"Crowdfunding" for Joomla

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"Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by sozzled » Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:12 pm

The matter of how to obtain revenue for Joomla development and, thereby, use those funds to remunerate the otherwise-voluntary nature of how the project comes together has been something in the news over the past couple of months.

I don't know whether financial incentives will improve the amount of work or the quality of that work. That's a matter for debate but, in my view, the financial incentives would have to be on a par with, say, the salary levels that operate in successful businesses. In other words, one would have to be talking in terms of millions of dollars.

Whether these levels could be achieved is something we can only speculate about at this time. And, if those levels can be reached, will it result in a lift in the output and quality of work? I really don't know.

Joomla is open-source; there's nothing about "open source" that suggests people should be entitled to all the benefits of products or services obtainable through that source without having to pay for some of them. For a more thoughts on this, I recommend a really good read suggested to us by @mbabker, viz. https://steemit.com/opensource/@crell/o ... e-is-awful.

In another forum post here, Quo vadis, Joomla?, I offered a couple of practical ideas about leveraging the forum that would yield two [positive] outcomes:

1) Use the forum to provide a small income stream, the funds from which could be applied to other activities managed under the auspices of OSM; and

2) To eliminate the waste (and the efforts required by forum moderators to manage the garbage collection) generated by forum spammers.

I have no problem paying a modest annual subscription fee to use the forum. I don't think anyone would have a problem with that unless, perhaps, the EFT collection procedure could not operate in the countries where members of the community live. Even if people only had one question about Joomla, and it cost a dollar or two in order to create a forum account to ask that question, regardless of whether that question was answerable (or answered in a timely manner), it would demonstrate that the Joomla! forum remains the #1 place to obtain up-to-date, relevant, practical advice.

Spammers/obvious time-wasters (as a general rule) won't spend a cent to join a forum to post "Buy the best **spam** product here" knowing that they're wasting their money. We read a lot of how-can-I-prevent-forum-spam topics on this (and other) forums and, speaking from years of experience, when you require someone to pay up-front for the privilege of being able to post on a forum, the subscription model is probably the most effective counter-spam method available.

The likely yield from using a forum membership subscription scheme? Based on a $1 to join and $1 per year membership, I've modelled the potential yearly income would raise maybe as much as four thousand dollars in the first year (after deducting EFT transaction fees and administration costs) and possibly three thousand dollars per year after that. It's not a lot of money but it would lessen the forum moderators task in spam-reduction housekeeping.

I don't like the idea of pay-per-download licensing charges (or worse, pay-per-site-update charges) because I think, this would lead to a black market in software distribution.

In conclusion, while I can't think of a way to raise millions of dollars for Joomla, I think the ideas I've mentioned here and elsewhere would not cause riots within the community if they were implemented. What do you think?

**UPDATE**: I have created a straw poll here: https://twitter.com/sozzled2904/status/ ... 5894123520
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Re: "Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by Webdongle » Sun Jul 14, 2019 10:10 am

Nope, can't afford it. I will use it without paying financially and 'pay back' by giving my time freely by posting answers in the forum.

Another model. Charge to download Joomla and give it free to us volunteers who don't charge for helping. That way you have revenue to pay those who want/need to charge for developing/testing and an incentive for those who freely give their time.

It would require a change in licence for Joomla and a BIG change in direction. Perhaps some devs could fork Joomla (take some volunteers with them) and start up a company?
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Re: "Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by mbabker » Sun Jul 14, 2019 3:42 pm

I don't know how you crowdfund Joomla as a project. Yes, the entire project has funding needs and until the OSM board sorts out this whole foundation thing its ability to solicit "major" donations is limited, but without having tangible benefits outside of a "thank you for your sponsorship/donation" (which may very well be enough for a number of individuals, but organizations typically want some kind of return on investment), I'm not sure how you get things going in this area. Also, a lot of the project's income generating capabilities are limited by what the people in "control" will allow at any given time. For those unaware, the elephant is the mascot of PHP, and over the course of the last decade there have been a lot of PHP elephant stuffed toys created featuring the branding of various conferences, companies, and PHP based projects. Someone had proposed to create one for Joomla, and it was an idea that had a lot of support from leadership at the time, but the idea was basically killed by one person because they felt that no external entity should be able to profit from the Joomla branding (even though most of the profit was to be given to OSM, the producer was going to keep enough to either cover their expenses or generate a minimal profit, I forget the specifics, but apparently that was too much for one person and their disagreement managed to convince everyone to not see that effort through).

