On 10/19/2016 11:41 AM, Rosario Suarez wrote:
> Do you guys have any serious, practical, defined, concrete, real plan to 
> bring Snowdrift up to a working state anytime soon? Because I've been 
> following this project for years, and all I see is talk and talk and nothing 
> ever happens. You've already spent probably more than 10 grands as well (I 
> even donated to your campaign!), and all we have now is just a mailing list, 
> and a white-page website with a bunch of comics on it. And now I've found 
> this comment https://freepo.st/post/c59i7bf0ha#comment-r5loimcuf9 "we're 
> struggling to get launched still", that needless to say made me very angry. 
> Does it mean that you won't be ready for another 5 years? Is there any hope 
> you'll have something by the end of this year? Because let's be honest, 
> you're not working on Snowdrift as you'd work on a project that you want to 
> succeed; you're working on it as a spare time hobby.
> I'm mad because I really think Snowdrift is a cool project, and *you* are 
> cool people who care about free software. I want to use and support Snowdrift 
> just because there isn't anybody else out there that cares about freedom of 
> software and art works. And this is clear from your page 
> https://snowdrift.coop/p/snowdrift/w/en/othercrowdfunding hundreds of 
> websites, all of them suck because they either don't take freedom into 
> consideration, or have ridiculous fees (they are not non-profits), or both. 
> But goddamn, you guys don't know how to manage a project! Instead of hiring 
> developers, you should hire a project manager who doesn't take bad decisions 
> and who knows how to get this project going. You could already get hundreds 
> of free developers if only you chose a language other than Haskell.
> Besides, if you don't know how to get this "snowdrift" idea going, just quit 
> this bullshit and start with something simpler, for example classic, 
> traditional donations and work your way to the "snowdrift" on a later time. 
> Let's be real guys, sooner or later you will eventually have to implement 
> other donation types (other than your "snowdrift" idea), just because people 
> donate in many different ways (for example one time, or maybe once a year on 
> christmas). So, if you can't get snowdrift going, just start with something 
> simpler and build on that. You should realize that I don't care about your 
> project because the "Snowdrift" is any revolutionary idea; I just care about 
> it because it's free, because I know the people working on it understand what 
> freedom is, and because there is nobody else doing the same thing. And I feel 
> most people feel the same.
> Please stop the talking, the postponements, stop telling people what you want 
> to do and just do it ffs. Start with something simple, do a prototype, get 
> feedback, stop wasting time. If you don't, your project will be a huge waste 
> and you'll be dead as soon as some other person who cares about freedom 
> decides to start a similar donation platform. And let me tell you, when that 
> happens people won't give a glorious damn of your revolutionary snowdrift 
> idea, they will just care of a free platform that works (and if the 
> "snowdrift idea" turns out to be any useful, the cost of adding that for them 
> would be minimal compared to your cost of fixing a broken platform).
> Peace \o/

Thank you for the note, Rosario! You *might* be surprised at how rarely
we get this sort of message. I mean, *I* think that Snowdrift.coop is
extremely important and have taken it very seriously. It's been quite
frustrating to talk with so many people who both recognize the potential
*and* have the skills, resources, connections, to help us make it a
reality and then have the vast majority never make the leap into truly
helping it get there. Most don't even take the time to send us a note
like this or otherwise.

Now, having said that, a far greater portion of those folks would be up
for helping if we had the whole plan so clearly structured and easy to
approach that everyone knew just what to do and had just the right
guidance to get into participating. Still, people come and go. And the
work needed to figure out how to make a truly welcoming, effective,
productive community is itself massive.

I've been wanting to get around to writing a post about the challenges
we've been facing, the struggles, mistakes, learning experiences, and
most of all: expressing to everyone why this project is actually as or
more ambitious than almost any out there. All along, part of me knew
this was extremely challenging, but I'd hesitate to have pushed it
forward if it seemed hopeless. I got by trying to believe the most
optimistic folks.

Now, a summary:

Snowdrift.coop was started by two people: one with perspective on the
mission, values, scope, and community-building; and one with technical
expertise. It turns out that the technical expert was too optimistic in
what was doable by himself or what was approachable to others. He
(David) even encouraged me (Aaron) to start learning Haskell. Now, doing
that did bring me huge perspective since I really had no clue what was
going on technically with things, but the idea that I could get to where
I'm really more than a novice and able to work on the tech side is

In the end, we aimed to follow our ideals, relying on only FLO software
ourselves etc. We had challenges like Gitorious shutting down, Persona
shutting down, examples of the challenges in funding public goods. We
had to redo parts of our infrastructure. And, in the end, our efforts to
do community building with integrated tools stretched us far too thin.

It was only last year that, after enough complaining about the
challenges, I got people to explain that CRM as in CiviCRM was the tool
I had been looking for in just keeping track of supporters and
volunteers. Then, we set that up, got started, only to find out that the
set up was wrong initially and had to be redone. That sort of delay and
moving all our planning to Taiga.io and moving communications to mailing
list was all unfortunate distractions. Should we have just used GitHub
and Google Groups all along? Maybe. That would be the easy way but would
violate our ideals. Of course, ideals are worthless if you can't launch.

At any rate, being in the trenches the whole time, I can go on and on
about the various issues. Suffice to say, it's always easier to see
things with hindsight, but anyone who knows all the details will see why
this has been so hard. Of course there are talented programmers, project
managers, lawyers, etc. who would already know answers to how to better
manage some of our challenges but only a small handful of us have
actually dedicated real time to this (and at massive personal cost of
course, we're the few people shoveling the snow while everyone else sits
on the sidelines and wonders when we'll be done).

All that said (and lots more to say but not enough time), we have been
focused lately on ignoring all the outstanding issues around the broad
project and instead getting a finally-working real-money, real-world
system at least launched and going from there. At this point, we have a
realistic (but not guaranteed) intention to launch a working system
within the next few WEEKS!

Anyway, regarding the current live site, a bunch of it was stripped down
in order to focus on the launch, and then the new updated site that's
been under development for a few months has still never been deployed,
although it will be soon. To express a personal frustration publicly
here: I have been anxious about the state of the site not clearly
showing progress, not linking to new things, not connecting adequately
with the very volunteers and community folks who can help make this
successful. Our current lead developer who has been doing great work and
our design folks and others have been focusing on their work and
allowing the current site to stagnate. I am certain there are lots of
people with your same thoughts, and you're the only one who bothered to
write in.

In the end, disregarding all sorts of real issues, making this happen
has been a massive snowdrift clearing project, and at any particular
time there's only ever been a handful of people working hard, sometimes
burning out, trying to make progress, while everyone else sits on the
sides just waiting and complaining or, in some cases, clearing other
snowdrifts. And none of us want to just blame the others as lousy
selfish freeriders. We understand the dilemma, after all. But it stinks
still because we *would* have had this done already if everyone who
wants it done were actually helping. The whole point of this is that if
I convince you, Rosario, to really come help, it *will* make a
difference as far as that goes, but it won't change everything — you're
one person and not all the others who we also need. You'd just switch to
being in the small group self-sacrificing to try to clear the path for

If you have concrete questions (including about rewards from the
campaign or about the technical side of things or about the legal issues
or the costs or the current state of project management, etc), it's all
welcome. And if you want to just continue sending messages with "c'mon
guys! Get this done!!" that's *all* welcome.

Tired and distracted and not taking time to edit but still here working,

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