Live Update List of Haskell Foundation Funding

I think you are right, Tony. I bet there are thousands more like you, who would at least contemplate making a regular contribution to the Foundation, if they were asked in the right way; that is, in a way that makes them feel confident that their support was valued, used well, and was genuinely contributing to the health of the Haskell community.

I think there is food for thought for the HF board here. I’d love to hear (from everyone)

  • What would make you feel that the Foundation is a cause that deserves your regular support?

Simon

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  1. HF clearly stating that their primary concern is the language and the community
  2. More funding for open source projects. So far it seems 13k were spent on open source projects. Of course I’m pretty ignorant about how a foundation is run and what the budget is etc. But my primary incentive would be knowing that my money helps open source maintainers. Otherwise, I’d probably rather support them directly via github sponsorships.

Thanks for bringing this up!

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Your hledger seems to have zeroed out individual contributions.

I didn’t want to guess too much, but I have added a guess for this now.

Being one of the individual contributors and a beginner that doesn’t get to use Haskell in production (yet), I think there are definitely several things people have already suggested that would be awesome. Some additional thoughts:

  1. I like the way open collective displays contributions for HLS (https://opencollective.com/haskell-language-server), and it’s really cool how you can see the current balance/budget/expenses as well. I think at least the first part would be nice, as seeing the individual contributions may help others feel like they should also be a part. Right now, it’s just a button that lets you donate through PayPal and we don’t see where the funds go, or who contributed.

  2. Coming from a startup background, I apply similar principles where relevant when thinking about HF - when you’re strapped for cash, money needs to be prioritized efficiently where it has the largest impact toward whatever the foundation’s stated goals are. I echo some of the above in knowing the state of funding, even if not in real-time (e.g. on a quarterly basis).

  3. The links to the monthly updates should be more prominently featured on the homepage, instead of only being discoverable under “News and Info”. I’m not sure exactly where to put it, but just a thought. Right now, I find out about a lot of updates in the Haskell community from the Haskell Weekly newsletter or Discourse sending me weekly digests, not the foundation (which I’m fine with, but it might be harder for others to get a pulse on what’s happening in this ecosystem).

  4. Similar to how YouTubers always tell you to “like and subscribe”, I think we should extend the monthly update template to include a small blurb about how people can contribute financially or get involved in general. You never know how people can find you and we will need to overcommunicate some of these things.

  5. I’m most looking forward to seeing how the Haskell Foundation improves the warts of using Haskell and streamlines more of the onboarding experience so that any newcomer that stumbles onto one of several websites related to Haskell can figure out where to go to actually learn Haskell. I do like that the community leans more into the fact that this is not just a language with different syntax, but actually a different way of thinking about programming. I wish I understood that (or was told how to learn it) way sooner - I kept trying to learn it like I learned other languages, and it took several false starts before I realized that I had to look at this with fresh eyes. I’ve still been unable to convince anyone to learn Haskell except one person, and I am hopeful that the friction to get started will decrease over time. Of course, once people get into Haskell, we will need more resources on how to get it in production :slight_smile: one step at a time!

  6. I’d also love to learn more about the roles of the folks on the board or the folks on payroll. I had no clue that most of the funding was going toward payroll, and that the foundation only had a relatively small amount left over for everything else this year. That also tells me the foundation sees Emily and Andrew as extremely valuable to the success of the foundation (and by extension, the community), but just being frank, I don’t really know what either of them do. I trust that they are doing a lot and are very involved since I see them around Slack or Discourse, but their roles haven’t been clear to a casual observer. The foundation website describes everyone’s background but doesn’t describe what anyone does beyond their title, and I don’t know what their titles mean in this specific context. I can understand that people wear multiple hats and this is probably in flux as needed, but having some sort of baseline to understand what everyone is doing is helpful for bringing confidence to the community, especially since so much of the funding is going to payroll.

  7. Edit: Also echoing some of the above, I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more support toward the community, and more production-ready libraries/tooling!

I love that the Haskell community is a mix of academics, people in industry, passionate hobbyists, and more. It brings some interesting challenges, but I think a lot of the recent changes are good steps forward in terms of making it easier for Haskell to be a practical language that people want to use for their projects that affect society, not only a cool playground for experimentation (although I do love that it is that too).

I know the Haskell Foundation is still very young and everyone’s figuring things out, so I’m excited to see what’s next. I like that everyone is frank and direct about the positive things and the challenges, so looking forward to seeing more of that as well. Working at a small startup that’s very heads-down, I definitely understand some of the challenges around having the discipline, infrastructure, and time available to provide these sorts of updates, but I think it will be good for the short and long-term to get the community more bought in.

I’ve been programming more seriously for a couple years now and Haskell is the first language that’s made me excited about programming in and of itself, not only as a tool to be used for other things. I hope that more people get to experience this over time!