Individual contributors have tried getting their work on core code contributions crowdfunded in the past with varying degrees of success. Chris Davenport attempted to have his work on building a webservices infrastructure for core crowdfunded with no luck. Hannes Papenberg got his work on the routing code in core crowdfunded, but even with it being funded, there was a lot of resistance from within core to accept it (part of the reason I took on the 3.8 release is because I wanted to ensure that work finally landed in core because I felt it was a move in the right direction). So, I don't think individual contributors (or even small groups) could lead their own crowdfunding efforts without the project's support.

One thing I think the project has failed miserably at is getting sponsorship for various sprints. In the past, there have been project hosted/coordinated sprints focusing on the core code, documentation, marketing, work on the JED, a security focused code sprint, and effort to improve the automated testing coverage. From my memory, the only sprint that has had any kind of direct sponsorship was the automated testing sprint where 1and1 Hosting covered the lodging expenses. Even if that money doesn't go directly to the contributors, if the project did more to get sprints at least 75% covered through sponsorship it would enable the project to do more to bring contributors together to focus on core (project wide, not just the code) work (and there is a slight benefit of the project "rewarding" contributors with a most-expenses covered travel package (food, lodging and travel for the sprint) and in a lot of cases I know people have opted to include an extra day or two of extra time out of their own pocket to stay in the area for their own personal vacation time), the only downside here is it still requires the contributor to take time away from their paid work).

I don't know the legalities behind it (and maybe the foundation thing helps with it), but perhaps there is a reason the project itself does not organize crowdfunding efforts and distribute funds raised toward those efforts to the contributors. But if there were a way to make it work, it would be a step in the right direction if the project opened its own Patreon account or created its own crowdfunding/donation platform. At first, it would probably only sustain a small number of hours for "routine" work (i.e. give George 2-3 hours of paid time to work on 4.0 related tasks, such as merging forward the latest changes from 3.9), but as the account gets funded it could potentially cover larger blocks of time for a greater number of contributors (i.e. the marketing team could cover 50 hours of work on material for the 4.0 release). Again though, for a lot of larger payments, the individual or organization is going to want some kind of return on investment for their money, so part of coming up with a solution to this problem is also finding ways of saying "thank you" in ways that are appropriate. Things like "if you contribute X per month, you gain access to a special forum area for dedicated support from an 'accredited' support person" are a good idea if you work out the logistics of it all (what's that minimum, how are the "accredited" support people selected (this would be a way to give a kick back to people like @Webdongle or @sozzled or a handful of the others who are consistently answering support posts), and whatever other quirks would need to be worked out to make this one task work).

I do understand there are a lot of people who believe in "free" software being "free" in every sense of the term (the software is available for free, the work on the software is free, etc. etc.), and I do believe that can work at a small scale for a short period of time (I still release small software packages for various platforms I work with for free, and I contribute to some free OSS packages on my work time as those packages are core to the work I do). I don't believe that is a sustainable model for a mass distributed software for a long period of time, and I honestly feel that Joomla is an absolute anomaly in the fact it has survived on this model for as long as it has. So, one of the biggest challenges overall is finding sustainable ways of the project generating income dedicated toward compensating contributors for key tasks without alienating those who want nothing to do with any type of paid model in the project, and I have no idea how you pull that one off.

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Re: "Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by Webdongle » Sun Jul 14, 2019 5:39 pm

Not sure that I would be comfortable with a 'kick back. For one thing it would make me feel obliged to help. Another reason would be that so long as I can download/use the software without paying then I am happy giving my time freely to help.

With the way things are (more complicated) then perhaps it is time for Joomla to become commercial with regular paid devs. Whether or not that could be done and still have Joomla downloaded at no charge ... I am not sure.

What is becoming more and more clear is that .... things internet related are becoming so complicated that some kind of job/career orientated system needs to be initiated. It is (for many reasons) no longer viable to develop and maintain software without regular financial compensation. But if Joomla is to remain free to download then where is the money to come from to pay regular wages?

I for one would be happy to help for free while the devs are getting paid so long as I did not have to pay to download and use Joomla. I would be miffed if there was a paid Joomla download and a free 'lite' version.
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Re: "Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by sozzled » Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:27 pm

Thanks, @mbabker. I agree with your opinion.

