It's possible to combine small donations so long as there's an aspirational goal (aka memes). I cite the example of VitaDAO https://www.vitadao.com/community which aims at longivity research. Even though might not work out short-term for individuals, people can see the benefit for their (grand)kids and are willing to punt a little. DeSci (decentralised science) is one of those nascent movements ... we saw beginings in the SETI project where fans contribute their desktop CPU to do number crunching, we might be getting more with climate research where having more eyes / sensors favors broad geographical participation rather than centralised concentration.

PS ... if you are looking for an alternative to discord, you might want to check out https://CommonWealth.im where you can token-gate access so supporters get a more detailed look than visitors.

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I think Love's DAO is an example of how this model go terribly wrong epistemologically (sharing context without endorsement https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenbertoni/2022/09/16/bolt-billionaire-ryan-breslow-is-back-as-ceo-at-a-new-startup/?sh=22db4d0b18e9)

Deciding what to fund is a big part of the process in moving a field forward, and if non-expert people have a say it risks being a less than optimal distribution of funds. Maybe there are other virtues we think participation brings, or maybe it's possible to narrow the field somewhat, but seems important to think about how funder satisfaction can also become a problem.

Crowdfunding has been discussed for years in medical research though, specifically the idea of patient-sponsored research to bring more funding to areas where pharma doesn't see a big enough market. I think this is net good overall though some people take it as evidence that pharma/med market structure or incentives needs to change. Worth noting that a lot of researchers are concerned about the ethical hazards too. (eg https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5722765/)

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