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I agree with this. When I decided to shift my support from individual projects to the HF, I was a little worried about this concern. There are a lot of projects that are critical to the Haskell community, but lack much financial support. I think in an ideal world, the Haskell Foundation can become a force for fixing this. But if HLS investments are too targeted, then it can make things worse. (On the other hand, unless more community members invest, the HF has to stay targeted to have a demonstrable impact, since it’s hard to measure the collective impact of a hundred tiny contributions versus the surrounding noise. It’s a bit of a catch-22, and the tension there makes this a hard choice.)

One thing I’d suggest is that there should be a relatively lightweight process for someone to say, for some fixed x: “x amount of money would help me deliver on these objectives, and (for accountability) I am sponsored by such-and-such long-standing community member who is not me.” The foundation could accept these things on a rolling basis based on an estimate of the value as funds are available, and pay as the work is accepted. Kind of like Summer of Code, but ongoing and open to anyone contributing to the Haskell community. That would be pretty awesome. I wonder if it’s feasible. It’s in some sense an inversion of the technical proposal process. The proposal process looks for things that are so important that the community should work hard to invest in them. This would look for things that would be such a good value that it’s worth a small investment to get it going, even if it fails half the time.

Also:

I think it would be a mistake to look at this as “only 13K of the 314K spending on open source.” Payroll is a big expense, yes, but that payroll is part of the reason for the amount of large dollar donations from corporate sponsors that makes a lot of this spending possible. Someone has to reach out to them, convince them to make the donation, etc. Essentially, payroll pays for itself. There’s also another $58K that is earmarked for spending on GHC, that it seems didn’t make it into the budget section, but it’s still there.

I’d change some things, like I mentioned above. (For another, I don’t see the point of spending so much on a podcast, but I know lots of other people are excited about it.) But everyone will have different opinions. In the end, I guess I just trust the people involved to make good decisions and factor in community feedback.

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Thanks, Simon. You’ve already read this, but for others who haven’t, I wrote up my answer to this question at https://medium.com/geekculture/why-i-support-the-haskell-foundation-1ac3cda1f82f

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Chris I am happy to be among the (too few!) recurring donors, and I became so after reading your post.

HF could definitely do more to promote individual donarions.

With numbers that low for individual donors… It could be that people are largely not yet aware of the possibility of supporting the foundation, perhaps partly because it wasn’t immediately possible to give individual donations when the foundation was first established. It seems this calls for a bit of a media campaign!

@myShoggoth Thanks for the update! It would be a lot more fun to try and help raise the numbers if we could look forward to getting feedback on those numbers on a certain schedule. With the current structure of things…is it reasonable/possible to commit to a release schedule to get further updates? I’m thinking that people could look forward to seeing how progress is being made as the word spreads.

I’ll start a new topic here on Discourse to rally for a “media campaign” to help rectify this. Media Campaign To Let People Know They Can Donate To The Haskell Foundation

I’m also starting a Discourse topic called: Tell Us! Why Did You Donate to the Haskell Foundation? I would love to read more perspectives on this, especially after reading the one cdsmith wrote:
https://medium.com/geekculture/why-i-support-the-haskell-foundation-1ac3cda1f82f

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Thank you all for the great feedback, I am working on changing the monthly update format to have more of the data you’re looking for.

I really like how @cdsmith characterized our spending - the corporate sponsors currently pay for Emily and I to work on this full time, and while a lot of my time is focused on fundraising to ensure that we have the resources to help the community, Emily’s primary focus is on how to make things better.

Now that the Foundation is on sound financial footing and we have budget to work with, we are absolutely looking for ways to put our resources to use to help the community and move Haskell forward. Give us ideas, make proposals, let us know what you feel is important!

I think we have a few ways we can really leverage our resources:

  • Shared community infrastructure (hardware, cloud time, etc.) available for Haskell libraries
  • Contractor time to address deeper issues that are unreasonable for volunteers to work on
  • Direct the GHC support priorities to focus on work that has particularly good downstream benefits

I really like the community grants proposal, but keep in mind that we have budget right now and don’t need to wait if there’s a clear goal and ability to get it done. I think we should have a program like @cdsmith proposes, but I’m just saying we don’t have to wait for it to be approved before looking at proposals.

Finally, I am very happy to list individual HF donors, but as many of you are in this thread I’d like your thoughts: Do you want tiers, exact amounts donated, a listing in financial order, a listing by when you started supporting, or alphabetically? We appreciate you and want others to, as well.

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Some thoughts on some of your comments:

  • for point 3: if the monthly updates are more prominently featured, pointers could be included in Weekly Haskell and Discourse digests (I also find a lot of stuff that way, not visiting the Foundation website regularly)
  • for point 6: listen to Emily’s podcast. I got a lot of insight into the Foundation’s goals and operations from it.

@myShoggoth, re listing donors, there are several related but independent goals:

  1. providing visibility into HF’s finances (amounts and categories, but not necessarily payer/payee names)
  2. providing assurance/public recognition to individual and organisational sponsors
  3. maintaining anonymity/privacy for sponsors who want that

With 3 in mind you probably wouldn’t want to automatically list all names. Well, it’s probably early enough that you could do it now, and going forward there could be a chance to opt out, or at least a warning, in every donation flow (such as the paypal form).

