I am a creator of a project and I want to ask a basic question: how to give it free to everyone and still have a sustainable living from it.

I suppose "give it to everyone" can be understood as "cultivate a community", if the product is welcomed enough. But since it is mostly interactions between the users and me, not the interactions between them, I wonder it is on-topic or not.

From What topics can I ask about here?, it seems that the answer is yes, as it's relevant to these two points:

  • Creating, expanding, and cultivating communities, their content, and the relationships among members.
  • Questions from both the leader's and user's perspective.

However, I agree that calling a group of users a community is quite a stretch. However, again, I suppose many communities start with a group of users of a product.

1 Answer 1


Your particular suggestion seems either off-topic or too broad.

In particular, your question seems to be about how to make a living from a project that you want to distribute for free. This doesn't really seem to fit the focus of the site, as described on the on-topic help page; your question as phrased here seems to be a concern about business viability/sustainability, not one about building a community (even in the sense of a commercial userbase).

Essentially, it's fine to ask about techniques to market your product, or how to engage your clients, but "how do I give away a product for free and still make a living" doesn't seem to be primarily a concern about community. If you're able to take specific elements of that question that do relate to community building and management, they might be more suitable here.

  • Do you think this is a matter of wording? I can rephrase it as "how to entice users to help me a hand?"
    – Ooker
    Commented Nov 20, 2019 at 17:32
  • @Ooker: I don't think it's a matter of wording, but rather an issue of the focus/topic of your question. There are probably aspects of your situation that are suitable for asking about on communitybuilding.SE, but "how can I make a living off this free project" is not one of them.
    – V2Blast
    Commented Nov 20, 2019 at 21:20
  • so do you think my rephrase better?
    – Ooker
    Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 4:10
  • @Ooker: If by that you mean the rephrasing suggested in your previous comment... Well, it seems to be missing a word or two (or is otherwise not proper English), so I'm not sure what the proposed rephrasing actually is.
    – V2Blast
    Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 4:45
  • That's weird, because the structure "how to + verb phrase" is quite commonly used as question title in Stack Exchange. I mean that how to ask users to help me back, not just take it free for me. Either by donation or feedback, etc
    – Ooker
    Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 7:03
  • @Ooker What I meant was, the phrase "help me a hand" doesn't make any sense; "how to entice users to help me" or "how to entice users to give me a hand" would be grammatical/proper, but didn't present a clearly identifiable problem relating to community building. As for "how to ask users to help me back, not just take it free for me", that does make your question a bit clearer, but again - this is a question about how to monetize something, not necessarily about building a community. All that said, others might disagree (...though nobody's left a different answer since you asked in April).
    – V2Blast
    Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 8:57
  • If you want to find a more appropriate site to ask on, you can probably use MSE to find one. In terms of actually answering that question: I'd suggest looking into something like Patreon or similar sites. I've never used it, but a common business model is for patrons to support you by pledging a certain amount of money a month, and in exchange, you create something - art, video games, music, etc. I think some creators using Patreon release the resulting product only to their patrons, but others do release that resulting product publicly (obviously, you should make it clear which you're doing).
    – V2Blast
    Commented Nov 21, 2019 at 9:00

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