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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)
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Author Topic: Paying for the Forge  (Read 11663 times)
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2003, 07:44:00 AM »

Hi there,

Whoa, some policy needs to get unveiled here.

Clinton and I will never, ever permit any kind of "two-tier" Forge information based on donations. We decided that a while ago and kept the amounts that people donated, and the information of who donated at all, completely private.

[As a side note, I happen even to disapprove of making users' number of posts public knowledge, as I think it causes serious social issues already.]

Ralph's idea interests me, but I see some difficulties regarding #1 that might crop up.

The Drive, perhaps, is just too radio/PBS for something like the Forge. Oh well, it's not the first notion I've had that didn't fly.

So, in essence, I think I'm with Kirt (xiombarg). I should point out that we have had a Donation button at the top of the page in the past. Clinton and I will discuss whether we want to put it back.

We also might bat around some ideas or maybe take a scalpel to Ralph's suggestion to see what might be possible, but before we actually do anything about it, we'll see what people think.

Best,
Ron
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Jack Spencer Jr
Guest
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2003, 07:45:25 AM »

Quote from: Le Joueur
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.

That wasn't what I was suggesting. I was merely pointing out that another site has a membership tier system which has a pay system and basically paying get you something, and thus makes it worth it. Since the site I am refering to is a social site, paying grants you the priviledge to view member profiles and contact members. Non-paying members are stuck socializing in the chat rooms and message boards, which works, too.

I'm not too worried about impoverished geniuses. Genius is cheap. And  that's me speaking as someone who is at least half of that term, if you follow me.

This was a suggestion, but I cannot imagine what would be the benefeits of pay membership. Only thing I could think of, and this may not be possible, is non pay members cannot browse forums past the first page. This would cut down on the amount of resurrected threads, I think. They could still find older threads via links and search. They just can't got down a page and bring back a four-month old topic. That's just an idea.

However, I think Clinton has already made know what paying will get you on the Forge. Webhosting, RPG bookself, etc. Maybe some mechandising as well would really make it go.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2003, 07:56:06 AM »

Hello,

Jack, we apparently cross-posted. Can I ask, with respect, that you and Fang let this one drop?

Best,
Ron
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Paganini
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Posts: 1049


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« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2003, 08:12:00 AM »

I think you guys are going about this all wrong. What the Forge needs is a fundraiser. I'm down there on the low end of the $$$ (I imagine I make Fang look like a rich man). There's just no way I'm going to pay for something that I already have for free. (In other words, I'm not gonna donate.) I try to support the industry by buying indie-games when I have some extra cash.

I think this same attitude propogates to people who have a much higher income than I do.

If the establishment needs more funds, then it has to offer incentive for people to provide those funds - beyond what people can already get just by showing up.

What I propose is that there be a special area of the Forge bookshelf for "subscribers." Normal Forge activity would continue exactly as it does now, but Forge "subscribers" would have access to additional material. This material would be donations by successful indie-game designers who want to support the Forge. Maybe Fang can't afford to donate money to the Forge, but he could sure could write a "How to GM" book, or a short game, or a Sorcerer suppliment, etc.

Ron, Clinton, Michael, Mike & Ralph, & others are all selling their own games for, I believe, profit. Why couldn't the Forge itself sell games to help itself survive?
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Jason L Blair
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Posts: 636

Nothing is sacred.


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« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2003, 08:26:10 AM »

I'd like to make a (hopefully) simple request: Could Clinton put a "Buy Forge Gear" or "Support the Forge" button on the top of the forum page? As far as I can tell, the support info is only under "About the Forge" and, frankly, I had completely forgotten about the option. I'd hazard that a lot of new people didn't even realize they could donate to the Forge.
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Jason L Blair
Writer, Game Designer
Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #20 on: March 21, 2003, 08:44:08 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Jack, we apparently cross-posted. Can I ask, with respect, that you and Fang let this one drop?

OK, but I think I did at the end of my last post.

A suggestion, The features Clinton mentions, advertize them. I didn't know the Forge could host like that.
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greyorm
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Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


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« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2003, 09:29:16 AM »

Quote from: Le Joueur
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'll thank Fang for stating this well, these are my feelings, too, from the instant I read Ralph's post.

I'm poster, er, #15!! (last time I checked after the recent redesign I was at #20-something...crimminy) which means obviously I post quite a bit, and thus according to Ralph, am receiving a tangible benefit from doing so.

