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Author Topic: Paying for the Forge  (Read 11666 times)
Valamir
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« on: March 20, 2003, 01:26:30 PM »

The following thoughts have been stewing around to a greater or lesser degree for the past few months.  

Premise:
1) That the Forge is a truly unique location on the web with information, discussions, and atmosphere not easily found elsewhere.
2) That the Forge as a location is a valuable site that active members wish to ensure continues without interruption for reasons as trivial as hosting costs.
3) That several members of the Forge get, have gotten, and will continue to get concrete financial benefit from the Forge and participating here:
a) either as the result of business or business related exposure generated through game forums.
b) or as the result of ideas on game design that were discovered here and made their way into a finished product that is now being sold.
4) That even without actual financial gain, many members get direct benefits from increasing the enjoyment of their personal play, or just the enjoyment from participating.
5) That it is unfair for those who get direct tangible benefit from the Forge to expect the site to be funded by others indefinitely.
6) That "please donate" buttons generally don't work in the long run unless members are constantly reminded and guilted into it.  And noone wants to see regular PBS-style annoying pledge drives.
7) That "for pay" internet sites have several negatives, not the least of which is discouraging participation from casual members (which would be devastating).
8) That it is reasonable to expect that those who get the most benefit from the Forge be the ones to foot the bill for the Forge.
9) That there is no way to truly measure who actually gets the most benefit, but that number of posts is probably as accurate a proxy as we are likely to get given that becoming one of the top posters on the site requires an extended period of involvement and interaction which is not likely unless the poster views the activity as beneficial; and that the more beneficial that activity is, the more often the poster is likely to engage in it.

Therefor:

I propose that since a year consists of 12 months, and that webhosting and related fees are generally paid by the month, that the top 12 posters of the Forge each committ to taking 1 month and pay the webhosting fees (which I believe to be about $40 from previous threads) via the current donations button.

Alternatively one could expand to the top 24 posters with 2 members per month donating 1/2 the cost each.

I personally do not feel that $40 per year is too onerous a cost to be asked to shoulder for the benefits that we get from the Forge, especially that the leading posters get.

As to practical application, I think the easiest and least record keeping intensive method is simply to start at the top of the Total Posts list and assign a month based on the corresponding position number (i.e. Ron being January, Mike H, being February, Me being March, etc.)  I don't suspect that the positions change all that frequently at the top level (though they might if expanded to the top 24).

Thoughts?
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lumpley
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« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2003, 01:30:40 PM »

Speaking as someone not quite in the top 24, I'd be willing to pay if someone above me couldn't.

-Vincent
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2003, 01:30:42 PM »

Interesting idea. I'd be willing, personally.

I also think, though, that the most recent pledge drive from NPR here in Chicago pointed out something interesting. Instead of shooting for a dollar amount, they went for number of people signing up, regardless of how much was donated per signup. My impression is that they were promoting the sense of community rather than an individual sense of economic-importance, and that it worked pretty well.

Perhaps some sort of scheduled Forge Drive along these lines (although not based on recruiting) might be conceivable.

Best,
Ron
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Gordon C. Landis
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« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2003, 01:39:04 PM »

For what it's worth -

A month/year is basically my personally-imposed Forge donation commitment.  Since the monthly fees change (go up) when Forge traffic goes up, I guess this can be a little tricky, but - the basic idea is cool by me.

Gordon
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2003, 03:13:52 PM »

This is going to be a shocker: I don't like the idea of a Forge Drive.

I know, I know ... I've actually asked people to contribute to the Forge in the past. I've hated doing it, and only done so when my own finances forced the issue. I took on this commitment over two years ago when the ball got dropped on The Forge's and the Sorcerer website's hosting, and think of it as such: a commitment.

