Loomio

Make Diaspora a Member of the Free Software Support Network

MS maxwell salzberg Public Seen by 152

As Diaspora has grown into a healthy community run Free Software project in the last year, it is time to find a proper home, backed by a non-profit to help it continue to grow. While we can all agree that the community-driven infrastructure is great, there are still a number of things the project cannot directly do without an entity supporting it, such as raising funds.

The past 8 months, Sean and I have been working to find a good home for the assets of Diaspora. One that will support the project’s values, provide a nice structure for dealing with trademarks, copyright, money, and other assets that will ask both in the best interest of, but at the will of the project.

We looked around to our network, trying to find the right place, but one name was at the top of our list: Eben Moglen.

We are lucky that when we asked Professor Moglen for his help, he proposed what was the perfect solution for our community: Diaspora should join the Free Software Support network (http://freesoftwaresupport.org/), an organization that he heads up as a peer organization to the Software Freedom Law Center (http://www.softwarefreedom.org/). The Free Software Support Network operates as a non-profit holding organization for worthy Free Software projects. FSSN helps projects with the paperwork and clerical stuff that hackers generally don’t want to do, like taxes and dealing with banks ( I know you don’t want to do this because I have been dealing with it :)

FSSN gives Diaspora the following:

  1. A respected place to hold all of the assets of Diaspora; the trademarks, the code copyright, JoinDiaspora and our money. It is a transparent organization which acts in the interest of the project and the community. If we decide we want to spend money doing code bounties or give swag to our top contributors, FSSN will let us do what we need to do.

  2. Take tax-free donations. FSSN is a 401c3 charity. Every penny that is donated to FSSN in Diaspora’s name is dog eared for our project. This is huge in keeping the ‘back room’ of Diaspora clear, and means hackers can focus on being hackers without doing the annoying dirty stuff.

  3. A partner that shares our values. Enough said.

What it does not do:

1) Tell us how to run our community

2) Tell us how to write code

3) Change how we create Diaspora.

The only real requirement of the FSSN is that there is a governance structure in place. After a year of experience, it is my belief that we have a great organic structure to make things more codified.

Here’s the course of action we want to take:

1) Make Diaspora a Member of the FSSN

2) Transfer all Diaspora Inc Diaspora related assets to FSSN (Trademark, hosting, Social media accounts)

3) Assign all Diaspora code to the FSSN, and amend our contributor agreement to reflect this change.

To celebrate our first year as a community project, and fill the coffers of our project, and joining the FSSN we also want to run a Crowdhoster campaign for Diaspora(see a work in progress here: https://diaspora.crowdhoster.com/help-take-the-web-to-the-next-level-with-diaspora... will launch on Monday). This money will go directly to the Diaspora project via the FSSN, and we can figure out together the best way to help the project. Since Crowdfunding AND Free software are so essential to the core of what we do, Crowdhoster is a great choice. We will be going for the same goal of 10k, and even have some cool swag made up.

(EDIT: I clarified more what I meant here: https://www.loomio.org/discussions/6353#comment-46047)

(EDIT 2 more thoughts: https://www.loomio.org/discussions/6353#comment-46413)

G

goob Tue 20 Aug 2013 10:18PM

This sounds fantastic, and I think the FSSN and Eben Moglen would be a perfect fit for Diaspora - after all, it was his lecture which inspired you to create it! Thanks a lot to you and Sean for all your work on this, and I look forward to hearing more.

JH

Jonne Haß Tue 20 Aug 2013 10:21PM

The only thing that makes me sad is that again, despite talking about how well we organized and run the project, made all decisions affecting so many people, in private with only two or three people involved. Would've been so hard asking the community if it wants to host joindiaspora? Would it have been so hard to ask the community if it thinks it needs another crowdfunding campaign? Would it have been so hard to ask the community if it wants to be part of the FSSN? Would it have been so hard to at least inform the community about the strategy you set before all decisions have been made? Really, that hard?

I'm not saying that this are bad decisions, I'm saying the way you talk and the way you act is schizophrenic. I'm okay with joining the FSSN, I don't think another Crowdfunding campaign gives good PR. I don't want to maintain joindiaspora.com. That's all I say, that's all I'm going to say here. Don't expect another comment on this thread from me, not even to direct queries.

F

Flaburgan Tue 20 Aug 2013 10:36PM

Hi maxwell. It's really nice to see that we are finally going to have an official structure. I'm also okay with the FSSN.

I'm not sure we should do a crowd funding campaign right now. The first question is, what do we want to do with the money? It'll never be enough to hire people. So what?

G

goob Tue 20 Aug 2013 10:43PM

@jonnehass - I took this to be a proposal rather than a fait accompli. In any case, I think it's proper that Maxwell should be involved in the transfer of everything from the old Diaspora Inc. to a new structure, and these sorts of negotiations are generally very difficult to conduct in public. Now that a transfer is on the verge of being made (whether this post is a proposal for the community to discuss or a statement of already confirmed fact), the community can then decide what to do with that structure, I guess. It's the final step of putting control into the community's hands, by the sounds of it.

ST

Sean Tilley Tue 20 Aug 2013 10:56PM

Well, off the top of my head, money could be used for several things:

  1. Code Bounties for features (groups, XMPP chat, etc)
  2. Sponsored development (for example, if someone wanted to work for several months specifically on putting together a third-party API or improve federation or something)
  3. Project server infrastructure (Let's say we wanted to create a Public Search Engine for D*, just as an example)
  4. Cost of travel for representing D* at Conferences / Hackathons / Meetups.
  5. Donate to support other projects that exist in similar spaces as us. (MediaGoblin / Friendica / Tent / Loomio)

The other important thing to think about, it could in fact be good for PR. Many people outside of the Diaspora community haven't really heard about all of the progress we've made as a project, and so a little fund-raiser might be just the thing to say "Hey, we're still up and running, we want to grow the project out further."

Besides which, those are funds that the project would be able to use at any time in the future.

DS

Dennis Schubert Wed 21 Aug 2013 12:27AM

This party is not going to be a very nice one.

While creating a 401c3 compliant non-profit is a good thing, starting another crowdfunding project is not. Like @jonnehass, I'm not ready to maintain joindiaspora.com. Actually, I'm not even ready to promote joindiaspora.com in any way.

In fact, JD is the worst thing that could ever happen to this project. Referenced and linked by the media, it totally screwed up the decentralization we used to promote. Instead of encouraging techies to set up their own pod and non-techies to join a pod in their neighborhood, everyone linked to a (in the beginning closed-down) pod with utterly high federation lags and some horrible mistakes in case of privacy.

We all knew these things and talked about them. Instead of fixing them, everything stalled and took forever. I cannot remember how it took to get podupti.me linked on JDs front page. Too long. Way too long. And that's just one of those funny stories.

Do you really think we need another $10k? Do you remember the comments and articles about the $100k the project got? I'm sure you do. What do we need the money for? Most of the leading development gets done by two heroes @jonnehass and @florianstaudacher who are working in their spare time. They are not coding because they want to have money, they are coding because they actually like the project. We don't need private repos on GitHub as we should be doing open source, huh? We don't even have to pay the webserver running diasporafoundation.org because that's just a nice way to fill up some unused resources. We didn't even pay for the SSL certificate because there are some really nice guys out there. Yeah, "cool swag", I see.

As @seantilleycommunit said, we could use money to pay some awesome developers to work full-time on some projects. And we could use money to promote the project at various conferences. WE COULD. We don't even know yet! How can we start a crowdfunding campaign without telling people what we're going to do with that money? 30 days to raise $10k? Yeah, sure thing. We lost the epicness after the kickstarter campaign and this is not going to work out.

ST

Sean Tilley Wed 21 Aug 2013 2:24AM

@dennisschubert I think it's worth mentioning that none of us really have to deal with JoinDiaspora if nobody wants to deal with it. I'm sure that, as a community member himself, Maxwell probably wouldn't mind handling pod upkeep. I've discussed the idea of closing registrations on JD, with a proper message and link referring to poduptime and Installation guides for new prospective users of Diaspora. Maxwell's mentioned that he's willing to close off registrations so that users will disperse more evenly between pods, or even set up their own if they'd like.