The question, however, is Ralph right and, as one of the top posters, am I recieving enough recompense (monetary or not) due my posting to warrant my helping to foot the bill?

Let's see, I made around $12 last month from sales of "Electric Ghosts," which was a boku month for sales after the post-2001 GenCon boom. Looking at the Top 12 posters, I know for a fact that the majority of them are not raking in much cash due to their Forge presence, and in some cases I can factually state they are recieving none at all.

I suspect they're here for the same thing I am: discussion about games -- both play and design -- with like-minded, intelligent people.

I propose to Ralph that Not Everything We Enjoy or Value Must Be Paid For, and thus here's my counter-argument about contribution: it flows both ways.

Ralph is correct in his statement that those who post the most are likely the ones getting the most out of it (financially or intellectually -- in any case, they're enjoying it); however, he fails to realize that the ones who post the greatest amount are already contributing by virtue of their posting.

The Forge is nothing without the input created its community of posters, so one might easily make the counter-argument that YOU (the reader) should have to pay ME (the writer) for my input, elsewise, if I'm not posting as much, or not at all, no one else is getting anything out of the site and the Forge isn't serving its purpose.

And further, how many of the ideas given away for free by the top twelve posters are influential in the designs of others and their enjoyment of gaming? Shouldn't we thus logically be paying them for their thousands of words of useful material they have provided?

As Fang points out, if the Forge becomes a place where "that anyone who can give, or should get, good ideas" needs money in order to do it, it will lose a number of its top posters, and thus lessen the value of the Forge by removing its most valuable resource: the people with ideas, and discussion thereof by those most likely to contribute.

In fact, I feel a little insulted that contributions to the Forge are being viewed by some in solely a monetary light, no matter how important that is to the Forge's continued survival.

The Forge was never intended to be a subscription service -- turning it into one will change the very nature of the site, and IMO, reverse the gains we've made as a community.

I'd love to give $40 to the Forge. I'd also love for my $300 a month in student loans to vanish and to be able to have enough money that I could actually buy a book or game every month or two, rather than once or twice a year. Not to mention, I have my own website to maintain and pay hosting fees for.

Now, I have contributed to the Forge: I bought 'Donjon' during the period where Clinton was putting all his profits from it towards hosting fees (if I'm recalling correctly). I also designed a t-shirt logo for nothing, which can be found in the Forge's CafePress shop, and I'm responsible for getting a lot of other individuals interested in checking out the forums here (a number of them being well-known regulars). Finally, of course, I've posted a volume of material here, and I'd like to think I've given as much as I've gotten.

Thus, ultimately, I agree with the suggestion to put a small, classy "Donate" button somewhere on the main forum page, where it is easily accessible and an occasional reminder that it's possible.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2003, 09:54:58 AM »

Raven and I are living in synchronicity these days. I wholeheartedly agree with most of his post.

The pretty-much-final-unless-I-talk-with-Ron-and-change-my-mind solution to all this is that I will add another link to the top of the page with ways to support the Forge.

Things to note:
- A lot of people have contributed since this thread started, and for that, I thank all of them.
- Whenever you post at the Forge, you contribute. It's a very good point to remember.
- I did the "Anvilwerks profits go directly to the Forge" thing in December, which was very good for the site - it's paid the bills up until this month. Be aware that it was a bit of a ruse, though: Anvilwerks sales always go to pay for the Forge - the PayPal account for Anvilwerks is the same as the Forge's, and money comes directly out of it to pay for server bills.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Paganini
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« Reply #23 on: March 21, 2003, 10:48:09 AM »

I've been thinking about this a little more, and had a short private discussion about it with Raven. He pointed out that a "Forge Subscription" implies regularly updated content, which isn't too practical. He suggested instead selling the content individually for small prices.

This got me thinking about a Forge Indie-RPG Store. What if the Forge had an internet shop for selling indie-rpgs? The Forge could either take a percentage of each sale, or charge the designer a flat monthly or annual fee for having his game sold. This would be recruitment draw, because it would be an easy way for indie-game designers (like me, for example) who aren't really knowledgeable about the publishing field to get their games out there. A few of the designers on the Forge sell their gear through their own websites (Ron, Clinton, Ralph & Mike, and so on) but this is not really practical for a lot of us.

