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I am working under the (I think reasonable assumption) that if your thing actually manages to become popular then you can either share governance and costs with a committee of interested parties or actually justify a subscriber model - possibly semi-voluntary style like patreon.

Neither helps in the short-term (say in the case of getting popular from a viral post where not living up to the momentum can mean losing out on the users), and while shared governance can work in a case where all parties have the same goal and are deep-pocketed, it has many risks when it comes to creative control and the user privacy/monetization scale. (What if someone had privately offered one of the MUD staff $500,000 to collect 'anonymous' data from users?)

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