"As before, due to burnout and other obligations this roadmap has no timelines."
- #MailPile developer
It's always sad to hear that people working on the commons are struggling with #burnout. I know what that's like. I've been running on low-energy, post-burnout mode since about 2014 or so. It sucks. It's exasperating to struggle through what ought to be sime tasks and not knowing when (if ever) I will get my mojo back.
People are saying the burnout is about a lack of funding but I'm not so sure. Maybe in some cases. But I suspect it has more to do with the increasingly stressful (even toxic) experience of being in the community. The culture wars for example. But also a massive increase in users getting involved (which is good) but being pushy and demanding instead of collaborative and diplomatic.
People running commons projects are asking their users/ audiences to buy them a coffee once a month, and fair enough. We deserve that. It's so little, right? But imagine if you tried to give that much to every piece of software you use (including all the dependencies), every net service, every blog you read, every activist org you support etc etc. I can now afford to donate a bit (unlike the 20 years I was on welfare), but I'm paralyzed trying to figure out where to start.
I don't believe the problem is a lack of willingness to contribute. It's a) chronic inequality that means most people really can't afford a coffee a month, and b) a lack of transparent, reliable systems for collecting many small donations and distributing them sanely, instead of folks sticking dollar bills in whatever hole in the dyke they happen to see.
Also many people think they *are* contributing by haranguing devs about their particular school of identity politics and whatnot. Don't get me wrong, some great non-coding contributions are made in making free code projects/ services more inclusive etc. But I've seen people in the fediverse going about that in the most toxic ways. I really feel for the lead dev of Mastodon in particular, who seems really well-meaning and cops far more of that than anyone deserves.
As a non-coder who tries to be a helpful user and support rather than demand (hopefully I succeed more often than I fail), I feel like there's a need to for users to organize ourselves, and train ourselves in how to file useful bug reports, help efficiently with triage, make feature or UI requests and take part in roadmap planning more diplomatically and in the right place for a project's workflow (eg the user support forums instead of the bug tracker) etc etc.
I still think the #OpenEnterprise Governance Model has a lot of useful insights to offer about how such a structure can work for both users and devs (or creators and audience in a non-code commons):