Even those designers who sell their games elsewhere might choose to sell through the Forge Store, to help support the central hive of indie RPGs.
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Jonathan Walton
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« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2003, 12:12:54 PM »

Quote from: Paganini
Even those designers who sell their games elsewhere might choose to sell through the Forge Store, to help support the central hive of indie RPGs.


I think that's actually what Clinton intends the bookshelf to be, but maybe he can correct me on this.  The problem is that the bookshelf, like the "support the Forge" options, doesn't receive much notice, so most people ignore it or don't realize it even exists.  I'm not even sure of what the bookshelf can do.  How do you know what titles are availiable there?  Can you browse them like you can the stuff at RPGnow or the RPGnet store?

I would totally love to sell Storypunk using the bookshelf, and give Clinton some extra cash, but I don't think enough people would purchase it there to make it worthwhile.  It'd be easier to sell through my own website or RPGnow.  If Clinton took a percentage of everything sold, that'd be fine, but I don't know that I want to hand over $40 a year if I'm only going to sell 5 copies that way.

I'd love it (and I expect many others would too), if the Forge Bookshelf became THE place to sell/buy indie games online, but that would probably require Clinton finding enough time to devote to it.
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #25 on: March 21, 2003, 12:23:05 PM »

Warning: this thread is making me angry, as in Bruce-Banner-turns-into-Hulk angry. So tread lightly.

The Bookshelf is not, and was never meant to be, a place to buy and sell games. It's a system to provide authorization for game downloads for people who don't have the savvy to code their own username/password system for people to download games they've bought from them. It's also a cross-marketing system, allowing people who've bought a game to see other games and have links to those games' sites when they go to download the game they bought.

(As a side note: all of my sales have gone up since I started using the Bookshelf - people who buy Trollbabe, or InSpectres, or whatever, often buy Donjon or Paladin soon afterward.)

This is my brutally honest opinion: in no way should anyone ever be pressured to pay for the Forge. The continued talk about this baffles me completely.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Jonathan Walton
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« Reply #26 on: March 21, 2003, 12:32:42 PM »

Quote from: Clinton R. Nixon
The Bookshelf is not, and was never meant to be, a place to buy and sell games. It's a system to provide authorization for game downloads for people who don't have the savvy to code their own username/password system for people to download games they've bought from them.


Whoops.  I stand corrected.  Sorry about that, Clinton.

I gather from your tone that you're not interested in the Forge hosting a store for handling that kind of thing, and becoming a distributer.  That's fine.  I can see that taking some focus away from what the Forge is really about (open discussion of indie games).  I was just trying to come up with other ways to support the Forge that involved things that we already do, because I think that would be the way to go, not special services or encouraging people to contribute, which seems problematic.
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Jared A. Sorensen
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Posts: 1463

Darksided


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« Reply #27 on: March 21, 2003, 12:36:57 PM »

Quote from: Clinton R. Nixon
(As a side note: all of my sales have gone up since I started using the Bookshelf - people who buy Trollbabe, or InSpectres, or whatever, often buy Donjon or Paladin soon afterward.)



And ditto back at Clinton. I'm sure that Anvilwerks customers see Clinton's games, then look at mine and go, "Sure, why not?"

- J
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jared a. sorensen / www.memento-mori.com
Paganini
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« Reply #28 on: March 21, 2003, 12:39:08 PM »

Yes, (Jonathan) that was exactly the point I was making. Throughout this thread, people have been trying to figure out ways to support the Forge by getting the participants to pay money. I don't think this is a good approach. If the Forge needs money, why not get it to pay for itself? What is the Forge about? Indie RPGs! So if the Forge needs money, why not have it sell some?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #29 on: March 21, 2003, 01:29:03 PM »

Hello,

OK, that's about time to call it. Ralph, thanks for the suggestion. Everyone else, nothing is changing at the Forge in the forseeable future except perhaps the return of the Donate link at the top of the page.

Nathan, you're kind of aggravating both Clinton and myself. Emphatically: the Forge does not need money. We are not in the situation of trying to get any. That is not the topic or underlying assumption of this thread. Please stop posting ideas to solve a non-existent problem.

Ralph's idea is just that: an idea. It is not a proposed policy in the sense that it (or something) would be if Clinton or I posed it.

Best,
Ron
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