I agree that making joindiaspora such a big focus was a misstep, but that is in the past. The reality is, no matter which way we look at it, joindiaspora is there, and until we get the proper capability for users to export / import into another pod, a majority of those users will stay on joindiaspora.

In regards to crowdfunding: I don't think it's so much that we desperately need money, so much that it would be very convenient for the project to have should a need to use funds ever arise. Is it premature to have in place right this second?

Maybe, and tbh I'd be totally fine with holding off on it if you and others are convinced that the time is not right. I'm open to taking our time with it, discussing specifically what we would do with such funds if we had them, and coming up with a better game plan. Really, in a lot of ways, I think the project is doing just fine without such a fundraiser right now. Look how far we've gotten already. I myself have about 3 years worth of posts there; I certainly don't want to have to start all over on a new pod.

However, and this cannot be understated: with end users reacting to the state of centralized social networks such as Facebook and Twitter in light of scandals like PRISM, a decentralized communication tool like Diaspora may be more necessary and relevant to those who value their privacy than ever before. Is Diaspora perfect? No, but for many people, it's “good enough”.

JR

Jason Robinson Wed 21 Aug 2013 6:14AM

I totally agree with Sean and Maxwell here. I think the FSSN is awesome and the crowdfunding push is a good way to "bring back Diaspora" into the larger audience.

To those not wanting a crowdfunding campaign - do you want Diaspora to expand as a project or would you rather keep Diaspora for hobbyists only? I want Diaspora to be able to expand - and for that some starting funds are needed. We are not promising anyone product delivery - we are asking for money to kickstart the setting up of Diaspora under the FSSN. I really think this is an important step. "Legalizing" Diaspora without a single $0 in for it to use is a much worse scenario than someone jerking off about DIaspora asking for money again. The gains outweight the cons here, imho.

As for joindiaspora, as Sean said, the FSSN is totally separate. I'm sure we can agree not to transfer it to the Diaspora community if we want. Personally I think it would be a good idea, and no that doesn't mean Jonne or Dennis have to maintain it. But it's up to Maxwell and what we decide.

I think the key here is that while the planning was made "in secret" (totally fine IMHO, after all a year ago a transition was promised, and this could be the final step of that) - we should have a quick vote to make sure we follow the guidelines that we ourselves have dedicated to.

So in a nutshell, while this discussion is ongoing, could we possible have 3 votes;

1) Transfer the Diaspora project legally under the FSSN (this includes making sure we have proper governance in the future as that is the demand of the FSSN)

2) Launch a crowdfunding campaign to support the initial setting up of Diaspora as a legal entity

3) If we had a choice, would we want joindiaspora.com pod to be owned by Diaspora legally?

Sean and Maxwell, I hugely appreciate the work that has gone into this and fully support this, but I ask that we go through these votes before "signing any papers"/running the campaign. I'm sure we can agree that we need to have a decision quickly and thus we could probably make all voting last for a week - 99% of the community members that feel strongly on these points will have time to vote then.

Also Jonne, please don't cut yourself out of the discussion. That will only have a negative effect on the whole thing since you are a key member of the project and not having your opinions will not give this the full support it needs. Saying something once and leaving the discussion is not raising an opinion.

D

diasp_eu Wed 21 Aug 2013 7:30AM

Hey Maxwell, welcome back to the diaspora community :) as you wrote "Here’s the course of action we want to take:" Since one year "we" is the diaspora community, hence let us decide what "we" want.

JR

Jason Robinson Wed 21 Aug 2013 7:57AM

@diaspeu maxwell is as much part of the diaspora community as any other of us :P

F

Flaburgan Wed 21 Aug 2013 8:11AM

To those not wanting a crowdfunding campaign

We didn't say we don't want it, we (at least, I) said we don't want it right now. We need to prepare ourselves, list exactly what we want to do with the money, and, especially, do that when the reputation of the project will be better. So first, we announce the anniversary, release the 0.2.0.0 and we see the reaction of the press. If it's positive, if people inside diaspora* love the new version, then we can envisage to make a crowd-funding campaign. But if we are facing all the crap stuff everywhere, we need to improve the situation first, especially the joindiaspora case.

JR

Jason Robinson Wed 21 Aug 2013 8:24AM

@flaburgan yeah exactly why we should vote on it. Personally I don't get it why a crowd-funding campaign would be worse now than later - the important thing is we go forward and are not too scared to do anything.

D

diasp_eu Wed 21 Aug 2013 8:58AM

Are we ready to make a decision? Let's start the decision process!

F

Flaburgan Wed 21 Aug 2013 9:04AM

why a crowd-funding campaign would be worse now than later

Because nobody heard about diaspora* for months (years?) and then we come back and say "Hey, we need money!" ...
Or we can release a new version, talk about the anniversary, create a positive buzz, and then, when more people will come / set up their pods, etc, we can say "We did a great job, we can do more if you give us some donation"

D

diasp_eu Wed 21 Aug 2013 9:48AM

@jasonrobinson Bad PR: Diaspora needs more money, Social networking alternative wants cash... i.e.

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2116912/diaspora-money

G

goob Wed 21 Aug 2013 10:00AM

I agree with what has been said about needing to vote before things such as a crowd-funding initiative take place. I don't think it's the right time for it, for many of the reasons given. Let's first get communication channels in place so that we can get out good information to the right sources about where the project has got to and where it's going (we don't even really know where it's going at the moment), and so that the world out there gets to know about Diaspora as a living and growing project again, with exciting prospects. Just putting out another call for money without preparing the ground would, I suspect, get a strongly negative reaction. Remember the email the core team sent out towards the end of 2011 which started 'We love you! That's why we're asking you for more money' (or words to that effect). So many people screamed 'What? I give you money in Kickstarter, I'm still waiting for my invite, and now you ask me for more money? That's it for me and Diaspora' etc. Let's continue as we are just for the moment, and we can discuss what we could actually use money for, before deciding to do any fundraising. We can of course, once the foundation is in place, let it be known that donations can be made, and anyone who wants to make a donation can then do so, but not actively raise funds until the ground has been prepared with good communication.

One of Diaspora's biggest failings has, in my opinion, always been communication - with its community, and with the wider world. Over the past year communication among the development team has become really open and excellent (and what a wonderful change that has been), and communication with the community has improved a bit, but there's a lot more to do to improve communication with the community and the wider world before it would be a good idea to ask for money again.

Let's get a foundation set up, get the blogs and planet set up, nominate a few people to act as press officers in different languages, so they can keep the press up to date with developments and get good stories with accurate information appearing in the media again, and perhaps have a crowd-funding or other funding initiative at the start of next year; or maybe later; or maybe not for at all.

That's my suggestion re funding.

The important thing right now, I think, is that Maxwell and Sean have come up with what I think is an excellent proposal for the future of the project. I hope it is as I thought it was, a proposal and not a fait accompli, but either way, once the transfer has taken place, it will be in the community's hands officially, and we can decide what to do with it, and could even move the foundation elsewhere or change the structure if we thought it was best.

So either we get chance to discuss and vote on it now (hopefully), or even if not we can discuss and vote on what we do next once the transfer has taken place. The important thing is for the transfer of ownership and assets to take place formally from Diaspora Inc. to the community of people actively involved in the project, and a foundation is going to act as a trust for that community, as I understand it.

I'd like space for proper discussion of and votes on the first two points Jason lists:

  1. Transfer the Diaspora project legally under the FSSN (this includes making sure we have proper governance in the future as that is the demand of the FSSN).
  2. Launch a crowd-funding campaign to support the initial setting up of Diaspora as a legal entity.

For now discussion about ownership of jd.com (surely Maxwell's sole decision, as it's his pod) can wait, I think.

I think there's an excellent proposal on the table. If there's been a failing it's been in not communicating with the community which is actually running the project until the last minute. But that's happened, let's work from here. Sean, is there time for discussion and vote, or is it too late? I certainly support the transfer from D Inc to D Foundation and the proposed involvement of FSSN.

Right – time to listen to the test match – England v Australia – far more important! ;)

JR

Jason Robinson Wed 21 Aug 2013 10:37AM

I still disagree about the crowd-funding. We're not Diaspora Inc asking more money to a product that is not available (=invites not sent to paid "customers").

