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The downage

Started by Clinton R. Nixon, October 14, 2003, 09:03:11 PM

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Quote from: ClayThe capitalist in me rears its ugly head:

Your revenue needs to come from your strengths. The big strengths are quality of content, game-specific forums and raw readership.  The last is driven by the previous two.

I have a hard time believing I'm going to argue this. And yet, here it is.

It is in no way abnormal for a community to pay for a shared service (taxes pay for the freeway) that does not, itself, make a profit. Making this mandatory or not is a question of scale and of usage (shared music is not subject to degredation--save, perhaps by the bandwidth of an individual connection).

In short, an entity need not exist because it is profitable. It's legitimate to provide a service at break-even. Donations are a fine way to accomplish this if they will work.

JAGS (Just Another Gaming System)
a free, high-quality, universal system at:
Just Released: JAGS Wonderland

Ron Edwards

Hi folks,

Speaking as a moderator, despite my previous post, I'm a little torn about prohibiting proclamations of donations or intentions to donate. It's perilously close to saying that my personal standards of conduct shall become enforced at the community level. I decided to back off and think about it from the community perspective.

I reluctantly come down on the side that such posts have way too much potential to become a subject of rivalry, resentment, interpretation, and general distraction from the purpose of the site. So, everyone, the rule is, for everywhere, please keep information about your donations (do, do not, how little, how much, how often, etc) to yourselves.



Not that my particular opinion on the topic makes a difference, but so that Ron doesn't sound like the lone grumpy voice harshing everybody's buzz, I want to point out that I completely agree with him.

At the very least, it could lead to peer pressure and snarky behavior.  The point of the Forge, as I understand it, is not to shame others into helping to pay for it.  If you find the reasons and economics compelling, donate.  If you don't, don't.  And let everybody else make that decision based on their own reasoning, feelings, and personal situation, too.

It's not a matter of convincing.  It's a matter of deciding.  We all (now) know the facts.  Nobody should be criticized for the decision they make based on them.

I do have a constructive suggestion.  Might it be possible for the unappreciated web-lackeys to make available an aggregate "bandwidth used this month by The Forge" and "estimated charge for it" page?  Just so there's transparency on the issue of how much money is needed on a regular basis?  I'm waffling on the idea of also indicating the total that has been donated to defray the charge.  It would give everybody access to the three pertinent numbers, but it might also be perceived as trying to shame people into donating.

Ultimately, though I feel transparency is valuable.  Knowing the Forge has a surplus in it's coffers, or is in dire need of operating funds, is useful in deciding if a donation is going to be useful, necessary, or important.

There are good arguments for not making this information public, too.  I feel it would help, if done right.
Dana Johnson
Note that I'm heavily medicated and something of a flake.  Please take anything I say with a grain of salt.


Quote from: AnyaTheBlueIf you find the reasons and economics compelling, donate.  If you don't, don't.  And let everybody else make that decision based on their own reasoning, feelings, and personal situation, too.

As noble as that sentiment is, if the issue of the money needed to sustain the community remains all polite and hush hush, then it is very easy for everybody to slip in to a "Let George do it" (or in this case "Let Clinton do it") mindset.  If this were not the case, public institutions would not need to engage in aggressive fund raising campaigns in order to survive.

I think Anya's ideas vis-a-vis having statistics on "what we are spending vs. what we have" are great.  And yes, you are going to have to put those in peoples' faces occasionally, otherwise the ultimately responsible parties (i.e. Clinton & Ron) are going to be left holding the bag again.

If the Forge is to continue growing as a community, such issues cannot be resolved with a wink and a nod.

Clinton R. Nixon

This is my current plan. Realize this is formulated solely by me, on the road, with little sleep, attending a funeral for my grandpa tomorrow. (Condolences are off-topic, by the way. PMs are fine.)

