Subject: Re: Returns to service professionals
From: Brian Bartholomew <>
Date: Mon, 5 Jul 1999 02:23:40 -0400

> Perhaps the pool of volunteer/charity programming talent is a
> commons which can be overgrazed.

| Afraid not.  Not unless it's slave labor with no choice about what
| it works on, or too stupid to have its own opinions about what's
| worth doing.

Don't you feel you are reputiating the control users have over
volunteer producers too strongly?

Suppose a ruthless software user tried to motivate a student volunteer
to produce more than they cared to, by saying such things as: "Don't
study for your finals!  The release is much more important!".  This
might work in the short term, but eventually burn the student out, and
sour them on volunteering forever after.

Wouldn't the accuracy of a commons model for this situation be in
proportion to the relative strength of control the users have to
overdrive the producers?

The "rational" volunteer would reject the attempted overwork
immediately, preserving whatever workload they find fun.  However, I
think a lot of actual people don't have this skill.  Instead, they
expect the volunteermaster to be "reasonable".  If the volunteermaster
tries for maximum output regardless of fun, people let themselves be
overworked, then they quit.

A member of the League for Programming Freedom (LPF)
Brian Bartholomew - - - Working Version, Cambridge, MA