[okfn-discuss] New crowdfunding system in the works exclusively for Free/Libre/Open resources

Aaron Wolf wolftune at gmail.com
Sat Dec 8 19:16:29 UTC 2012

I appreciate the concern, but I think it is only partly right.
You are completely right, the amount someone puts in their account is still
their money until it is donated.
But you would not be annoyed if lots of it gets donated! Your goal is to
support the projects. You know that it ONLY gets donated because lots of
other people donated and thus the project will really be successful! Yay!
That's exciting! Not annoying at all, it's specifically what you're hoping

The goal with phone service is to spend as little as possible. The goal
with funding Open projects is also to spend as little as possible but also
to have the project get as much as possible. In contrast, you don't have
interest in the phone company getting more money the same way. So with the
Open project, you want everyone else to donate huge amounts so you don't
have to, but that's the dilemma. So you accept paying more because you know
it is the way to get others to pay more too.

I can make it concrete.
Current funding system: Please contribute some random amount of money, hope
that others chip in. You and everyone else can be careful to put in just
the amount you think you want, so everyone puts in just enough to feel they
did their part or maybe feels doubtful about the project and unsure and
puts in less or none.

Snowdrift.coop: Would you pay $100 to have the rest of the community chip
in $millions to the projects you support? I sure would!

I'd rather pay $ to make everyone else donate than to just donate
unilaterally. With Snowdrift, there's no risk. Either you don't actually
pay much, or you pay because everyone is paying.

Anyway, you'll be able to change or remove your pledge at any point, up to
the point where the monthly payments get calculated. Yes, I know everyone
might like to pull back and not put in much themselves, but that's the
dilemma. Everyone should only donate if everyone else donates, and we just
have to accept that. You can pull your pledge, but then everyone else will
pay less. That's the deal. And that's sort of how reality has to work
anyway, we're just making it explicit and reliable.

All that said, I'm looking to change the mindset. This is a long-term goal
to actually change the way people see their own relation to projects, to
the community, and to their decisions as donors. Your decision is much more
inextricably tied to the whole network of our civilization. You have
voluntary control, but you're part of a larger system. That's how the world
works. Our consumer economic mindset hides this too much.

Anyway, as you can see, we have work to do on selling this idea, so I hope
to convince people to help us work that out.


Aaron Wolf

On Sat, Dec 8, 2012 at 11:11 AM, Thomas Kluyver
<thomas.kluyver at cantab.net>wrote:

> On 8 December 2012 15:03, Aaron Wolf <wolftune at gmail.com> wrote:
>> There's nothing to be scared about. Donors choose to put money into the
>> system overall. The system won't have unlimited access to your bank account
>> or credit cards. If you don't put enough money in to meet the increased
>> pledge amount, then your pledge will be marked "unfunded" and that also
>> means it will reduce everyone else's pledge. You will be failing to uphold
>> your pledge, but you won't be paying more than you can.
> I suspect that people see the balance they have in a system like this as
> their money, so they'll still be aggrieved if it suddenly gets sucked up by
> a project getting a big surge in pledgers. By analogy, I have pay-as-you-go
> phone service. I can control the amount I top up, but I would still be
> annoyed if I made a 2-minute call and found it my balance £5 lower.
> Thomas
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