* I've been connected with a cheap, reliable, good dedicated hosting site. I will probably move the Forge and associated sites to them. If I do, and you host with me, I'll e-mail you.
* I will be changing the system by which articles, and static pages, are generated, making it easier for me to post information. Expect Forge static pages to grow, with more information about how it runs, why, and what it costs. This suggestion from Anya is good.
* There will be no acknowledgement of donors. I am torn as to a page like "Our hosting costs this month: $X. Total donated: $Y." This may or may not happen.
* There will be no special features for donors. However, there will be new features all around, which you might consider donating for. One thought right now is a Jabber server. This is like private ICQ, AOL Messenger, and whatnot. You can instant message anyone else connected to the Jabber server.
* I am going to work out a deal with whoever I end up using as my host so that donations go directly to them, credited to my account. I don't like the fact that donations go to my personal PayPal account, but you can't set up separate accounts with the same bank account.
Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games


Hey Clinton.

Could you add an automatic subscription-style donation, for those of us who're able to donate a small monthly amount but who forget?


Matt Wilson

This is a suggestion that might promote the community spirit without pressuring anyone:

Put up some kind of meter/goal odometer to show what's been donated and what's needed to run the site. That way a hypothetical me can wander by and see that the Forge needs another $15, and I can think to myself, hey, I can spare $5 of that.

Or maybe something like "this week X people have donated Y money."

Some sort of feedback generator like that usually works well to encourage participation.


A quick weigh-in: I like the idea of a "we need X, we have Y" page, and/or a "X number of people donated" page.

I would LOVE for there to be a Jabber server.

And Vincent's idea is an excellent one. I'm willing to bet a lot of people could probably donate to the Forge consistently if they were charged, say, $1 a month or something. I donate to several charities that way. Might be too difficult to set up, but it's worth looking into.
love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT


certainly if an autocharge is to tricky it would be dead easy to sign up to get sent an email once a month that says "hey! time to hit the tip jar at the Forge!"


I'm with Clinton and Ron on the idea of pledge drives, incentives or rewards for donations, and similar in regards to the Forge. All such are Very Bad Ideas(TM), for the reasons Dana has listed.

Quote from: Clinton R. NixonI am torn as to a page like "Our hosting costs this month: $X. Total donated: $Y." This may or may not happen.
Honestly, I think this would be a good idea. It's a reminder to people that the Forge costs money, without forcing, cajoling, or tempting anyone into having to put out, or feel that they must or should.

I can see why you are torn about it, however, as it might come off as a "Look, we haven't reached our goal! PLEASE DONATE!" -- but I believe it only has to appear as such if the page is advertised on the site, or presented in such a manner.

On the other hand, it provides a way to judge whether or not the Forge could use a donation, and provides a rallying point for the community as a whole when we do hit the top mark by paying for our hosting and can thus say "Look what WE did! Yay!"

People who get miffed when they don't recieve public approval and praise for their actions should just avoid donating altogether and thus outing themselves as greedy asses when they become cranky and furious that "YOU didn't do anything! *I* did! (or) WE over here did!"

Ultimately, such a page is statistics, just like the current Forum statistics.

Also, I have been waiting for the Donation button to be placed in the regular list of links at top for quite some time, which is something I believe should have been done ages ago (right after the last time this issue was discussed). Both the Forge CafePress Shop and the Donate button are so well-hidden on the site that they honestly may as well not even exist.

QuoteThis is like private ICQ, AOL Messenger, and whatnot. You can instant message anyone else connected to the Jabber server.
Hrm, interesting. I like the idea.
Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio


It would seem to me that the suggestion for passive advertising is quite good.  RPGnet uses something that is unobtrusive and nets them some portion of their operational costs.

I would also suggest that you ask those who have game-specific forums here to chip in something.

Open that up to other Indie producers who don't have forums here if they'd like to have their own forum for $X.  (Gee, I wonder who might be interested... :) )

What kind of a line does Forge need for bandwidth? Are we talking T-1?  Multiple T-1s?  T-3?  Mutliple T-3s?

That gets pretty costly...
Benjamin Rogers
President Harsh Realities Productions, Inc.
Never Let the Truth Get in the Way of A Good Story.


paypal buttons are my friends!
Ross Winn
"not just another ugly face..."