Tipjars

Stevie at USS Clueless answers a letter about why he doesn’t have a Paypal button. I don’t have one either, for about the same reasons.

First, I really don’t spend any significant amount of out-of-pocket resources on the site. I paid about $30 for the private domain. (I’m sure at least a few of you hyenas have already tickled a whois server and found that out.) I pay $15 a year for the server. I’ve spent more than that on lunch on a whim. My time spent blogging is worth a lot more than the out-of-pocket expenses. I’ve ballooned up to, what, 20 readers now? If I had a lot more, bandwidth might cost me. As it is now, I could host this over my mac at home on my cable modem if I wanted to.

As for the time, it is a nebulous cost. I gain value from blogging. One of the things that I have found, first on mailing lists and then blogging, is that I gain from the writing process. As I comment on something, processing the thoughts into prose forces me to put some sort of structure to my thoughts on the subject. For me, simply writing short pieces on things would improve my understanding of it, because it forces me to think about the subject in a structured manner. That is something that I value more than the time I spend. It would work the same if I wrote it in a text editor and then just blew the bits away when I closed the window — it is the process of writing that is the value, not the end product. However, if there is someone who might read it and, even if they don’t agree, think about the subject and come to a better understanding themselves, then I have improved the world. It doesn’t matter that it is only 20 people now — or the three when I started — because everything goes into google. It all goes into the Wayback Machine. People were worried for a while about the transient nature of computer data. I’m not worried about it anymore. With the spiders that we have now, as long as you allow others to catalogue it, it will be somewhere on the net. Someone, at some point, will be looking for information on something, maybe “blue bell ice cream kentucky” (yes, that is a real referrer from my logs) and he will hit something that I wrote ages ago.

It is something I need to do — actually putting it on the website is bonus. Part of it is explained in MBTI personality theory. The functional analysis of an INTJ shows that the dominant function is Introverted Intuition, and the secondary function is Extroverted Thinking. What does that mean? I know things. That is introverted intuition. My brain makes connections without me trying, and everything fits into the web of the world. The problem with that is that it is internal. Yeah, I know, but so what? It is all nebulous, and I am the only one who can understand it. Given the Ni alone, I’m never going to be able to really understand it myself in anything more than a mystical sense, much less explain it to someone else. I have to put it into words, and that is where the extroverted thinking comes in. It is thinking out loud, so to speak. When I do that, then the Ni and the Te work together, and that is where the “Mastermind” strength that Myers and Briggs and Kiersey saw come from. Each reinforces the other, and act as checks and balances. But to do that, I must commit it. I have to write it, say it, hell, pantomime it — because it I never do any of those, and I just sit thinking, it rarely gets past the Ni.

There is more to the lack of a tip jar than that, though. There is principle involved. As an anarcho-libertarian (I like that word — that isn’t a definition link, just that last place I saw it) I think that information wants and deserves to be free, as in copyleft and as in beer. I recognize that there are expenses in information. If someone devotes a significant part of their life to collecting and producing information that people are willing to pay for, then they should be paid for it. I don’t think that people are willing to pay (much) for what I have to say, and I don’t devote a significant amount of time to it. By putting a button up there, I would feel like I am trying to use guilt to get people to give me money, and I’ll take up physical whoring before I start doing emotional whoring.

That isn’t so say that I look down on people who have them. (I don’t look down on sexual whores either, but that isn’t the point.) It just isn’t something I would be comfortable doing. If you see it differently, then put one up on your blog. I’m not going to stop people from giving me things. Part of the point of Paypal is that you can send money to any email address. If you wanted to send Steve money, the best he could do is never cash the check (which would probably mean that Paypal keeps the money.) I’m not going to ask (and this isn’t a subtle way of asking – I mean it, and I don’t need it.) But I’m not going to refuse it. One of life’s lessons that I have learned is that sometimes you have to accept an inappropriate gift in order to avoid offending a sincere giver. (I think I picked that up from a Star Wars book.) But that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to pass on the Oriental custom of refusing the gift three times, either.

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