maintainers ask politely for donations that never come, or when they do come they’re directed to already-popular projects and personalities
I see this problem in open source and also in social movements and activist communities - I suspect it's even broader! These communities tend to use gift economics because capitalist economics doesn't suit their needs: the market value of social activism is generally 0, since it produces a general social benefit rather than a specific one. The market value of free software development is similar. Since the market can't support these efforts, activists and f/oss devs just produce value freely for everyone, and hope that people voluntarily support the producers.
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