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We're thrilled to announce that AWS will be sponsoring Ask Ubuntu starting on July 22 through December 31. We wanted to give you a heads-up and walk you through what that means.

How and where will the sponsorship be displayed?

The sponsorship will be found on the right side of the header at the top of the site similar to what you see below.

Ask Ubuntu Home Page with AWS Ad Banner

What else changes?

Not a thing! Borrowing from the original MSE announcement on sponsorships:

First — sponsors do not own these Q&A sites. Sponsors work alongside our communities who ultimately build these sites. Communities ask the questions; communities create the tags; communities conduct elections as they do now, and we are not renaming our current sites like a garish sport stadium to the highest bidder. Any ads a sponsor submits still have go through our crazy-strict ad editorial process… as it has always been. Companies do not have access to personal data, and all Q&A content remains irrevocably licensed under Creative Commons for sharing and attribution.

Sponsorships are a tool that our clients can use to let folks who could be interested in their products know about them in a non-intrusive way.

What if I've found a design glitch/bug?

If something looks off, please report it as a bug so we can investigate and squash it.

That's all. If you have any other questions or concerns, please leave them as answers below.

Lastly, thank you. These types of partnerships help us bring more resources to our communities, and they wouldn't be possible without the work you've put into making Ask Ubuntu successful.

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    Helpful information to readers: What goes into site sponsorships on SE? Jul 20 at 15:18
  • I wonder if the many negative downvotes come purely from the fact that this is Amazon, from general resistance against sponsorship, or a combination of those... Jul 21 at 7:20
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    @ArturMeinild I feel the downvotes are because of sponsorship from a company which doesn't respect FOSS and AU respects FOSS (it's just my opinion). Jul 21 at 7:24
  • How does Amazon not respect Open Source? You're welcome to contest their statements, but some examples and sources would be nice to back up your opinion. Jul 21 at 7:35
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    @ArturMeinild Don't forget to tag me. Please read this: thenewstack.io/what-the-fork-amazon Jul 21 at 7:42
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    Every dollar spent at Amazon is a dollar not spent in your town or community. We should support our communities and our own well being and boycott Amazon and their (often) counterfeit products. Amazon already has a link on Ubuntu's favorites bar that users have never approved. Ubuntu is becoming a big Amazon advertising campaign. Jul 21 at 18:33
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    I think they are mixing efforts here. I can see the not supporting open source or money not going to your town, but that is to be applied where it should. Here, Amazon is trying to help in a very nice way Askubuntu. I also do not like Amazon for specific technical reasons that are easier in other platforms (that most likely only apply to my workflow) but for stuff like this I thank them for their support and amazing collaboration here. Jul 22 at 14:06
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    How are they helping? This is just preferred advertising. The money goes to SE, not AU. And let's be real, Amazon isn't spending any money unless they think they are going to make even more money by doing so. The thing that bothers me the most about this is that the people who do the work on this site are volunteers. These volunteers get absolutely nothing from this arrangement and Amazon makes money off their free labor. And AWS gets free tech support for their paying customers. In that context, it's quite abusive.
    – Nmath
    Jul 22 at 18:19
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    @Nmath Personally, I see this as an overall benefit/win to us as a community. Stack Exchange is a business; it has to make money to survive (it actually has to make a profit to survive, otherwise its investors will put their money elsewhere). We as a community ask, and answer, questions here as volunteers, but someone (Stack Exchange) has to pay the bills for development, infrastructure, benefits (health insurance, retirement, taxes, etc. for employees). Sponsorships/advertising is one way for SE to bring in revenue. It's fairly unobtrusive, and keeps the site going. Jul 22 at 23:20
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    @Nmath What do you mean "the money goes to SE, not AU"? SE is AU. They host it, they update it, they carry the cost of running it and keeping it running. I have very mixed feelings about this for a variety of reasons, but to say that AU gets nothing out of this isn't true. Don't take the fact that this site has been provided by SE, for free, for over 10 years for granted.
    – Seth
    Jul 24 at 5:41
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    @Seth Let's not give SE all the credits. SE gave the infrastructure, but AU is nothing without volunteers. Jul 24 at 11:49
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    @RandomPerson Absolutely, but I'm not sure how that's relevant here. If you want to be paid from this sponsorship then you're not really a volunteer, are you? And how would you expect that money to be distributed? By rep? By # of posts? Across a million users? For something you already did for free of your own free will? Nothing about that argument makes sense and it really comes across as entitlement. When I volunteer somewhere, I don't expect to make money, even if I'm literally fundraising for an organization. That defeats the purpose.
    – Seth
    Jul 24 at 19:06
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    @Seth You seem to have totally misunderstand what I meant. No, I don't want money and I am not here for money (nor are other volunteers). The point which we are trying to make is: The money which SE gets through sponsorship of AU should also be spent in AU (not in stuff like SO For Teams or any other random stuff (which are not really important to our community)). Our community has been requesting for an archive answer feature, but SE didn't make any visible efforts about considering the feature-request. Jul 24 at 20:13
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    @RandomPerson mm, gotcha. I still think that money benefits AU regardless of where SE uses it, merely because anything that floats SE also floats AU. But thanks for clarifying.
    – Seth
    Jul 25 at 0:25
  • @C.S.Cameron Friend, Amazon is a not a store. It is a platform for ecommerce storefronts. Some of these may very well be operated by your neighbor. What qualifies as a "community" in 2022? Is it merely a matter of proximity? I see a lot of posts referring to AU as a community and it seems to be a fitting representation of what a community is. With this sponsorship you now know that when you purchase via an Amazon storefront you are in fact supporting your AU community. So I'm just going to go ahead and upvote this one for the AU community.
    – iyrin
    Jul 29 at 20:34

