eight years ago we founded a community called lines [web] where people share and discuss art, music, and technology. the site grew out of the monome forum, which itself was founded nine years earlier alongside the release of the first monome designs. lines came into being as a de-branded monome forum, where the topics might feel more expansive and welcoming without the pretense of being within commercial territory.
a few days ago we took the next step. lines is now community funded, and belongs to the community itself. despite the de-branding from the start, monome's heavy presence was foundational given how many discussions revolved around our open-source instruments. over time this became less central yet we continued to feel compelled to cover server costs. the monthly fees were not insignificant, yet this move to signify ownership and shift to direct support has been profound.
in two days the community raised enough funds to operate the server for three years. this is an order of magnitude more than we were aiming for.
the early days of a new project are always a joy. as the years wore on, moderating the community remained a net positive despite more frequent stressful episodes. in recent years, however, the scales tipped and we (my friends who volunteer to moderate) have been wavering. there were many moments when i wanted desperately to burn it all down.
do not underestimate the power of giving things away. what is this weird lightness? seeing a project refocus and reenergize. it will live on. it is free.