For the past 8 years I've been contributing to a number of open-source projects. I like the way their communities are bonded and it's my way of saying "thanks" to the people that help build the tools that I use to make my living. I daily spend 2-3 hours of my time trying to find solutions to other people's problems and improve those tools.

With WPMU though I'm a bit puzzled. I had a discussion with a co-worker today so I will just relay what he said to me.
In my opinion, WPMU is a company that sells code and yet has managed to build a solid community of people paying a substantial amount of money to use it's products. The "motivation" for most of the people in this community is getting a life-time membership for free. There are of course those that simply like helping others and feel good about it.
It's quite ingenious and simple, yet it might discourage some people from contributing. Like my friend who told me

why contribute when you pay for it? They have to do do it for you. Why should you work if they are the ones to get paid from the work that you do?

I don't agree with this opinion 'cause it's still my belief that I should help improve the tools that I use at my own work.

Anyway, it did puzzle me for a few minutes and thought of sharing this. What do you think?

  • thoward

    I often contribute when I can and usually when I'm waiting for help myself. I don't spend a lot of time here but I like to help when I can. I also think this forum and the other professionals on here are faster at providing support than a more formal process that only allowed WPMUDev staff to help. Without the rest of the community helping it would be difficult to get the help I've needed when I've needed it. That would greatly diminish the value of my membership here.

    This forum also greatly impacts the plugins developed and the features of those plugins. Just take the Ultimate Branding plugin recently released. It was originally only for multisite installations. It was this forum that influenced the developers to add support for single site installations too.

    So, you don't have to participate, but doing so actually increases your value proposition and what you get for your money - not the other way around.

    Just my .02 :slight_smile:

  • Mark Wallace

    Everybody is here for their own reasons; some get pleasure from helping, one man said he paid for membership just to interact in the forums, some come because they want to learn, some because they are too lazy to learn, and other it’s just to grab and run. If you really think about it, the plugins don’t do you any good without the support; and the support alone is worth the price. So really we each have to decide what we want out of it, and like any community we also need to help people to the best of our ability. For some of us that means we need to learn how to interact and communicate to make the staffs job easier, and some of us need to increase our knowledge to help out other members, and some need to provide the skills they have to try and make the community stronger. So if you can develop; then develop. If you can teach; then teach. If you can only take, then provide the financial support that lets the others do their part, nut most of all be nice to one another. So if all you can do is complain; then get married. lol

  • aecnu

    Greetings aristath and Everyone else too :slight_smile:

    Thank you everyone for your valuable perspectives, appreciated comments, and probable/possible individual motivations.

    They are so great with insight that there is nothing more that I could possibly add to this except to thank all of you for being WPMU Dev Members and for sharing your individual personalities, contributions, and individualism to our very unique community here at WPMU Dev - we could not do it without you.

    My hat is off to all of you.

    Cheers, Joe

  • aristath

    @aecnu I love the simplicity of some of your tools (particularly MarketPress) and they really do help me make my living.
    That's why If you could look at my screen right now, you would see that I'm at a coding fever trying to find a way to make things better. If anything that I find is worth sharing I will of course share and contribute.

    But one has to admit that there is a certain point to what I was told today. And while I was thinking about it, this came up: What about having a "developer's" licence at a very reduced price? Valid only if the person that purchases it contributes of course. That would possibly improve the way some people see your company, and it could result in some really nice product improvements too!

    Though I'm not too proud of it, I admit that before buying your products, I searched and found a torrent containing all of them. I downloaded them, tried them out, saw the way they were written, liked them and then purchased them. So I don't think that a dev licence would really do much harm when it comes to sales... Let's not fool ourselves, if someone wants to get them for free, they will. And that's not a bad thing... I would never have bought them if I haven't tried them out first!
    So I'm just throwing an idea here... dev licences for devs that contribute.

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