The crowd-funding will act as a big publicity thing - think of the Ubuntu Edge - it failed but it generated a huge amount of press time. We need that press time to tell the world we are here. Spamming media with "we are now a legal foundation" is not going to generate that press.

But we should really vote on this. As long as we get the FSSN part done I'd say awesome. If we decide no crowd-funding, then no crowd-funding.

N

Nick Wed 21 Aug 2013 4:29PM

Hooray!

So, a comment about process: nothing should be done in the community's name without the community actually making the decision, particularly where there's clear disagreement, as below. That means, I think nothing should come out of this discussion without a clear formal proposal-decision - we should all be able to agree on that. It would be deeply ironic if the diaspora community had no say in its inauguration.

I think the FSSN part is a great idea and everyone seems pretty much agreed on that - I would suggest someone creates a proposal on that, before we can continue to the two other bits of the discussion?

As for the other issues:
1) what to do with joindiaspora - there is another discussion on this, why not make that decision there?
2) crowdfunding: I don't think we should be asking for money 'just in case', but I would be in favour of crowdfunding if we have a clear idea of where its going to get us. Despite some successes recently at creating a federation layer, there's no clear roadmap as to how we are going to sort federation, or when.
I think I've said this elsewhere, but I think what would make people take diaspora seriously as a project is 1) sorting federation, 2) implementing groups and events and 3) adopting a protocol which federates it with other social networks.

Unless this 10,000 request comes with a roadmap as to how its going to get us those things, I don't see the point. And code bounties for individual parts might end up putting off developer volunteers if its not done in a well thought out way.

MS

maxwell salzberg Wed 21 Aug 2013 6:42PM

First off, thanks to everyone for the feedback.

1) It sounds like the FSSN is something people are in agreement with. I do apologize it was a bit more behind closed doors, but you have to understand it was a slightly precarious process, trying to find the right home, doing diligence on both the project and the institution.

I will reiterate. All D* assets will get moved over to ownership. I am happy to continue to maintain JD.com for the period of the transition, or until the community can decide what they want it to become. Tear it down, make it a "pod uptime" style thing, whatever. Whatever we decide, it should be something we recognize we can solve later. No press push needs to mention it, but it will get transferred over.

I'd say we should create a proposal here and get that cleared away.

2) Crowdfunding.

I'm sorry I didn't elaborate on this further in my initial post. I'd say this would be a huge shame if we didn't do this. We can hammer out details here on what we should do with it, but I can't stress enough that you can not be afraid of haters or what people might think. If Daniel, Ilya, Raphael and myself were afraid of what was going to happen when we asked for money, then none of this would have happened.

The text on the Crowdhoster page is currently placeholder, but here is what I would like to do with the money

  1. Sponsored four fellows to work on the project for the next six months. I think we could all agree on four people that would be worthy and deserving, and it could be a great way for the community to elect and sponsor people who share their values. To me, this could be the future of how open source community driven projects stay viable. We can just keep doing this every six months to keep people refreshed.

    1. Run a Diaspora conference of some kind. You all have been getting to know each other on the web, why not have a chance to meet up in real life, and put a face to a name?
    2. If it really goes bonkers, why don't we sponsor other, related projects are also trying to further our goals?

I'm totally open to revising these ideas , but the time to do this is now. Waiting and procrastination the road to a slow and inevitable decline.

This is fitting and proper for the following reasons.
1) It pay homage to how we got here. People LOVE the story of small groups of people who can make the change. This is a great way for the general public and press to really feel like we have passed the torch, so to speak.

2) Diaspora is more than just code. Diaspora resonated with people not just on our message of privacy and decentralization, but the fact that even via crowdfunding itself, four guys might be able to spark a change, create a community, take on giants, and make the internet a better place. It's about a glimmer of hope that a small group of people could actually make a profound change.

3) Diaspora is needed now more than ever. You all know the news. People feel helpless again, and they want to support something that helps make a difference. It's not just about the money, but when people feel like they are a part of something, they care about it a lot more. Diaspora becoming a foundation gives people hope

To address your point directly @jasonrobinson I disagree 100%. People thought handing Diaspora off to the community was it being deadpooled. We all know that is not true, but getting a new foundation to take its place is like a phoenix rising from the ashes. It's a way better headline than "1 yr Diaspora Community Anniversary." It's not about giving people invites to anything. It just about people supporting that there could be a better way to live on the web. It's about creating the perfect storm, a trifecta of good news that will get people excited again.

Do not be afraid to do something audacious. I realize it might sound a little crazy, but now is the time to take the plunge.

JR

Jason Robinson Wed 21 Aug 2013 6:57PM

@maxwellsalzberg I wasn't really disagreeing about the buzz regarding the foundation, was just trying to say that bundled with a crowd-funding campaign it will be a lot bigger :)

Totally agree to your comments and I also agree that the time for the crowd-funding campaign is as good as ever. Life is too short to be afraid, especially of the negative feedback of others. The situation is totally different from the last crowd-funding, but the reasons are the same. As Maxwell put it - hope and a better social future. We can use this opportunity to draw attention to the project once more.

But anyway, whatever we decide it needs to be done with a vote. That is what has been agreed as our governance model, and if we fail to follow our own rules, we will fail the community project only after one year :)

G

Poll Created Wed 21 Aug 2013 9:08PM

Approved creation of Foundation with involvement of FSSN as described Closed Wed 21 Aug 2013 9:09PM

Do you agree with the proposal to create a Diaspora Foundation as described in Maxwell's message?

Results

Results Option % of points Voters
Agree 0% 0  
Abstain 0% 0  
Disagree 0% 0  
Block 0% 0  
Undecided 0% 99 JL BK DS ST FS MS TS AA S CB HF BO JH DM GC JH JR F M EG

0 of 99 people have voted (0%)

G

Poll Created Wed 21 Aug 2013 9:13PM

Vote on proposals re creation of foundation Closed Wed 21 Aug 2013 11:26PM

Outcome
by goob Tue 25 Apr 2017 5:15AM

Proposal closed due to incorrect wording. See replacement proposal.

Please read carefully as there are four voting options - make sure you vote for the correct one.

YES - I AGREE with the proposal to create a foundation with involvement of FSSN as described, and I AGREE with the proposal to have a crowd-funding initiative now as described.
ABSTAIN - I AGREE with the proposal to create a foundation with involvement of FSSN as described, but I DISAGREE with the proposal to have a crowd-funding initiative now as described.
NO - I DISAGREE with the proposal to create a foundation with involvement of FSSN as described, but I AGREE with the proposal to have a crowd-funding initiative now as described.
BLOCK - I DISAGREE with the proposal to create a foundation with involvement of FSSN as described, and I DISAGREE with the proposal to have a crowd-funding initiative now as described.

Feel free to give reasons/details about your position when voting.

Results

Results Option % of points Voters
Agree 60.0% 3 ST MS BB
Abstain 40.0% 2 G DS
Disagree 0.0% 0  
Block 0.0% 0  
Undecided 0% 95 JL BK DS FS TS AA S CB HF BO JH DM GC JH JR F M EG G AX

5 of 100 people have voted (5%)

MS

maxwell salzberg
Agree
Wed 21 Aug 2013 9:32PM

These are bold moves to move our community forward. If we are going to move forward, we should do it in a big way.

ST

Sean Tilley
Agree
Wed 21 Aug 2013 9:35PM

I think being a part of the FSSN is a huge deal, and if we can do some crowdfunding to coincide with our anniversary and announcement, I think we could make a significant push forward for the project.

DS

Dennis Schubert
Abstain
Wed 21 Aug 2013 9:58PM

I already wrote why.

BB

Brent Bartlett
Agree
Wed 21 Aug 2013 11:17PM

The game is afoot.

G

goob Wed 21 Aug 2013 9:15PM

I've created a proposal timed to finish on the morning (GMT) of 27 August, to give people as much time as possible to vote, and still give time to make any announcements on the anniversary.

MS

maxwell salzberg Wed 21 Aug 2013 9:31PM

Can we bump the close date of the proposals? I do think they should all be resolved in time for the anniversary, but some work will be needed to adjust some messaging in the event of either, which will take time. I'd propose Friday.

