tl;dr Why should I support this? See "the spiel" at the bottom. What do I get in return? Registering your unique username before anyone else, but mostly the warm-fuzzy feeling of helping someone actually try to make our mass media slightly less awful. How do I support Aether?
What you get by supporting
- A unique username for yourself that identifies you as a supporter. This is similar to a domain registration — this name is exclusively yours so long as you remain a supporter.
Your name on the supporters list, on the website and on the Github repo.
If you’re a company, your logo on the website, and on the Github repo.
There are some experimental benefits for Patreon supporters as well. (These are experimental, so no commitments). At the time of writing, they are:
- Early access to new releases, exclusive to supporters
- A rough roadmap Trello board for releases, where you can track, and vote for features that are currently on my plate.
- Supporter only updates about what I’m doing, what I will do next, and the general state of the project
- Priority support, and direct access to me for questions, or comments
Reasons you should fund Aether
You consider yourself relatively well-off and you’re thinking about how your money can do the most good in the world, and you’re interested enough that you’ve read this far. I’d offer this as a pretty good bet for that.
You want to support development of a product that tries to fix major, structural problems in our public discourse. Privacy is a basic human right. ‘If you want your privacy, you should not use online mass communication’ is akin to ‘If you don’t want to get lead poisoning, don’t drink water’. Technically true, but not tenable in the real world. It’s on us to build a mass communication method that doesn’t come with a side dish of being monetised down to your gut flora.
Reasons you shouldn’t fund Aether
You’re a student, a new graduate, or on a budget — keep your money, use it for yourself and use your money for good whenever you can. You have my thanks for the consideration. 🙂
You want everything to be perfect and work all the time every time. Aether is a work in progress. It will break. You’re not purchasing a unique username, you are supporting me so that I can build Aether for all of us, and username is just a side benefit.
Ways to support
Support via Patreon
The best way to support Aether is through recurring funding — this is super helpful, because that means I can focus less next month’s budget, and more on product design, development and engineering.
Supporting via cryptocurrencies
Supporting via crypto is temporarily disabled due to ongoing volatility in crypto assets.
If you’re a company
The spiel, or why
I’m building Aether mainly because it needs to exist — a place of Internet’s own, where the massive amount of interesting discussion that’s happening today, right now, can thrive in. We generate the vast majority of the value in these social platforms, yet we’re, as users, always at the ‘guest’ seat, always treated like nothing more than a number, one always replaceable for another. Fundamentally, though, Aether is different: it’s less a faceless corporation (it’s really just me and my imaginary friends, so I have an excuse to speak from the third person) and more of something that should belong to everyone, that needs your feedback to go where it needs to go.
If you’re in the world of technology at all, you’re probably shaking your head right now. Financially speaking, this is a terrible idea. There are two ways to make money with software, you either charge for the software, ideally on a subscription basis. Or you don’t charge anything, pull as many users in as possible, and aim for making the experience terrible enough with ads so as to make people leave, but you stop just short of that. That way, you’ll both maximise the misery with bad ads (which pay the highest), and you can stay there and wait for people to acclimate to the ad load, and go increase the ad load more after a while, which makes you even more money.
I’m doing neither. So… how does this work? I need to eat. I also pay for Aether’s bootstrap nodes. I have my own savings for these, which I was using for the past 8 months while I built the second version from scratch. As of now, Aether is 120.000+ lines of code that I wrote, to give a sense of how much work that has gone into this already. Whenever I run out of my savings, I need to stop, and go get a full time job. This is not a small product, neither it is a side project. This is ambitious. Much trite as it is, I’m trying to make the world a better place, the only way I know how — by making people more free to talk about what they know, and feel.
And that is the point of funding. If you fund me, you will be extending the amount of time I can work on this. It also gives you some sweet benefits, like you can register the unique username (and get the official checkmark) you’ve always wanted but couldn’t get on Twitter — only for supporters. This username is unique and no one else can register it, unlike other names in Aether, where multiple people can have the same name.
But fundamentally, it’s not about perks, it’s about supporting this experiment. At the time I’m writing this, Aether has been running in private beta for about one and a half months, and it does work. But this isn’t about it working — as more people start to use it, it will inevitably break, and I’ll fix it. Then it’ll get 10x more users, it’ll break again there, and I’ll fix it. Again. This is how you build the awesome, the only way to get to good things is through blood, sweat and tears.
Wikipedia wasn’t built in a day. Aether won’t be either. But this is a kernel. It’s up to all of us to keep it well-watered.
I hope you’ll join Aether, supporting or not. You’d be a great fit.