*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
August 11, 2022, 03:41:47 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 74 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
Pages: [1] 2
Print
Author Topic: Idea for member discussion (donations and hosting fees)  (Read 11706 times)
Clinton R. Nixon
Member

Posts: 2624


WWW
« on: January 10, 2002, 09:06:38 AM »

Everyone at the Forge,

Ron and I have talked for a while now about how to support the Forge as it grows. Over the last year, we've increased our membership and traffic tremendously, which is great. It's also cost us more and more financially, as bandwidth needs increased.

Now, I never want us to make the same mistakes as other sites and force people to pay for the Forge. In fact, let me make it clear right now: we are not discussing paying for The Forge. It is and always will be free.

We are thinking about offering you guys the chance to donate. I've put a page up at http://www.indie-rpgs.com/user_donate.html. The button to donate is turned off, but otherwise, it's the proposed page.

This is a really touchy issue, so Ron and I wanted to put it up for discussion. We don't want the issue of whether you would or would not donate discussed here - that's a personal matter. We would like to discuss whether you would or would not be offended by the opportunity to donate, and whether the wording on the donation page is acceptable.

We do not know if we will actually do this. This is not an announcement saying that we will. This is merely a proposal, and an opportunity to discuss it.

I look forward to your comments.
Logged

Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2002, 09:31:49 AM »

I'll chime in too.

Issue #1 is whether to have people donate money at all, and I'd like input about that.

However, my main concern is, if we do it, to avoid generating a two-tier distinction between donors and non-donors.

Clinton and I will commit to not treating people differently, for our parts. We can only do our best, for that.

The big issue for me (call it #2) is whether to have the donors be publicly acknowledged. Will doing that imply, overwhelmingly, that we do "favor" or "like" or "respect" donors more than non-donors? Will any disclaimer succeed in allaying that perception? Will donors expect certain treatment or respect from other Forge members because their names are in lights?

All comments on issues #1 and #2 are greatly appreciated. We really don't have a clear outlook at this point, which is why we've taken it to public discussion.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2002, 09:33:32 AM »

I'm missing the potential negative side here. The only thing that I can think of is that some people might feel some guilt over not having their name on the list. But even that seems unlikely. You could just accept donations annonyously. Under any circumstances that should be an option. Some people just don't like recognition.

OTOH, you might require listing names of donators under the concept of full disclosure. But I don't know if The Forge is so political as to have to worry about that. :-)

Mike
Logged

Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.
Jason L Blair
Member

Posts: 636

Nothing is sacred.


WWW
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2002, 09:36:28 AM »

Quote from: Clinton R Nixon

We would like to discuss whether you would or would not be offended by the opportunity to donate...



Offended by the opportunity to donate? No way. Would anyone here be offended by having the opportunity to donate?

The page reads well enough. As well as any non-pleading plea for cash can, anway. ;)

I say set up a little Cafepress action and get some shirts, shorts, hats, etc up in here with some Forge-sport! Heyyeah!
Logged

Jason L Blair
Writer, Game Designer
Jason L Blair
Member

Posts: 636

Nothing is sacred.


WWW
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2002, 09:43:26 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards

Issue #1 is whether to have people donate money at all, and I'd like input about that.


Yes. Give people the opportunity.

Quote from: Ron Edwards

The big issue for me (call it #2) is whether to have the donors be publicly acknowledged. Will doing that imply, overwhelmingly, that we do "favor" or "like" or "respect" donors more than non-donors? Will any disclaimer succeed in allaying that perception? Will donors expect certain treatment or respect from other Forge members because their names are in lights?


I think you and Clinton are being too soft-footed about this. I guess I just find it amusing that people who can so easily enforce their laws have such trouble just saying, "Hey, we provide a service. If you want to help, please do so. If you don't, that's cool too."

Set up donations as anonymous. Donations should be made to help out not for a free link. Those who don't donate, don't. Those who do, do.
Logged

Jason L Blair
Writer, Game Designer
Clinton R. Nixon
Member

Posts: 2624


WWW
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2002, 09:53:12 AM »

Quote from: Key20Jason

I say set up a little Cafepress action and get some shirts, shorts, hats, etc up in here with some Forge-sport! Heyyeah!


This is a real option. I'll have to put some work into it, but I could definitely work up some CafePress action.
Logged

Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Matt Snyder
Member

Posts: 1380


WWW
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2002, 10:03:44 AM »

Clinton & Ron,

I think donations are a fine idea. What's more, I think donors should be listed at their option. This isn't to make it a political issue, but rather to show appreciation for supporters. The whole notion reminds me very much of public radio fund raising, and people like to see their name listed -- I know I would. It says "I support the Forge, and the Forge 'cares' enough to support me back with a personal thank you."