For 1, I know 100% transparency isn’t optimal in all real-world situations but hopefully it’s possible for HF. If so, the more detail the better! I know it gives me a lot of confidence when I see that, and encourages me to be involved (I became a sponsor after seeing your post above).

For 2, names can be published with or without being tied to their (exact) contribution amounts. But publishing the full details is simplest, and not the worst default, IMHO. Best of all from my perspective is a complete journal of all transactions (as with Open Collective), from which all other reports can be generated.

Re community grant mechanisms, Cardano’s Catalyst funding system is another good source of ideas. They do a periodic funding round for some fixed amount, projects submit funding proposals which are discussed and voted on and the ones reaching a certain standard (and fitting the budget) receive the funds they have requested. (Probably over-complex for Haskell right now, but still interesting.)

@tonyalaribe, @aniravi24, @fabfianda and others here, if it works for you, could you please make an entry in:

I believe either an alphabetical list or a tier system is probably best. Listing exact amounts has a number of problems, ranging from the possibility that people feel their privacy is violated to discouraging new donors to contribute at low amounts if there are large donations. I like the Functor/Applicative/Monad tiers, but of course the amounts would need to be adjusted for individuals. Or, to keep the thresholds the same, you could add new tiers (Semigroup? Monoid?) that apply only to individual donations.

I think the easiest solution is best for now unless anyone has strong opinions on this (I don’t). Alphabetical or ordered by longest supporting (with a total count of number of individuals) would be easier to do, right? Maybe if anyone wants to be private, they could have a way to indicate that. I wonder how many people actually mind whether their name is anonymized - I would test that out and see if anyone really wants their name to be hidden completely prior to trying to accommodate for it, assuming we go with the option of listing everyone.

I share the same opinion as @cdsmith that I personally don’t care for whether I am named or not, but I think it would help the rest of the community see that:

  1. It is actually possible to contribute individually
  2. There are other individuals trying to contribute as well, not only companies
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Absolutely. I wasn’t critizising how the money is spent. My idea was rather that I want my donations to be used for a particular purpose.

I’m not sure how feasible that is for small donations, but that would be a requirement for me to consider regular donations.

I think that listing individual donors would be good. It could be alphabetical, by tiers, or simply single vs recurring. Judging from other organizations I donate to, anonymous donations should be possible.

If people would like more control over where their contributions go, perhaps one can direct donations. I think that broad categories, e.g., outreach, documentation, open source, might make more sense than specific projects. And there should be a option for “where most needed”.

Thinking of some of the fund raising campaigns for public radio, etc. perhaps having a matching campaign might encourage donations.

BTW, I have not been an individual donor because until this discussion in the discourse I had no idea I could.

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I would personally welcome if I could do monthly donations to HF via open collective. There people can choose if their donations are visible or not. Also keeping the list of individual donors up to date on HF website might become tedious, especially once there are many small contributors.

To be honest @cdsmith 's blog really struck a chord in me and I wanted to setup some regular monhtly donation. But in the end the combination of my laziness and the fact that I’m donating wouldn’t be visible anywhere left me hesitating.

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We’ve looked into open collective, and there are several hurdles we will need to clear before that’s possible. Having said that, once we do it opens the door to us helping the community there in several ways.

Thank you all for your feedback! I have opened a github issue to list individual donors, and we can start with a simple alphabetical list with some indication of recurrence.

If this is not satisfying, please open another issue and let us know why! I will not consider this the end of the discussion, but rather the beginning.

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An update for those of you interested in this subject, I’ve opened a ticket for the website (https://github.com/haskellfoundation/haskellfoundation.github.io/issues/140) to track adding this data to the HF website.

If you would be interested in working on this, please let me know!

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I’m copying this over from: https://github.com/haskellfoundation/haskellfoundation.github.io/issues/140#issuecomment-948796614

Revealing anything about how much someone donates is questionable to me, including even indicating approximate donation levels, I think we should ask peoples’ permission first before doing that, if we are going to do that. I don’t personally like the idea of that kind of recognition, but I would leave it to others to decide this point (and I’ve heard some people say it would be meaningful to them).

As a separate issue from recognizing donors… As long as names are not associated with amounts, listing the dates of individual donations along with the exact amounts donated should be ok…as long as the name for each donation is not revealed. If names are not given along with the dates and amounts, there is no reason for anyone to oppose that, right?

Having that data be public allows people to check that their donations are being received and properly recorded. If I’m donating $55 on august 3rd and the foundation lists this type of information, but doesn’t include my $55 then I can raise the concern.

Even better we could have a donor ID number or a paypal transaction number or something like that listed along with the date and amount of the donation…so then if there are 3 donations of $55 on a specific date, I can be sure that my $55 is one of them (because I can recognize my own ID number).

(I’m imagining this log to be a separate page on the Haskell Foundation’s website)

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