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Funding Concerns

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[edit] - First time reading? If you simply want to see the current discussion points in short, please click here.

 

I would have created this topic in a public arena so that more people can be involved in such a topic and hopefully we can move some of the conversation to such a place soon however I am looking to tie in some comments regarding our fundraiser which for now are probably best kept in this forum section so that people can enjoy the map from afresh.

 

Schererererer gave us a financial status summary at the end of January here.

 

And the important details that I will be discussing will be in the next quote.

 

 

  • Current funds: $1600

 

  • Current total server cost: [$308 per month], [$1850 for six months], [$2772 for nine months] or [$3700 for one year]
    • Primary server cost (C, S, P, E): $238 per month
    • Secondary server cost (website et al.): $70 per month

 

For those of you that haven't already seen it, this means our funding will last to sometime either between the end of June (2015) or the end of July (2015). We have received $28.53 in donations since that financial status summary which will not keep the lights on for long enough. To ensure the smooth survival of our servers, we need to work on our fundraiser, <snipped content>

 

===========================================================================================================

 

Now onto the most concerning issue of our funding, "Secondary server cost (website et al.): $70 per month". We're paying for a pricing package for our forums which is aimed at having 100 concurrent users online at any given time!

 

For our money we also get :

  • A range of community apps: We have our own community and tech teams who can create anything we put our mind to,
  • Access to a skin marketplace: We have not changed from default in two years and again, our community can create whatever we put our minds to.
  • Unlimited total membership: This is a benefit at present with our 100,000+ potential ban appeals.
  • Spam monitoring service: We handle this through our report centre / bans or can do it through a bare-bones approach of hiding / deleting posts for spammers.
  • Support from our host: I doubt this has ever been needed.

In my opinion, forum costing either has to go entirely or be vastly decreased. Creating a free forum with unlimited membership access (which I believe many do offer) would be ideal in my eyes and this would be something that I would be able to set up in less than a week, to ensure that time and resources are not taken from anyone else.

 

Should you not be convinced that our forum costs are excessive, since the forums launched back around May 2013, two years ago, we've spent $1680 on them (at least). This would have paid for a further seven months of hosting for our Minecraft servers or could have been in part used towards that elusive advertising budget idea that gets thrown around every so often.

 

[Please view Schererererer's post here for clarity on why I've crossed out these lines]

Edited by Guest

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As a donation funded community we should never be paying for something that we can do for free. Vanilla forums were old and outdated, but moving to a purchased ( and hosted? ) solution was not the correct response to this.

 

It is important to keep in mind that our donation drives vary in their success, at the height of our community we managed to pull in some large numbers ( mostly thanks to a small group of users donating generously ) and that our expectations should be drastically lowered for our future donation drives. In order to survive we need to investigate alternate means of funding, such as a 'games' server that accepts money for in game rewards in order to supplement the 3 nerd servers that do not offer such in game rewards. The donations received from the upcoming event will give us a good indication of how far down this dark path we need to travel.

 

I am always happy to donate, both in money and time to help this community, but as of right now I honestly would refuse to give money knowing it is to be spent of frivolous things such as IPboard I want to see that it is being spent wisely.

Edited by c45y

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Guest Former Staff

As a donation funded community we should never be paying for something that we can do for free. Vanilla forums were old and outdated, but moving to a purchased ( and hosted? ) solution was not the correct response to this.

 

It is important to keep in mind that our donation drives vary in their success, at the height of our community we managed to pull in some large numbers ( mostly thanks to a small group of users donating generously ) and that our expectations should be drastically lowered for our future donation drives. In order to survive we need to investigate alternate means of funding, such as a 'games' server that accepts money for in game rewards in order to supplement the 3 nerd servers that do not offer such in game rewards. The donations received from the upcoming event will give us a good indication of how far down this dark path we need to travel.

 

I am always happy to donate, both in money and time to help this community, but as of right now I honestly would refuse to give money knowing it is to be spent of frivolous things such as IPboard.

 

I completely understand the reluctance to donate money if you feel it isn't being spent as best as possible, dollar for dollar. Hopefully we can all find a way to reverse that mindset by ensuring that funding not only remains transparent (which is great!) but becomes efficient.