Alternativey, of course, they could opt to remain anonymous).

Now, is that button on the donations page working? I'm willing to give a little donation via paypal, but the Paypal image doesn't do anything when I click. Perhaps this is just a trial page at this point? Then again, maybe it's cause I'm on a Mac.
Logged

Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
hardcoremoose
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 669


WWW
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2002, 10:08:02 AM »

I'm all in favor of donations.  Acknowledgement is unnecessary (although if you do decide to list the donors, I'll have to allow myself to be listed, just so Mike Holmes won't upstage me).

The CafePress stuff is a fine idea.  I'd wear mine with pride.

- Scott
Logged
J B Bell
Member

Posts: 267


« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2002, 10:10:09 AM »

I say definitely do it.  As for anonymous vs. non-anonymous, obviously being allowed to be anonymous is good, but neither do I see any harm in a public "thanks!" area.  In my purist, social anarchist heart, I think charity should all be anonymous, but if someone's getting a litle ego stroke from donate pushes them over the line to donate, what the hey.

The Forge is the best online discussion of RPGs anywhere, period.  I want to see it continue, and if this is an avenue that helps that happen, awesome.

--TQuid
Logged

"Have mechanics that focus on what the game is about. Then gloss the rest." --Mike Holmes
Clinton R. Nixon
Member

Posts: 2624


WWW
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2002, 10:31:12 AM »

So far, it sounds like no one's opposed, which is good. It looks like we're kind of torn on the acknowledgement issue. I thought (and think) it was (is) a good idea because of the parallels with public radio and museums. It's a way we can show appreciation without alienating anyone - the names wouldn't be in the forum or anything, but on one separate thanks page.

Cafepress is sounding like a great idea, by the way. I don't want to use it instead of donations, as, well - their stuff is expensive enough as is, so I can't see adding more than about a dollar to the price of each item. I do think we should start using it in addition to donations, though, if for no other reason, so that we can have cool shirts for GenCon.

Jason Blair sent me some neat ideas regarding CafePress, and the one I came up with based off his is this: as another way to contribute to the site, I'd ask all you artists/graphic designers to design a Forge shirt for CafePress. It wouldn't have to use the Forge logo or anything, but just be a cool Forge advertisement. Each month, we could sell a different Forge t-shirt. I think it'd be cool as all get-out - imagine a crazy raygun-badass Forge shirt one month, and a darkly surrealistic shirt the next.
Logged

Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Blake Hutchins
Member

Posts: 614


« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2002, 10:56:45 AM »

Hell yes, it's a good idea.  Scratch that.  Donations are a great idea.  For my part, listing a thank you section is unnecessary, but I'm certainly not opposed to it.

So I echo the other sentiments here.  Clinton and Ron, I appreciate your concerns and courtesy, but I'd have to say that the community here is mature enough and cohesive enough to handle both donation button and Thank You list.

Bring it on.

Best,

Blake
Logged
Ben Morgan
Member

Posts: 307


WWW
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2002, 03:32:56 PM »

Re: donations
I donate to Goats fairly regularly when finances permit, so I'd be more than willing to do so here as well.

Re: CafePress & T-Shirts

Quote from: Clinton
Jason Blair sent me some neat ideas regarding CafePress, and the one I came up with based off his is this: as another way to contribute to the site, I'd ask all you artists/graphic designers to design a Forge shirt for CafePress. It wouldn't have to use the Forge logo or anything, but just be a cool Forge advertisement. Each month, we could sell a different Forge t-shirt. I think it'd be cool as all get-out - imagine a crazy raygun-badass Forge shirt one month, and a darkly surrealistic shirt the next.


Excellent idea. I for one would definitely buy a Forge T-shirt, especially one that had artwork that I designed.

Make 'em in black, and I'm there.
Logged

-----[Ben Morgan]-----[ad1066@gmail.com]-----
"I cast a spell! I wanna cast... Magic... Missile!"  -- Galstaff, Sorcerer of Light
Le Joueur
Member

Posts: 1367


WWW
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2002, 04:00:58 PM »

You know, I am glad you guys approached the issue this way; it shows a lot of class.  I think having a 'drop box' for donations is a wonderful idea, go for it.

There are, however, a few problems that seem to be being missed.  I bring them up because I think that the people who would have them may, for similar reasons, be not responding.