DS

Dennis Schubert Wed 21 Aug 2013 10:00PM

One note: "create a foundation with involvement of FSSN" is wrong. What we are doing here (I guess most of the work is already done...) is NOT the process of founding a foundation. It's transfering all ownership to the FSSN, which is a non-profit as in 501(c)(3) Internal Revenue Code.

MS

maxwell salzberg Wed 21 Aug 2013 10:42PM

@dennisschubert +1 on clarification, that is correct.

N

Nick Wed 21 Aug 2013 10:49PM

Actually, I should have said this before, but we need to agree on what our governance is, either before or after this vote, but before actually 'creating' a foundation.
Unless I've missed it somewhere, our governance so far is just 'that we will take decisions on loomio', which isn't sufficient. We need people responsible for ensuring that decisions are acted on, and we need people who will actually implement the decisions about spending money, and all the legal and formal stuff. That probably requires some kind of council and elections...

MS

maxwell salzberg Wed 21 Aug 2013 10:53PM

@nickdowson this legal help and guidance is provided by the FSSN (and through the SFLC) Nothing is mandated by them other than having some stable leadership so they have only a few touchpoints (which could rotate on a stable schedule)

N

Nick Wed 21 Aug 2013 11:00PM

@maxwellsalzberg - regardless, we still need to agree how we are going to do that (are we going to stick with our informal leadership, or are going to actually have a process for that?)

http://libcom.org/library/tyranny-structurelessness-jo-freeman !

G

goob Wed 21 Aug 2013 11:26PM

Apologies for the unclear wording. I'll close this proposal before too many people vote on it and open a new one, as this issue is so crucial that we need absolute clarity. Sorry to those who have already voted; please cast your votes again.

G

Poll Created Wed 21 Aug 2013 11:32PM

Votes on Maxwell's proposals re FSSN and crowd-funding Closed Tue 27 Aug 2013 10:06AM

Outcome
by goob Tue 25 Apr 2017 5:15AM

Looks like everyone's really excited about the FSSN proposal, but it's not quite the right time to fund-raise just yet.

My suggestion is to get the FSSN in place and publicised, and then discuss how and why we can raise funds.

Please read carefully as there are four voting options - make sure you vote for the correct one.

YES - I AGREE with the proposal to join FSSN and transfer ownership and assets of Diaspora to them as described, and I AGREE with the proposal to have a crowd-funding initiative immediately as described.
ABSTAIN - I AGREE with the proposal to join FSSN and transfer ownership and assets of Diaspora to them as described, but I DISAGREE with the proposal to have a crowd-funding initiative immediately as described.
NO - I DISAGREE with the proposal to join FSSN and transfer ownership and assets of Diaspora to them as described, but I AGREE with the proposal to have a crowd-funding initiative immediately as described.
BLOCK - I DISAGREE with the proposal to join FSSN and transfer ownership and assets of Diaspora to them as described, and I DISAGREE with the proposal to have a crowd-funding initiative immediately as described.

Feel free to give reasons/details about your position when voting, as we need absolute clarity about everyone's position on this.

Results

Results Option % of points Voters
Agree 33.3% 16 ST MS TS JR PP R M C SM N FTL A SM DH( DC TA
Abstain 66.7% 32 FS JH T F G DM DS DU T O M D TM D IGM S DU L R SVB
Disagree 0.0% 0  
Block 0.0% 0  
Undecided 0% 79 JL BK DS AA S CB HF BO DM GC JH M EG G AX PC BB LP T DY

48 of 127 people have voted (37%)

MS

maxwell salzberg
Agree
Wed 21 Aug 2013 11:37PM

These are bold moves to move our community forward. If we are going to move forward, we should do it in a big way.

ST

Sean Tilley
Agree
Thu 22 Aug 2013 12:17AM

I think being a part of the FSSN is a huge deal, and if we can do some crowdfunding to coincide with our anniversary and announcement, I think we could make a significant push forward for the project.

SM

Sarah Mei
Agree
Thu 22 Aug 2013 12:25AM

I think this is a positive move, both because it takes work off of Max's plate, and also (more importantly) because it lets all the operational stuff that was previously owned by a corporation be transparent.

DC

dennis collective
Agree
Thu 22 Aug 2013 12:46AM

THIS IS EXCITING! I think it will be great for the fresh young blood running the organization to have the autonomy they deserve. Another Crowd-Funding campaign is exciting because then they will be able to eat burritos, which taste good.

RS

Raphael Sofaer
Abstain
Thu 22 Aug 2013 3:48AM

Agree with the proposal to join FSSN.
Disagree with the proposal to have a crowd-funding initiative. Giving money to Jonne Haß and our other top developers who need it is attractive but it needs concrete goals and people. Who? How will we decide?

TM

Taylor McLeod
Abstain
Thu 22 Aug 2013 4:30AM

Knowing from past experience, we should always try to break down big decisions into smaller sub decisions to be agreed upon - especially when things come from out of the blue.

JR

Jason Robinson
Agree
Thu 22 Aug 2013 6:54AM

Totally think a crowd-funding campaign is a good idea. It will give the project much needed publicity and gives us flexibility to buy or pay for something. The Ubuntu Edge is also leaving $12M in the air for grabs today ;)

D

diasp_eu
Abstain
Thu 22 Aug 2013 7:12AM

I don't see the purpose for the crowd-funding initiative.

G

goob
Abstain
Thu 22 Aug 2013 10:11AM

I think a crowd-funding initiative at this moment would be counter-productive. Give the community the means to raise funds by becoming foundation with FSSN's involvement, and the community can decide when, how and why to raise funds.

F

Flaburgan
Abstain
Thu 22 Aug 2013 1:18PM

It's not the time for a crowdfunding campaign, but the FSSN is a great initiative.

A

aj
Agree
Fri 23 Aug 2013 4:55AM

i don't see a down side to this :)

J

jonsger
Abstain
Fri 23 Aug 2013 11:15AM

I think its better to have a donating website for diasporafoundation.org then a crowdfounding.

O

OpenLifeChallenge
Abstain
Fri 23 Aug 2013 4:24PM

I believe that with support FSSN as an organization, volunteers can channel their time straight into development. However I think that more planning should be put into the launch of a crowdfunding campaign which could play on recent leaks etc.

A

aj
Agree
Fri 23 Aug 2013 10:09PM

hosting pods, support and development i think should be left to volunteers and donations, but there are the other expenses: business, legal, administrative, PR, hosting of project sites etc, etc, and this may be a good time for raising some funds

C

CodeHero
Agree
Fri 23 Aug 2013 11:01PM

Even if the crowdfunding would fail it would still benefit. But we should think about what the Foundation should do with the money if it should succeed.

A

AlexB
Abstain
Sat 24 Aug 2013 9:42AM

Strongly agree that FSSN is right home for Diaspora. Not sure this is the best time for crowd-sourcing.

A

AlexB
Abstain
Sat 24 Aug 2013 9:43AM

Strongly agree that FSSN is right home for Diaspora. Not sure this is the best time for crowd-funding.

C

cyclux
Abstain
Sat 24 Aug 2013 3:54PM

Crowdfunding is good, but has to be more specific. First vote about the amount and exact goals!

M

mathis
Agree
Sat 24 Aug 2013 4:56PM

glad to see that at least one of the founders still care about this project = ). for the crowdfunding campaign we have to define what we mean with "take Diaspora to the next level"

SM

Seth Martin
Agree
Sat 24 Aug 2013 5:30PM

I don't see the purpose for the crowd-funding initiative but I don't think it will hurt.

T

thomas
Abstain
Sat 24 Aug 2013 5:47PM

on the fence regarding the crowdfunding

T

Torsti
Abstain
Sun 25 Aug 2013 12:42AM

I like the idea of the crowd-funding initiative, but at the moment it seems we don't have enough time to plan it properly.

PP

Pirate Praveen
Agree
Mon 26 Aug 2013 10:29AM

Yes, this is the next logical step. Crowd funding will help us put more people full time on some of the much requested features.

TS

Trolli Schmittlauch
Abstain
Mon 26 Aug 2013 3:47PM

Maybe a crowdfunding campaign needs some more preparation, but we shouldn't work too long

TS

Trolli Schmittlauch
Abstain
Mon 26 Aug 2013 3:48PM

Maybe a crowdfunding campaign needs some more preparation, but we shouldn't wait too long

TS

Tom Scott
Agree
Mon 26 Aug 2013 3:53PM

If this means we don't have to deal with boring stuff like hosting or money handling I'm in! :)

S

Shmerl
Abstain
Tue 27 Aug 2013 12:22AM

Crowdfunding is good, but it should have a clearly defined goals which need to spelled out before starting it. So I'm for it in general if the goals are defined and agreed by the community.

