July 12, 2009

PSF Associate Memberships?

When I spoke about The PSF and Us at EuroPython a couple of weeks ago there were some interesting questions, many of which related to how individuals could help the Python Software Foundation. During the discussion I asked how many people would be prepared to support the Foundation by paying for some kind of (non-voting) associate membership, and I estimate at least half the audience's hands were raised.

It appears, therefore, that Python users want to be associated with the Foundation. So now I would like to ask readers (whom I assume will mostly be Python users) a few questions.

Do you think it would be a good idea for the PSF to broaden its membership base in this way? If you aren't a nominated member, would you like to become an associate? If so, why? What would you like to get from an associate membership? What could the Foundation offer in return for some annual payment? What should that payment be? What could (or should) the Foundation be doing for you and Python that it isn't already?

I am looking for some guidance here from an apparently under-served section of the Python community. Your feedback will be invaluable.

21 comments:

Dougal said...

Do you think it would be a good idea for the PSF to broaden its membership base in this way?

Yes.


If you aren't a nominated member, would you like to become an associate? If so, why?

I would. Why? It's a bit hard to say but I think it would make me feel like I was contributing and make me feel 'part of' something. It would be a nice claim to make and would show people you are serious about Python and not just another coder. Although its not a qualification it would look good on a CV.


What would you like to get from an associate membership? What could the Foundation offer in return for some annual payment?

Perhaps membership rates at conferences? We love tshirts. Logo's or badges to put on websites would be cool too. Just various marketing things. I would expect python.org to be improved - much like the suggestions that came up in the talk.


What should that payment be?

Anually - £50?


What could (or should) the Foundation be doing for you and Python that it isn't already?

Providing more support for getting people into using python, involved in working on python itself etc.

Rodolpho Eckhardt said...

Hello Steve,

What about special registration discounts at PyCon and related conferences? Or special hotel rates?

I'd be happy to contribute even if there wasn't a direct reward for it.

BRgds!

Ross said...

I was at europython and thought it was a great idea! I would love to be an associate in order to show my support and help the Python community in the future - after all the more successful Python is the more choice and diverse a career I can have using Python!

Other than financial support, I think the idea was also about activating members of the community that know they want to support Python but they don't know how! So I'd hope it would aim for associates to help, encourage and support newbies into Python. Also I'd want it to provide a forum for associates to discuss and collaborate on new ideas that would help drive Python adoption.

Perhaps an associates manifesto akin to the agile manifesto would be the focal point of being an associate?

In return from PSF I'd like a tee-shirt and a maybe a pony! And I'd pay up to £10 (sterling) a month to show my support!

In short I want to help and if I can only help financially thats fine, I would also like to support beyond that in an organised way.

Anonymous said...

I too would like to help PSF by paying for a membership but I don't think I would pay for a non-voting membership; to be honest I don't know how PSF operates, but why can't members vote? I think it would be great if the right to vote was part of the deal just like IEEE or ACM.

--Yuce

Paddy3118 said...

I would pay $50 for a Certificate to put up at work just to put one over the Perl Mongers; plus a dedicated web page listing all associates in name order - with a direct link from the python.org main page.

A logo for my blog would be nice too (For the year that the assocciate fee would apply for).

A Python Associate 2009 ring and a tie-pin would be good too.

Tennessee Leeuwenburg said...

I would pay 100 $AUD annually to maintain a membership. I wonder -- would it be tax deductible? I would pay either way. I would like for my money:

-- A glasses-cleaning silk with the PSF logo
-- A membership number
-- Some kind of statement about what the additional funds were being used for, so I could feel excited that my dollars were contributing to some concrete positive outcome

Python got me my job, and it's a big part of my professional career. I would be more than happy to be able to give a little back.

-T

Titus Brown said...

What's the PSF, again?

aroldo said...

"What would you like to get from an associate membership? What could the Foundation offer in return for some annual payment?"

It's the opposite. Probably, if I were paying about 100 Euro a year for the Foundation, I woud ask not so much what the Foundation can do for me, but rather ask what I can do for the Foundation. Having fostering members doesn't necessarily imply changing the the Foundation's present decision-making structure. All the abovementioned t-shirts, nice buttons, financially irrelevant but ego-massaging rebates on conference fees, etc,etc, will do. Don't underestimate the Python community's subliminal patriotism: we're prepared to pay a moderate contribution just for the feeling of being there.

Richard H said...

I enjoyed your talk at europython - I already pay N pounds a month to various causes and would be happy to set up a direct debit that provided tangible benefits to my favourite programming language, maybe five or ten pounds a month. I don't want any more t shirts, but a small badge or a card for my wallet might be a nice touch. I'd appreciate a discount for a subscription to python magazine, that would be useful. And a letter detailing the benefits our contributions were making.

just my 0.02

drj11 said...

I think it's definitely a good idea for the PSF (or possibly some other organisation, but let's say the PSF for now) to have a broader membership base.

