Snowdrift: A crowdmatching (crowdfunding) platform for public goods

Snowdrift is an interesting experiment for fundraising platforms because it ramps up contributions based on how many other contributors there are, incentivizing accountability to stakeholders rather than the all-or-nothing approach of threshold pledge funding models like kickstarter.

I just found out that the new Snowdrift frontend is a rewrite in Elm! (The backend is Haskell-powered)

They’re finally processing the first payments, and there was a recent FOSSY talk about it here:


Oh hey, cool! That’s the new website I’m building. :smile:

Happily I was able to convince the team to let me try to launch the beta site in Elm - though it’s because we ran out of Haskell developers and the old codebase was becoming a maintenance burden. As a kid I dabbled in Haskell and loved the Pure FP paradigm but found it too hard to work with (until I found Elm!) and Elm is the only language I love enough to pour such hours into, so I volunteered to do a rewrite knowing that I’d be the only Elm dev for now (but happily planning to teach people and see how the Elm error messages treat them!) and it’s been a fun, albeit slow, journey.

That said, that “new” site is really the “upcoming” site (it’s far from ready) so please use the normal site if you actually want links to work (like to sign up!). One small correction, the old site actually uses Haskell on both frontend and backend (via Yesod), and the upcoming beta site uses elm-pages on the frontend and Payload (a CMS) on the backend (it went FLO at just the right time!) which seems like a dream match for developing.

If you’re curious, here’s the problem Snowdrift aims to solve, in short form and in long form. Feel free to drop by our forums (also Discourse powered!) if you want to have deep discussions about it. If you want to have some fun, check out this awesome interactive explainer related to the social game theory topics Snowdrift is aiming at. :rocket:


On a more serious note, Snowdrift may actually be more relevant here than just the tech stack. Elm’s creator @evancz has long grappled with the compromises of funding methods for FLO projects like his programming language. Back then he talked about typical funding methods such as being backed by large companies, and the perverse incentives that tend to arise. While it’s not ready just yet, Snowdrift may offer exactly the solution he is looking for. I volunteer for Snowdrift because I think there’s a major need for it in the world. Some teasers from his thread:

I have thought a lot about how to support folks like that in a full-time role so they do not need to make trade-offs like that to meet the expectations of some users, but even if there was a magic wand to get money for that, I’d want to be extremely careful about the long-term incentives it would create.

The main point is that I really think that people underestimate the role of funding in supporting good working relationships in open source languages.

And then of course there is his brand new talk about the Economics of Funding Programming Languages.


Elm as a public good definitely makes sense to me! I can’t wait for the elm-backend work to be available…

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