Update: Gratipay responded to us in Email, where the same Tech Communications guy told us that our application had been reopened on their github for discussion. He posted his thoughts on it as well saying “I don’t think this post qualifies TechRaptor as “haters”” among several other comments, also suggesting that there needs to be some more rigor in the selection process. We await further details from them at this point.

Update 2: We’ve received further emails and details via GitHub which you see links to, as well as our response, in this update post.

TechRaptor has been using Gratipay since January. Recently, we received an email stating that Gratipay has rejected our application to continue using their service. In their migration to Gratipay 2.0, they required people to apply and answer four questions. Looking at those questions and the reasons given for rejection seemed a bit odd. First, their reasons for why we were rejected:

Thank you for applying for a Gratipay Team. We’ve decided not to accept your application, for two reasons:

  1. You identify with the #GamerGate/anti-#GamerGate conflict, and that clashes too strongly with our own brand identity.
  2. You require people to apply before contributing to your work, which goes against our definition of ‘open work.’

We received information that we needed to apply for Gratipay 2.0 on July 17th. We answered the below four questions and finished the application process that day. July 30th we received the above rejections, and we sent a response asking for some clarification. Aug 3rd we recieved a response from a “tech-to-consumer translator” who said they would pass our notes on, which hit the same points as below, but haven’t heard from them since.

I want to emphasize: this is not in some form of retaliation against Gratipay. The above two reasons for our rejection is something all of you should be made aware of, regardless of whether or not we eventually do receive some sort of response clarifying what they mean. We wanted to wait for a response to go ahead with as much information as possible but feel that since it has been a week, more may not be coming.

And here are the four questions:

  1. What product or service does your team provide?
  2. What is your revenue model?
  3. How can other people get involved with your team?
  4. How do you share revenue with contributors?

Here is the gist of our answers (unfortunately these were answered on a form so we don’t have them verbatim):

  1. TechRaptor provides unbiased news, reviews, and editorials covering gaming, technology, and tabletop.
  2. We earn revenue based on donations, affiliate links, a limited number of sponsored posts, and ads.
  3. Anyone can apply and we look for a strong writing voice. You can find more details here.
  4. We pay writers $1.25 per 1000 views. (Note: this has changed significantly since the application.)

As you can see, the only relevant part of their rejection, based on our application, has to do with their second reason. There are more details on our reaction to those two reasons below.

The first reason for rejection doesn’t seem to address any of those four questions at all. At best, it may relate to the first question, as maybe Gratipay assumes we provide some sort of GamerGate related service. It is worth noting that Gratipay is not singling us out for being pro or anti GamerGate, just that we somehow identify with either part of it. In other words, they seem to not want anything to do with GamerGate at all—at least that is what the language implies.

The problem with that is the fact that we don’t identify as being pro or anti GamerGate. The link they provide is just a tag of various GamerGate related events we have covered. We likely don’t need to go into why that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but we’ll just say that we must really identify with the movement to ban games in Australia and Lizard Squad.

It’s also worth mentioning that we have attempted, with GamerGate, to provide something directly related to what they value in their brand:

We value thoughtful and thorough discussion and deliberation as means of reconciling wills and making decisions. We like “dialoguing with interested people about a significant but not urgent risk.”

We’ve contemplated where GamerGate could go while criticizing some of its flaws, tried to understand both sides of the issue, and had a pretty thorough discussion of about the whole thing from multiple angles. These are of course just a few examples among many.

Again though, before moving on to reason two, their reason that we identify with one side of GG or another—which we don’t—doesn’t appear to address any of the above application questions.

As for their second reason, the definition they have for “open work” doesn’t seem to make sense for what they are offering, but this is at least directly related to the third question on their application. Basically, anyone must be able to join and be able to succeed in a group. Because we have writers apply before they can contribute to the site, we are now disqualified.

Does a group have to allow someone in to help program a piece of software when they have literally no experience at all? Would it make much sense for TechRaptor to invite people to write that don’t speak, read, or write in English at all? (That would be really cool if we could. And, for the record, we have a few people on staff who don’t speak English as a first language.)

What would you do in the case of someone contributing to an open source project, but that contribution is deemed unfit and is rejected as being a part of the end product, is that person a part of the team? What if that was their sole contribution? Do they need to continually contribute? Is it no longer considered Open Work if that work is then evaluated and rejected? Is it Open Work to have it evaluated at all? Can people be asked not to be a part of the Team any longer or would that go against Open Work? Would you just expect us to allow them to continually submit while we continually reject, just as long as they can voluntarily contribute?

Is it not enough to allow anyone to apply?

Any group working towards some kind of goal will need to be at least somewhat selective so that they can succeed at whatever they are attempting to do. Not everyone will be fit to contribute, even if they desire to do so.

As it is now, what “Open Work” is needs to be clarified before they expect people to adhere to it. Maybe TechRaptor just isn’t the type of project they’re looking for. It seems that they are solely looking for open source somethings.

Here’s what  the customer support, “tech-to-consumer translator,” thinks about our points on Open Work,”  I think your comments are completely valid regarding letting anyone work on specific things without a vetting process.”

What’s the point of all this? So that people are aware of the sort of things you won’t find on Gratipay. To let others who are looking at using Gratipay possibly understand what may or may not lead to a rejection letter. And to inform all of you that we no longer have a Gratipay page.

Thank all of you that used the platform to support us!

While unfortunate, Gratipay ultimately has the right to decide who does and does not use their platform. We bear them no ill will, no matter our feelings that they are incorrect in this matter. It is still a great resource to other groups out there—who must be much different than TechRaptor—and we wish them success.

Do you know of someone else that may have received a similar email, or have you yourself? Let us know in the comments below.

Andrew Otton

Editor in Chief

Editor in Chief at TechRaptor. Lover of some things, a not so much lover of other things.