[Dev] Working out a plan of action.

Nicolás A. Ortega deathsbreed at themusicinnoise.net
Fri Apr 7 09:58:16 GMT 2017

On Thu, Apr 06, 2017 at 10:47:02PM +0000, Luke wrote:
> I pretty much agree with aurelien in that centralized money in any
> project causes too many problems and frustrations in the long run.
> My idea is that any developer wishing to pursue that could run their own
> small business in a "federated" way.
> e.g. each developer has his/her own personal bank account and deals with
> their own state or national tax laws.
> In most countries, having a bitcoin wallet is allowed as well.
> Developers could then offer services such as real-time tech support,
> pre-installed computers, etc. or just accept donations to their own
> personal accounts.
> This could be mentioned on the Hackers page on our wiki or similar.
> As all of our infrastructure is already federated and donated by
> generous volunteers there is no longer a need to hoard money in a
> general fund.
> If someone would like to help pay for hardware, all that is needed is to
> give a donation to the specific developer in need.
> Another interesting option that we already have is LiberaPay, e.g. the
> entire project gets money in regular payment intervals that is stored by
> LiberaPay and then each person can get a regular percentage of the
> incoming funds. The idea seems pretty neat, but it still suffers from
> centralization and if it were to take off there could be a dispute over
> who gets what. It is why centralization sucks.
> Since several developers, including myself, have a day job - I don't
> have to depend on Parabola income to survive, and right now I'm not
> interested in receiving anything.
> However, I also realize that we have several full-time developers out of
> work that could use our assistance. It would also be nice if they could
> get fully compensated to attend events such as LibrePlanet or FISL.

It seems to me that the issue of payment of developers would not be
something unique to the Parabola project, but that many other projects
may have gone through something similar. It may be wise to ask in other
similar communities what they have done. If someone else has more
experience then why fail as many times as they have? I am unfamiliar
with which communities may have had to go through this, perhaps the
Trisquel community.

There is another issue as well, which is that the federated model that
you are proposing isn't exactly the most effective (namely being that
resources are not allocated efficiently). Let me elaborate:

First, people in our community tend to love decentralized models, heck,
even I love them. However decentralized models also have their
weaknesses and centralized their strengths. They are simply tools for
the right job, neither is a universal solution.

In this particular circumstance the decentralized model (at least what I
can understand from what you have said) would imply that donors and
those who purchase accessories and gear and whatnot, would be the ones
deciding what money goes where. This is a highly ineffective economic
model, as those who are purchasing typically do not spend based on what
is best in the long-run or for the community (or even which Parabola
hacker actually needs the income) but rather based on what they can
afford (I will be much more likely to buy a Parabola t-shirt than I
would a Parabola laptop) and what they want.

Personally I would suggest looking into cooperative business models, for
although Parabola is not a business (and I personally like it that way),
it is handling money and I'd say that handling it collectively and
distributing it effectively is quite important. I'd argue that the
mentality should be that of from each according to their ability, to
each according to their needs (each referring to a variety of factors,
not only the needs of the individual, but the need that the project has
for the work they do, the importance of it).

A nice reminder that "It doesn't matter whether the cat is white or
black, as long as it catches mice".

Nicolás A. Ortega (Deathsbreed)
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