Also, I never seriously expected donations for this project because I don't work much on it these days apart from cleaning up spam from time to time, complying with legal notices and occasional maintenance. I added a donation button only to see if someone would use it. Apart from covering hosting cost, I think an important side effect of the donations is that it provides some additional motivation to continue working on the project and develop it further which I indeed plan to do as soon as I can find the time for it.
Or 1200% YoY growth!
(VCs please form an orderly queue...)
In my experience, this additional overhead comes with hosting a live service that allows user-generated content. Other types of projects where the tool is run offline or where the users take the tool and host it themselves are fine.
It would be trivial for you to also put a PayPal address, which seems safer for one-off donations.
You might also be tempted to put BTC/ETH addresses but I doubt there's many donors that way.
One could cut out the middle man, but at the same time, it's a prettier interface to look at specifically made for the purpose of donations.
I'd assume economists are a significant portion of them ???
Economists are not generally mathematicians, any more than physicists are. I draw that analogy intentionally because in both cases there are subsets of the areas where the lines get a little bit fuzzy and individuals are doing a bit of both.
Second to your question. The shortest answer is that mathematicians create mathematics.
There are significant distinctions in how they typically think about world (e.g. discrete vs continuous) or what motivates/justifies the work (i.e. pure vs. applied) but underlying it all at the core is the act of creation, and of understanding those creations and how they relate to other things.
Many non-mathematicians use some mathematics routinely as a means to an end, but for mathematicians it is much of the end itself.
A couple of people have commented on the ways in which it is like art, and aesthetics is important. Hardy said "Beauty is the first test: there is no permanent place in the world for ugly mathematics." , and I can't think of mathematician who would disagree. Applied mathematicians tend to take motivation from a problem from somewhere else, but also value aesthetics of the solution.
People (like economists) who add/subtract/multiply/divide _numbers_ are doing arithmetic.
Mathematics is _rarely_ concerned with "numbers" as such - they deal in "truth" and "systems" and "logic" and "patterns".
A related story from http://www.ams.org/notices/200410/fea-grothendieck-part2.pdf quoted below:
> There is also a running joke that mathematicians tend to be bad at mental calculations. The story about Grothendieck prime comes to my mind: In a mathematical conversation, someone suggested to Grothendieck that they should consider a particular prime number. "You mean an actual number?" Grothendieck asked. The other person replied, yes, an actual prime number. Grothendieck suggested, "All right, take 57."
Mathematics is a bit like art. There is no functional purpose to art, people just do it for the sake of itself, and for the intellectual stimulation. Likewise, mathematics deals with building theory on top of previous theory, with no real purpose other than for the sake of building theory and getting intellectual stimulation.
Think of this: Where did that previous theory come from? It was built on top of previous theory, etc. Mathematics is pretty much a never-ending stack of things built on top of each other for the sake of building things on top of each other.
Every now and then (quite often actually), there is some really useful stuff that can be done with this enormous stack of theory, with applications in practical fields like computer science or engineering. In fact the computer was invented as a result of a lot of merely theoretical contemplations about the nature of logic. But for a "pure" mathematicians, the applications are not the main focus of mathematics. For a forum like HN where a lot of folks are driven by doing stuff, this idea might seem rather strange, but it is the same motivation that drives artists and probably many other things.
Then there's of course the applied mathematicians who try to use everything they know about math to work on some real-world problem. Theoretical computer science is often a good example, where we build algorithms that try to improve performance for some practical problem by using mathematical insights into the properties of the problem. But there's also less applied computer science, where algorithms are built merely because they are interesting or beautiful or whatever, and then maybe someone finds a need to apply them, or not.
For those without any formal education in mathematics, here's a little problem that will help you understand what a mathematical proof actually is: Consider some set S containing some elements (anything really, just some stuff). For any elements a, b in S, we define an operation: a + b yields some other element of S (+ here is just a symbol, not necessarily addition). The operation + has only the following properties:
- (0) a + b is another element of S
- (1) For any c in S, we have (a + b) + c = a + (b + c)
- (2) There exists a special element in S, written as 0, such that a + 0 = a, for any a in S
Solution: This structure (a set with an associative operation and a neutral element) is called a monoid. We are proving that the neutral element of a monoid is both "left-neutral" and "right-neutral". The proof proceeds as follows:
By (1), we have 0' + 0 = 0', but also 0' + 0 = by our assumption of 0. Hence 0' + 0 = 0' = 0, which was to be shown.
