The new pling-system: How can we improve it?

Open letter to all readers

Hello fellow-artists and users,

Opendesktop had decided that we need to improve the way the artists are rewarded for their products.
By the end of may next year (2019) it hopes to get a substantial amount of ‘contributors’ (people who are ready to sponsor at least 15$). Those contributors can give ‘plings’ to reward the products they like. The artists then receive financial encentives according to those plings.

While I was initially opposed to the idea, I think the only way forward is to embrace it, try to make it work, give Opendesktop at least a chance to implement ( and adjust if necessary) a new pling system.

Crucial is the number of contributors. The more contributors, the more the plings become evenly spread and the more each artist gets the necessary attention.

So this tread is about how we can actively improve this site to gain more contributors
Any idea, suggestion, criticism, thoughts are welcome.

So to start off, here are my suggestions:

On the level of Opendesk-site:

  • Advertise becoming a contributor (and show the benifits) when people register
  • Show an advert in between the latest-list
  • Show an advert (but like it is part of the text) on every description page of a product.
  • show an advert when people want to download something.

Crucial on the advert is that it doesn’t look like an advert, people are apt on this and are quick in learning how to overlook these. So each advert should look more personal, and not always have the same look or text.

  • lower the minimum-price to become a contributor (5$?), this might help switching people’s mind…

  • make it possible to pling the artists themselves, not only their products.

On the level of the contributors:

  • With each pling I give I post a positive comment why I like their product and thus have rewarded them with a pling. (Everyone likes to hear how good they are !) and then ask them if they want to join the contributors.

  • With each pling you take away (yes you can de-pling) post a comment on why you do that and make suggestions to improve their product with the promis to re-reward them. So, positive criticism !

So these are my ideas on the matter, please feel free to add or comment…

@x-varlesh-x, @Shenron, @elbullazul,@Rokin05,@charliehenson

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Every few weeks another surprise haha. After reading most of the comments in the blog and forum I think it is indeed necessary to advertise becoming a contributor as Paul says, however where and when should be analyzed very well by a specialist like a user experience designer in my opinion. (Apparently don’t know if there’s one in the OpenDesktop team). Although the opt-in at sign up is a good place to start and at least at downloading. This is how most platforms do it anyways, why not copy working mechanisms, no need to reinvent the wheel on such basic stuff.

The contribution could actually be a select list of various amounts. If one only wants to help creators but not really do much on openDesktop it could be a small amount and if I am a creator and want to give back to the platform, their team, their effort and all the other creators, it could be a bigger one. Also I would like to be able to contribute again from time to time. I did some quality work, people liked it, openDesktop gave me money for it, I want to give part of it back into the system, not only once. Easy as that. Actually you could think about a rewarding system based on how much money one contributes to opendesktop. This could even include physical items depending on the amount.

The following is a teamwork advice if I would be working with @opendesktop on this site: Now that money has come into play to a platform that was seen as free and on donation basis have the team gather information, insight, and impressions on how similar web services gain money during two or three days (or more). Some that instantly come into mind for me are:

  • PayPal (is completely monetary to begin with but in their early days were largely seen as free payment service when in reality they gain a bunch of money on a tax basis)
  • The Noun Project (Heavily advertised opt-in for donations and now is forcing sign up to download anything)
  • Pexels Stock Fotos (Heavily advertises donations on product views and download)
  • About any other free stock source

Some of these mechanisms may work or may not apply at all (since this is a linux component platform) but as a team I would like to analyze this thoroughly and pick the best appliances and methods of implementation on that basis. Also the front end of the site really needs to be polished design wise. Make this thing attractive! Someone also mentioned to look for investors. Apparently this is a business decision and probably linked to multiple regulations and issues but it could be a path?

Also in my very humble opinion I wouldn’t mind a tax from your end at all. Although I suppose that would just be digital play from your end not really helping your finances. I do mind the PayPal tax, but hey,…that’s how things work, right?
As others already do, I doubt that there will be enough contributors to sustain the idea behind this implementation as it is and sincerely hope that you can work out a way that generates profit for everybody.

Hi, not sure if this is off topic, but I have a suggestion (from one of my comments on the blog):

For years Opendesktop was just a place to upload contents for our Linux desktops so the aim was just “make it available for installation through GHNS”. Now Opendesktop behaves more like a platform for original content creators, that is great, but what should we do if we just want for example (CC-BY) wallpapers to be available for GHNS users? If there will be a checkbox to disable plings by-product I would use it for the products I would like to keep on Opendesktop (and I have permissions to do so) but without plings because it isn’t my original content.

Hi Alex,

for this there will also be an option in the future to credit original artwork / mark derivatives and then share any income with the author(s).

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Hi, at first I just wanted to share my developments I never expected money but I want to say something: before Plings my contributions were irregular and few, once Plings started I have a reason to develop frequently, when I saw the new donation system I generate some uncertainty in my mind because of:

  1. Before the Plings there were the donations to Paypal and in 6 years I only received a donation for 5 dollars, and I see it reflected in the new system as I will go from ~80 dollars to ~9 per month.

  2. I would receive the same money for a Wallpaper made in 40 minutes as for an update of an icon set ( I spend between 4 and 8 hours for each icon, it only takes me about a week to create 10 additional icons).

I think one way to improve the Plings system is to take these points into account and also to keep in mind the ranking, score, amount of downloads of the products for the Pling-Factor.

I support you guys and hope this update will give us better results. :slight_smile:

Hi wfpaisa,
thanks for your input.

If the outcome of supporter plings in one year would be equivalent of your $5 dollar donation in 6 years, we would certainly reconsider the model.

The thing is, up to now only 3 new contributors (after actively pushing them) joined us, all of which have products on Opendesktop. So, at this rate, we are no where at getting enough paying contributors to make it work, let alone enough outside-contributors to justify the new pling-system having an impact.
The second problem is perception: we ask money. So people’s intitial reaction (certainly within the linux community) is that Opendesktop is trying to get money out of (what essentially is) free software. If you ask for contribution on a download-section we are bound to get negative response. No matter what our good intentions
are (the purpose is to get vested quality-check) it will still be perceived as a pay-wall. And if you can get it elsewhere they will simply ignore Opendesktop. So you might end up with a non-working pling-system and a good reputation gone…
And finally, I feel @wfpaisa is right when he says that the plings do not follow the amount of work you put in. For example the number 2 in the dowload-top (Gnome -OSC) is downloaded 14450 times in the last 15 days. Which thus generates 144,5 dollar with the old system. In the new system it has so far earned 5 plings. So, the payout is… 5 dollar. This is peanuts. Not enough to justify continuing the effort to maintain it. You can not simply put all the products on the same level. This is unfair for those who spend allot more time on it, themes, icon-themes,… require much more investment than a simple wallpaper.

How is this supposed to work after 1 week?
Do you expect to open a patreon account and start with 150 supporters right away?
Before we start repeating the already stated obvious, how about just sitting back, relax and wait for let’s say 6 months and then take a look at numbers? Otherwise unreasonable expectations might also have some chance to turn into self-fullfilling prophecies.

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