Diaspora*: Not vaporware, not a Nigerian prince
A lot of people still have questions about Diaspora*, so we’d like to take a moment to address some things we’ve been hearing lately:
“What is Diaspora*, and is it vaporware?” Diaspora* is not vaporware. It is a community of social networks running on different machines throughout the web. You can read our open-source code here and download and install the Diaspora* social-networking software on your own machine right now (creating your own “pod”), so you can own your own data. Alternatively, you can simply join one of more than 20 open community pods available at podupti.me. And you can do that right now, no need to wait for our own community pod at http://www.joindiaspora.com. There’s also a misconception that we’re set up like any other social networking company. We’re not. Diaspora* is a 100% volunteer-run and non-commercial organization being created not just by a few of us but rather by an amazing global community of hundreds of thousands of volunteers who donate their time for free because they care as much as we do about owning their own personal data and building a better social web. There are talented hackers like Allison, Brent, Dan, David, Dennis, Gonzalo, Hobbis, Jason Paul, Laci, Praveen, Rosanna, Reilly, Sarah, Sean, and Vittorio, just to name a few, all of whom volunteer their time to design, run Diaspora* community pods, write Diaspora* code, and work on the Diaspora* Foundation website. There are also great community organizers like Eloisa, Goober, Paul, and Silvia who manage the Diaspora* Wiki; Bonnie, Gabriel, Ryan, and others who moderate the Diaspora* Forum; Kevin, who runs Diasporial, our tutorials library; Rich, who runs Diaspora* Chat; Todor, who is a machine at Meetup organizing; Burnman, Pedro, Fran, and many others who spread the word; and so many others donating, translating and providing support to fellow users.
“Do we have to pay to get invites?” No! You definitely don’t have to pay to get invites. We’re a community-run, non-commercial organization, not a Nigeria-based scam email operation. We’ve already put all of your invites on a queue. If you are waiting for a JoinDiaspora invite, please know that you will be receiving your invitation by the end of October, whether you’ve donated or not. When we made the suggestion to invite you sooner if you made a donation, it was because our fellow community members had suggested: “We’re sorry people have to wait so long. Why don’t you just tell them that, if they make a donation, we’ll just send them an invite from our own personal accounts?” Obviously, this message got lost, and we offended some people, and for that we are really sorry.
“How did you spend the $200,000 we gave you on Kickstarter, and why do you need more money?” One person asked via email whether we had spent our crowd-funding on “hookers and blow.” Answer: No. Instead, we invested it into building a cool service with the help of an extraordinary grassroots community the likes of which you won’t find anywhere else online, while living off of $4 burritos, paying for servers and other development costs, and hacking away on awesome stuff for us all to use. We’ve worked 80-100 hours per week since the project started because we care about personal data ownership and building a better social web. We sent our financial statement to past donors recently, and it was widely circulated on the web; here it is in case you haven’t seen it yet. Joe Brockmeier did a great job analyzing it in this RWW piece. We need more money because building an open-source and distributed social web is a lot of work. Our user base has doubled in the last month, and we’re asking for more development resources so we can scale accordingly.
“I can’t donate any money. What can I do to help Diaspora*?” That’s OK. Everyone in Diaspora* contributes what they can to support our efforts. While most social networking sites make you trade away and monetize your privacy to use their product, Diaspora* is just grateful if you can volunteer anything you can, so together we can build a better social web. We’re deeply grateful to all the thousands of you who’ve already contributed in some way.
If you have any other questions, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re always happy to hear from you and answer your questions.