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Ah. By “…are motivated to do so,” you mean “…are prepared to self-publish online.” Good luck with that.

A large fraction of interesting books are now self published. Hell, the HoTT book is self published and it’s one of the more important math texts of recent years.


The issue is not published or self-published. The issue is being paid while doing the work, I bet the HoTT authors were.

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Here’s a self-published maths book, in french, for people preparing agrégation, the main author was not paid I think.

I’m strongly opposed to the normalization of unpaid work. Paying passionate and competent people for their unselfish work makes a lot more of it possible.


This is no longer about OCaml at all, but just as an aside:

For almost all of human history, art, math, science, etc. was largely the province of interested amateurs earning essentially nothing for their work. A lucky few made a living at it. It is not a question of normalizing it — it has always been the default state of things.

This changed for a couple hundred years after the rise of mass produced books and recordings in so far as somewhat more people made a living at such things than before, but even so, most people did not do such things as their primary paid profession (the average published author could not possibly support themselves at writing, for example), and even those who were paid full time did not earn that much at it.

Mostly, even now, people do such things for the love of it. It is not a question of normalizing or denormalizing it. This is the world we live in.

The big change in recent years has been that talented amateurs have been able to get their contributions seen by huge numbers of people rather than being invisible to basically everyone in the world. You might not be able to get paid for your amateur chamber orchestra’s performances, but millions around the world can now see you on youtube. You might not be able to get a book published for money, but now at least it can be possible for lots of people to read what you wrote.

I agree, of course, that it is always preferable for people to receive a benefit for what they do for the world proportional to their contribution, but the world is not an ideal place, and in very many ways.

OK, let’s get back on topic. You guys can move this discussion to… r/economics or something.

(Maybe we want an off-topic category?) Anyway, back on track.


Indeed. I should have avoided that temptation, it was irrelevant.