I run a little support forum for an open source project. I just run the site and the maintainer deals with the code but stops by when there are issues those of us on the forum can’t answer. But we catch the low hanging fruit. I also wrote extensive guides for beginners.
I think one valuable thing is separating the maintainer/developer from the support role. I have found this to probably be the single most important thing to prevent that feeling of throwing up your arms and going ‘f**k these bas****s’ I’m not doing this any more.’
Most people will only pipe up if there is an issue (I do this too!) and not many will drop by simply with a word of thanks, so all you get over and over and over and over and over again is problems. And more infuriatingly, the same bloody ones you’ve covered in an FAQ or guide.
i don’t really have a solution, other than to say perhaps if there are those that can step up and take on some of the support burden it might help with spreading the load and starting to get some separation in the support/development piece. Hugo is getting big now and the burdens of support are only going to grow.
To talk in specifics, Bep is in almost every thread here and as far as I can see does by far the most work on Hugo now. I’m not surprised he had that reaction as this stuff builds up on you.
Thanks for bringing this up. I’ve used software where the creators just decided one day to not work on it any longer (and sadly, never even speak to the community again). I think that’s an extreme case, but there is risk for a user of any open source project.
Here’s an open source maintainer’s viewpoint on the issue, where he says “it’s a business liability to use open source software that you are not confident that you would be able to contribute to…”
As for donations; whether or not that would be effective would probably be up to the core maintainers of the project, but Open Collective has, I think, gathered some steam as a platform to support open source projects: https://opencollective.com/
During the development of any program there is a conflict in the choice of priorities. I think a simple and effective solution would be to create the exchange for new features. We need to create a list of potential new features and enable users to vote for each of them by means of money.
The Exchange is a mechanism for resolving conflicts of interest. Developers could get money, users could receive new features. All together we might to see what features more in demand, and which are less in demand.
Technically, such an exchange can be realized at this forum, it is only necessary to choose a universal payment system.