I started this topic because I was tired of seeing repetitious urgings posted on the forum over the past few weeks—impractical ideas such as using pay-per-download or pay-per-update models that, in my view, were never going to to fly—about the long-term financial sustainability of the project. So, to test the water even with a very modest proposal (and not one that I believed would be truly sustainable), I created an online poll at Twitter https://twitter.com/sozzled2904/status/ ... 5894123520. I honestly did not expect much of a response but there's still most of a week to go before the poll closes. ;)

I'm surprised that people cannot afford a modest cost impost, to spend one dollar per year for a forum membership subscription, to give them the right to post messages on the forum. One dollar per year; not one dollar per post. I wasn't suggesting that the right to read what's on the forum would require any payment at all. Even that modest idea seems to be a bridge too far. Oh well.

As I've written, there are a handful people—I am not one of them—who advocate for some payment to use some of services provided by Joomla's websites. It seems to me that these people are keen to continue to push their advocacy as long as they shouldn't have to fork out any money themselves. It was for that reason that I created this topic as a test of the sincerity of people who can suggest a proposal and be willing to commit to it; skin-in-the-game, if you like.

I think @Webdongle and I agree that (as a part-"summary" of the situation):
Webdongle wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 5:39 pm
... if Joomla is to remain free to download [while at the same time paying those who build and maintain it,] then where is the money to come from to pay ... wages?
There's also the corollary condition known as "deep pockets/short arms", I guess. ;)

I feel that any discussion about Joomla paid/"full" vs. Joomla free/"lite" is off-topic here. I still remember how the community fractured over the futile Molajo experiment.

Best wishes and thanks.

I can be called upon to donate a few dollars to a community fundraiser (whether it's for a local charity or for things like Wikipedia and Joomla).
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Re: "Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by sozzled » Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:51 pm

I started this discussion because I do not believe that any attempts to levy any fees on the community are viable. I cannot prove my belief beyond doubt and I don't think anyone can disprove my belief, either, at this time; it's just a matter of faith. I was not serious about levying an annual forum subscription fee of, say, one dollar per year. It was a "litmus test" idea to see how far things might go.

For completeness, I created a straw poll on Twitter one week ago. The poll has closed and the results are in. Three votes received: two to one against the idea of having an annual forum subscription fee.

This doesn't tell us anything other than people don't care enough to vote; they don't even care enough to have an opinion. Sure, people will complain when things are bad for them. It's natural for people to complain. It doesn't matter how one views the world, people will find a reason to complain. It's possible that people will complain about me. Who knows (and, frankly, I don't really care)?

For all the grandstanding about finding buckets of cash to pay the volunteers who give their time to develop, test and release the source code, payments for writing documentation and other essays about products and services, pay-backs for forum help (not to mention the countless others who run the organisation and the user groups around the world), all this grandstanding about "payments" is just blowing in the wind.

In conclusion, this discussion has resolved for me that debates about financial (or in-kind) "compensation" and "career opportunities", etc. won't disappear. These debates will bubble away for brief moments and that's fine; that's what a forum is about.
Last edited by toivo on Sun Jul 21, 2019 5:36 am, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: mod note: marked unresolved on request

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Re: "Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by darb » Thu Aug 29, 2019 8:32 am

An idea could be to add a campaign email system for companies that would like to advertise their products & services to all registered Joomla users. Joomla could use ACYmailing and I don’t mind get email one time per day from offers and would also click on these offers to help Joomla get some money stream.
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Re: "Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by Webdongle » Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:30 am

darb wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 8:32 am
An idea could be to add a campaign email system for companies that would like to advertise their products & services to all registered Joomla users. ...
NO WAY
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Re: "Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by gws » Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:57 am

Who within the project is responsible for finance? I haven't seen any published accounts for a long time.

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Re: "Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by darb » Thu Aug 29, 2019 2:47 pm

gws wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:57 am
Who within the project is responsible for finance? I haven't seen any published accounts for a long time.
OSM ? https://volunteers.joomla.org/board-of- ... st-22-2019
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Re: "Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by gws » Thu Aug 29, 2019 3:31 pm

Thanks Darb. I have been with joomla since it forked from Mambo, I know the names of most of the devs and have met a couple of them but the names of the board members are completely unknown to me.

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Re: "Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by sozzled » Thu Aug 29, 2019 8:05 pm

Thank you, @darb, for posting your idea. Like @Webdongle, I don't think this one will fly.

These are my reasons for respectfully disagreeing with you:

1) Although some email campaigns may achieve some monetary success, I think that the success will be minor and the costs of running the one you propose will outweigh the benefit.

2) While some people may welcome email campaigns, I don't think the majority of people pay them much attention. People only respond to email campaigns when they believe that they're able to make a difference. Most people who use this forum are not interested in the big picture: most people are only interested in discussing one or two matters that are of immediate concern to them and they ignore everything else that may be posted on the forum. This discussion topic is a good example of what I mean; a tiny handful of the hundreds of thousands of forum users have made a contribution to this discussion.