This solution is fairly straightforward. The next step is to try your hand at something a little more complicated: Define a second operation (-a) which takes an element of S and returns an element of S called the inverse of a, with the property that a + (-a) = (-a) + a = 0, for any a in S. Prove that (-(-a)) = a.
And everyone else kind of just gets normal jobs in the private sector. I think a lot of quants come from PhD mathematics
The mathematician was tasked with calculating the areas of manhattan that would be hit during stormy weather and give a rough estimation of the required drainage for the water to seep away.
That's the rough details, can't remember exactly. However, it always struck me as a job where the "mathematician as a job" fit really well.
A mathematician would have proved for all cities and terrain topologies there's a critical viscosity of liquid above which it is impossible to effectively drain them, along with an estimate of the lower bound of that viscosity.
By the way, this spam filter is one of the things I want to fix when I resume work on this project again. Currently, it blacklists IP addresses whereas ideally it should be blocking certain type of content only.
Since then, I've embraced receiving donations and last year I ended up receiving more than 10.000 euro. (2)
I (re)donate everything to charity, for reasons (3), but even then it's a great motivator. If it wasn't for the money I would have burned out long ago. It really means a lot when people show their support in such a tangible way.
I recommend everyone to both accept donations, and donate to others.
Personally, every purchase of my software feels rewarding. It's probably not as great as a regular donation, but it's a close second. Furthermore, since my software is pay-what-you-want (with a minimum of $5) people have been often giving more than the minimum. That really feels like a donation.
It is "donation" of a undetermined amount which is a much harder thing for me to clear the bean counters.
So by being able to go to a site, it buy now with a fixed price, and (I presume getting a receipt) you likey having gotten much more income than if you where to have a "donate to me" link with a open ended amount...
People think it needs a shitload of extra functionality, when in reality it just needs some minimal perks and a tag with a LARGE price written on it.
Besides voluntary contributions I want to see maintainers refusing to take feature requests and help requests from non-sponsors. Security issues and bugs are always welcome, of course, but it would be interesting to force people to pay for maintainers’ time and attention.
Would also be nice to promote sponsorship as marketing-companies spend tons of money on marketing, and visibly supporting important projects is a great way to do it.
Or the other case. I have created many pull requests in the past which had been only a few lines to fix an existing bug but they did never merge it. Sometimes i received notifications for years from other people asking why it is not meged and they had to fork (and maintain) it to fix this bug. Just saying here are 50$ if you merge it would be a life-saver. No more maintaining a fork just to fix a bug which is not a priority of the owner who prefers adding more and more features.
My point is open source does not need to be free work from the maintainer. A platform like github could change the game by allowing people to get a small payment for what they are doing. But not like their actual plan by just giving them money, i want to connect it to a "problem" to solve (resolve issue, add feature, merge pr, ...)
It lets you crowdfund bounties for outstanding issues on a repo. And whoever resolves the issue earns the bounty.
It felt so good that I went ahead and create a wallet and he donated me some fractional BTC. It wasn't much at that time but it motivated me a lot.
Since then, the project that I've been working on opened publicly for donations in November. We're going to hit 1,000 donations today, with ~$13,000 and close to ~$600/m recurring .
It's a massive motivator to keep going. The "thank you" messages and financial contributions have turned my time spent contributing to open source into probably my most emotionally fulfilling experience.
I left a donation - thanks for all of your effort!
(Project on which I received donation: https://github.com/mockoon/mockoon)
I don't know how many times I've heard variants of this. "You can't monetize open source because companies won't pay for it." It's not that hard to get them to support the project if you sell something that's not available for free. It could be as simple as selling a special version of the documentation for $25. That's obviously not at the same level as dropping a $5000 donation, but it's more than zero, and it's a heck of a lot easier for an employee to ask them to pay $25 for a tool they need to do their work than to ask them to donate $5000.
