[FM Discuss] books and fm - need your thoughts!

Joshua Facemyer jfacemyer at gmail.com
Tue Jul 29 20:33:31 PDT 2008

Seth Woodworth wrote:
> This is a potentially very dangerous question.  There is a history of 
> issues being caused between profit-making and pure-volunteers in a 
> massive volunteering project.  I'm not saying that it's an 
> insurmountable problem, but just potentially issue-causing.
Yes, this is exactly why I think that many teams will want to put money 
back into their software projects or booksprints, etc.  I think it's 
best left up to the maintainers to do what's best for the team, and if 
there are complaints they can be made to Adam (for now, until we FM has 
a goliath board of directors for its monstrosity of operations ;) who 
can arbitrate.  But at the outset, it should be made known to all 
contributors who the maintainers are, what responsibilities  and rights 
they have, etc, and that monies collected will be dispursed as they see 
fit.  That way it should mostly be a team issue and not an FM issue.
> My suggestion is to do #3, and ultimately to provide tools, widgets 
> and other support for other retailers.  And *ideally* we would work to 
> find a single benevolent dictator of a retailer that would give money 
> back on a case-to-case basis.
I really don't like this idea at all, since it gives much control away - 
I want to be able to do with my manual that I wrote exactly what I want, 
and if there's someone else heavily involved in that process whose only 
goal is to make a profit, I think it is contrary to what FM really is.  
That's not to say profit-desiring people shouldn't sell the books, but 
to channel all goods sold (and sales decisions made) through them is, 
IMO, a Bad Idea (TM).  Middle-men also mean less profit directly, though 
there is the potential that more sales means more profit.  However, I 
think there's always going to be minimal sales of free software manuals 
so that there is not much benefit to having middle men.

And this also circumvents the problem of self-sufficiency of FM and 
recompense for Adam's work (as well as others, such as Aco).  Since Adam 
will probably not include consideration of himself directly without a 
lot of prompting (he's just a little self-deprecating like that), I'll 
keep at it until the discussion and real consideration of this necessity 
is made.
> Another interesting consideration is that I'm getting paid 
> (hypothetically) for organizing work on the OLPC manual, and I am 
> technically the final responsibility on the project but Anne is very 
> much the one who has the most edits so far.
I don't think there's any realistic way to approach dividing profits 
fairly among people based on statistics.  That's why I think that most 
larger groups (more than 3 or 4 people) would probably choose to 
contribute earnings to the team or the software project.  However, since 
all projects and teams will be unique, that's why I think the decision 
should ultimately be up to the maintainers, with all contributors 
agreeing to this before they contribute.  Maybe it could be an agreement 
clause, though that might also not be in the spirit of FM...but it may 
be necessary.
> It's a complicated question.
Indeed =)


More information about the Discuss mailing list