Person: I made a sweater. You can have it for free if you like it.

Sweater using person: I like this sweater and I'm going to wear it. But I need the sleeves and neckline changed, and I want a different colour, and you're obligated to do it for me for free exactly like I want because you are a privileged and elitist person who knows how to make sweaters, while I, a sweater using person, do not have the time and energy to learn for myself the sweater making skills you were apparently born with.

@frankiesaxx Oooooh yes. This is one bad side of the medal. Other one:

Person: I'd really like to have a sweater that suits my needs, fits like a glove and looks decent by *my* standards. Tell me what you need to make this for me, for neither I can't make sweaters on my own nor do I have time or energy to learn how to do this.

Persons making sweaters:: Never mind. I make sweaters *I* like to wear and give them away for free. Take them or leave them but leave me alone with your stupid wishes.

@z428 There's that. But in fairness, if a sweater using person has detailed specs and is willing to compensate the sweater maker fairly, they're generally not going to have a problem finding a sweater maker who will be happy to make the sweater they want.

The problem comes when the sweater user feels the offer of compensation entitles them to the work of a specific sweater maker and that sweater maker isn't interested in taking the job.

@frankiesaxx I kind of agree. The problem I see, right now: For a sweater-using person, it's actually little more than choosing between "ugly" corporate sweaters available at low prices or strangely colored "community" sweaters available "for free" by people who enjoy making sweaters *they* like in their spare time. The crowd of sweater makers even *willing* to accept doing some sort of work in exchange for a fair compensation seems extremely small these days, if there at all.

@z428 idk. The sweater users of my acquaintance who don't have any sweater making skills and aren't deeply involved in the free sweater community don't pick up a free community sweater and then ask the maker for free alterations on top.

They say "thanks for the sweater" and if it doesn't fit right, they either get rid of it or find a freelance sweater maker on Fiverr to alter it for them.

@frankiesaxx Hmmm.... Maybe you're right and I'm lost in wrong analogies at the moment... 🙂

@z428 Tangled up in yarn? Nah I think you have some good points for consideration.

I think it also becomes more complicated when a sweater maker goes from pure hobby sweater making to supporting themselves on donations made in exchange for free sweaters... like are sweater wearers who like the free sweaters enough to donate entitled to design input in exchange for their donations?

@frankiesaxx ... transactional, but possibly, neither the "producer" can live off donations exclusively, nor has the consumer any other option than throwing in money (be that in donation or in terms of payment) to reach its particular goals. This only seems to work as both still share reasonably similar goals and there's no disagreement about how the results should look like. But maybe I'm completely off here, I do have more software than sweaters in mind... 😉

@z428 I feel like sweaters are a decent metaphor for software. Knitting is a skill that requires time and energy to learn, sweaters themselves take an investment of time and material tools to produce, and the end product (or pattern) can be altered by other people.

The difference between sweaters and software is that for some reason people are way less likely to think if a person gives away one kind of actual sweater for free, they're obligated to do the work of modifying it free too.


@z428 I don't think this is *only* software though, I see it in other kinds of intellectual and creative labour and projects also. Toxic fandom springs to mind.

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