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Guide Lines for sponsor presence on TWiki.org


This topic is a proposal raised by KennethLavrsen

We have received sponsorships over the past years without people paying too much attention to it.

  • Our develop.twiki.org has been hosted incl hardware by Fastservers
  • Our twiki.org hardware has been sponsered by Sun
  • Our twiki.org hosting has been provided by Fastmetrics

But in the past year we have additionally seen that development of some features of TWiki has been sponsered directly with funding by

  • The new Wysiwyg editor in 4.2.0 has been sponsored by
  • The User Mapping refactoring, 4.2 and MAIN nightly builds and general release work

And a large number of plugins have been sponsored by various companies.

Sponsors deserve recognition but a set of guidelines are needed so that

  • the community can avoid long destructive discussions each time someone wants to add a link or logo
  • the sponsors know what they can expect from their sponsorship

It is worth mentioning that most of the sponsored work has been donated to the community without the donors every asking for anything.

Anyone that downloads TWiki and start using is is getting an incredible product 100% for free. Giving back to the community is entirely volunteer. But the community should always remember that the community as a whole owes nothing to anyone. But the community want to express gratitude to sponsors and this guideline states how this is done.

Sponsors of servers and hosting for the community

  • Get a logo at the bottom of the WebLeftBar on the project websites at twiki.org and develop.twiki.org (no logos on the distributed TWiki). Size is maximum 100 pixels wide by 60 pixels high. Must be plain gif, jpg or png with no animations or flash.
  • Are mentioned on a special topic for sponsors (will be created when twiki.org is redesigned in Q1 2008) where the item that was sponsored is described in a brief heading 2 level section allowing a banner or logo of maximum 468 x 60 pixels (standard full banner). Must be plain gif, jpg or png with no animations or flash.

Sponsored features for TWiki

  • The sponsors are listed on the download page with a short description of the feature they contributed, a link to their website and maximum 20 words description of the company. Typically a company slogan. The company name can be supplemented or replaced by a logo maximum WxH 100x20 pixels which must be plain gif, jpg or png with no animations or flash.
  • The sponsor received ONE bullet for each major feature it funded or contributed.
  • The sponsorship must be in the form of either funding or a significant contribution of human resources. A guide line is minimum one staff month of either funding or human work.
  • The release meeting decides if a contribution is significant in case of any doubts.
  • The links will be on all download pages from the feature is released and till the next minor or major release. Ie. links are carried over from patch release to patch release.
  • The links will be located in a section just before the License section called "The Following Sponsors Supported TWiki 4.2.0".

ConsultantsForHire topic

  • The purpose of this topic is to give TWiki users a good overview and information about who can provide professional help with TWiki. Anyone that provides a service related to TWiki are encouraged to add themselves to table with a description of their services and links to their websites.
  • The format of the entry should follow format and look of the existing entries.
  • Artwork/Logos are allowed. Artwork should be maximum one large logo per table row of maximum size WxH 200x50 pixels and a "reasonable" number of small images of maximum WxH 100x20 pixels. The artwork must be plain gif, jpg or png with no animations or flash


  • Plugins sponsored by companies can contain links and logos of the sponsor
  • The detailed guideline for extentions can be found in the Plugins web at GuidelinesForRecognisingSponsors

-- Contributors: KennethLavrsen


I've added my company - more to show that adding 'sponsored features' is really not that sensible a thing. On the other hand, distributedINFORMATION has basically donated the last 3 months earnings to this release.

in my opinion, we should have NO sponsorship mentions in the open source TWikiHistory, press releases, and download pages. For now I htink the last 2 weeks have been totally a reaction to Peter's stance on the wording of the TWikiHistory (Facilitator and Sponsor - what does that mean, and more importantly what does it imply?), and the rather blatent exclusive advertising of TWIKI.NET in the press release.

-- SvenDowideit - 20 Jan 2008

Anyone who starts viewing the large thriving community at twiki.org as an untapped commercial advertising market needs to be stopped dead in their tracks, before people's expectations of twiki.org as an advertising opportunity get out of hand. No matter who it is or what they may have "freely given" in the past.

So many people and organisations have given so much to twiki.org, and all they have ever expected back is a little appreciation and acknowledgement. Where a commercial payback is required, that should be spelled out explicity ahead of time, by contract if necessary, and agreed to by the community, not just a handful who can make it to some meeting where a rushed decision is made. Post hoc requirements are not on.

What would really get my goat most of all, would be if someone was "grooming" us by first giving generously and then turning around and requiring payback under their own terms. That's not giving, it's manipulation, and it is a measure of disrespect. We could risk opening ourselves to this, too.

Consider, also, that as soon as twiki.org is seen to be doing advertising deals, a whole lot of people and companies who have in the past given a lot for no payback, are going to feel less likely to contribute at all. And how could we justify "advertising", some company who's put in a thousand dollars, but giving no equivalent personal benefit to some individual who's put in a thousand hours of professional labour (much higher $ value)? Advertising has a clear per pixel worth and an expected financial gain to the advertiser. What equivalent real gain can we give a non-business individual? Anything? No, I don't see how. So advertising must favour commercial over noncommercial contributions. If we'll ever need any type of noncommercial contributions in the future, we should consider the fairness and the effects of what we're really doing when we give a chosen style of acknowledgements.

