Been debating whether to open up GitHub Sponsorships for Jepsen. On the one hand, people keep asking to donate, and there could be, say, sponsor logos on the Jepsen web site, or rights to vote on which database Jepsen looks at in the next pro-bono analyses.

On the other hand, this presents a conflict-of-interest problem: so long as reports have a single sponsor (typically the vendor), it's easy to disclose and understand, but that's much trickier when there's a mix of a dozen ongoing sponsors.

It's also, like... Jepsen is roughly 50/50 paid vs unpaid work right now. Jepsen contract rates are high, which covers research, maintenance, and writing in between. It's hard to imagine sponsors could materially shift that balance.

Anyway, if you have strong feelings, drop em here.

@jepsen Do you think your sponsors would influence how you cover a database? I don't see a difference between a lot of separate parties sponsoring you, vs one company sponsoring a review of their product. In fact, I think the former is better.

I"d love to see more pro bono work, there's some smaller players out there for whom the cost of your work might be quite high.

@rior I'm serious about Jepsen's independence, and do my best to be rigorous regardless of funding, but there could be subconscious influences there. This is also why I don't accept equity compensation--trying to keep conflicts to a minimum. If I offer voting on "pro-bono" analyses in exchange for sponsorship, then that introduces a direct conflict.

@rior The problem is that like... when people talk about donations they usually mean $5 or 10/mo. Jepsen's standard contract rate is four orders of magnitude higher than that.

@jepsen I think that developers that generate substantial income trough Github sponsors often provide software to their sponsors that they directly benefit from. Your research is invaluable to the people actually using the databases you deliver, but the most gain is made by the company making the database. 1/2

@jepsen If $100/mo could let you do one analysis per year, you'd see a lot of people (including me) seriously consider sponsoring you, but as it stands a lot of us would feel like our contribution is insignificant compared to the amount of work needed for an analysis. 2/2

@rior Yeah, that's about about 10 minutes of work on a typical contract. That's not to say it's not a meaningful and good amount of money, it's just... it wouldn't let me do anything I can't *already* offer for free. My limits are time, energy, emotional bandwidth, not funds right now.

I'm very cognizant that this is an extremely privileged position to be in--it has only been this way for a short time, and that calculus could change.

@jepsen Then I wouldn't do it, you'd probably lose more time by feeling like you have to keep your sponsors happy than you "gained" trough being sponsored. But you can always try it, there's lots of fans of your work, regardless of it being company sponsored or not. I'm just one internet bozo with not a lot of money.

@jepsen That being said, if time is your issue, do you think crowd sourcing a jepsen analysis might be possible? Or is the work not parallelizable over multiple people? Or is letting random internet people with too much time do the analysis too error prone?

@rior I mean, in theory yeah, it's very parallelizable. But in practice... the tools have been free for seven years, and few people are doing Jepsen stuff independently. Mostly it's at specific vendors, and the rigor of their test suites varies wildly.

@rior I mean, I don't blame them: this work is kind of exhausting, haha. I don't think many people wake up and think "yeah I really wanna take the next six weeks of vacation to dig into obscure papers and MySQL isolation behavior"

@jepsen That's true, there's probably a good reason why writing tests isn't the most popular open source activity. For a lot of people it's quite satisfying to put your name on something and have a sense of ownership.

Personally, I'll try to involve jepsen in my thesis if i have enough time left, maybe I can then use that experience somewhere else, but we'll see.


@jepsen sifting trough obscure papers for months does kinda seem like a good fit for academia though, have you ever been in touch with universities to propose a jepsen analysis as a master thesis subject? I wouldn't be surprised if my uni let me do it as my thesis.

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@rior Yeah, students have gotten in touch from time to time, but none of them have started the actual thesis yet to my knowledge. Sometimes academics just... pass off a bunch of Jepsen work as their own too, that's fun. ;-)

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