 

With regards to the dark path you tread about a server which would allow people to pay for additional benefits, I was recently re-visiting this idea in my head but steered away from it. The reason I strayed away from the idea was that individuals who pay for goods from a server can demand a lot more than people who donate out of the good of their hearts. My concern here is that a significant portion of the "paying" community could possibly hold the server to randsom with threats of taking their money elsewhere if features aren't implemented when they want them.

 

Currently, I believe that people who do or don't donate to the servers deserve to hold us accountable for all our actions, whether that be doing something or nothing and should expect for requests which have matured to an agreement to be delivered in a reasonable, timely manner.

 

Going back to your idea of an additional server to suppliment hosting, the only way I can see a glimmer of feasibility is if people were made very clear as to the purpose of the server: To ensure we can run all of the servers cost-wise in addition to a dedicated team formed to ensure the smooth running of that server. Although even then the community would be dividing. I don't agree with your idea but can see your perspective.

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I think we have a misunderstanding here - the $70 is paying for a second server, not forum costs. I believe for the forum we just paid a single initial licensing fee ($175) for the software (and eschewed the $50 per year renewal fee for support and updates) - when I wrote "forums, et al." I meant that the forums are located on this secondary box of ours, rather than the primary box hosting C, S, and P.

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Guest Former Staff

I think we have a misunderstanding here - the $70 is paying for a second server, not forum costs. I believe for the forum we just paid a single initial licensing fee ($175) for the software (and eschewed the $50 per year renewal fee for support and updates) - when I wrote "forums, et al." I meant that the forums are located on this secondary box of ours, rather than the primary box hosting C, S, and P.

 

Thanks you for clarifying Schererererer, I see that pricing plan has only a $50 renewal per year ($25 every six months) as opposed to $70 per month. This is much clearer for me now. I'll make sure to amend my original post and refer to yours and we can turn the focus on the remainder of my post which is that the clock is ticking on our funding and we're not close to finishing Capture the Flag & c45y's point about how our donation drives vary in success in terms of reaching our goals.

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Guest Former Staff

I want to throw a suggestion out into the ether about encouraging people to donate in a way which doesn't harass them.

 

Opt-in Emails: Have a button on the website that will email them every four weeks (or possibly choosing a revolving date of the month), this will then email the person to ask if they wish to donate. No automatic processing of money, instead a choice. My opinion is that I would try to donate more regularly throughout the year with a reminder such as this instead of one larger amount.

 

Currently, our yearly running costs are $3700, assuming we want to reach that goal in one day. We need around 123 people donating an average of around $30. Realistically, we're likely to see somewhere between 15 - 30 people donating which means the average per person dramatically increases if all were working together to reach the goal.

 

Instead of putting all our efforts on one server event bringing in 99% of funding per year, these opt-in email reminders could help to generate donations throughout the year. New revisions tend to give a similar euphoria to something like Capture the Flag and if people feel happy to, then they can choose to donate at these server milestones.

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I haven't been on a lot this week, my super amazing DSL Internet has been slower than a turtle riding a unicycle up a hill covered in honey. Please, give me something specific to work on, as soon as I can make it work (they say it should be fixed by tomorrow *fingers crossed*) I will get back into E and help get ready any way I can. I haven't been here long but I don't want the community to lose out because we weren't ready for the drive.

That being said, and this is just an idea so please don't hate on the noob, has there ever been some sort of recognition system in place for donators? I know from my work with Girl Scouts that people are often more willing to participate in things like a drive if they get something in return that is perceived as special. I don't know that it needs to be much, maybe something on the site or forum, or something in-game (the lobby?) that identifies those who have contributed (with their consent of course). Like those silly walls they have in colleges listing all the people who donated to their fancy new building. Now that we have the stand master, maybe we could institute a "hall of donators" (with an additional call out for "anonymous" donators for those who do not want to be recognized specifically) or something in the lobby to give a special thank you to people who contribute. Doesn't really cost anything, but may be useful as a way to encourage more support.

