Michael F. Lamb is a user on tiny.tilde.website. You can follow them or interact with them if you have an account anywhere in the fediverse. If you don't, you can sign up here.
Michael F. Lamb @datagrok

If guaranteed minimum income and universal healthcare were a thing, I think so many of my programmer colleagues would immediately take low-income sabbaticals to write high-quality good-ui users-first free and open source software that it would inspire tedious "how was it possible?!?" medium dot com thinkpieces for years and years

· 183 · 238

@datagrok yeah; i'd likely never go back to employment.

@datagrok You know, my dream was always to research and invent something that could help people or at least just be cool.
Instead of this I have to get up, haul my ass for two hours to work, sit a day and haul two hours back just to get my cut so I don't starve this month.

@drequivalent there are sooo many of us in the same situation. the resulting research and inventions and collaborative feats of engineering if we could work on what inspired us to do this in the first place would blow people's miiiinds

@datagrok Absolutely. And in all areas, nit just tech and UI design.

@datagrok the programming work I'm most proud of is a game I wrote while living in Thailand (low cost of living; effectively free healthcare) in between volunteering for various NGOs.

@technomancy that sounds amazing. is that bussard? cardinality? have you blogged about the experience?

also, great work on the Atreus :D

@datagrok Thanks; yeah I was thinking of Bussard. I've blogged about bits and pieces from a technical perspective, but I have had a hard time putting the words together for a general overview.


Personally, I'm all for a guaranteed minimum income and universal healthcare. But then I don't work in healthcare, because if I did, I wouldn't be able to take a sabbatical and do fun stuff because I'd have to go out and help other people. Even if I didn't feel like it.

@datagrok yup, I would totally do that. throw in a little consulting to stay aware of reality (and some toys), and I'd be delighted.

@datagrok i would immediately make that my entire life

@bug same! the rts and favs on this are blowing up my notifications. there's so many of us ❤️

@datagrok I want to believe that is true so hard, but I think there's a lot more to getting people to make those choices than just the material feasibility

@datagrok @lifning yeah. It's why I quit programming for money and work as a software tester part-time. Unfortunately, I don't know how many employers would tolerate part-timers, which is a real shame

@datagrok Except the other half would write horrible computer games that nobody wants to play,,,

@deshipu @datagrok and a tenth of those games would be amazing, cult hits just waiting to be discovered

@amsomniac @datagrok There can be only so many games with a cult following at a given time, and that number doesn't grow with the number of games being developed.

@deshipu @amsomniac shrug, i wouldn't care if 95% of programmers went off and improved their skills making "bad" games, if it means the rest can embrace their passion, write high quality free software, push back against the tide of crap from silicon valley. totally worth it.

(also i don't think the solution to "too many options" is policing people's art, it's developing better collaborative recommendation systems. something i might work on if i didn't have to worry about health insurance...)

@datagrok @amsomniac You have a point. Though restrictions and challenges are what makes creating art interesting in the first place. I am all for making people's lifes easier and making doing awesome things less risky -- it can only bring good in the long run. But that doesn't work too well with thw current global market and the "winner takes all" attitude. I guess we have more fixing to do. But universal income is certainly a step in the right direction, medical care is a no-brainer.

@deshipu @amsomniac tangent: i believe part of the reason software creates a "winner takes all" market is due to elimination of people's basic ownership rights. if people had the ability to study, modify, and build upon their software the way they can with any physical good, there would be more collaboration, market options, small shops serving niche interests.

free software and copyleft helps address this imbalance, and universal income would let more people write free software.

@datagrok @amsomniac I'm really not sure it's the copyrights that are the worst barrier to collaboration. Most people don't even have the slightest idea about how the law actually works. I've been making, using and modifying open source software for the last 20 yeras, and from my experience actual collaborration is very rare simply because it' super hard to collaborate on complex software, and most people don't care enough to try. Copyleft won't change it.

