I appreciate the substantiation for the close vote. It leads me to recognize, in my opinion, a discrepancy between the close vote argumentation and the list of topics as specified in the help center for Open Source.


Whether the question is opened or closed is not the point I am trying to discuss. Instead, I would like to either:

  1. Understand why my reasoning is incorrect or perceived differently from a different perspective
  2. Identify a difference between moderator behavior and Open Source Beta guideline specification so that either/and the moderator or the site can adapt/converge/improve.

Relevant information

  1. The question discusses/compares the transparency of components of models of monetization of Opensource Software.
  2. The argument given for closing is:

I'm closing this question as off-topic because it's not about open source software. It's only tangentially related.

  1. The help center of Open Source Beta specifies explicitly the following topic as a topic to ask questions about:

how communities collaborate together to produce, distribute, market and sometimes monetize these projects


Now I agree with the given argument that the question is not about Open Source software, and that it is only/at most tangentially related.

But I think the question is about "how communities collaborate together to monitize Open Source projects.".

  • The "how" is satisfied by comparing a property of a component of a monitization model of an Open Source project.
  • The Open Source is applicable to the project which is monitized and, arguably, to the income model as it discusses ways to make it transparent.


Does my perspective lack nuance, is it wrong or can you provide a counter-perspective?

  • 5
    One quick (but not dispositive) test is: would the answer to this question differ if I were asking about proprietary software instead of FLOSS? Clearly passing that test is "What methods exist for monetizing my free/open software?" and more likely failing that test is, "How do I attract graphic artists to work on my project?" (I haven't inspected your specific case closely.) Note this test isn't foolproof: questions about pull-request etiquette on GitHub have strong applicability to proprietary development, but they are so intimately tied to FLOSS development we must admit them. – apsillers Oct 13 '19 at 18:58

Mad Hatter has already gone through much of what I would have said here, but since I'm the one who closed the question, I'll add my perspective.

I closed this one because of the nature of what it was asking for. While monetization of open-source projects most certainly is on-topic here, it's my understanding of the scope we've laid down that questions about these subjects should generally be asking about issues specific to open-source software. We've had questions along the lines of "how does one monetize an open-source project?" in general before; that's on-topic because to answer it requires providing information that's specifically about the issues open-source projects face when attempting to monetize.

The question you asked was, in my opinion, asking more widely than that - the answers to it could have been applicable to open-source projects too, of course, but the nature of the question invited answers from a wider economic point of view, which is why I used my binding vote in this case.


It's also worth reading the help page on what you shouldn't ask. Inter alia, it says

If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much.

Your question is already one of the longest I've seen recently, and I can imagine an answer that's a full chapter, if not a whole book. That's not a red card, but it is a red flag. It then asks a question that's set in a free software scenario, but would make just as good sense if it were set in a commercial development environment. Again, not a red card, but again, a red flag.

When I read your question, it seemed to me that what it was really about was economics. You're asking about incentive schemes and performance evaluation, by your own admission in a professional environment (designing a model for a company to pay developers). I'm no economist, but it seems to me the meat and drink of economics. I'm a new moderator, and so being careful with my mod hammer, but if I'd still been a regular user I would have voted to close this in a heartbeat.

Don't take this too much to heart. There is always more in community etiquette than can be expressed in a one-page document, so such documents can only ever be, at best, a rough guide; if you try to use them as statute, things will quickly run off the rails. That's one of the reasons we have meta, so you can ask whether this is the right place for a question before asking it. Looking at the ten most recent meta postings, I see that three of them are asking about whether a particular question (or class thereof) is a good fit for OS.SE, and one of them is by the author of the intended question.

On any SE site I've ever used, people asking in meta about whether their question is a good fit before asking the question on the main site have been well-received, and got good and thoughtful responses, whether or not the community thought the question a good fit.

  • 1
    Thank you for giving an additional reason why the question on Open Source Beta should be closed. I also agree with that argument. My question on Open Source Meta is not about whether the question should be closed or not, it is about the discrepancy between the closing substantiation and the help guidelines. Thank you for the suggestion to ask if a question is in the right place before asking it. I will take it into account if I think there is any doubt on whether the question is a suitable fit or not. – a.t. Oct 14 '19 at 10:44
  • 1
    @a.t. I take your point, but the system only offers a limited number of close reasons, none of which are "the answers are likely to be too long". I'm encouraging you not to read too much into the help documentation, and particularly not to treat it as a list of criteria which, if met, must make a question fit for the forum. It is not intended for such use. – MadHatter Oct 14 '19 at 12:15

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