3) Email campaigns, especially when people did not ask to be part of them, are usually seen as nuisances—as sources of spam, if we want to be more blunt. The forum is often misused as a target for nuisance-makers; I would not want people to think that it might become a source of nuisance.

4) Email campaigns are OK when they are short-lived exercises. If we're discussing a long-term means of generating revenue for the J! project then I think people will tire of receiving emails fairly quickly. I suggested an annual membership renewal as a means of continuing to obtain revenue in the long-term. I think that people would be reasonably OK with receiving a reminder once a year (and not once a week) but I will leave that for others to debate.

5) As @Webdongle mentioned "kick-back" earlier, I would also observe that if J! utilised a "brand-X" newsletter system (and, thereby "kick-back" some promotion to the developers of that "brand-X" newsletter system) what about the "also-rans" (the developers of other newsletter systems that may feel marginalised because J! used the product from one of their competitors)? So, I think we would need to be cautious about using the newsletter system proposed in your earlier post.

6) While I may not be as blunt as @Webdongle was in responding to you in the way that he did, I don't believe that a fund-raising newsletter proposal will achieve the kind of monetary gains that some people may hope for.

I hope that my comments help.

Again, thank you, @darb, for sharing your views. 8)
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Re: "Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by darb » Fri Aug 30, 2019 5:51 am

Sozzeled agree on you that "a an annual membership renewal" also could be an income source for Joomla and that people join to pay a small amount to post in the forum for example.

That will taka a way also Wordpress spammers coming here with obsolete discussions etc. I see though that you didn't get the economical maths and purpose by campaigning email system.

I would open an email every week all year around to support Joomla that way and as other mails you got if its good service/products it could be valuable. Using Joomlas own ACYmailing instead of MailChimp ( that cost much money when you have large sending lists etc) you can also earn good money that could be very useful for Joomla long time survival.
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Re: "Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by Webdongle » Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:47 am

darb wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 5:51 am
... "a an annual membership renewal" also could be an income source for Joomla and that people join to pay a small amount to post in the forum for example. ...
I for one would not pay to post help on the forum.
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Re: "Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by darb » Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:16 am

Webdongle wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:47 am
darb wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 5:51 am
... "a an annual membership renewal" also could be an income source for Joomla and that people join to pay a small amount to post in the forum for example. ...
I for one would not pay to post help on the forum.
Sometimes you get help and sometimes you help others, its sharing and caring. And this is seen a a spam protection also and kind of small donation to run the forum for Joomla in my view.
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Re: "Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by abernyte » Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:45 pm

I suspect that an email campaign would fall foul of EU Data Protection Law ( not an issue for sozzled admittedly, but a problem none the less)

Pay to use the forum also comes with a legal burden too. If I am charged a subscription then I have a legal expectation in what I receive. Should advice that I receive should be of "merchantable quality" and not cause harm to my system? Do I have redress if harm is caused, and against whom?
I am only pondering here but taking money at the door does change many things.

Like you all, I too have followed and participated since Mambo and I am probably still here because I am an idealist, rosy eyed romantic, unrealistic airhead - delete as appropriate, and find that the principle that we can deliver and support Joomla, free of any upfront financial cost to the many who can't afford it and to those that can, is uplifting and the "right thing to do".

Joomla needs a white knight with deep pockets. Is the world so short of philanthropy now?
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Re: "Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by Webdongle » Fri Aug 30, 2019 5:06 pm

abernyte wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:45 pm
...
Pay to use the forum also comes with a legal burden too. If I am charged a subscription then I have a legal expectation in what I receive. Should advice that I receive should be of "merchantable quality" and not cause harm to my system? Do I have redress if harm is caused, and against whom?...
Would that also apply to https://tip4commit.com/
http://www.weblinksonline.co.uk/
https://www.weblinksonline.co.uk/updating-joomla.html
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Re: "Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by sozzled » Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:13 pm

Thank you, @abernyte, for your contribution.

"Merchantability"—or implied warranty of the advice posted on this forum, if you would like to interpret it that way—is an interesting thought but it would be difficult for someone to claim redress under consumer law when we remember a few things:

(a) the material posted on this forum comes from volunteers and not from some company that stands behind everything written here;
(b) Joomla is not a company that actually sells anything (people can challenge that in court if they wish);
(c) there's nothing "official" about this forum: people are free to use it or not use it as they wish.
(d) there is no official support for Joomla anywhere.