@deshipu @amsomniac @datagrok it actually does, especially if those games are more affordable and people have more disposable income

@deshipu @amsomniac @datagrok

with respect

> cult following at a given time

IMO misunderstands the full breadth of what 'cult following' can imply -- sometimes it grows over time, much as films these days occasionally flop out of the box office and then 'somehow' find an audience (read: a Hollywood studio wasn't interested in actually marketing it effectively)

so it's entirely possible that as this iteration of games matures, some games will "meh" on release, but get new life down the line

@sydneyfalk @deshipu @datagrok for sure! Like, all this hype about epistle 3- is it good? Is it bad? Does it matter, if you enjoy it?

@datagrok @amsomniac @deshipu

The innate human tendency is to look at release as the end-all-be-all of something's existence, but this is extremely reductive, and mature creative areas often have things that aren't appreciated 'within their time', is all I'm saying.

@sydneyfalk @amsomniac @datagrok I'm not saying that this time has to be at the release. I am myself a big fan of some games that were never properly released, but just kinda grew organically over time. But there can be only so many popular games at a given time, and the fact that we are now globally connected and there is only a single huge market for this doesn't help.

@deshipu @amsomniac @datagrok

> But there can be only so many popular games at a given time

Again, while technically true, I don't think the upper limit's been found yet. There are hundreds of 'popular' novels on Earth at any given time, for some values of 'popular'.

Will there be only a dozen specific AAA games that are considered 'big deals' any given year in the United States? Sure. But popular is more complex than whether the subset of US gamers decides Crosshairs 62 is one of those.

@deshipu @amsomniac @datagrok

I can't tell if that's a sarcastic "yeah stop talking to me" or a literal "those are good points" response, but it's okay if you don't wanna clarify, I didn't really have anything else to say. ^_^

Be well!

@sydneyfalk @amsomniac @datagrok No, it's honest, sorry. I realized that I was using a flawed definition of what "successful" means.

@deshipu @amsomniac @datagrok

Well, cool. :) I like when what I'm saying isn't troubling in some way, and I wasn't assuming either possibility, just recognizing both. ^_^

(I'm a moderately successful indie author and perpetual failure through life, so 'success' is one of those things I've spent a lot of time ruminating on.)

Happy to help! ^_^

@datagrok From personal experience, it's easy to have a list of projects you would start if only you didn't have to sell your time. I could have started any of them long before I took a year off. But it would have allowed for possible failure, shattering the fantasy of my noble self-image. The real work started after throwing out my original TODO list. In my past I wrote a piece of FLOSS that became popular. I was only able to write it because I had tiny goals and wanted to use it myself.

@datagrok It's kind of scary when I think about the amount of projects I had to pass on because work just eats so much of my time and energy away.

@datagrok Yes, I think an UBI (Universal Basic Income) would do just that. Not only for programmers but for society overall.

An interesting concept would also be to get paid by LOC. Not sure how that would work though and som LOC is more important than other LOC. Which means as long as the LOC you have put in is used it will give micropayment/influence for what that software do and what it is making. Some kind of "share" based programming or how to call it.

@datagrok I suspect that's part of the reason it won't happen. Big employers don't want to have to compete with that. They already hate how much open source people crank out while in school.

@datagrok I’ve read this exact same thought elsewhere within this last year. Maybe even before the election, actually. It’s a real idea that people have and it would change the world for the better in so many ways

@datagrok it’s true. Technical innovation would skyrocket.

@datagrok I would *totally* take more time to write open-source software.

I mean, I already do it working full time.

@datagrok In a way I'm doing exactly that, but I'm not waiting for UBI to materialise. and I wouldn't touch Medium with a barge pole.


@datagrok I can personally think of three off the top of my head who would, just among my own friends.

@datagrok this is exactly what I wish I could do (not to mention my day job is the kind where the industry would benefit from having more employees willing to work seasonally)