The first is, I actually think putting everybody who donates on an ackowledgement page is a very bad idea.  Like Ron forecasted, it will undoubtedly lead to elitism of some kind.  It will also 'scare off' people who like to anonymously lurk, especially if they want to donate (id est, if donations are accepted, and then published, they might feel they need to 'pay to read,' but can't afford the publicity).  I think the public radio analogy might carry.  Not every donor to public radio is mentioned; in fact, very few are.  Most are large donors and they make their interest in being mentioned clear when donating.

I think it would be just about as bad, making donors have to 'check this box to remain anonymous.'  Personally, I find this a subtle assault on privacy; saying "we're going to publish your name if you're not careful."  On the other hand a 'check this box to be acknowledged' system cannot help but invite 'brown-nosing' and competition for elitist 'favor.'  Honestly I can't see a good reason for acknowledging any but the highest of donors and maybe only if they require it.  Separating acknowledging supporters from acknowledging donors is where the difficulty arises in this conundrum.

Worse, I fear that acknowledgement will breed a certain reticence on the part of people who are either unable or unwilling to donate.  Certainly this will be taken by the Forge's detractors as another sign of "we don't want dissenting opinions," because what kind of Don Quixote would donate to a group they criticize?

(And speaking as someone who is on record for not even being able to donate, I guess I would feel uncomfortable posting on a forum where I could be shown to be the only one who didn't contribute financially, because of a compulsory donation list.  Even if it were discretionary self-acknowledgement, it would still require something of a lie - even just to myself - that I add as much value by posting as even a low level donor/lurker.)

I guess my opinion is that acknowledgements, however goodly intentioned, may wind up being a public relations headache (if this doesn't make them so already).

The second problem is overage.  What if the donations far and away exceed the needs of the site?  Where will this money go?  What if you are getting more in donations then you can think of things to improve the site?  If you are approaching this with a vague "we're non-profit" ideal, you might find yourself feeling ripped off, when the money goes somewhere other than 'ideal,' if you don't have a plan for the excesses.  (I know all you guys think the Forge is a modest enterprise, barely surviving, but I have a lot of faith in it.)

Anyway, after all is said and done, have you considered renting out webspace?  I think a lot of the supposed 'indie-punk' game publishers might really love having a web address like "www.indie-rpgs.com/their_game_name."  Set your profit margin (don't forget to allow funds to pay for billing) and off you go; money to support the franchise.  (And you don't even need to advertise, if it bothers your conscience.)

Fang Langford
Logged

Fang Langford is the creator of Scattershot presents: Universe 6 - The World of the Modern Fantastic.  Please stop by and help!
Jason L Blair
Member

Posts: 636

Nothing is sacred.


WWW
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2002, 04:15:25 PM »

Webspace is another good option. Of course, I have no idea what kinda control options Clinton has over the box. Can you set up separate FTP space, tertiary domains, etc, Clinton?
Logged

Jason L Blair
Writer, Game Designer
Clinton R. Nixon
Member

Posts: 2624


WWW
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2002, 04:19:21 PM »

Fang,

Thanks for commenting. So far, the comments have all come from strong pro-Forge regulars, and while I appreciate that, I really wanted some opinions from people I wouldn't normally hear from.

Your post has just about convinced me to not acknowledge donations publicly. Everyone who donates will get a personalized e-mail, because I couldn't imagine not thanking everyone, but I see your point. I'm really afraid of elitism in this matter. I'm also really afraid of someone thinking, "Well, I donated, so you better listen to me." Nothing about social status on the Forge will change, whether you donate or not. It's only to pay server bills.

Quote from: Fang Langford

The second problem is overage.  What if the donations far and away exceed the needs of the site?  Where will this money go?  What if you are getting more in donations then you can think of things to improve the site?  


I did cover that in my sample page. If we receive enough money to pay a year's worth of server bills (about $225-250 for the server for the year, and $30 domain registration), then I'll just take down the button completely.

As far as renting out webspace goes - I'll think about it. I've thought about it in the past, and it's not a bad idea, although we're not set up for it from a server standpoint - no extra FTP accounts or anything. If I coded up a way to do this in PHP, it would be a for-profit thing. I'm not certain I want to mix profit and non-profit in that way.

(It'd be simple to do redirects, though, like making http://www.indie-rpgs.com/scattershot point to your site. I really wanted to sell e-mail addresses and redirects from the Forge for something like $5 a pop/year, but we only have 23 free e-mail addresses.)

Thanks again, Fang.
Logged

Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Pages: [1] 2
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!