Sorry, but as a software guy, I just couldn’t resist mocking the sheer insane
hypocrisy of this.
There’s a right-wing political site out there, called RedState.com. RedState
is serious far-right – constantly bemoaning the nanny-state, the culture of entitlement,
the virtues of personal responsibility, and so on. According to RedState, Social Security
is bad – people should save for their own retirements, not rely on the government to take care of them. Socialized medicine must be avoided at all costs: people should pay for their
own medical insurance, not expect the state to do it for them. And so on.
So, RedState initially set up their state on Scoop. If you don’t know, Scoop is
some software brewed up for a geek-news and discussion site called Kuro5shin. Scoop
is a free software, implemented in Perl, and distributed under that manifesto of
right-wing entepreneurship, the GNU Public License. (For those not in the know, I’m
being sarcastic here. While it’s generally silly to try to attribute political attributes to software licenses, I think it would be reasonable to say that if you characterized open-source licenses in terms of the political spectrum, the GPL would be solidly in the socialist area.)
After running for a while, Scoop wasn’t up to the load. So they switched to
another free package, called Drupal. Drupal is, like Scoop, free, and distributed under the GPL. But Drupal didn’t have as many features as Scoop, which frustrated
the RedState guys. So what does a good, responsible, self-sufficient, entrepreneurial
organization like RedState do when the free software that they’re using isn’t up to the job
that they want it to do?
Naturally: They whine about how no one will fix it for them for free, and how
the unwillingness of people to do free work for them is just a totally unfair
attempt by those nasty rotten liberals to censor them:
The bad news: our liberal “friends” – you know, the ones who believe so strongly in free speech and open debate – have done what they can to prevent us from making these improvements, so that our influence will be minimized just as we head into the 2008 presidential primary season.
No, our Blue State buddies haven’t succeeded in stopping us from improving our website. But they’ve made it more difficult and more expensive – which is why I’m coming to you for help.
Let me explain …
You see, when we started RedState in May of 2004, we used a website program called Scoop — the same program a lot of similar sites on the left used. But, as the number of visitors to our site grew, Scoop kept crashing on us.
If we’d been a liberal website, we would have been able to fix the problem quickly and relatively cheaply. The online left loves Scoop. Unfortunately, there weren’t really any conservative Scoop developers out there to help us. We kept crashing and were out of money. We had to close down or take drastic action.
Well, we didn’t close down. We ditched Scoop and moved to the best alternative at the time, a program called Drupal. But, in accomplishing the switch, budget constraints forced us to sacrifice some popular site features in order to alleviate the strain on our overused servers.
Needless to say, we always regarded those “downgrades” as temporary, and we hoped to restore the eliminated features – and to add new and even better ones – as soon as we could afford to.
Unfortunately, we still can’t afford to. But we’re convinced that America can afford even less to have us operating at anything less than our absolute peak potential during the coming presidential election season.
So we’ve decided to move ahead with our upgrades without delay, and despite not having the cash on hand – hoping and praying that RedState.com readers like you will help us make up the shortfall with a generous donation.
Yeah, that’s real conservatism for ya! Get stuff for free; whine about how it doesn’t work well enough; whine about how when people won’t do work for you free, they’re trying to censor you. To make matters worse, Redstate is a business. Like many of the political blog-sites, they run ads to support the site, and pay themselves out of what’s left after expenses. But they don’t want to actually pay for the infrastructure needed by their business; no, that would be completely unfair and unacceptable! Nice conservative fellows
actually paying lowly peons to do work for them? Clearly not an acceptable conservative option!
But that’s not all.
The text above is from the original version of their plea for money. After people starting making fun of them, they went back and edited the post.
If you go to their site now, you’ll see this, which silently replaced the original, getting rid of the accusations of censorship. They don’t even have the courage of their convictions to be honest, and stand by what they said. No,
it gets edited without comment, and then they deny what was originally there.
But that’s not all.
It turns out that Daily Kos, which runs on the same Scoop software that they originally
dumped, offered to share changes with them.. If their tech guy would help work on patches and fixes
for Scoop, DK would give them all of the improvements and upgrades that had been
made to make DK survive its mind-boggling daily load. But RedState refused; they didn’t want to cooperate with those filthy liberals. But then, when the dirty liberals
don’t just give them whatever they want, and help them set it up and make it work, for free, well, it’s just dirty fucking hippies trying to censor them!
Look, I’m a software guy. I design and write code for a living. It’s hard work. Writing software that can reliably keep running day in, day out, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no matter how many thousands of people are pounding away on it – it’s a lot of work. It requires a lot of knowledge, a lot of skill, a lot of time, and a lot of effort. No one is
entitled to having someone come work for them without being paid for their time. It doesn’t matter what part of the political spectrum you come from: getting software to support
a high volume web-site isn’t something that you should expect to get for free. If you can inspire volunteers to work for you, that’s great. If they’re willing to do it, it’s their work, and they can do whatever they want with it. If they want to spend their evenings figuring out how to keep the site from crashing when hordes of political geeks come rushing in to get the results of the latest primary – more power to ’em. But if they don’t want to volunteer
for you – that’s their right and privilege to. They can do whatever they want with their time. Just because your political opponents have been able to inspire people to work for free doesn’t mean that you’re also entitled to free labor.