Thank you for caring enough to write in. I volunteered a bunch of time
(mostly this past spring) doing project management and design; I'm
currently slightly out of the loop (the semester is in full swing).
That is to say, Aaron is much closer to the project than I am. I just
want to give info/my thoughts on a few specific things:
On Wed, Oct 19, 2016 at 2:41 PM, Rosario Suarez
You've already spent probably more than 10 grands as well (I even
donated to your campaign!),
You can see our full accounting here:
You're working on [Snowdrift] as a spare time hobby.
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.
But goddamn, you guys don't know how to manage a project! [...] You
could already get hundreds of free developers if only you chose a
language other than Haskell.
Patreon was conceived slightly after Snowdrift.coop. We'd probably have
launched before them if we'd also received $1m in venture capital. But
then we'd also be beholden to an investor whose bottom line might not
be freedom. One reason launching has taken so long is that we've only
made one technical compromise to our ethics (using Stripe's proprietary
js, which is limited to a single page).
Snowdrift is more than a spare time hobby, but volunteers have full
time jobs; the only time they can spend is their spare time. Those who
work or have worked full time are making tremendous sacrifices to do
so. Aaron decided not to pursue a PhD. The $2500 I spent on rent and
food last spring came out of my own savings account, not any income I
earned at the time. David alone has donated over $40k.
That level of funding doesn't go that far. The ~$25k/year that Bryan
has received is *far* below the going rate for development work. Was
picking Haskell a choice that delayed our launch? Definitely. Did we
suffer from the sunk cost fallacy with regards to starting over in
another language? Probably. Given how close we are to launching now,
though, that would only delay us further.
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.
We already accept traditional donations; if they truly worked, we'd
have gotten enough money to launch a long time ago. Although, if
traditional donations worked in the first place, funding public goods
wouldn't be a problem and Snowdrift wouldn't need to exist.
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.
I can't speak for others, but I care about the project for the same
reason you do... but I give my time to it only because I think it may
succeed at funding public goods at a scale where many, many projects
before it have failed.
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).
There's two things going on here.
First off, there's actually a limited window for projects to launch.
Hype tends to die off after around 2 years, and if it takes that long
to get from our initial launch to a full, public launch, we've lost a
lot of momentum needed to get people interested. That's really
important to a platform that needs a large base of patrons to succeed.
Second, none of us are in this for personal gain (although we will all
gain personally from more high quality free software). If someone who
understands freedom managed to provide adequate funding for free
software and other public goods, we'd probably all rejoice, nix the
snowdrift.coop project and lend our efforts to the project that has
If someone had the skills to make a crowdfunding platform work, the
ethics not to sacrifice freedom for profit, and the inclination to
spend enough time and effort to see that project launch, then why
haven't they come forward to help whip us into shape and actually get
So we come to this: a small group of people with little project
management expertise spending whatever time they can spare to try to
see this to completion. And -- while far more slowly than any of us
would like -- we're making progress! As Aaron said, we're planning on
launching really, really soon. The last tentative date I remember
hearing was a Nov 12th announcement with our first crowdmatched
donation happening on Dec 1. Although I'm totally out of the loop right
now, unexpected roadblocks always come up so I would not be surprised
if that got pushed back a few weeks, but I would be very surprised
(and, like you, disappointed) if our first crowdmatch happened any
later than Jan 1st.
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