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Nadia Eghbal

Nadia Eghbal

The Twitch argument for GitHub Sponsors

Nadia Eghbal thinks GitHub Sponsors might be more like Twitch than it is like Patreon.

Twitch streamers and, similarly I think, GitHub open source developers, benefit from an additional set of motivations, which is, “I want to watch and learn from you”. A graphic artist or a blogger who’s funded on Patreon doesn’t quite have that same relationship to their audience. In those cases, I think their output – the artifacts they create – takes center stage.

She also thinks this dynamic might indicate that individual sponsorships will succeed despite enterprises being “where the money’s at”. I don’t know how this all will play out, but I do know it’ll be interesting!

Nadia Eghbal

Making money with licenses

Nadia Eghbal, on the role of licenses in open source funding:

I’m skeptical that new licenses are the right approach on a systemic level, both in terms of feasibility, as well as where I think the world is going. I’ll tackle each of these concerns separately.

I tend to agree with her take on the Right Way™️ to be thinking about it:

I’m more interested in solutions that aim to capture value on the production, rather than consumption side. While everyone is focused on putting up tollbooths, opportunities to “price” maintainer attention, and access to maintainers, remain undervalued.

There are issues with this as well. For one, buying access to maintainers is a proxy for buying influence over the project’s direction. This isn’t a guarantee, but it’s definitely a concern and could negatively impact other users.

That being said, I think production-side monetization in the world of open source is a winning strategy over consumption-side monetization. What do you think?

Nadia Eghbal

User support systems in open source

As with any research Nadia Eghbal shares, this is a deep dive into understanding the user support systems present in today’s open source. It’s very detailed, highly researched, and more importantly it’s actionable.

Here’s a sample of Nadia’s closing remarks:

I barely scratched the surface on user support systems: there’s a gold mine of data waiting to be played with. I’d love to see more research on how support communities form and maintain themselves (particularly Stack Overflow, mailing lists, forums, and synchronous chat).

Why do some have only one or two answerers, while others have many? Does the growth of these communities mirror that of the code contributor community? Implicitly, a deeper understanding of support communities would help validate the growth model and hub-and-spokes model presented above.

Nadia Eghbal

Methodologies for measuring project health

How do we know whether an open source project is doing well? Number of contributors? Number of users? Number of appearances on The Changelog*? Nadia’s been researching these things:

A lot of people are interested in measuring the health and velocity of open source projects. After digging through the current research landscape, I’d like to summarize the most common approaches I’ve seen, and my conclusions here.

One conclusion she’s come to is that our current methods aren’t cutting the mustard. Find out why and what some of her suggestions for improvement are in this excellent piece.

*yes of course that’s a joke

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