So when goals are defined, crowdfunding can begin.

R

Ruxton
Abstain
Tue 27 Aug 2013 8:42AM

Crowd funding needs more to happen.
* What's the money being spent on
* What happened to the last round of funding
* What's different between now and then
* As an initial funder and contributor I'm concerned funding is going to be burnt again

G

goob Wed 21 Aug 2013 11:33PM

@maxwellsalzberg @seantilleycommunit @dennisschubert @brentbartlett sorry, you'll need to cast your votes again.

N

Nick Wed 21 Aug 2013 11:37PM

@goob - actually, know we have restarted the vote, could we stop it properly and discuss what community governance will actually look like (or how we are going to decide that) - I think that's quite important to how to vote on the proposal?

MS

maxwell salzberg Wed 21 Aug 2013 11:44PM

@nickdowson +1 on this being an important but -1 on it blocking the acceptance. The primary thing that would change ASAP is the ownership of the assets, but we can take charge over how these are controlled, as there is not a rush to change our day to day governance style, so IMHO we have time to hammer it out.

N

Nick Wed 21 Aug 2013 11:49PM

@maxwellsalzberg - yep, happy to go along with that, though I think in that case we should discuss this concretely pretty shortly - it might help clear the air a bit as well

N

Nick Wed 21 Aug 2013 11:51PM

Ok, @maxwellsalzberg - changing topic again - 10,000 will not sponsor 4 people for 6 months I don't think. Do you?

ST

Sean Tilley Wed 21 Aug 2013 11:54PM

$10,000 was originally just a baseline. It's easy enough to raise 10,000, as it's low-hanging fruit these days compared to the half-million to multi-million dollar fundraisers. We can always raise before kicking things off of necessary.

MS

maxwell salzberg Wed 21 Aug 2013 11:57PM

@nickdowson the time could be adjusted. The original idea was 10k for 4 people for 3 months, so we could do that... I also have a hunch we can do better than 10k, but thats just mean. I thought six months (or a year) might be more 'stable' for a 'fellows' program, but I thought just like our original campaign, we can adjust.

The four of us made it happen at that rate for almost two years, so I am sure we can work something out.

MS

maxwell salzberg Wed 21 Aug 2013 11:57PM

*thats just me, not mean :)

MS

maxwell salzberg Thu 22 Aug 2013 12:14AM

Other ideas for crowdfunded funds (Just riffing here)

1) sponsor well behaving pods
2) Bug bounty programs
3) Sponsor someone to refactor Federation
4) create a "Summer of Diaspora" program to teach college kids about the code
5) Give funds to upstream packages we like
6) [your idea here]

MS

maxwell salzberg Thu 22 Aug 2013 12:31AM

also worth noting, the timing is really good because Crowdhoster is a completely open source crowdfunding platform (even takes bitcoin), and is doing a bit a launch this week as well, which makes the story (and timing) even better.

DS

Dennis Schubert Thu 22 Aug 2013 1:09AM

@denniscollective seriously?!

RS

Raphael Sofaer Thu 22 Aug 2013 3:52AM

There is not enough plan for me to support a crowd funding campaign. We need to decide who will get the money, who wants to work on Diaspora for a stipend? Have we asked the people we are thinking of? At the very least, we need to have a process for deciding who will be one of these 'fellows'. I would go so far as to say we should have a draft of what we would want to present to potential supporters, so we can deliberate on that to refine what our goals are.

JR

Jason Robinson Thu 22 Aug 2013 7:10AM

I don't think we need to have a strict list of things we will use the money on - the main thing is people are donating to the project to ensure it has a future. The money will be spent only on things that the community can agree on - based on our current community governance which requires a vote if someone wants one. Also remember that part of the money will be used for the actual swag (if we go with that, +1 from me), so people are not just supporting us, they also have the opportunity to buy things like stickers and hoodies. Of course we should start working on an online shop at some point for these anyway.

Governance. True, our governance is very thin in rules at the moment, but we do have rules and they have got us through a year. I see no reason to panic and set up any new rules just for the sake of having more rules. We need to carefully build up the organization. For example, we probably need someone to actually be able to deal with the FSSN - and that person should be elected. Maxwell I am sure will provide details when necessary.

As for the money targets, I think we can all agree that if we find a good programmer who needs work we can sponsor someone to write something cool - that would be awesome to be able to provide someone food on the table for some time. I don't like the idea of paying people just because we have money - we need to consider these carefully. Other great things I would like to propose when we have money is figuring out some kind of system of supporting our biggest pods (cost claim request kind of thing), supporting our partners (Loomio..) and paying for travel costs for central project people to travel to conferences that would help the project forward - just examples.

People, let's not get stuck on what exactly the money would go to - just decide whether there should be a crowd-funding campaign to support the launch of Diaspora in the FSSN. I think the FSSN part is going to be pretty clear :)

G

goob Thu 22 Aug 2013 10:21AM

@seantilleycommunit wrote:

$10,000 was originally just a baseline. It's easy enough to raise 10,000, as it's low-hanging fruit these days compared to the half-million to multi-million dollar fundraisers. We can always raise before kicking things off of necessary.

That's usual for start-ups which are new ideas which excite people, not established projects which have been running for several years, surely?

@maxwellsalzberg wrote:

Other ideas for crowdfunded funds (Just riffing here)

  1. sponsor well behaving pods
  2. Bug bounty programs
  3. Sponsor someone to refactor Federation
  4. create a “Summer of Diaspora” program to teach college kids about the code
  5. Give funds to upstream packages we like
  6. [your idea here]

Good ideas, Maxwell. So let's wait until we have agreed ideas, and what we need money for, and then have a funding initiative, which is targeted rather than purely speculative. It seems your proposal to raise funds is simply because you can, not because the project needs it.

I'm a bit surprised to see several members of the old core team who haven't had any involvement in the project for a long time voting on this issue.

JR

Jason Robinson Thu 22 Aug 2013 10:30AM

@goob why shouldn't the "old core" be allowed to vote? Counting by commits, they've actually done most of the work ;)

I'd be sad if Diaspora doesn't excite people just because it's not a startup. Your lack of faith is disturbing, diasporian :)

G

goob Thu 22 Aug 2013 10:37AM

I'd be sad if Diaspora doesn't excite people just because it's not a startup. Your lack of faith is disturbing, diasporian :)

I'm not saying 'We should never find-raise'. I'm saying 'Let's wait until we've had chance to properly discuss whether we want and need to raise funds, what we would be raising funds for, and how we want to go about raising funds.

And, importantly, let's wait until we have completely got rid of the image of Diaspora as a secretive closed shop in which things are not transparent and in which there's the whiff of profit-making. Let's wait until everybody out there knows that Diaspora Inc. is dead and the completely non-profit Diaspora Foundation is running the show. We might know that's the case, but the impression out there in the world is not that. I see someone has already made a comment on your post about this vote to that effect. Imagine that times 100,000.

Let's wait until the community decides that it needs and wants to raise funds. Let's not have a crowd-funding campaign simply because one person decided that's what he wanted to do and set it up without telling anyone.

JR

Jason Robinson Thu 22 Aug 2013 10:55AM

Let's wait until the community decides that it needs and wants to raise funds. Let's not have a crowd-funding campaign simply because one person decided that's what he wanted to do and set it up without telling anyone

We are deciding as a community here.

What comment, can you link?

JR

Jason Robinson Thu 22 Aug 2013 11:59AM

@goob ah you mean my post - I don't think we should go around being afraid of people who don't follow stuff. This is a good time to correct them. When else will they hear the news?

G

goob Thu 22 Aug 2013 12:21PM

I don't think we should go around being afraid of people who don't follow stuff. This is a good time to correct them. When else will they hear the news?

Yes, so let's focus on getting good information and the right message out there to everyone - not try to tap them for more cash!