The model I'm thinking of is something like a medium sized charity: Amnesty or WWF. What I think Python needs is a way for people to substitute money for effort. So, I'm concerned about human rights, torture in foreign countries. I could write letters to my MP, organise delegations to go and observe foreign elections, visit prisoners... What a hassle. What I actually do is give Amnesty a tenner a month.

You get a magazine 4 times a year and hassled at christmas time to buy tat from their ridiculously expensive shop.

So it's a way for people to say, well, I could organise local Python meetings, write to my MP about software patents, or fix a few Python bugs, but what I'm actually going to do is give the PSF a fiver a month (yeah, I don't care about Python as much).

This sort of membership is also useful when you get into a bragging match with other groups. You, the PSF, can write to MPs, speak before committees and stuff, and say, "we represent our 120,000 members and we think your ideas suck".

fra said...

I think that it would be a good idea.

If more people were members it would enhance the visibility of the PSF and thus of Python itself.

A reasonable fee could be in the range of 50-100 euros per year.

Francesco

Ludvig Ericson said...

I'd be a member because I want to publicly and officially acknowledge my support for Python.

André said...

Like Ludvig Ericson wrote: I would join as a member because I would want to publicly support the work of the PSF. I'd be willing to pay $50 per year for this and not expect anything concrete (like a t-shirt) in return.

Wyatt said...

I'd love to be an associate member of the PSF.

Echoing what others have said, it'd be for the sense of belonging and also to demonstrate that I'm Serious About Python (and perhaps about software in general).

Also, it'd be an easy way to support the Foundation. I'd gladly pay $50-100 USD per year for the privilege. And there's the strength in (visible) numbers aspect.

In return, I'd like to see ongoing improvements to the language, the docs, the website, etc, with an accounting of how member fees were used to facilitate these improvements. A member highlight section of the website might be cool too, to show off how cool our exten(ded|sive) community is.

I also think moderate discounts on conferences is reasonable. Free schwag (sp?) doesn't interest me personally, but I'd sport a PSF shirt, perhaps purchased at an associate member rate.

WRT voting, perhaps there could be a way for associates to vote through the web site. These votes might not hold the same weight as the votes of the inner circle, but then again, maybe they would.

Bob Blanchett said...

I'd pay AUD50 pa as a PSF associate.
I'll likely never get to a pycon anywhere, living in Oz, so I would like access to proceedings and presentations and podcasts for pycon-us, europycon and support for the outlier conferences to do the same to keep up my CPE..
I've emailed pyconuk about their talks several times never EVER heard back.

exanding the mindshare/hivemind of the community is the single biggest thing we PSF can do.


PSF series Supported paper docs/best practices ala GNU series, I'd pay real money for a reference that was is 14pt type or larger (sorry sams essential ref is UN readable)

PSF marketing gimmes. perhaps BDFL's holy hand grenade perhaps..

Paul Hildebrandt said...

I know I am posting late but as our corporate fiscal year ends I am looking to update my professional memberships.

My company, Walt Disney Animation Studios, will pay for them. I know that many others are in a similar situation. While I would personally pay for a PSF membership, I think taping into this employee directed corporate revenue stream is a great way for others to contribute.

What would I want back? Well since I already program in Python everyday I already have my reward. It's a way of saying thank you and all that is required is a 'you're welcome.'

Stephen Hansen said...

I work for a small company which uses Python, but I don't think we're in a position to contribute as an organization to Python.

But I love Python; and I love the community. I want to "give back" to that community. I knew Python long before I was paid to write it, and in fact I was instrumental in our company converting our codebase from an ancient windows-focused C/Delphi codebase to a cross-platform Python-based solution that allows us quite a bit of competitive advantage. When I managed to convince our management (with the assistance of my team of course), I considered this a dream-job: I'm actually getting paid to write Python for a living! This was a few years ago, and I lacked the real background to get a Python job at the time, so it made me happy.

The point being: I do want to contribute to Python. I want the Python ecosystem to be better. If the PSF offered an "associate" membership, I'd gladly pay to join, and expect nothing except the feeling of belonging and supporting what I believe in. Maybe that and a t-shirt :)

I'm a member of other such organizations that I believe in, such as the ACLU and EFF. I don't really have the time to contribute beyond financially, but I try to be helpful on python-list to pay back the community for what its given me.

If the PSF made an option such that one could become a non-voting member, I'd personally leap on the opportunity.

Steve said...

@Stephen Hansen: Thanks for the comment, Stephen. I hope to have more news when PyCon comes around.

Steve said...

@Stephen Hansen: Thanks for the comment, Stephen. I hope to have more news when PyCon comes around.

Ross said...

Hi Steve - did any more come out of this idea?

Steve said...

@Ross: Yes, associate memberships will shortly be available (for some value of shortly involving getting a conference running first, I suspect).