That said, some people do contribute. On average, I have to shell about about half of the $40 hosting cost each month, which ain't bad. If people did want to contribute more, that'd be great, but I could settle for some of the following:

- You can get a subdomain at the Forge (whatever.indie-rpgs.com) for $60/year. That's everything paid if I had 8 people do this - and they all paid me, which has been a problem in the past.

- You can host your games on the Forge Bookshelf for $40/10 MB of games/year. That's everything paid if 12 people did this - and they all paid me, again.

- You can use my name (crnixon) as a reference if you host yourself with Dreamhost. 10% of what you pay is credited to the Forge account.

Now, if people wanted to organize a payment method to me, that'd be awesome. I'd be more appreciative than you can imagine - my new job pays barely above Kinko's wages. The thing I want to avoid is anyone ever feeling pressured to pay.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Kester Pelagius
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Posts: 508


« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2003, 05:53:04 PM »

Greetings,

It's a interesting idea but, really, should the burden of defraying support costs be laid strictly upon the shoulders of those who happen to post the most?

(Most SysOps from the long long ago would probably rally around your flag on this point! Seems logical.  Sadly, seldom worked that way.  :( )

There are ways to support a board and then there are ways to support a board.  Some might argue that posting is supporting the board, or providing links for the resource page is supporting the board, or... but of course that is neither here nor there and not why I decided to respond.

So, why did I start this post?

Because I think Mr. Nixon has a very valid point, especially this part:

Quote

5) That it is unfair for those who get direct tangible benefit from the Forge to expect the site to be funded by others indefinitely.


Most of us have probably kicked around ideas.  Great input, that's what The Forge means to most of us.  But not all of us have indie gming companies, and of those who do it may be far from a lucrative proposition.  Still, perhaps there is room for a indie ads page, or something similar that could serve to generate revenue?

Not banners.  IMO most banners are useless.  What I mean is to have a seperate page with ads, like you'd find in a magazine.  Maybe with links (set to a time or something, pending how long the ads are paids up for??).  A 'promo' section, if you will.

Bad idea?

Just a thought.  Anyone else have any ideas?


Kind Regards,

Kester Pelagius
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"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis." -Dante Alighieri
Marco
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« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2003, 08:53:04 PM »

Quote from: Kester Pelagius
Greetings,


Just a thought.  Anyone else have any ideas?


Kind Regards,

Kester Pelagius


Only one that works: Porn (Forge Porn ... *scary*)

Alright ... I'm feeling bitter tonight.

-Marco
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Valamir
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« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2003, 09:18:47 PM »

Quote
Because I think Mr. Nixon has a very valid point, especially this part:

Quote

5) That it is unfair for those who get direct tangible benefit from the Forge to expect the site to be funded by others indefinitely.


I said this not Clinton.  I am reasonably certain that Clinton would never have made this suggestion himself.
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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2003, 09:36:13 PM »

What I have seen on other sites is having a membership tier system where free membership is restricted in some way and/or pay membership has certain priviledges.

Exactly what priviledges could be reserved for pay membership on the Forge, I have no idea.
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Jonathan Walton
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« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2003, 09:38:33 PM »

Clinton's already hosting me, but, as poster #33 (as of recently), $20 is a miniscule amount of money compared to the enjoyment and benefit I get from the Forge.  But Clinton's also right that having a drive or pressuring people to donate isn't really appropriate.

What we need to do is build a culture of appreciating and reciprication among the most frequent users.  Maybe we start a tradition of donating the first money we get from selling a product to the Forge, since this community helped the project along.  Maybe we remember to give the Forge a Christmas present.  Whatever.  It's just about being aware of the needs that exist and helping make others aware of it.

If we can do that, Clinton should never have to worry about money.
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Kester Pelagius
Member

Posts: 508


« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2003, 10:08:04 PM »

Greetings Valamir,

Quote from: Valamir
Quote
Because I think Mr. Nixon has a very valid point, especially this part:

Quote

5) That it is unfair for those who get direct tangible benefit from the Forge to expect the site to be funded by others indefinitely.


