Reverse bounties: how do we fund development through Steemit of different apps and features?
I've been doing a bit of work on @jesta's #steempress stand along blog tool that grabs posts from the steem blockchain and lets you power a separate website with it (see the Github repo for more info).
I've been involved in #opensource and how to fund developers -- as well as let users pay for / request features -- for many years. The concept of a bounty system -- a user of a system saying "I will pay $50 to have this bug fixed" or "I will pay $100 for a new feature" -- is well understood. But there are several problems with this, most revolving around non technical users not knowing if something is hard or easy, or even if it fits into the design of a system overall. As a user, you might not also know if throwing money into a pot would make something get built.
I came up with the term "reverse bounty" to indicate the case when someone technical and familiar with a system, and often an author of the system itself, could propose a scoped feature that they know is doable, and know approximately how much time they need to dedicate to get an initial version done. You can read about me proposing the first $500 reverse bounty on Drupal.org back in 2005.
I've written up a couple of steemit-feature items, but really, there isn't anything I can do unless more people pay attention to these tags AND if there is at least some limited coordination with the core steemit team. I can make the changes, but I can't get them into the core system without their approval. Ideally, they would also take votes into consideration for code changes, but maybe my code is crappy, or maybe it doesn't fit with the vision of the site as they see it.
It would be great if every steem app developer and code contributor could get paid a little bit directly by everyone that uses their code. How does @jesta get invented up front to write more code? More interestingly, how do I as a "third party" developer -- whose code may or not be merged into @jesta's "main" #steempress code -- get incented to write code and features?
We need to be able to surface bounties on different topics within the steemit website so this stuff even has a chance to be seen. Then we can post specific features and see what people care about. But we're probably going to have to invest a whole bunch of time up front before we get something that people really want. Do we really have to go to the length of having Kickstarter-sized campaigns in order to raise a few hundred dollars?
I feel like I've got nothing but question marks at this point. In the spirit of open source, I'm happy to tinker on some code and release it to the community, building on top of @jesta's stuff. But I only have time here and there from day job paid work to really dig into it.
Luckily, @jesta is open to it so far :), so experimenting with this on steempress makes sense.
For anyone that is a developer, how would you want to get compensated for building code?
Do you want to see dollars raised BEFORE you build something?
What is a reasonable amount of money to ask for as a developer "reverse bounty"?
How big would a user bounty need to be to be interesting?
As I said in the comments on jesta's theme bounty, I think my "price" for porting existing themes would be about $100. It's probably something I don't want to do long term, but it would be enough incentive for me to get them done. I'd much rather teach some real designers how to do the pretty basic porting and original theme making. How do I get paid for documentation?!?
For potential Steempress users, what features or themes do you want to see? How much would you pay?
What would you personally "throw into the pot" to see something get built? Would this mean sending ETH or BTC separately?
What would make you feel confident that a developer would deliver on building an app or feature that you want?
And/or what mechanisms do we have on Steemit.com so you can take proceeds from a post to contribute to a bounty? Or is it something that you just want developers to write up suggested features, and you'll vote them up to contribute money that way?
Thanks for reading
This ended up kind of long and rambling. It's an area I've worked a lot on during my involvement in open source, so I'm fascinated how the addition of the steem crypto + rewards system changes the interactions with code and features.
If anyone needs help getting their steempress system up and running -- or wants me to set it up for them on Heroku -- leave a comment. We need more users :)
If you want to read a bit more about money + open source, specific to when I was involved in the Drupal community, you can read this longer piece by me on the concept of a Drupal app store. I think this quote from the article is also relevant to the Steem / Steemit ecosystem:
Everyone that uses Drupal to do paid work should have a costing model and internal policy that includes donating to the maintainers of every contributed module that they use on every site.