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Guest Former Staff

I haven't been on a lot this week, my super amazing DSL Internet has been slower than a turtle riding a unicycle up a hill covered in honey. Please, give me something specific to work on, as soon as I can make it work (they say it should be fixed by tomorrow *fingers crossed*) I will get back into E and help get ready any way I can. I haven't been here long but I don't want the community to lose out because we weren't ready for the drive.

That being said, and this is just an idea so please don't hate on the noob, has there ever been some sort of recognition system in place for donators? I know from my work with Girl Scouts that people are often more willing to participate in things like a drive if they get something in return that is perceived as special. I don't know that it needs to be much, maybe something on the site or forum, or something in-game (the lobby?) that identifies those who have contributed (with their consent of course). Like those silly walls they have in colleges listing all the people who donated to their fancy new building. Now that we have the stand master, maybe we could institute a "hall of donators" (with an additional call out for "anonymous" donators for those who do not want to be recognized specifically) or something in the lobby to give a special thank you to people who contribute. Doesn't really cost anything, but may be useful as a way to encourage more support.

 

I hope your DSL gets back from Narnia soon so that you can enjoy your internet once more.

 

This is a great attitude! So far I am keeping the top half of this post up to date as progress continues although it doesn't give specific builds. If that gives you a decent idea of where we are at least, then I hope that helps. I'm getting rather tired now but I will create a post and pm you a notification of the remaining buildings left to work on so that you can see a more specific list.

 

In regards to your recognition system, this has been raised in several variations in the past but has generally been looked beyond as to keep all members of the community equal, without one person having an advantage or higher perception of than others (you can argue that staff fall into this category somewhat). Your ideas are a fresh take on how we could consider such an idea so that the dinosaurs of our community could open up for discussion once more. :-)

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or something in-game (the lobby?)

 

I feel this would be an excellent place, it does not effect gameplay in the slightest, but every time a server restarts and everyone is dumped out to the lobby it provides instant recognition of our donors.

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 Your ideas are a fresh take on how we could consider such an idea so that the dinosaurs of our community could open up for discussion once more. :-)

 

I wouldn't necessarily say dinosaurs :) Most of the staff been in the trenches much longer than i have, sometimes you need someone from the outside to poke their head in and tell you the sun really is shining.

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We do have the plan of recognizing donors with a "badge" or something of that nature on player profile pages on the new website slide is working on, and I am in support for an equivalent reflection of thanks as a simple page on the website or "wall of donors" in-lobby.

To comment on the broader strokes of this thread: I agree that the donation drive model, though it brings out a great upwelling of financial support from the community, is ultimately an unbalanced source of funding. Perhaps giving the option for people to set up an ongoing (monthly or so) smaller donation would yield a more stable fiscal foundation? I haven't thought much about the ramifications, but I suspect a recurring donation of $10 would be more palatable and viable for many than $60 every 6 months or $120 every 12 months at a donation drive, for example.

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The only downside to the monthly model is that people may not stay around long enough for it to be viable - not to say it's a bad option, but it shouldn't be the only option. For long-term players it would be great, but player turnover seems quite high and that may not be as palatable an option to them as one may think.

I also think an in-lobby recognition may be more desirable as some people rarely if ever make it to the website. Maybe have a special lobby (like the ones for the holidays) that runs for two weeks after the drive ends that is a special "thanks to our donors" lobby or something.

The bigger the thank you the more people will give IMO. A special lobby may be just enough to garner more interest.

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We do have the plan of recognizing donors with a "badge" or something of that nature on player profile pages on the new website slide is working on, and I am in support for an equivalent reflection of thanks as a simple page on the website or "wall of donors" in-lobby.

I've mentioned this in the past but perhaps we could also give people a badge here on the forums as well? I'd actually like to start up some sort of "Award System" here on the forums and perhaps a donation badge could be apart of it?

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I'm not sure how much value people would see in just a forum-side badge. The lobby is always visible even if you don't come to the forums. And it's also a good place to advertise that we are looking for donations, if someone shows up that doesn't visit the forums and they see a donation wall or something in game they may also think to donate.