A few small logos on the main start page by negotiation with major hardware/hosting providers are fine, pretty normal. A "sponsors" page or similar might be a good idea. But keep your commercial propaganda right out of my general usage, descriptions, and especially my downloads, thank you. Otherwise I might want to drift over to some place that not only is open source, but feels like an open source community too.

We have so much to lose if we're not really careful now. Urgency is not grounds for consent. If the decisions must be rushed, then ethically we will be compelled to say "no" to everything until we can work it out properly, with the whole community.

-- SueBlake - 21 Jan 2008

In opposition with Kenneth's initial proposal and very much like Sven said I think TWikiHistory, press releases, download pages and most of twiki.org should remain ads free at the exception of:

  • Home page
  • Other distributions page
  • Sponsors page
  • Plug-ins' home page (up to the plug-in owner)

However I think it would only be fair if the twiki.org community would acknowledge top contributors and senior community members by allowing them to put their companies logo on the Home page, thinking of TWIKI.NET and WikiRing for instance. On top of that the Home page could display at random 3 sponsors out of many from the sponsors' page.

-- StephaneLenclud - 22 Jan 2008

There are a couple of clarifications needed.

First please see the 3 sponsor guide lines in isolation: There is the server/host provider. There is sponsors for a specific release. And there are the plugins.

Server. The community is dependent on having powerful servers running the twiki.org website and the develop.twiki.org website. Not just some toy computers with no backup. We have professionel equipment at our disposal which has been donated to us without any conditions. The community is addings links to these donors as gratitude and to ensure that we also in future have the hardware we need. Hosting which includes rackspace and quite a lot of bandwidth does not come cheap. Many open source projects have their development at Sourceforge. At Sourceforge it is a condition that you have a logo for Sourceforge on your website and I have never heard anyone seeing this as a problem. TWiki has needs that Sourceforge does not provide - most important a powerful machine that can run TWiki. Small discrete logos of the very few companies that pays for our servers is the least we can do to say thank you. We are not selling advertising space. We just say thank you! To me it is a matter of good decent behavior.

When it comes to sponsors of our releases then it is a little different but still the same.

The companies that sponsor our features have never asked for anything and we have not sold any advertising space. These companies pay developers for major features because they want these features themselves. The fruit of this is given to the community. Again I believe it is good behaviour to recognize those contributions that are significant. In the case of 4.2.0 the significant feature that was added was the new Wysiwyg Editor. A feature that would have been hard to implement if it was not because Crawford was funded and could work full time on it in periods.

Stephane suggests to show 3 random sponsors which tells me that the scope of this sponsor business is not understood by all. On the 4.2.0 release page there are TWO real sponsors that paid money to a developer. And there are two sponsors where consultants has done significant contributions in the daytime hours where they could have taken work that would have given them an income. Unlike me that only TWiki in my free time and have a full time job.

If developer brand names should be regarded as real sponsors or not I do not want to be the judge of and I feel OK with seeing these brands as recognition.

On 4.2.0 we list 4 sponsors and it is done as 4 small bullet points. And none of them are paying for these lines. The bullet lines can be seen as the community "thank you" to those sponsors.

The guidelines do not at all open up for paid advertising and I would be very much against that.

The idea is to show our sponsors gratitude so both they and other future sponsors feel well treated and so we can have more of this type of work done.

Last - the plugins. I have not written any guideline. I hope others will step in here. The guideline may be that you can do whatever you want. But I advice against that because that could mean that an evil "developer" (a kind we have not seen yet) uploads a bogus plug-in that does a little silly thing and with a plugin-topic full of various chemical products that I cannot write the name of without being shut out by the BlackListPlugin. I do not think any of the current plugins have stepped over any reasonable limit.

-- KennethLavrsen - 22 Jan 2008

You are opening a can of worms here. I'd agree with Sue, once you go down that road, the whole twiki project will rapidly become one commercial circus (as is currently happening, people are tumbling over each other to get their companies advertised in press releases, release notes, plugin topics, etc..). It is nice that companies want to sponsor things, but as soon as they start demanding things in return we've crossed a line that we shouldn't cross.

My ideal would be one page, with sponsor appreciation. No further commerce in other avenues such as press releases and release notes (well, apart from the consultant-listing of course).

Furthermore, i do not think it would be wise to have the 'release meeting' to decide over who gets credit where. This is not a release issue, so do not put this on the agenda of a release meeting. Discussion of governance falls a bit outside of the scope of this topic, but i think that discussion is a prerequisite for having the discussion in this topic.

-- KoenMartens - 24 Jan 2008

I like the idea of specific rules and guidelines for sponsors. They offer the possibility for foreign people to contribute to the community in similar ways as TWiki-programmers do today. And all the time people contribute could be converted in opportunity cost. So it is useful in my opinion to facilitate a way for those who cannot program to help.

-- MartinSeibert - 03 Feb 2008

Can't you guys setup something like this:


or even better something like this:


-- BrianGupta - 06 Feb 2008

Yes. Best idea I heard yet.

-- CrawfordCurrie - 06 Feb 2008

I like the nexenta.org example

-- CarloSchulz - 06 Feb 2008

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Topic revision: r12 - 2008-03-28 - KennethLavrsen
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