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Reader Survey: Should Ruby Inside Make Money for the Community?

By Peter Cooper / December 16, 2006

Given the audience that Ruby Inside has, I think there's a potential for us to make some big changes in the Ruby world. I propose accepting some advertising and sponsorship on Ruby Inside, and in return I will publicly disclose the amounts and give all of the money back (minus any forced costs, such as tax) to the Ruby community as donation to Ruby-related projects, offered as bounties, and/or pay for even better articles and tutorials. Rest assured, it will not be money that will sit in a big pot waiting for decisions to be made. The choice of where the money will go will be influenced by Ruby Inside readers, naturally.

Of course, you may be totally against the idea of having advertising / sponsorships and other 'commercial' things on Ruby Inside. If so, you can have your say too! Below is a poll so I can gauge the general opinion of the readership.. so do vote (if voting does not work from the feed, come to the post page itself and vote with your Web browser).

polls Do you support Ruby Inside making money to give to Ruby-related causes / projects?
Yes, totally
Yes, if it's very subtle
No, I'd rather donate myself
No, I'm against the idea

Counters provided by Easy-Poll.com

Comments

  1. Michael Gorsuch says:

    I think it's a great idea, and I'm sure you'll be able to manage it just fine.

  2. James H says:

    Definitely. Running this site costs you money, and I think some projects could genuinely use a buck or two to keep things moving forward. Go for it. I think "On Ruby" mentioned having community "bug days" (see http://on-ruby.blogspot.com/2006/12/parrot-bug-day-how-about-one-for-ruby.html). I'm down with those too.

  3. Pat Eyler says:

    Peter,
    I think this is a great idea. I'm all for energizing Ruby and Ruby related projects.

    James,
    thanks for the good words about the bug days. I think we're close to having one set up for rubinius. More word as soon as I can.

  4. evan says:

    I am dubious of how much relatively small amounts of money can drive any particular accomplishment. It's poor motivation compared to simply caring about an open source project for its own sake.

    How has this worked out in other communities?

  5. Peter Cooper says:

    Evan: The only example I personally know of is the Perl Foundation. They are giving away larger sums, even up to salary level for really hot developers, but the money seems to do some good. Of course, there have been lots of 'bounty' schemes in various languages over the years. I think that as long as money flows, a lot can happen.. it's when it piles up and no-one can decide what to do with it that 'bad things' happen.

    I think money can sometimes be the 'tipping point' for projects. I think the donations to Rubinius will do a great deal of good. I feel people are more likely to actually deliver a workable final result if they know other people are waiting for it (especially if they donated) rather than just making it 'good enough' for their own use. There are a lot of 'good enough' libraries out there, but perhaps even a little money can convince some developers to spend a little time on the spit and polish?

    All that aside, I don't know what else could be done with the money. I'm rather against leaving money on the table, since if you can make money ethically, you should.. there's always a use for it even if it's just giving it to charity. I don't need the money at this time, otherwise I'd keep it. Of course, I could still keep the money and just spend it on content for the site, etc.

    I certainly want people to chime in on this though :)

  6. Dr Nic says:

    I am also happy with you keeping the money for yourself. This is a wonderful aggregation/editorial service on Ruby news.

  7. Erik Ostrom says:

    'Subtle' makes me think of product placement, and other advertising techniques that aren't obviously advertising. I hope you mean something like 'unobtrusive'....

  8. Oron Adam says:

    What's wrong with keeping the money to yourself, To pay costs and also make a dollar or two. You are working hard to make this a great read for us all. Does Ruby really need the help?

  9. allen says:

    Absolutely and if it makes the site better, be as crassly commercial as necessary.

    I get two to three worthwhile links out this site every week which puts the site among a select few. I can stand a couple of ads for that service and, who knows? the ads might prove useful occasionally to me. I assume they'll be ads that are geared toward the audience that hits this blog so I might find something of value in them. I say do it.

  10. evan says:

    Sounds good.

    Maybe the best thing to do would be for you to just occasionally send a couple hundred dollars to a developer you think is doing really good work, in support of a particular project. That shows great respect to the developer because you aren't asking for anything, merely showing your appreciation, and there's no reason to get bogged down in a community voting/decision making scheme over stuff like this.

  11. dejan dimic says:

    First of all it is up to you what kind of engagement Ruby Inside should have in concern with the advertising, donation and sponsorship money.
    It is up to us to find the information that we like and if Rails Inside is not up to ours standards we will go somewhere else.
    Personally, I believe that transformation of goods from advertising to general welfare is a right thing to do.
    As long as you keep up the good work I will stand by you.

  12. Vasudev Ram says:

    Yes, I think it's quite a good idea. (Would prefer the ads not to be intrusive though - particularly not the popup kind that obscures the editorial content). Also agree with your point about making money ethically (from your content via ads, sponsorship or any other way) - nothing wrong with it - plenty of people, including me, use AdSense on their sites, also see GigaOm. And, while its nice that you're asking the community for opinions about how to use the money, I agree with some of the other commenters, that it might be a good idea for you to make the final decision - its your site after all. Getting content/articles by others is a good idea too - I'd be interested to contribute. And, of course, your content is very good ... thanks for it.

    - Vasudev Ram
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    http://www.dancingbison.com - biz site
    jugad.livejournal.com - blog
    sourceforge.net/projects/xtopdf - open source PDF creation toolkit
    dancingbison.blogspot.com - newer blog
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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