New option for funding Drupal contributors: Gittip

OK, so it's not really "new." It's a little over a year old, but the Drupal community on Gittip just recently got over 150 people which is the threshold where Gittip starts displaying members of the community.

So, congratulations to the Drupal Community! (and to Gittip).

Why is Gittip a useful tool for the Drupal community?

I think a lot of people want to give a little support (via money) to the people who work on Drupal but there is a lot of friction in the way of giving money. Does the person use Paypal? What is their PayPal email? What if you only want to give someone $10? The friction of that whole transaction far outweighs the $10 gift.

There's also a mismatch in the action: most payment systems like a check or PayPal are used one-time (again, because of the friction) but the benefit from a contribution and the desire to pay back that benefit live on for as long as you have a Drupal site. A lot of these topics are discussed in an old Lullabot Podcast where they point out that if every active user of Views gave Earl a few dollars for their use of he'd have a bit over $2 million.

My perspective is that it hasn't been easy enough for people to give that money and the friction is holding them back. Gittip solves a lot of these friction problems and the timing problem by making it easy to do small recurring payments to anyone on github or twitter.

One example that Dries requested: let's help AlexPott extend his "unemployment" and let him focus his genius on Drupal 8 core development!

What does the evolution of our use of Gittip look like?

Among the people who have joined the Drupal community on Gittip:

  • There are 24 people who are giving tips and there are 60 people receiving tips.
  • Of the givers, only 2 are clearly a company (MaxCDN and CARD.com)
  • Of the givers, 4 are anonymous (including a relatively generous giver at $15/week)

My predictions for the next weeks and months:

  • The amounts - of givers, amounts given, receivers and amounts received - will all go up and up and up
  • We'll see more and more links to Gittip profiles in people's signatures on drupal.org and their profile pages - currently there are zero users with a signature that contains a gittip and 10(!) people have it in their user profiles.
  • We'll see it on project pages too, currently the only nodes that have it are FillPDF, CDN and this issue by wim leers.
  • The givers will start to include more and more companies (especially near the top) as Companies realize and get approval for this great idea. Perhaps companies will take a move like Khan Academy and let their employees pick how to distribute some money. Acquia? Lullabot? Phase2? WunderKraut? CapGemini? etc. Get to it, friends. Are you really going to let CARD.com best you with $11/week?

Looking at the dollar amounts on the site you might say that there's nothing life-changing about this. Ashe Dryden gets the most tips in the Drupal community and her take - currently $268 per month - is not nearly enough to sustain her life. On the other hand, PatrickD, the contributor behind SimplyTest.me and PAReview.sh has said that earning $200 per week on gittip would be enough (in addition to his current ad revenue) to let him work on those sites full time.

If you use those services or appreciate his work, consider tipping him a small amount each week. Patrick is currently at $32.25 so it's totally conceivable that he would get to $200.

You like this idea and are signed up...now what?

Well, find some people to give money to, of course. And add a link to your gittip profile to your d.o profile to encourage people to give you money.

What if I want to give money but can't find the person

If you know their profile on github or twitter then you can find them that way. For example, Rasmus Lerdorf is on twitter as @rasmus so his gittip profile is https://www.gittip.com/on/twitter/rasmus/ - there are currently 4 people who will give him money if he just creates a profile on gittip.

While you're at it...join PHP and support Gittip itself

As people have been chanting in recent years, Drupal is not an island and we should embrace the fact that we're part of a bigger community. There are Gittip communities for Javascript, jQuery, PHP etc. Explore those communities, join them and consider giving to people doing work there. I'd love to be able to support people who are working to improve the PHP language itself (if you are someone like that, leave a comment and I'll tip you!).

And, interestingly enough, Gittip is an open company that is funded via Gittip (recursive...woah). Read more about this system in a blog post by Chad: Building Gittip.

And thanks to others who promoted the Drupal community on Gittip

I love how our community can identify a useful system and adopt it quickly! The drop is always moving.

Comments

What about clients sending $0.25/week to every module they use?

Thanks for writing the blog post I wanted to write :) I'll probably still write one though, if only to spread the word further!

It is my hope too, that companies will provide X dollars per developer, that the developer may assign freely.

However, I think a potentially even bigger impact would be if Drupal companies that build Drupal sites for clients can convince their (bigger) clients to send $0.25/week to (the lead maintainer of) every module they use. That's just $1/month or $12/year for every module. Peanuts for big clients. But it can really make a difference if this happens hundreds of times.
Do you think this is realistic? Do you have ideas how to make it happen?

Seems like a great idea to

greggles's picture

Seems like a great idea to me. I'm in favor of it.

In terms of how to get people to do it...not sure ;) Making it easier (e.g. by getting module maintainers to add the link to their profile and/or project page) will help. Then, proposing that people do it seems like a good idea but I'm not sure how to get it followed consistently.

Maybe mail the consultants@ email list?

so easy, thanks!

I just heard of this through your blog post. Thanks for writing about it. It's so easy to use, and the small amounts are easier to handle financially.

Hopefully others will join in! Looks like the numbers have increased since you wrote about it!

It's great to give back to the maintainers who write the software that keeps a roof over my head. With that said, I should be giving to a few others. Going back to Gittip. Thanks!

Horn feature on Gittip

Nice article with great insight. You haven't mention anything about 'Horn' feature on gittip https://www.gittip.com/username/horn. This is an other way to share the words and it will help novice giver to share the money. We have some great great core and contrib developers/mentors but we don't have a platform where we can say thank you to them for there efforts. "My mentors" field on d.o user profile is one way to do it but I think saying some kind words about a person who helped you in anyway related to Drupal will not heart anybody.
So start horning. :)

Similar

Sounds like flattr.net. Only that's per month.

Time will tell wich is the better one. Did anyone do a good comparison already?

Flattr vs. Gittip

greggles's picture

There are a few things I prefer about Gittip.

First, flattr takes a flat percent of each transaction. Gittip's funding comes from users choosing to tip the Gittip team which is optional. I prefer to be in control of the percent of money that goes to the platform.

Second, I think the community and individual focus of Gittip make more sense. On Gittip, communities are a way to find other individuals. If a community wants to be paid as a team there's a really neat option to do that but it's optional. I think that matches the Drupal community really well. I can maybe imagine one or two sub-projects (like a distribution) might want to manage themselves as a Gittip team, but for the most part it's individual donors giving to individual recipients and...Gittip's community lets us find each other.

I don't know if it matters

I wrote this blog post featuring Flattr back in June.

Ultimately though I don't think it matters if folks use Gittip or Flattr. What I think matters is that we make it easier for folks to give to those who are contributing.

We all use modules that are being maintained by someone as a side project that are essentially critical for our work. We need to find some way to make this more sustainable as a community.

With Flattr (and I'm sure with Gittip) it should be possible to link in directly with either so that it is simple to financially thank someone who has written good documentation, maintained a useful module or simply helped out with a problem that we talked about in the issue queue or forum on Drupal.org.

As a community we could pick one and encourage both active developers and regular users to find ways to give in a different way to support the work that so many are benefiting from.

I agree with your comment

greggles's picture

I agree with your comment that the platform matters less than the act of giving! Speaking of that, this issue to get gittip profiles on d.o would be super helpful.

I think a big difference between the two options is obvious: on Flattr you are mgifford alone, an island. On Gittip you are a member of Drupal and Accessibility communities. Someone who Flattrs you isn't going to then find other Drupallers to Flattr (at least not without a lot of work). But if someone tips you on Gittip it's natural to see other people in your communities and tip them.

Between that and the extra fees that Flattr takes, I have a real preference for Gittip :)

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