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.
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
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.