JR

Jason Robinson Thu 22 Aug 2013 12:39PM

@goob my point exactly - the crowd-funding campaign is the fastest way to get that information out there :)

G

goob Thu 22 Aug 2013 12:45PM

I believe that to do a crowd-funding campaign now would send out entirely the wrong message.

MS

maxwell salzberg Thu 22 Aug 2013 11:06PM

@raphaelsofaer I love you buddy, but we had basically the same conversation three years ago, and if we acted then how you are suggesting then and now, we would have shut the Kickstarter down at 30k ;) Surely we would not have been here three years later talking about it in front of a hundred people who love and care about our project. :)

ps. see you in two weeks.

MS

maxwell salzberg Thu 22 Aug 2013 11:08PM

@goob might I ask what do you feel our goal is with the press push we are planning on Monday? Is it to get more press about Diaspora? Prove to people that it isn’t dead, and the community has endured? That communication has improved? What message are we as a project trying to push out to the world?

People still know about Diaspora, so this isn’t about building relationships with them. It’s about making sure they know why they should care.

There are two secrets about the press that I have learned in the past two years.

1) If you keep making blockbuster announcements, they will keep coming back. If you spend social capital making an update that doesn’t rock their socks off, they are going to be less interested in future project announcements. If you feel like Diaspora doesn’t get much press now, putting out an announcement that we are just joining a foundation isn’t going to win over too many journalists or get them to focus on the bright future of Diaspora that you all have busted your butts for the past year.

2) The “story” is about the people involved, not the organization itself. Right now, whether it’s right or not, the press associates the project is Raphael, Daniel, Ilya and I. Without a proper whiz-bang handoff, thats what readers are still going to think. The crowdfunding campaign is a big enough headline that it resets the message for the community to set the tone for whatever future endeavors you want to make. It makes sure that they are listening to you not the original four. There are already press lurkers even in this Loomio that have reached out to me out me asking for details. We need something that shows that this is more than just a ‘community takeover’, but a constructive building block towards Diaspora’s future.

WIthout the crowdfunding project, the few headlines on Monday will look like:

“Diaspora; still exists, joining non profit after one year of community autonomy”, or “Anniversary of diaspora* as a community-run project”. I don’t mean to belittle the hard work you all have put in to make this happen, but you have a golden opportunity to make sure the people come to you rather than having to convince them to listen.

I’m not sure this will get the people excited to come check us out again.

However, image the headlines that happen if we launch with a crowdfunding campaign on Monday might look like this:

“Diaspora founders send off Diaspora in a big way; Foundation, new leadership new crowdfunding campaign, open-source style”

“After a year, Diaspora joins FSSN, goes back to roots to reboot as community project, refreshed core team with new Crowdfunding Campaign”

Perspective is everything. It sets a tone that you can take an idea, rally around it with a community, and build it into something that nobody’s really seen before. That’s something the people can get behind. It captures their imagination, which is something every good Free Software project strives to.

This is a rare opportunity, one that doesn’t come often. Deciding to just do something later means you will have already lost people’s attention. Talk, rather than action, could lead to a wasted opportunity. I don’t want to see that, and I’m sure neither do the people that put their hearts into this project. Diaspora has always been about thinking bigger, and this is an ideal moment for all of us to do the same.

If your goal is to get the word out to the people that Diaspora is live and well, the best thing you can do is send a strong message, and I can’t image a better one.

MS

maxwell salzberg Thu 22 Aug 2013 11:17PM

Worth noting, we can totally make this crowdfunding campaign happen by Monday. The message is simple, as non-profits raise money all of the time. And we will be a non-profit :)

All we need to do is outline things we might want to achieve with the money, but by no means is it a binding contract. The point is that it is an outlet of support that people can contribute, and want to follow your progress again.

Sean and myself are dedicated to working with any and all community members on hammering this out before the 27th. Where will the money go (100% to the FSSN, obviously), and how will we use it? These are up for the community to decide; what better time for discussion than right now?

I already have the contacts at Crowdhoster, who have agreed to waive all the fees if we move out now. I also have contributed to the code base myself as an open source contributor.

RS

Raphael Sofaer Thu 22 Aug 2013 11:24PM

@maxwellsalzberg I think this is pretty different. You are proposing asking people to contribute to a crowdfunding project without knowing who they are supporting or even what process or people will be distributing the money. We have plenty of time to move forward with the FSSN, make a concrete crowdfunding pitch which doubters like me can evaluate, comment on, and get behind, and announce the crowdfunding pitch and the FSSN change together for your whiz-bang handoff.

MS

maxwell salzberg Thu 22 Aug 2013 11:29PM

@raphaelsofaer then start by proposing some concrete goals. I've already threw a bunch into the mix. . I'd bet we can agree get three before Monday.

RS

Raphael Sofaer Fri 23 Aug 2013 1:48AM

I’m definitely not buying into “let’s do whatever we have whipped up by Monday”. Why would we do that?

It seems to me we should wait for this vote to resolve, then start another discussion to see who would be interested getting a Diaspora fellowship and what a good structure would be when it comes to nomination and or application and acceptance or rejection.

R

Roger Fri 23 Aug 2013 6:05AM

I don't usually participate in the discussions here but found out about this one thanks to the post by @jasonrobinson and I'm glad I checked!

I must admit that I haven't read all the comments but I have read quite a few. So my first comment is about how "the community" decides. I'd like to think I'm part of the community even though my work as a developer/podmin is non-existent (get in touch though if you need a press officer that speaks Catalan). And I think that the point about @taylormcleod about breaking discussions into smaller ones is excellent and would help more people join in. And though I've seen some mentions of Loomio discussions on Diaspora, it'd be good to be kept in the loop and join in as time and interests allow. No idea how difficult it is to implement but could a bot post updates on the D* discussions in Loomio that we could follow?

Talking about implementing something, I'm really grateful for all the work that is going on behind the scenes. And maybe that is the reason I'm going to say "yes" to the fundraising campaign. I see the points about timing, need to clarify better who/objectives etc- but I think it's still a good idea to offer the opportunity to contribute and say "thanks".

By the way, @nickdowson 's point re: governance I think it's an important one too and should be addressed.

G

groovehunter Fri 23 Aug 2013 6:47AM

Hi, I appreciate it to find a non profit umbrella association for d* but what the heck is the FSSN , what other projects are associated with it? What people run it? What references are there? A web search does not come up with anything - ?!! I would definetly need more profound information to vote different from "abstain" here.

ST

Sean Tilley Fri 23 Aug 2013 7:05AM

@groovehunter The FSSN is supported by Eben Moglen and the Software Freedom Law Center. When Maxwell and I talked to Eben, the FSSN is what he personally recommended.

R

Roger Fri 23 Aug 2013 7:55AM

A bit off-topic but further to my previous comment, I realised that maybe rather than creating a bot for Loomio I should just activate Loomio email notifications! I seem to remember that I deactivated them because most discussions were too technical and I couldn't contribute much.

JR

Jason Robinson Fri 23 Aug 2013 7:59AM

After groovehunter asked on my D* post I started looking as well. No real mentions anywhere and their site pretty much has no information at all. Eben himself doesn't mention it anywhere, on his blog, homepage, wikipedia entry or anywhere I could find. The Software Freedom Law Center doesn't mention it - it actually says the SFLC is a non-profit itself.

Maxwell, Sean - mind filling some details on who to we are moving all D* copyrights and assets - AND future crowd-funding and/or donation money? ;)

I know a lot of people respect Eben a lot and it seems he has done a lot of cool stuff. Seems a bit radical to my taste, not quite as "out there" as Stallman but not far off either.

Don't get me wrong, the FSSN is fine with me, don't see any better options for D* around the corner. It just doesn't seem very transparent as an organization - all we have about it is what Maxwell has told to us. I don't distrust Maxwell or Sean, but there will be a lot of people asking for this information, especially when we open donations. Also the first reaction of the press will be "what the hell is the FSSN??".

R

Roger Fri 23 Aug 2013 8:33AM

@jasonrobinson totally agree

G

groovehunter Fri 23 Aug 2013 10:06AM

thanks for the info Sean. I looked into it. And I like the idea of collaboration with SFLC.

G

goob Fri 23 Aug 2013 10:19AM

I’m definitely not buying into “let’s do whatever we have whipped up by Monday”. Why would we do that?

