Subscriber transparency

I’m curious about the plans for sharing information about subscribers? I would love to know who is contributing to my funding. Especially if I am going to be pushier about suggesting Tidelift to people, it would be good to know who is already subscribed.



Thanks for raising the topic - I would say we don’t have firm plans and want to figure it out.

A few thoughts or anecdata-points that might get all of our gears turning,

  1. We’ve found there are two cases - some companies want to get credit for their use and contributions to OSS in order to boost recruiting and stuff like that, while others want to stay anonymous because they’re worried revealing their stack might create some type of risk or disadvantage. To me it seems fair to let subscribers choose an option here - revealing names without getting permission will make some customers pretty upset. But we could still show aggregate data in the app, with some work.

  2. “I want to know who’s using my stuff” is a wish I’ve heard repeatedly from many maintainers (not only in a Tidelift context, just in general - OSS maintenance can feel a bit like throwing stuff over a wall into silence, except of course for the bug reports).

  3. The kind of industry norm is that to talk about “reference customers” it’s necessary to get permission from those customers - and this can be part of the sales negotiation. I think it could be helpful to prospective users to hear about reference customers even on the per-project level.

  4. I kind of see this as part of a larger question “what’s the right connection to create between subscribers and lifters” … my intuition is that there’s a constructive collaboration we should encourage, that’s very much in the spirit of open source. I’d like to encourage subscribers to become contributors somehow, if we can. But I feel like there’s a danger of mismatched subscriber-lifter expectations that we need to be careful about.

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Havoc, it seems like you’ve got all the bases covered here. Definitely I would want to make sure subscribers are comfortable with whatever connection system is in place. I would love it if businesses displayed TIdelift badges, similar to they way they proudly display their buildings’ Energy Star ratings.

Just to comment on a few of your categories, I am not thinking in terms of reference customers at all. And I have no expectations that subscribers would regularly turn into contributors. I see the two modes of engagement as very different.