Tue 18 Feb 2014 2:50PM

Funding (from donations) and the diaspora* project

G goob Public Seen by 52

Diaspora now has the ability to accept donations, under the non-profit umbrella of the FSSN.

It would be useful to discuss two things:

  1. How should we use any funds raised from donations?
  2. Should we actively seek to raise funds from donations, and if so how should we go about this?

We should consider all ideas and think about medium-term strategy for fund-raising, but also to think of simple, manageable first steps we could take both in raising and using funds (assuming we agree to do both of these things).

This discussion concerns funding raised from donations given by people who want to support the project. Other ways of making money, such as building money-making schemes into the Diaspora app itself, are not within the scope of this discussion.


smdm Tue 18 Feb 2014 2:59PM

Hi Guys, I'd propose this:
We could make money via trust-affiliates and the model I propose now is mainly using WordPress, but it needs social features, which we could unite for and deliver.

I'd love to contribute and I can create leancanvas for now, after gathering all comments (leancanvas.com)


[deactivated account] Tue 18 Feb 2014 3:03PM

@svetlinad My oh my that was a quick response :)

@goob I'd suggest the answer to number 2 is contained within the answer to number 1.

There's no point fund raising if we have nothing on which to spend the raised funds.

Some objectives need to be set first. Once the objectives of D* are set then we'll know if we need funds in order to meet our objectives :)


smdm Tue 18 Feb 2014 3:23PM

Hi Rich, maybe I should explain it better.

The model I propose allows every single decentralized profile to be monetized via:
1) knowledge-sharing(blogging, audio podcasts, video lessons)
2) selling services
3) selling nice content(pics etc)

How it would work initially: every profile will affiliate with brands which he/she trusts and likes using. See the model of Pat Flynn(smartpassiveincome.com) or Leo Babautta: http://zenhabits.net/conduct/
In brief: there is no need of ads any more if you generate massive trust. You 'personal directory' with recommendations monetizes.

How we could use that for Diaspora:
1) Uniting with WordPress and creating social plugins for WordPress, like personal directory one
2) Donating for paid features/buying paid plugins/fund paid developments like Business Intelligence ones

Let me know what do you think.
I'd appreciate your comments.


[deactivated account] Tue 18 Feb 2014 3:32PM

Donation money could be used for promotion of d* and for maintenance of diasporafoundation.org.

Since coding is done voluntary I don't think funding is needed for actual development of diaspora (?).


goob Tue 18 Feb 2014 3:37PM

I don't like at all the idea of 'partnering' with commercial organisations to 'monetize' (one of the most horrid of neologisms) the product or the project - and in any case, for a FOSS project, this is surely problematic. In my opinion, such partnering, e.g. Firefox's with Google, may bring in cash, but the detrimental effects almost always outweigh any benefits to the project.

Raising money through things outside of the product/project itself, e.g. branded stickers, T-shirts, mugs etc, is a different matter, but one of the most refreshing things about diaspora* is that it isn't monetised, which is extremely refreshing when most websites are cash generators in one form or another.


goob Tue 18 Feb 2014 3:39PM

Itai, coding doesn't have to be done on a voluntary basis - one reason it has been so far is because the project hasn't had money to give to developers. (The original core team were, of course, paid.) We could consider means of rewarding developers who wanted to be paid for their work.


[deactivated account] Tue 18 Feb 2014 3:50PM

Goob, it may become somewhat complex to reward coding with money. Would we say something like: $1000 for implementing a chat? How this would be decided? I'm all for motivating coding and improving d* but I'm not sure money is the solution.

Raising money through things outside of the product/project itself, e.g. branded stickers, T-shirts, mugs etc, is a different matter, but one of the most refreshing things about diaspora* is that it isn’t monetised, which is extremely refreshing when most websites are cash generators in one form or another.

Totally agree!


Steffen van Bergerem Tue 18 Feb 2014 3:56PM

@itai We could decide something like that via Loomio.


goob Tue 18 Feb 2014 4:29PM

@itai, that's what this discussion is for! To discuss ideas, to see whether we want to raise funds and if so, how we would use them.


Sean Tilley Tue 18 Feb 2014 6:43PM

Honestly, I think it'd be nice to sponsor some Ruby engineers that can work on all the lower-level federation pieces and possibly some big features, such as chat or groups.


smdm Tue 18 Feb 2014 8:58PM

@goob WordPress is under GPLv2 license from the FSF - http://wordpress.org/about/license/, so we can extend it without any commercial partnerships.

We should implement revenue model for the content creators, and they will allow us to scale the remaining things.

If we need to outline a strategy, we should focus first on the main problems we have to resolve. Let's make a SWOT analysis.
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
What I see for Diaspora is:

- public recognition from the big medias
- considered as the most popular
- large community (how many people? countries? demography?)
- initial funding of $XXX (how much exactly?)
- donors of $XX and XX active sponsors? (any public information?)
- how many volunteers? with what qualification?

- No revenue model
- Insufficiency of business know-how
- Insufficiency of devs and tech architects as volunteers (am I right?)

- aggregating experience from working models(the Pat Flynn one, etc)
- research social models, which would bring engagement
- partnering with like-minded businesses, sharing the same values, for iterating some models(like MindJet.com, strategyzer.com, leancanvas.com, or people who want to use Diaspora for commercial purposes)

- not scaling on time and losing any engagement from the content creators
- bugs
- security vulnerabilities

Add/ comment on any of the facts explained above and I'd create leancanvas at the end and will unite all the ideas we have in single document.

Best Regards,


[deactivated account] Tue 18 Feb 2014 8:59PM

What are the current aims of Diaspora?

I've been all over diasporafoundation.org and the wiki, but I can't seem to find our current aims listed anywhere?


goob Tue 18 Feb 2014 9:39PM

Rich, do you want to start a Loomio discussion on that topic?


Ryuno-Ki Tue 18 Feb 2014 10:04PM


goob Thu 20 Feb 2014 11:33PM

I have edited the discussion context to make clear that this discussion concerns what to do with donations given to the project by people who want to support it, and not other money-making schemes. Apologies for any confusion.


smdm Fri 21 Feb 2014 7:47AM

Thank you!