It seems to me we should wait for this vote to resolve, then start another discussion to see who would be interested getting a Diaspora fellowship and what a good structure would be when it comes to nomination and or application and acceptance or rejection.

Hear hear! The only reason this crowd-funding thing is on the table is because one person decided there would be one. And that because he feels it will get publicity, not because it is in itself needed. Far better to get the foundation/FSSN ownership in place and then discuss what we might use money for and have a considered campaign then.

JR

Jason Robinson Fri 23 Aug 2013 11:11AM

@goob excuse me? 10 out of 23 so far support the crowd-funding - how can you say it is only because one persons thought of it? I think it's a great idea - and so do 9 others.

G

goob Fri 23 Aug 2013 11:16AM

Err.... one person decided to have a crowd-funding campaign (see the OP:

we also want to run a Crowdhoster campaign for Diaspora (… will launch on Monday).

And we're now having to have a snap vote on it, without having previously had chance to discuss and consider this course of action, as a result.

I didn't say that no one else thinks it's a good idea. Please respond to what I actually say!

JR

Jason Robinson Fri 23 Aug 2013 11:47AM

Goob, all proposals are usually from one person so I don't get why this one is worse than the others.

A

aj Fri 23 Aug 2013 2:03PM

we have these guys with proven experience in crowd sourcing and the legalities of this free software willing and available to do this now :)

and i don't see a risk, i mean what is the worst that could happen?

G

goob Fri 23 Aug 2013 2:23PM

@maxwellsalzberg , I wanted to respond to the points you made to me earlier.

might I ask what do you feel our goal is with the press push we are planning on Monday? Is it to get more press about Diaspora? Prove to people that it isn’t dead, and the community has endured? That communication has improved? What message are we as a project trying to push out to the world?

You might not know about what we've been discussing and preparing for in the past weeks. You can look for example at the discussion on the Community Anniversary thread for some examples of that. There's an email which has already been sent out to a number of media contacts, and a press release is going to be drafted. Well, was going to be: this latest development has changed things a bit.

We haven't until now been talking about a desperate push for as much press coverage as possible, no. What we've been talking about is using this anniversary as an opportunity to get the right message out to the wider world, that Diaspora as a community-run project is thriving once more. To support this we're giving some stats of number of contributors, number of commits etc., to show that things have been growing over the past year since it became a community-run project.

I don't see that Diaspora needs press attention per se at this point in time. What Diaspora needs is to combat and dispel the wrong information that remains out there and the bad impression that many people, inside and outside the Diaspora community, still have of the project. That is, things such as:

  • Diaspora = joindiaspora.com (so many articles still carry this, and at least 75-80% of registrations to Diaspora are still to that one pod as a result)
  • Diaspora is run by Diaspora Inc. (whatever that is – there are many theories)
  • the project has stalled or run its course
  • the project leadership isn't open/can't be trusted

This is the kind of misinformation I still see frequently within the community and spend quite a lot of time and energy trying to counter.

If we make any splash at all, it needs to very clearly state what the actual case is:

  • Diaspora is run by the non-profit Diaspora Foundation
  • Push diasporafoundation.org as the project website for use in articles
  • the project is thriving and has grown and become more active over the past 12 months (with stats)
  • Diaspora is now run as a FOSS project in a completely transparent manner

Asking for money at the same time would, I believe, detract from, not add to, this message, and would potentially lead to the current bad impression of the project, that is widely held, being reinforced.

Another thing which has been discussed has been about recruiting new members, and many people have said in these discussions that Diaspora doesn't actually need new members at this moment. It's great if anyone wants to join, of course, and lots do, but it's not something that the project needs at this point in time. What we could do with is more developers. More have been joining all the time over the past 12 months, which has been wonderful to see, but the more the merrier and the faster the code will develop now that decisions about the direction of development are taken in a collaborative and transparent manner. So another aim of any publicity we get is to make the project attractive to potential developers, rather than end users.

To do this we need to restate the core values and aims of the project. Again, asking for money at the same time would, I believe, detract from this.

If your goal is to get the word out to the people that Diaspora is live and well, the best thing you can do is send a strong message, and I can’t image a better one.

The message that sends out is 'Diaspora desperately needs money AGAIN!' I do not consider that a good message to send out at this time, especially because it is not true. I don't subscribe to the 'all publicity is good publicity' school of thought.

You may have run a very successful crowd-funding campaign three years ago, and kudos to you for that, but that doesn't mean you're right about this.

Besides, running a successful crowd-funding campaign brings with it great responsibilities: not least, 'What are you doing with our money?' The honest answer would be 'Oh, nothing really; we're just sitting on it until we think of something to use it for.' It's a governance issue: we need first to propose, discuss and consider ideas for how we could make use of this new structure and any money we raise. Doing this hurriedly without proper consideration of any proposals simply because Maxwell wants a crowd-funding campaign for publicity purposes and has landed this on the community with no notice or warning whatever, rather than because it's something the project needs to do, is not a good situation.

Doing a crowd-funding drive now without having had much contact with the outside world for the past 18 months might well get headlines along the lines 'Diaspora, the project that takes your money and then does nothing.' Publicity like that could really harm the project and undo so much of the great work which has been done by community members working in collaboration towards a common purpose over the past 12 months.

You say that only with a crowd-funding campaign will the announcement get worthwhile headlines, and give two examples. However, if you put the same energy into the announcement and press contacts, without the crowd-funding campaign the headlines might read:

“Diaspora founders send off Diaspora in a big way; Foundation, new leadership, open-source style”

“After a year, Diaspora joins FSSN, goes back to roots to reboot as community project, refreshed core team”

And, as I say, with the fund-raising campaign tied in, the slant might be that the project is in trouble again. You just don't know how the press will react. I may be wrong; you may be wrong. I think that going all out to get press attention for the sake of getting press attention is a dangerous game.

(You may not know my name, but I've been involved since summer 2011, helping out where I can with communication and outreach stuff, but I don't write code, hence why you won't know me. But I've 'put my heart into this project', as you put it, perhaps not as much as a few people at the core have, but still quite a lot. I have a lot invested in this project and its success, and I certainly don't want to see a poor decision, made in haste, harm the project.)

A

aj Fri 23 Aug 2013 2:32PM

i am actually also having trouble trying to come up with some clear goals for a funding that the community can identify with

the problem is that we have been succeeding without this funding :)

so what clear and necessary funding can we demonstrate?

JR

Jason Robinson Fri 23 Aug 2013 11:10PM

@goob I think it's a good point to raise at this stage that not one of the tech blogs that we have reached to with the email have replied ;)

So we can either go quiet(ish) with the one year anniversary or celebrate it with big hopes and aims. The choice is yours, Diaspora community.

JR

Jason Robinson Fri 23 Aug 2013 11:11PM

Oh, have to correct, one tech blog asked us for the number of users and then didn't reply yet.

T

Torsti Sat 24 Aug 2013 12:48AM

@jasonrobinson I'm also slightly confused about the FSSN. As far as I know the Software Freedom Conservancy does about the same thing FSSN is supposed to, but they actually have a real web presence. Some of the people (Bradley Kuhn, Karen Sandler) behind the Software Freedom Conservancy have worked at the SFLC and most likely still collaborate with them. Why would Eben have founded an organization that is so overlapping in purpose? I wish the website would provide any real info.

A

aj Sat 24 Aug 2013 3:02AM

did a little dig, i make no claim of accuracy here:

the presiding law firm for the FSSN is staffed by members of the SFLC but unlike the SFLC it works with for-profit companies

the FSSN is a not-for-profit entity they created for holding assets of companies that do comply to the conditions of the SFLC

FSSN is much like the SFC and perhaps shares some history, but there does not seem to be any overlap in staffing between them any more

Kuhn is listed with the SFC and Sandler is listed with the FSSN

T

Torsti Sat 24 Aug 2013 9:00AM

@aj ok, that's at least something. But the FSSN website at the moment does not give the impression of a well staffed project. I mean searching for FSSN you get this loomio discussion within the top ten hits and it gives almost as much or more information about the FSSN as the their website. That probably isn't a good thing in terms of getting publicity from the tech press/blogs for the transfer and anniversary. Maybe I've missed something? Other than my small misgiving I think this is a great idea: there are much better reasons for joining the FSSN that just a press stunt.