3 Answers 3

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What is the benefit of this sponsorship to the Ask Ubuntu community?

How exactly will AWS "work alongside our community"?

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    TBH, the "work alongside our community" phrase just feels like some marketing phrase. Jul 20 at 19:50
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    It pays the company that allows Ask Ubuntu to exist; justifies our existence to them. I don't think it's a bad thing if we're profitable for our insect overlords.
    – Oli Mod
    Jul 26 at 22:11
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AWS sponsored-by message is annoyingly big and looks like a banner ad. Turns out this affects multiple sites, so I've moved this to Meta SE, but as I've gotten some votes here, I'll keep this answer around as a pointer to there

Can the "Sponsored by AWS" message made smaller (less annoying)?

On the mobile site, it takes up a large amount of space - can something be done so it takes up less of the page? Maybe put the AWS logo on the same line as Ask Ubuntu?

I find the amount of space it takes up on mobile to be annoying (and consider it gives me no useful information, I don’t need it taking up that much of the page.

It is on the same line in the desktop site, so I assume this was simply an oversight. If it helps, I’m using Microsoft Edge as my mobile browser

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    On Firefox mobile, the banner is also excessively large. It's about 10% larger than the banner on U&L which is similarly sponsored by AWS
    – Nmath
    Jul 22 at 23:51
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Were the moderators of Ask Ubuntu given a heads-up regarding this sponsorship?

Also, on a general note, if moderators are given a heads-up regarding sponsorship and if moderators do not feel okay with the sponsorship and express it to Stack Exchange staff (before official announcement in meta), will the sponsorship be called off?

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    mods were given a heads up yes, but we don't have any control over this
    – Zanna Mod
    Jul 21 at 7:19
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    @Zanna: Why not just hold a vote on AU Meta? I understand that is how decisions are made here. Jul 21 at 18:41
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    @C.S.Cameron Not as regards the sponsorship itself: 'The Community cannot veto a sponsorship, although serious concerns will be relayed back to the client' This is a quote from: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/376530/… (Last paragraph in the Who can sponsor a site? section).
    – andrew.46 Mod
    Jul 22 at 5:08
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    To quote something Jeff Atwood used to say "Always listen to the community, but don't let them tell you what to do" - SE's best served listening to the community and taking into account their concerns, but we've never been a direct democracy. We've lots of instances where the moderator team or staff have taken decisions that might not be popular. Jul 25 at 1:23

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