I said this not Clinton.  I am reasonably certain that Clinton would never have made this suggestion himself.


Don't know how I managed to flub that, apologies to both of you.


Sincerely,

Kester Pelagius
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Christoffer Lernö
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« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2003, 11:22:08 PM »

A very simple suggestion. Why not put a small custom-made "support the forge" button on the main forge forum? Right now you have to click "about the forge" then scroll down and find out about the donation stuff. Why not have a small, tasteful button somewhere at the top of the pages?
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M. J. Young
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« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2003, 01:02:02 AM »

At the risk of slitting my own throat, let me point out that "total posts" is not really a good measure of who is currently getting the most benefit from the Forge.

I say slitting my own throat, because I note that I, who joined in August of 2002, am now the #32 most frequent poster with 384 posts in that time (this will make 385, I presume, but I'm still a dozen behind #31). I also note that only seven people above me on the list were also registered in 2002, all of them before me. That suggests that I have a greater frequency of posts than a lot of people, as I'm catching up with them.

I'm certainly not the current most active user, though--I note that Chris Lerich is at #37, with 310 posts already, so I suspect that he'll pass me before the year is out, certainly--he registered in January of this year, so is posting roughly three or four posts to every one of mine (assuming I've remained consistent in my posting rate).

But does that mean that either of us are getting more out of the site than those who are not posting at all? I have gotten something from my visits here. I've been given reason to think in new directions such that I've written some articles I might not otherwise have written (including the Game Ideas Unlimited piece that went up today, largely from thoughts I posted on character generation here). There has been some traffic from here to the Multiverser web site, presumably to find out more about the game, although whether any of those visitors ordered copies somewhere is more than I know. I do get one thing from this that is important to me: the recognition within the gaming community that Multiverser is still alive (in this industry, people are always saying that you're out of business or out of print, unless there's solid evidence somewhere to the contrary).

Otherwise, I think of what I do here as mainly contributing something.

That, and, to quote Augustine as well as I remember, I am one of those who by writing profits and by profiting writes, so having the interaction with others here stimulates my thoughts.

I don't know that I have $40 to give. I know that sounds hard, but I listen to NPR too, and I haven't supported them ever. I wish Dr. Who was still on PBS around here, but I can't complain because I never had the money to support public television. It seems I'm always landing in jobs that don't pay so well. I'd love to support The Forge, but my wife would kill me. We've got to replace a dying refrigerator and fix the brakes on the car, at least, not to mention that the computer isn't doing so well anymore and needs some work.

--M. J. Young

Footnote: As to M. J. Young Net, Valdron Inc paid for everything--domain, 500 meg space, unlimited bandwidth, a lot more stuff. It cost less than a magazine ad, I gather, and they figure it's good advertising--quite a lot of the traffic that reaches Valdron comes from those pages.
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Le Joueur
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« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2003, 06:08:31 AM »

Quote from: Jack Spencer Jr
What I have seen on other sites is having a membership tier system where free membership is restricted in some way and/or pay membership has certain priviledges.

Exactly what priviledges could be reserved for pay membership on the Forge, I have no idea.

All of this 'who uses the most' or 'gets the most' should pay stuff overlooks one important and liberating fact of the internet.
    Make payment anything but voluntaty and anonymous and say goodbye to the impoverished geniuses.[/list:u]I'm rather surprised at the elitist attitude hidden in most of this commentary; the idea that anyone who can give, or should get, good ideas has ready money.

    I should know, I live below the poverty line...create a system making people 'better' because they have money and I'd be forced to go elsewhere.

    I won't be the only one.

    Fang Langford

    p. s. And let's not forget lurkers who leave rather than reveal themselves by paying.
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xiombarg
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« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2003, 06:30:52 AM »

I think an occasional reminder to support the Forge -- like this thread is, in some ways -- and a more easily-found, accessible "tip jar", as previously suggested, is the way to go.
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