“A hunter that is worth his salt does not catch game because he sets his traps, or because he knows the hunting routines of his prey, but because he himself has no routines. This is his advantage. He is not at all like the animals he is after, fixed by heavy routines and predictable quirks; he is free, fluid, unpredictable.”
Carlos Castaneda

Journey to Ixtlan

Please Let Me Tip WorPress Plugin Developers

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As I was working on the mockup screens shown below, this post by Frank Chimero appeared and inspired me.

I am grateful for WordPress – it has been a friend to me in times of change. One of the things that make WordPress so great is the prolific Plugin repository. At the present there are 18 active plugins in my (this) WordPress website. I’d like to show my gratitude to all these plugin developers by giving something back – the most obvious way to do this is by making a donation. Once, when I was getting started with WordPress I made one donation to a plugin that greatly empowered me. I don’t make donations anymore, and from what I’ve read about the dynamics of the community, not  many people do.

I asked myself why and I thought that (1) Money isn’t one of my current assets – I have very little of it; (2) If I were to make one donation, which to which plugin should I make it? I wouldn’t know how to choose;(3) My symbolic donation doesn’t feel like much (and I have a feeling that even when they are summed up small donations don’t amount to much).

But… I would gladly give a small sum periodically,something like $10 a year to the developer community if it was easy to do and if there was a good chance that others did too. Assuming there are 10 million WordPress.org blogs, and that only 2% of them made a similar donation, that would amount to $2,000,000 of donations distributed among plugin developers. Now that feels like something that could give a tremendous boost to WordPress and it’s community.

With that in mind I began thinking of a plugin. Before I present the plugin I would like to emphasize that the plugin itself is not enough. After the introduction of the plugin I will touch on the complementary challenges that may be required for this plugin to work… on to the show (click on the images to zoom in).

In it’s simple form the plugin should enable me to make a donation that is distributed to the plugins that I use on my WordPress installation. By default the sum would be distributed equally between all the plugins.

But if I wanted to get more involved I could choose to prioritize the plugins – indicating those that are more valuable to me and in doing that allocate more funds to them.

The plugin would enable me to review the accumulated effect I’ve had – by reviewing my past donations.

Finally, the plugin would enable me to experience the overall effect my small donation is a part-of. It would show me how the entire ecosystem is functioning – hopefully enabling me to feel proud to be a part of this.

It may be useful to have a reminder feature that appears once a year on the dashboard, inviting me to make another donation.

I believe that this plugin needs to be backed by a service that:

  1. Can accept the donations.
  2. Can aggregate the donations and information and calculate total donations to Plugin developers.
  3. Can distribute aggregated payments to the plugin developers
  4. Can provide a secure registration serice for Plugin developers (maybe this can be coupled with the registration process in the Plugin repository?)

Maybe the recently formed WordPress Foundation can support this activity?

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