Maybe you've noticed the little Flattr icons that I've added at the bottom of each post, and now you're wondering if, and why, you should support my blogging efforts with a donation.

Let me state this first and foremost: I enjoy writing posts about subjects that interest me and I learn a lot from the research I put into my posts. So, even without donations I'd continue doing so. But, it's also a fact that many of my posts demand a lot of effort. Researching, writing and illustrating an in-depth post can take weeks, depending on my energy levels and other activities.

I hope you now understand why this blog is updated so slowly. I'm convinced that few updates with informative, long posts is better than frequent 100-word status updates of my projects. That would be a waste of your time! But because it takes so much time and effort, sometimes I struggle to find the motivation for writing new posts.

This is where Flattr comes in: a small donation is a wonderful way to express how much you liked a post, and it can really lift my spirits and motivate me to write more!

As an added advantage, by seeing which posts get Flattr'd the most I can get a better idea of what you, the readership of my blog, like and what you don't like. This will help me choose which topics to write about more.

Update: You can now also donate via Bitcoin, as several people indicated that they wouldn't like to sign up to Flattr. The bitcoin address you can use is 19uPJ7BVcJea4iFtUiMcFGTEJG8pEbFmDC.

Update 2: After more than 3 years I got only a handful of donations, so I decided to get rid of these buttons. I've learned from this experiment that (in general) people aren't interested in tipping random strangers for good articles. Don't worry, I still won't put ads on my blog :)

Why I refuse to put ads on my blog

Of course, I know that placing ads on my blog would be the easiest way to get some returns from the hard work that I put into my posts. This would easily repay my hosting costs. However, in my opinion, the advertising industry is the most toxic influence on the web today. It is completely absurd that it's considered normal for companies (and individuals with blogs...) to be rewarded for filling up our screens with obnoxious garbage, and for eroding our privacy through various tracking mechanisms. They don't care that all this digital pollution is only going to be acted on by a tiny fraction of all visitors (if any). It is downright disrespectful; personally I think it's as bad as spam e-mail.

In my opinion, Flattr is a much more benign way of receiving money for my efforts. The company was created by a founder of The Pirate Bay, as a better and more direct alternative for rewarding creators than the commercial exploitation of copyright law by middle men. It's also non-unobtrusive: just a small icon in each post. The integration that I'm using is a simple hyperlink, so no nasty tracking cookies or web beacons; I'm even hosting the icon image myself.

Besides that, Flattr is completely voluntary on the visitor's part. This means that any rewards are directly linked to people's enjoyment of my posts. This encourages informative posts of substance rather than click-bait titles with disappointing content which would draw more traffic, just to get more ad impressions.

These are my views on the matter. If you're using ads on your blog, I hope I've managed to convince you to switch away from ads to visitor-supported donations. And if you like my posts, I hope you'll consider making a small donation.

Integrating Flattr into Hyde

To make this post at least a little bit on-topic, I'd like to share how I added the Flattr button to my Hyde configuration. I added the following definition to hyde.scm (slightly modified):

(use hyde uri-common)

(define (flattr-button #!optional (page (current-page)))
  (let* ((base-uri (uri-reference ""))
         (attrs `((user_id . "YOUR FLATTR ACCOUNT NAME")
                  ;; A bit ugly, but Hyde does it like this, too
                  (url . ,(string-append ($ 'base-uri page) (page-path page)))
                  (category . "text")
                  (language . ,(or ($ 'lang page) "en_GB"))
                  (title . ,($ 'title page))))
         ;; Flattr doesn't grok semicolon as query param separator...
          (parameterize ((form-urlencoded-separator "&"))
            (uri->string (update-uri base-uri query: attrs)))))

    `(a (@ (class "flattr-button")
           (href ,flattr-page-uri))
        (img (@ (src "/pics/flattr-button.svg")
                (alt "Flattr this!")
                (title "Flattr this post!"))))))

Then, in my SXML definition for article layouts which I call, surprise, surprise! article.sxml:

;; -*- Scheme -*-

`(div (@ (class "article"))


        (h1 (@ (class "article-title"))
            ,($ 'title) " "
            (small (@ (class "date"))
                   "Posted on " ,(format-seconds (page-updated))))

        (div (@ (class "article-body"))
             (inject ,contents)


The button immediately follows the contents of the blog post, which makes sense because only after reading a blog post, you'll know whether it was worth something to you.