What makes you think this can work?

Population ratio. There aren’t many LBIPs, probably no more than a thousand worldwide. The population of technical people who owe their well-paid jobs and their nice lives in part to what LBIPs do, and know that, is much larger.

Thus, we should be able to spread the LBIP maintenance load across enough donors to make it painless for any individual to do their bit.

In the U.S. alone there are around 7 million people with jobs in the technology sector that are directly dependent on LBIP work. About 160 loadsharers will cover $5K per month basic maintenance for 1 LBIP, implying that the need for loadsharers should start to top out at about 160K. That means we only need less than 3% of U.S. tech workers to become loadsharers to cover the problem.

Why fund individuals rather than projects?

LBIP projects don’t normally have enough legal existence to be funded as projects.

LBIPs tend to have long service lives and to be worth funding whatever they happen to be doing at the moment, so a contribution system that follows LBIPs around rather than being project-focused makes functional sense.

There’s nothing preventing a project from setting up its own creator account on Patreon or SubscribeStar or whatever, and nothing stopping loadsharers from contributing to such project accounts.

Why have advisers at all?

The design includes advisers because if you aren’t already deeply wired into the communities that produce LBIPs, it’s hard to tell who you should support.

Advisors are people who (a) want to help loadsharers with that discovery problem, and (b) have a trust relationship with the Loadsharers network so you will have a reason to trust them.

You are perfectly free to be a loadsharer without paying any attention to our advisers at all - all you need to do is take the pledge and follow up on it. But they are offering you the use of their expertise; if you do so, please reward them with some support.

How do I becomne an adviser?

By persuading one of the existing advisers to link to your page of advice. It’s a decentralized trust network.

There’s a list of advisers on the index page of this site. That list is official, but not exhaustive. It represents the rough conseensus of the advisers about who they are.

We have a page on being a helpful adviser. If you do the things it recommends, you are more likely to be listed.

What remittance methods can I use with Loadsharers?

Anything that can get recurring payments from you to an LBIP is fine: Patreon, SubscribeStar, Liberapay, Paypal’s periodic-payment feature, whatever.

Loadsharers itself is a web of trust relationships among people. It doesn’t care what the transfer methods are.

Why not a centralized Loadsharers website or 501(c)3 nonprofit?

It’s been tried, specifically by the founder of Loadsharers, and failed.

It turns out that recruiting people who are both competent to run an organization like that and able to sustain the effort is really hard.

Also, organizations that handle money have high complexity, overhead, and management costs. Remittance systems offer us a way to route around most of those costs. Loadsharers is designed to be the thinnest possible coordination layer over the remittance systems.

Last but not least, centralization creates single points of failure. A loose network like Loadsharers should be less vulnerable to individual incompetence, political capture, corruption, etc.

Why don’t you hit up corporations to contribute?

That’s been tried, too, and has largely failed.

A few infrastructure projects, like the Linux kernel, can draw corporate support because even a nontechnical manager can grasp the connections between them and profits. But most LBIP projects can’t - the connection isn’t obvious enough, or the project is not structured enough to cope with bureaucratic funding requirements; or for any one of several other reasons.

Ranting about how billion-dollar Big Tech corporations are failing a group of people that is crucial to their continued functioning may feel satisfying and be entirely justified, but it’s not helpful. Mostly their incentives are to exploit LBIP labor and ignore the LBIPs. Until those incentives change, the behavior won’t either.

Once Loadsharers becomes visible to them, some corporations may choose to join Loadsharers as a matter of good PR or marketing. That’s fine, they can contribute the same way individuals do and use the same advisers.

Won’t people try to free-ride or scam a system like this?

Undoubtedly. Nobody can guarantee no waste in the system,

However, all our advisers are experienced infrastructure developers with deep connections in the communities and culture that produces LBIPs. They’re not likely to fail their diligence very often or for very long.

If you nevertheless expect the amount of successful fraud to be high enough to bother you or make Loadsharers useless, we encourage you to do your own LBIP discovery instead. Or even form your own adviser network. There’s no harm to us if you do that.

Every individual in the Loadsharers network has total control over where their money goes. That eliminates a lot of failure modes right there.