I will if y’all will

My favorite Linux web audio show is LUG Radio, and on the most recent episode the presenters reprised the idea that open source software users might (not must) reward development of some projects by funding software developers. So that some few people might not be stuck as suckers providing a public good, the presenters mentioned a couple of web sites that had a mechanism that allowed a group of people to fund a project provided enough funders put up the cash. If the appeal was incomplete within a predefined time window, everyone who contribted got their money back.

“What a great idea,” I thought. And what a remedy for the “sucker factor” — the flip side of which is known as the “free rider effect.” (Which also explains why anti-military tax boycotts are unfair. Principled, perhaps, but unfair.)

I’m not a libertarian, but I have wondered why I’m asked to fund projects — back to the UUA now — that could be self-funding but for which no mandate or future support has been cultivated.

The sites mentioned above are Fundable.org and (for cultivating shared common action) Pledgebank.org.

Or you can just read this article at Wikipedia.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

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