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The ruining of "free" and "donation".

Please explain what is wrong with it?

Giving people who donate something back is a nice thing (the product doesn't change and nothing changes for non paying users) and it can even motivate people to donate.

As long as it's "useless" (it gives no advantage compared to non paying users) it is more than okay.

I really don't understand what is ruined in this case?
For one, do not call donations something that you trade. Can I get those "perks" without giving something to those people? No. So this is a trade not a donation. It is clearly stated on their website. As you can see in that image.

Second, they do provide benefits for the software. Permanent username, removal of a possible "annoyance" (donate button), and you get first in line for downloads. These are the things they are selling.

If they would accept donations, then they should not give anything in return for that. Else this is not a donation, it is purchasing. Regardless of what they think of it.
Ok, Soulseek is a bad example, because of this one little thing, which non supporters don't have.

But following this logic it is a trade if someone donates something to me and I would say "Thank you!" or if there is an automated system (thank you mail), because this doesn't happen to non supporters.
No because we are talking about goods and services being trade-free or not. Saying "thank you" is different from providing features that are intentionally restricted for those who do not "donate".

If the SoulSeek people would send "thank yous" and tshirts or whatever to their donors, then maybe we could consider SoulSeek (the software) as trade free since you get whatever everyone gets, regardless if you "donate" to them or not, in terms of that software. But they clearly restrict some features of the software itself, unless you give them currency, and only then they will "unlock" these features.
Interesting..... I thought giving a T-shirt for donations would be considered a trade, but I guess if you only look at the software itself then you can say the software is trade-free while the T-shirt is not πŸ€”
I am completely confused now!

If only donors get a t-shirt and non-donors not, donors definitely get something what everyone else don't get and this time it's tangible (compared to a badge in a profile, which is just software/non-tangible).

Even @trom wrote "For one, do not call donations something that you trade."

So how is this NOT a trade?
Yes, I'm interested to see what @tio has to say about that.

According to me, if you give T-shirts for donations then its definitely a trade and not really a "donation". But the trade-free label is usually applied to goods/services..... So if someone provides a trade-free software that stays the same for ones who donate and those who don't, but for the people who donate they give a T-shirt which has nothing to do with the software itself, then how do we look at it? πŸ€”
@Tio @TROM
Yes, I remember reading about it in "The origin of most problems" book. We should be focusing on macro trades, instead of micro trades which are these edge cases.
@tio @utopify_org
I really want to know in detail were the line is, because how should I understand something, if there isn't even a detailed definition?

From your website: "TROM is a project that aims to showcase in detail the root cause of most of today’s problems"
Okay, so if you're really interested in this trade-free movement and want to learn more about it, then I recommend you read the book "The origin of most problems" from

That book specifically deals with this idea and its definition, it'll make you understand the different types of trades there are and how to spot these hidden trades. It also goes a little beyond the trade free concept, with things like VADOSE. You'll definitely learn a lot from it.
@trom @tio
@Tio @TROM
I started to read the book a few days ago, which was the reason why I followed TROM here. But I only read the Monopoly example and it has about 1000 sites, so it will take some time.

I hope I will get answers to all my questions in the meantime and thanks a lot for helping :)
Yes, reading that book will make you understand things better. TROM is actually more like a mindset that you acquire, that's how I feel after closely following this project for the past year or so. And if you really get into it then you'll never stop learning new things, there's always new documentaries coming up on, new #Tromcasts and discussions, etc. You can even call this an educational project if you want πŸ˜‰
@trom @tio
And keep in mind that its okay to not have a crystal clear definition of what's trade-free and what's not. The truth is that if you put the microscope on any word then it'll look blurry. Scientists are still confused whether viruses are a living thing or not, so we're still not able to define what life is, even though its such a trivial thing. So if you take any word out of context, then it'll start getting confusing. BTW, there is also a book written about language πŸ™‚
@trom @tio
@Tio @TROM
I really want to know in detail were the line is, because how should I understand something, if there isn't even a detailed definition?
As @Rokosun said we go into more detail in the Origin of Most Problems book. Now, the trade-free idea is an "experimental" one, and we label it as such in the book too, where we started it. To define what is trade and what is quite easy in general, but it can become confusing when you go into these edge cases. But it is fine. Everything is like that. The Open source idea is easy to understand, unless you go into the microscopic world of it and realize it may not be as coherent anymore.

So I think we can push it as far as to the example from this post. But what we care mostly about are those macro trades that we describe in the book.
Okay, the t-shirt for donors is trade-free, because the main product is the software, which should be free for everyone. So far so good.

But if I give a part of the software to my donors, which isn't accessible to non-donors, it's not trade-free.

Wouldn't be the donor badge in a profile already a trade?
> Okay, the t-shirt for donors is trade-free, because the main product is the software, which should be free for everyone.

I think it'll be more clear if you look at the T-shirt and software as two separate things, one here is trade-free (software which is the same for all), the other one is not trade-free (T-shirt which only donors get).

But that being said, I think this is an edge case where the line becomes a bit blurry. Like asking if a hyena is a cat or a dog 😁

@trom @tio
@Tio @TROM