I heard some people found my recent tweet about trying to make a living doing open source puzzling:
What if local newspapers/magazines or other traditional local publishers ran/operated/maintained IndieWeb platforms or hubs (similar to micro.blog, Multi-site WordPress installs, or Mastodon instances) to not only publish, aggregate, curate, and disseminate their local area news, but also provided that social media service for their customers?
Reasonable mass hosting can be done for about $2/month which could be bundled in with regular subscription prices of newspapers. This would solve some of the problems that people face with social media presences on services like Facebook and Twitter while simultaneously solving the problem of newspapers and journalistic enterprises owning and managing their own distribution. It would also give a tighter coupling between journalistic enterprises and the communities they serve.
The decentralization of the process here could also serve to prevent the much larger attack surfaces that global systems like Twitter and Facebook represent from being disinformation targets for hostile governments or hate groups. Tighter community involvement could be a side benefit for local discovery, aggregation, and interaction.
Many journalistic groups are already building and/or maintaining their own websites, why not go a half-step further. Additionally many large newspaper conglomerates have recently been building their own custom CMS platforms not only for their own work, but also to sell to other smaller news organizations that may not have the time or technical expertise to manage them.
A similar idea is that of local government doing this sort of building/hosting and Greg McVerry and I have discussed this being done by local libraries. While this is a laudable idea, I think that the alignment of benefits between customers and newspapers as well as the potential competition put into place could be a bigger beneficial benefit to all sides.
With more than a quarter of all readers globally using ad blockers, the news media industry has had to come up with new ways to overcome this, whether it be technically or through new strategies. But as the industry makes the move towards reader revenue strategies, we’re seeing more readers employ...
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With WP Ultimo you will be able to setup a Website as a Service platform, like WordPress.com or Wix.com, in a matter of minutes, not months!
WP Ultimo is a WordPress multisite plugin that allows you to create a network of Premium Sites. Its value proposition is the same as Pro Sites: you can create different subscription tiers and have customers pay you a recurring fee to have a site hosted in your Multisite network. In fact, WP Ultimo was created after I needed a solution for a premium network I was building and found that Pro Sites didn’t quite work for the specific requirements of my project. Instead of trying to adapt Pro Sites, I decided to build my own solution from scratch. This was 2.5 years ago and that codebase is now WP Ultimo.
WordPress is evolving, and so are we, even though it’s hard to see the kids leave home. It’s almost 12 years since Andrew and I launched WPMU DEV Premium as ‘a subscription-based service that offers advanced plugins for WordPress Multi-User’ and I reckon it’s fair to say that, well, it’s been quite the ride. And as of today, we’re taking another corner, guided by you, our members, and bringing all of our focus and efforts to the core services and functionality you care most about when it comes to running a great WordPress site, or two, or a few thousand.
See David Dalka's post "Dear Facebook, Please Return Our Social Networking Space". Tweet
I’m reminded a bit of Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s concept of the Thanksgiving Turkey in The Black Swan.
Spotify is making a major move into podcasts, where it appears to have clear designs to be the sort of Aggregator it cannot be when it comes to music.
I left my job as the second employee at Pinterest–before I vested any of my stock–to turn Gumroad into a billion-dollar company. And…
"Over the years, journalists have innovated narrowly, focusing on how stories look rather than what journalism can do."
"Local news organizations should become a driving force for better online public discourse, because Facebook and Twitter aren’t cutting it."
This idea isn’t too dissimilar to Greg McVerry’s idea of having local libraries allow users to “check” out domain names and pre-built IndieWeb content management systems to use. (Greg, have you fleshed this out on your site somewhere?)
In any case, I’ve outlined a bit about how newspapers and journalistic outlets could use read posts in an IndieWeb way to take more control over their comments sections instead of farming them out to caustic social media platforms that they have no control over. There’s at least one outlet that has begun experimenting with these types of read posts. Some of these ideas (and similar ones on podcasting) might begin to address Marie’s idea about improving online discourse and making a better forum.
I see she’s got a book on the topic entitled Journalism, Online Comments, and the Future of Public Discourse. I’ll have to take a look at it soon.
Fundraising for open source has become trivial through venues like Kickstarter, so it's natural more projects are asking for money. "Imagine all the good I could do if I was able to work on this full time for the benefit of the community". Yes, let's imagine indeed.
Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia
You’re solving the problems for you and your mates, likely in the simplest way you could, so you can get back to whatever you originally intended to do before starting to shave the yak.
But once there is money involved, work will expand to fill the amount raised (to paraphrase Parkinson’s law).
External, expected rewards diminish the intrinsic motivation of the fundraising open-source contributor. It risks transporting a community of peers into a transactional terminal. And that buyer-seller frame detracts from the magic that is peer-collaborators.
Take Ruby on Rails. More than 3,000 people have committed man-decades, maybe even man-centuries, of work for free. Buying all that effort at market rates would have been hundreds of millions of dollars. Who would have been able to afford funding that?
President Lyndon B Johnson signed the Public Broadcasting Act in 1967, which established the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Previously, an independent public broadcaster had been established through grants by the Ford Foundation, but Ford began to withdraw its support. Here's what he said: "It...