|Don't ask to ask, just ask|
Its Thanksgiving weekend here in the USA. I suggest you immerse yourself in the spirit of the holiday and simply give thanks to all the CPAN contributors, minor, major, orphaning, or otherwise. After all, they've given you the source!. If you have an issue the author won't fix, then swallow hard, fixup a version for yourself and your friends, respect the author's copyright and/or license terms (if any), and move on.
Please go back and re-read the quote that got me started on this meditation. Perhaps I got off track in the meditation itself, but the issue that I find frustrating is less about CPAN contributors not fixing things when they break but about not even bothering to maintain things when others in the community offer help.
You're absolutely right that the code is there and it can be forked off. But I don't think it helps the community (whatever that is) to proliferate module releases along the lines of Blah::Blah::Fixed. So... instead, I'm trying to spark a discussion what could be done short of that.
In response to some specific points, I was approaching this from the standpoint of things that might encourage me, as a CPAN contributor -- by positive or negative means -- to step up the priority to fix a bug, incorporate a patch, etc. at a time when I'm not actively using a module and have a shortage of tuits. It certainly wasn't a suggestion that any of it be "imposed".
On the money front, I'm not suggesting significant amounts like a shareware model -- if someone said "hey, if you could get that patch in there in the next week, I'd gladly buy you a drink at the next YAPC" that might well be enough for me. The idea is to explicitly recognize that asking someone to do something for you is an imposition in their busy lives -- and even a token offering can be enough to make them feel valued as opposed to put upon.
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