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Re: Please draft a policy for planet.debian.org

On to, 2010-11-11 at 14:01 +0200, Tshepang Lekhonkhobe wrote:
> -1 for flattr; it's a great way to contribute a few cents; and these
> people are great contributors to Debian anyways, so why don't they get
> rewarded?
> while on that topic, maybe each package on package.qa.d.o should have
> a flattr button ;-)

I see the smiley, but I object anyway: please let's not start promoting
non-free services on debian.org.

There's a bigger problem lurking in the background, though. We could
replace Flattr with a (hypothetical) free service, but we would still
have money involved. Money is a powerful motivator. It is not the only
thing that motivates people, but it is powerful enough that it can
easily warp decision making.

If micropayments take off, and the amounts of money grow to become
significant, then it's likely that people will work to increase the
amount of money they get. If they have to choose between the technically
correct option and the money-making one, there is a conflict. Right now
that conflict is missing, and the quality of Debian is high because of

Also, micropayments like Flattr are most likely to go to popular,
high-visibility things. Debian mostly consists of the long tail: most
packages have fairly few users, but Debian as a whole is stronger for
having such a wide variety of packages. If people have to choose between
money and working on an unpopular package, there is again a conflict.

There's more source conflict: if there's a micropayment button on
packages.debian.org, how will the money be divided between members of a
packaging team? People who do NMUs? Should people who report
particularly useful bugs be rewarded, too? What about people who
maintain the Debian infrastructure?

There may be a way to collect money via Debian and not have conflicts.
But on the whole I would prefer for us to not experiment and avoid this

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