As to the crowdfunding, I like the idea of doing it at the same time with the anniversary, but it'd have to be with proper goals for it and hopefully general agreement as to what they should be. Asking money only for the administrative tasks isn't really that appealing. Something that I think could fit a crowdfunding campaing are specific features e.g. integration with new 3rd party web apps - like MediaGoblin.

A

aj Sat 24 Aug 2013 11:00AM

@torstischulz, ya the website appears to be nothing more than a place holder, and the FSSN a convenient legal container

but i have no doubt that Moglen and his group are uniquely qualified to help diaspora make this transition

and the FSSN appears to be a vehicle intended for this type of situation

RA

Recycling Artist Sat 24 Aug 2013 11:55AM

I have more than this question: is FSSN based in the US?

What exactly does it mean to: Transfer all Diaspora Inc Diaspora related assets to FSSN (Trademark, hosting, Social media accounts)?

RA

Recycling Artist Sat 24 Aug 2013 3:14PM

o.k. folks, sorry for the chaos... diaspora is already u.s. based so it doesn't matter... patriot act is fact and has a value for all pods where ever they might be... the best desission would be: leave the states!

A

aj Sat 24 Aug 2013 3:44PM

@recyclingartist, actually i'm not sure

if i understand correct (and i'm not sure i do) then there will be no Diaspora Inc. there will be a diaspora project which is under the umbrella of the FSSN

they will hold the assets and liabilities with the provision that the project has control of their usage

this provides diaspora with expert legal and fiscal representation as a non-profit free software without us actually having to implement it :)

RA

Recycling Artist Sat 24 Aug 2013 3:57PM

thank's aj... I completely understand the advantages and attraction wich FSSN has on all the developers and co... for me, as stupid european user is simply the fact: everything that is under umbrella of us firms (and in that case it is completely unimportant for me wheater they are profit or non-profit) is under the us law and in that case diaspora seems not to be the right choice for people who are fighting against spying laws it is ridicoulous in fact! but it is my fault, I had to inform myself better.

A

aj Sat 24 Aug 2013 4:13PM

ya, we have some major issues in the USA and Canada right now :) it is influencing many aspects of our lives here. hopefully the European community will see us as an example of what NOT to do, he! :)

G

goob Sat 24 Aug 2013 4:38PM

@recyclingartist , as I understand it this will have no impact on access to user data, which in a distributed system are of course contained on individual pods. You should therefore choose your pod based on where you are happy for your data to be stored.

This is about transferring ownership of everything which belonged to Diaspora Inc, the company set up by the four founders, to the non-profit Diaspora Foundation under the stewardship of the FSSN. This means things such as the ownership of the Diaspora name as a trademark. Also the agreement of ownership under which all contributions to the project are made. It's a means of ensuring that this project remains a Free Software project.

Although FSSN is based in USA, I can't see any means of the NSA (if that's who you're afraid of) getting hold of your data as part of this move. Besides, if anyone's going to fight to the hilt any move to requisition data without the knowledge and agreement of the person who owns those data, I think Eben Moglen would be that person.

I don't know anything about FSSN other than what we've been told by Maxwell here, but I do know a bit about Eben Moglen, and what I know reassures me that he is someone who shares the values of the project and is a 'safe pair of hands', and also I don't believe either Maxwell or Sean would make such a move without being very sure that it was in the best interests of the project, and I'm happy to trust they've taken all necessary steps to make sure that it is a safe transition.

G

groovehunter Sat 24 Aug 2013 5:32PM

I'd like to ask @Goob , have you thought about making two posts for the two decisions? Or asking the other way round was there are certain intention behind so you put both in one thread?

A

aj Sat 24 Aug 2013 5:32PM

@goob i think you are right. thanks. i carry off on politics. the distributed nature of diaspora makes it a solution to some of our nations issues. :)

A

aj Sat 24 Aug 2013 5:55PM

@groovehunter i think it happened at the same time because raising funds has been held back by the other issue being addressed

but this in retrospect should not be the case :) what do you do? :)

G

goob Sat 24 Aug 2013 5:57PM

I’d like to ask @goob , have you thought about making two posts for the two decisions? Or asking the other way round was there are certain intention behind so you put both in one thread?

I tried to create two proposals/two votes, but it will only let you have one at any one time. There wasn't time to have two votes one after the other, so I did the best thing I could think of. Unfortunately it has been rather forced on us with little time left, and I'm not sure the intention was for there to be a vote at all, but I consider that essential. On reflection I should have asked Maxwell or Sean to start a separate discussion so that there could be a vote on the FSSN here and a separate vote on the other discussion about fund-raising, but I didn't think of that until it was too late. That's what happens when people are forced into taking quick action...

A

aj Sat 24 Aug 2013 6:06PM

agree. i think there is also a general consensus in the community, let us move forward, and get it done :)

JR

Jason Robinson Sat 24 Aug 2013 7:01PM

hey @goob or any other who has access to our social media accounts: mind posting a link to this vote from the official Diaspora HQ account if that has not been done?

N

Nick Sat 24 Aug 2013 7:18PM

I think maybe we should accept that we don't have consensus on crowd funding, and that we should move that discussion to another page, and see if we can work out an acceptable proposal for the longer term?

JR

Jason Robinson Sat 24 Aug 2013 7:28PM

@nickdowson we have before agreed that votes are passed on majority, not total concensus - which would be impossible to achieve in any larger community.

What you propose will be what will happen if 'abstain' wins :)

G

groovehunter Sat 24 Aug 2013 7:47PM

thx for explaining @goob You were forced into quick action because of... have the crowdfunding started in time of the anniversary or what?

G

goob Sat 24 Aug 2013 7:48PM

@jasonrobinson I'm afraid I don't have access to social media accounts, just the DHQ account in Diaspora. I'd rather let @seantilleycommunit make such an important 'official' announcement such as this one.

G

goob Sat 24 Aug 2013 7:50PM

@groovehunter see Maxwell's message that started this discussion - he was planning to start the crowdfunding on Monday, in two days' time. I believe we need some form of community consensus before taking such action, as has been our practice over the past 12 months. This is why the need for a quick vote.

JR

Jason Robinson Sat 24 Aug 2013 7:51PM

@goob I meant the DHQ account - really only a link here would be enough to tell people there is a vote ongoing. We have nothing to announce yet :)

@seantilleycommunit - could you post something? Would be nice to get a large mandate for this.

N

Nick Sun 25 Aug 2013 1:52PM

@jasonrobinson - actually I don't think this community is so big that it would be difficult to achieve consensus, I've used consensus decision making in far more difficult circumstances.
Actually, I am aware that the agreement was not to use consensus, but I still think it's a desirable thing to aim for - rather than alienating people.

MS

maxwell salzberg Sun 25 Aug 2013 10:38PM

ok, so it is fair to say everyone thinks the FSSN is a good idea. Shall we include it in the announcement tomorrow?

JR

Jason Robinson Mon 26 Aug 2013 7:58AM

Yeah I think it's safe to say the FSSN is a go (yay!) but the crowd-funding not (nay :'-( )

@maxwellsalzberg do you have an announcement ready? Would you like to put it here somewhere just if someone has some opinions about it?

D

diasp_eu Mon 26 Aug 2013 10:03AM

Maybe off topic but we need a blog at https://diasporafoundation.org/ for announcements

T

Torsti Mon 26 Aug 2013 10:49AM

Once the FSSN process gets going we could start a new discussion on a possible crowdfunding campaing in the (near?) future. Opinion and discussion were diverse, but time for planning and agreement too scarce. Besides, then there'd be no need to overload Abstain in the voting.

G

goob Mon 26 Aug 2013 2:22PM

@maxwellsalzberg the vote finishes tomorrow morning 11am GMT, probably before you get up in the States.

As there's not a single vote yet against transfer to FSSN, it looks safe to include that, and we'll know the result of the vote on crowd-funding in time for any announcements tomorrow.

RS

Raphael Sofaer Mon 26 Aug 2013 5:37PM

@maxwellsalzberg Yes, we definitely have consensus in favor of the FSSN transfer.

F

Flaburgan Tue 27 Aug 2013 8:45PM

About the donation, let's simply put the button and say "hey, you can give us money if you want!" and see what happens.