I got my first GitHub Sponsor the other day and even though it is just $1 / month it made me feel like a rockstar. Also I got $3 on BuyMeACoffee a few months ago and it was wonderful.
Keep up the good work.
t. another Finn
So you might legally be somewhat limited in what you can write there (like "donate to me SO THAT I can write more code YOU enjoy"), but saying
"Support me / donate to me / Support my work through Ko-Fi"
is entirely fine.
I run a free web service where some users have asked me to set up a donation system but AFAIK it is illegal so I haven't done it. Instead I set up a company and will sell premium accounts with some borderline useless but actual feature that normal accounts don't have, so that it's no longer a donation.
AFAIK, just adding your PayPal details or bank account number to your website would be okay because you would not be making any sort of an appeal.
"Minua voi tukea tämän linkin kautta"
"Lahjoita minulle tämän linkin kautta"
All are acceptable.
And since "lahjoita" is entirely equal to "support" then also
"Tue minua tämän linkin kautta" is entirely fine.
Of course the Finnish justice system is known for being unjust and arbitrary in many cases so your mileage may vary.
I also run a donation based site (which also has ads) and I declare both of these on the form and pay my share of taxes from it. But it is then fully legal money and I can do whatever I like with it from government perspective.
I don't speak any Finnish at all, but if the wording is so important, wouldn't it work if you ask the money to pay for the services cost instead? Not as a donation to yourself. Servers cost, your time costs etc. Could all be counted as an upkeep of the project.
I don't think it's a worthwhile risk to take for Finnish open source developers to accept donations and think it won't be considered illegal by the authorities.
It was only district court but the prosecutor did not seek the court of appeals (which they legally have to do if there's a chance their view might succeed), leaving the precedent.
It's pretty exciting to actually be paid for open source, and helps motivate me to continue developing it, knowing there are users who genuinely care about it out there. Although to be honest, I've found the compliments I've gotten over it more rewarding and motivating than any donations. If the donations significantly increased somehow than I think that might flip, but either way I'm enjoying working on it.
The fact that VSC's core is released under an open source license is irrelevant to the harm that is being done.
All the people you wish would care will scoff, dismiss the comment as being looney and that'll be that.
You have to realize that, unfortunately, in every part of life, marketing matters. Got to make a message your audience will appreciate.
I count the FSF as an exception here, since they provide additional guarantees with their CLA, and it is primarily for enforcement: https://www.gnu.org/licenses/why-assign.html
I wish for people to be informed, not to care. What matters to someone is an individual decision.
VSCodium is recommended as an alternative https://github.com/VSCodium/vscodium
As someone who's primarily a creator, I find it often eye brow raising the kinds of complicated rules which tax authorities create to "level the playing field". Definitely tread carefully.
Do you get in trouble with the Tax Man because you tip your server at a restaurant or gives some spare change to the someone on the street?
Receiving and not reporting? Maybe, depending on local laws and how zealous the tax enforcer is. This probably falls into the category of "Not allowed, but too small to worry about." That works fine, until they decide to audit you for some other reason.
Sure, if the project is successful to the point of receiving significant amounts, having to report it becomes mandatory.
Speaking as someone with an open source project that started due a grant and that I'd love to turn into a full time job: If I were receiving so many donations that it would require me to spend time to report to the tax authorities, I'd put it on the list of "good problems to have".
Whether the revenue came from big sponsorships, support contracts or donations, it certainly would need an accountant anyway.
This maybe unrelated, but something people should give some thought to when considering giving to open source projects. I give yearly to the projects I use, and I hope more people support open source this way.
I'm interested in knowing what options exist, and the various pros and cons. Friction-free micropayments are still (as far as I know) a problem without a universally accepted solution.
I am however confused about how payouts happen with GH Sponsors — I feel like every time I take a look at the sponsors dashboard it says the payout will be next month. Haven’t received one yet.
Emailed him anyway. We'll see.
Not something to be proud of if including the time spent to evolve the project.