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

Mike Linksvayer ml at gondwanaland.com
Sun Dec 9 23:18:44 UTC 2012

On Sat, Dec 8, 2012 at 1:27 PM, Aaron Wolf <wolftune at gmail.com> wrote:
> Thanks for the thoughts, Mike!
> We have written much more specific rules than I've stated here, but the
> finalized policies are yet to be completed (and we're recruiting a steering
> committee to be involved in that). I'll send you an invitation to look at
> the system in progress. We're working toward opening everything up and just
> want to be clear and have more things set before opening publicly.
> Your impression of our proposals is pretty close already. We have a
> particular formula and some other details in the full proposal.

I see...

> As to Free/Libre/Open, we are being absolute. We want to require projects to
> meet all the requirements of things like the Open Definition, and on top of
> that to accept the upcoming Defensive Patent License and more. We do not
> want to permit ANY NC or ND content! We already list on our proposal all
> these requirements, and I fully evaluated the different terms like the Open
> Definition. I am also VERY happy to hear you speak up against NC acceptance.
> I have been worried about reaching out to the CC community about wasting
> time engaging with that issue. At this point, I want to have discussions
> with people who are sympathetic to true Free/Open (i.e. no ND NC
> restrictions).


> As to Snowdrift itself, yes we intend to run as a cooperative. The .coop
> domain is regulated like .gov and .edu. We MUST run as a cooperative simply
> to have the domain. We also will license everything with AGPL and CC-BY-SA.

A triviality, and presumably a true assertion, but "(c)" in the
current footer is a bit off-putting. when found on free/open-esque
sites is often a signal that publisher doesn't really get free/open.

> Here's the weird thing: I'm worried (perhaps unjustly, please convince me to
> drop my worry if you think I should) about opening to the complete public
> too early. The irony is: I want to be open and sharing, but I also want some
> very strong restrictions, namely restrictions to be Free/Open! My concern is
> that if someone likes our funding ideas but doesn't care about Free/Open,
> they could set up a rival site (or existing systems with lots of clout could
> implement an option to function like us) but without the Free/Open
> requirement! This would diminish our unique qualities. I think we need a
> strong head-start to have a fully functioning system including our
> requirements before anyone has the option of forking our system or ideas.
> Ideally, I want to share as openly as possible with everyone who is
> sympathetic to Free/Open stuff and block access of those who are anti-Open
> or otherwise apathetic about freedom.

Your fears of copying are unwarranted. Nobody will care, let alone
copy, unless/until your scheme shows some success. Anyone looking to
do something new in "crowdfunding" and who looks for previous ideas,
or just thinks about it a bit, will come up with lots of
potentially-interesting-but-untested schemes.

> For now, we implemented a privacy system. But we're going to release the
> code on GitHub next week. And we'll open up things more and more. All the
> discussion here is helping me improve our clarity, and once we have a larger
> team on the project, I'll feel more comfortable going fully public. I just
> want a strong momentum. I hope that's understandable. I'm not dogmatic, and
> I'm open to being convinced that my fears are unwarranted.

Wanting to go out with strong momentum, on the other hand, ought be a
concern. If you got lots of publicity right now, it would net nothing,
as nearly all who saw would write off as confusing and unrealistic.
But I think there's hope, or hopefully I wouldn't bother writing this

Speaking of another kind of dogmatism, I'd encourage you to at least
mirror your repository on gitorious, which is an open service, unlike
github. See http://mako.cc/writing/hill-free_tools.html for an
argument, and https://lists.fedorahosted.org/pipermail/copyleft-next/2012-November/thread.html#278
continuing to https://lists.fedorahosted.org/pipermail/copyleft-next/2012-December/thread.html
for examples of arguments people WILL make to you, given that you are
targeting those who are not apathetic about freedom. :)


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