I didn't even know it was a thing until recently, I though thought the servers ran on magic :)

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Guest Former Staff

Returning back to my original post,

 

I would have created this topic in a public arena so that more people can be involved in such a topic and hopefully we can move some of the conversation to such a place soon however I am looking to tie in some comments regarding our fundraiser which for now are probably best kept in this forum section so that people can enjoy the map from afresh.

 

 

Our discussion is currently flowing in a great way and the focus is on the donation side of my original post. With our discussion on the fundraiser itself firmly embedded within our existing topic, I have snipped content from my post which discussed details of said fundraiser.

 

If a head admin would deem the remaining posts suitable within this topic then please could I request this topic to move into the Minecraft forum. While I feel people contributing here have put forward good ideas, these are community decisions.

 

===========================================================================================================

 

Provided this topic is moved, in the interest of providing a short summary of interesting points to further discuss:

 

Reducing Our Costs

  • A more thorough look through what we are currently spending donation money upon and taking a look for a viable alternative that could save us money without negatively impacting our community.
  • Ensuring that every single dollar is spent effectively so that people who can donate, will be able to do so knowing that their funding is being used wisely.

Donating Throughout The Year

  • Look into establishing a system for people to donate smaller amounts throughout the year instead of one larger amount once a year with a system such as an opt-in-only email reminder that could be a button on the website for people to register with if they choose and this would only remind people to donate periodically.
  • Running more than one fundraiser during the year: In the past we have given to charity and maybe we could do some good for people outside of our community, possibly by choosing a charity to support at the start of each year.

Donation Recognition

  • Establishing a more significant recognition page on our website for people who donate (possibly an expansion to nerd.nu/donate)
  • Allowing a donor badge status on the forums / subreddit.
  • Creating an area within the lobby server to recognise those who have donated (this can be done creatively but would require maintaining).

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Can someone confirm whether or not nerd will run out of funding at the end of this month? That seems to be what the numbers would suggest.

Maybe it's time to actually schedule that donation drive that you keep idly talking about.

Edited by roastnewt
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There's something in the UK news about how charities chase up people who are known for donating money in the past. If we didn't want to rush a new fundraising event do we have the emails of a large portion of past donors? Could we email all of them, regardless of whether they still play here or any Minecraft?

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Guest Former Staff

Maybe it's time to actually schedule that donation drive that you keep idly talking about.

 

Hopefully SwitchViewz will be able to set a date alongside the head admins soon but I can personally assure you that it's being worked on very actively.

 

There's something in the UK news about how charities chase up people who are known for donating money in the past. If we didn't want to rush a new fundraising event do we have the emails of a large portion of past donors? Could we email all of them, regardless of whether they still play here or any Minecraft?

 

I am not fond of the idea of harassing people for their money in such a way, my preference is to allow people to choose to opt in to receiving donation news and feedback but at the same time, I don't think your idea is wrong.

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There's something in the UK news about how charities chase up people who are known for donating money in the past. If we didn't want to rush a new fundraising event do we have the emails of a large portion of past donors? Could we email all of them, regardless of whether they still play here or any Minecraft?

I donated about $20 a long while back. given how I was treated by the head admins I don't think I could justify donating more now. That said, I get junk mail frequently from amnesty international begging me to give them money after I donated one time - I'm fairly certain they have spent more money advertising to me in this way than I sent them in the first place. it does not make me feel positively about the organization.

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Guest Former Staff

given how I was treated by the head admins I don't think I could justify donating more now.

 

Might I enquire not as to the specifics of how you were treated but how choosing not to donate based on your experience with the head admins is justified (ultimately it is your money and I don't want to sound like I am pushing you to donate)?

 

I'm making a few assumptions to expand upon what I feel is quite a bluntly worded question on my behalf: You feel betrayed by the head admins for said mis-treatment from your perspective, if you choose to donate then you will benefit form helping the servers to stay up, be able to continue playing (provided others are able to do the same), if you choose not to donate as to possibly "hurt" a group of people this attitude wounds everyone from those who you felt betrayed you right down to every person placing blocks..

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