The current terms applying to forum registration are as follows:
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As you can see, there's nothing in these terms that holds anyone liable under consumer law as a consequence of using the forum and then finding their own business somehow compromised as a result of using the forum.

As far as all forum users are legally bound by the abovementioned terms of use, it probably means that the operators of the forum may report breaches of international conventions to relevant law enforcement agencies, particularly in relation to criminal matters. That's a very different matter to consumer law or civil litigation.

I'm sure the OSM legal people can review the terms of use, if some payment to use the forum was involved, but I don't think that would be a show-stopper in itself.

It's like subscribing to a magazine. If you want to read the magazine then you have to buy it. Certainly, if the magazine is defective (e.g. pages are torn from it), the buyer might be able to exchange it for another one or get their money back (I guess). But, seriously, joining an internet discussion forum doesn't have a "money-back-if-not-100%-satisfied" condition.
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Re: "Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by abernyte » Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:03 pm

Ah...Terms and Conditions....doesn't the internet love them. Not worth the pixels they are made from, window dressing to scare the punters.
I should refer you to the case of Donohue V Stevenson 1932 better known as the snail in the bottle case.
https://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKHL/1932/100.html
or TLDR;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donoghue_v_Stevenson

It is basically about establishing a duty of care in provision of any service and key thing is, the snail never existed! But hey...smart lawyers are good at T and Cs.
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Re: "Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by sozzled » Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:21 pm

*heh-heh-heh* @abernyte.

I have a short story to tell you all about yesterday.

Forty-three new forum accounts were created yesterday. Ten of those accounts were subsequently banned for forum abuse. That's nearly one-quarter of all new accounts created yesterday. There may have been other accounts—registered recently (in the past few days)—that were also banned; I don't know.

As I always do, I spent much of my day looking at what was posted on the forum and reported more that a dozen forum posts for various reasons. However, in the early hours of yesterday morning, my keyboard "died"; completely useless, it was! So, I had to replace it (just so that I could indulge in my 'net activities). Not counting my travel expenses—motor vehicle fuel costs amounting to about three dollars—I bought a new keyboard/mouse combo for $137. Together with home heating costs, furnishing myself to copious quantities of coffee, etc., yesterday I spent over $140 mostly for the purpose of using this forum. That's just my cost to volunteer my time on the forum.

While some people may not feel that my contribution to the forum is worthy of anything, it's my choice to pay my own way to use the forum.
https://www.kuneze.com/blog
“If you think I’m wrong then say, ‘I think you’re wrong.’ If you say ‘You’re wrong!’, how do you know?” :)

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Re: "Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by mandville » Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:24 pm

Couldn't you use OSK ? And you forgot to factor in the clothes cost while working on the forums. :-[
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Re: "Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by sozzled » Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:28 pm

I deliberately won't use OSK because the cat would then be responsible for 50% of what I wrote.
https://www.kuneze.com/blog
“If you think I’m wrong then say, ‘I think you’re wrong.’ If you say ‘You’re wrong!’, how do you know?” :)

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Re: "Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by Webdongle » Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:31 pm

sozzled wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:28 pm
... because the cat would then be responsible for 50% of what I wrote.
Is 'the cat' code for grog?
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https://www.weblinksonline.co.uk/updating-joomla.html
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Re: "Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by sozzled » Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:45 pm

Why we don't use OSK
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
https://www.kuneze.com/blog
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Re: "Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by mandville » Sat Aug 31, 2019 12:12 pm

Using an On Screen Keyboard is a great cat deterent.
I suppose you pay her for browsing the forum in catnip
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Re: "Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by darb » Wed Sep 18, 2019 11:45 am

See this small user sponsor & donation page for Linux Mint and maybe that could be used for Joomla in some form too? https://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=3795
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Re: "Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by darb » Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:28 am

@ sozzled these are ideas also never took of but you see that I also contribute to try to get Joomla moving forward.

viewtopic.php?t=366687

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=294970&hilit=+Joomla+hero
Success in the long run Its not about the code its about the people and community that's make it!
Its not what you say its what you do that matters!

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Re: "Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by sozzled » Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:32 am

:)
https://www.kuneze.com/blog
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Re: "Crowdfunding" for Joomla

Post by darb » Mon Sep 23, 2019 11:05 am

There are some good read for OpenSource model & reflection from Dries the Drupal founder Maker, Taker etc check his recent post about it https://dri.es/balancing-makers-and-tak ... pen-source
Success in the long run Its not about the code its about the people and community that's make it!
Its not what you say its what you do that matters!

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