Proposal for donation link in Thunderbird 31

Robert Goldman rpgoldman at
Fri Nov 22 20:28:33 UTC 2013

> Message: 2
> Date: Fri, 22 Nov 2013 11:40:53 -0500
> From: Irving Reid <irving at>
> To: tb-planning at
> Subject: Re: Proposal for donation link in Thunderbird 31
> Message-ID: <528F8915.10609 at>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
> I'm concerned about any plan that lets users put $$ on specific bugs. 
> Our biggest hindrance isn't so much money as it is availability of 
> people with both time and expertise to fix even the most pressing issues 
> in our backlog. Per-bug money might attract some time & expertise, but 
> I'd be surprised if it's enough to be sustainable, and it's likely to 
> come with unrealistic expectations.

As a possible contributor, what *are* realistic expectations I should have?

If realistic means "I get no say whatsoever about which bugs get fixed,"
then being realistic is a pretty big disincentive to donation.

If there is a project with a strong "central tendency" that aligns with
my use of the product, then I'm happy to donate to support it.

OTOH, if the volunteers who work on a project aren't interested in the
bugs/features that are critical to my use case, or focus on a particular
platform over another, then I probably won't donate.

If the Thunderbird project is going to be a self-directed volunteer
project, instead of letting contributors vote for bugs, I'd suggest the
donation button should be accompanied by a statement of the volunteers'
priorities.  That would be realistic, honest, and would be likely to
produce a situation where contributors felt good about their
contributions, but might produce a situation where the pool of
contributors was smaller.

Alternatively, if you permit voting on bugs/tickets, then you should
provide some scheme of governance that will honor that voting process.
That might generate many more contributions, but might also lead the
developers in directions they don't want to go.  If, as you say,
person-hours, not money, is the biggest obstacle, this probably won't
work.  But the worst thing would be to permit the donating community to
express its opinions, and then ignore the results.

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