blame me if you're upset about it. I
don't think anyone was expecting resistance to the idea, since A: The
project has never discouraged self-funding, which leaves Inkscape
funds free to pay for essential items like hackfests, swag, etc. and
B: It's something that's worked for others in the FLOSS community
without any negative side effects.

> It might even make sense not
> to hire a core developer, but someone to work on non-core areas that
> need desperately but fail to find any volunteers.

Sure. We have discussed a lot of funding options. I'd love to try a
kickstarter to raise funds for things that have been needing fixing
for years. We can also try to attract more volunteers to fix bugs. Now
that we have the beginnings of the Vectors team, there's lots we can
start to do. Just give us a direction you want to go. :)

> Anyway, again, thank you C R for identifying where this got offtrack,
> and explaining the larger context.  I'm glad we're all of similar mind
> on the main goals, we just need to work harder to get on the same page.

I think a lot of it probably boils down to trying things and seeing
what will work, what can be done realistically with what we have,
while planning and taking a direction together towards perhaps a
better long-term solution. It's a pleasure to start this new path with
you, Martin, and the rest of the Inkscape team. Exciting times to be
sure. :)

> I will have to humbly admit here, that while I have done a fair amount
> of thinking in this area, I've been horribly untransparent at sharing my
> personal findings and conclusions.  I'm sure that has only served to
> further disconnect our collective understanding, and I'm very sorry
> about that.  Having only me convinced of something doesn't help us as a
> group, and ultimately it's all of us that matter, not me.

I see the bright flame of passion in everyone's replies. Everyone
always astounds me with how very many brilliant minds we have in this
and other FLOSS projects. Martin does an excellent job of getting
things in motion, taking ideas and running with them, supporting them
with code and functionality for the website. With his passion for
problem solving, I can see how it may have looked like the *only*
solution for Inkscape developer funding. But we are always considering
alternatives. Thanks for taking time to share some possibilities, and
an assessment of our current situation- it's directly in line with
what was discussed at the hackfest, and what lead us to consider
Patreon as a stop-gap to funding for a few of our current devs, and as
a possible means of attracting outside long-term help. It may not work
at all, but I think none of us has a crystal ball.

We're just trying stuff. :)

At your service, always.
-C


> Bryce

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