(2) Mon May 17 2004 08:20 PST The Online Donation of Constantine:
Sumana asked me why, my stupid jokes on the subject notwithstanding, I don't have a little PayPal button on my pages so that people could send me money. It's true that I've considered this. NYCB, NewsBruiser and my various other writings and software cost me nothing but spare time (I've been bumming off of other peoples' hardware and bandwidth for 9 years, and why stop now?). It's not very monetizable, and I don't really need an extra $15 a month, which is the upper limit of what I'd probably get.
At the same time, I'm curious as to how much people are willing to send my way in this post-purchase economy, but that by itself is not a compelling reason to ask for donations. Thus, the brilliant solution: I set up a Paypal or Paypal-like accont, and expose donation buttons all over the place, except that all the money donated actually gets sent to some deserving charity.
How to do this? I can think of four solutions.
- The vim/"In lieu of flowers" method: I just say that if you feel the urge to give, you should do such-and-such. Advantages: I don't have to do anything much. Disadvantages: High activity threshhold for donation precludes rash impulse donations. I don't find out how much is actually being donated.
- The "money laundering" method. I funnel donations to my own Paypal account and every n months I cut a check for the balance. Disadvantages: I have to cut a check every n months. "The balance" likely to be emberassingly small. If I use Paypal for other purposes it gets all mushed up.
- The "cross-site scripting" method. I put up the little Paypal buttons except they don't go to my own Paypal account, they go to some charity's Paypal account. Advantages: Mwah-hah-hah sneaky. Easy to donate. Disadvantages: most charities don't have Paypal accounts. I don't find out how much is being donated.
- The "Unix pipes" method. I get an account on some Paypal-like site and specify that all incoming funds be funneled to various other accounts. Advantages: does exactly what I want. Disadvantages: does not exist.
(5) Mon May 17 2004 15:14 PST:
The licensing stuff has to wait a little bit, because today I discovered that Movable Type has a data dump format! Well, you know how I love importing entries from other weblog tools. So I had to add a plugin to NewsBruiser that eats up that format and turns it into NewsBruiser entries. Thanks to Josh and Anirvan for sending me example dump files for me to work with. Today's new library is Transfusion, which parses the not-so-great MT data dump files into something you can use.
Incidentally, I've noticed a worrying difference between email spam and weblog spam. With email spam, the spammer can maybe approximate your spam list (after all, even spammers get spam), but they can't see your non-spam list without cracking your email account. On the other hand, with weblog spam no one sees the spam you deleted, but all the non-spam comments are right there for everyone to see and parse. It would be trivial for a comment spammer to post an exact repeat of someone else's comment but with Viagra links all over the place. In the long run, a Bayesean filter for comment spam might degenerate into an IP and URL blacklist. Is there any algorithmic defense against an attacker who has access to everything previously blessed by the algorithm?
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