What motivates people to create and freely distribute their works? This presentation will draw on personal experience, research literature, and existing communities of those who build and give away. Open source software, hardware, community building. The presenter will draw upon over 20 years experience with Project Gutenberg, as well as numerous other activities in which the focus is on building (things, software, communities, infrastructure) and giving them away (free and open source software, free literature, and physical artifacts). What motivates individuals to spend thousands of hours -- often in detriment to time spent with family, work, or other endeavors -- on activity which is primarily devoted to the well being of other people? Often, other people who are not personally known. Is there overlap in motivations for online communities versus volunteerism at the local level? Can such behaviors be learned? What motivates people to create and freely distribute their works? This presentation will draw on personal experience, research literature, and existing communities of those who build and give away. Open source software, hardware, community building. Characterizations of different types of motivations, levels and types of involvement, and outcomes will be made. Anomalies will be identified between individual values and targeted community outcomes, along with their sometimes disastrous impact on community identity-building or planning. Different leadership styles, and their impacts on emerging communities of contributors, will be compared. The presentation will draw some conclusions about how it might be possible to foster altruism in such communities, and to encourage increased interests in their outcomes. The audience will be asked to contribute their own experiences, especially advice about what works and what doesn't work to foster new member involvement. What are impediments to personal time investment, to sharing common goals, and to taking leadership roles? What lifecycles, governance structures, and other characteristics of successful projects (both large and small scale) can we learn from? We have seen hugely beneficial projects of all types where communities sprung up to support the building of things, software and ideas; we also have many examples of projects which did not seem to achieve their goals. How might future builders learn from these past experiences?
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