Oh, but we volunteers ARE being paid, Adrian! For me, my compensation comes in the form of the satisfaction I receive in making even a small contribution to the creative process that makes these programs accessible to all. It’s in the joy of helping to open cultures to others around the globe. It’s in enjoying the camaraderie that exists when working with and forming friendships with other volunteers worldwide. And in the appreciation I feel for the talented contributors who have mentored me, and my pleasure in doing what I can to mentor others. The great thing is that as volunteers we can work on projects if we want to, and when we want to. That doesn’t mean we don’t take our commitments seriously – we do. But the choice is ours.
If you were to insist that payment only matters if it’s financial, consider it this way. In round numbers, a Viki Pass Plus subscription (in the U.S., at least) is $10.00. Upon reaching QC status, Viki covers that cost for volunteers who make 500 contributions every six months. So, if that took the volunteer five hours to do (some may take more time, some may take much less), they are receiving $60 of value for five hours’ work. That would be $12 per hour. You won’t get rich, but hey, you’re getting “paid” something for an activity you enjoy doing anyway!
Now we couldn’t do any of this without Viki providing a platform for us to work and learn in. But there are costs to that, which Viki needs to cover. And they’re entitled to a reasonable profit. In order to attract enough subscribers to cover those costs, in addition to the programming, they need to ensure the stability and usability of its service. The technical work involved has to be handled by paid staff, who are available whenever needed, and not at their leisure. So if hiring these people will improve things, I’m all for it.
My apologies for rambling on, but the bottom line is that I don’t feel that the situation in regard to volunteers vis-à-vis paid staff is inherently unfair. It works for me, at least.