I’ve posted this in Offleys because I need the members perspective of how they want to do things in the future. So here goes. Warning…long, boring post.
This forum runs on free open-source software called Flarum, vanilla Flarum is super basic and is enhanced by extensions. pretty much everything you see is provided by an extension. There are 67 different extensions loaded which give us a hugely rich functionality, much larger than is obvious from the very clean view the forum presents.
Our host is freeflarum.com, it’s run by volunteers who give their time, the servers and a share of the domain for nothing. Donations are what keep them going. After recent events, I think it’s very important that people like this are supported, or we give everything over to the corporate whales who simply swallow everything up.
These guys are not affiliated with Flarum software in any way, and I think they are doing a marvellous job. Of course, if any forum uses too much resource that affects all the other forums they host, we might be asked to move elsewhere. Importantly, donating doesn’t protect us from this! What our donations will do is allow them to expand and maintain their resources, so they never have to ask anyone to leave…but I say again, it won’t guarantee we can stay here.
There are a few ways to give donations, but unfortunately paypal takes a slice, so if the donation is too small e.g. $5 they say they get pretty much nothing. Not sure how that works, but they are US based. I suspect they might prefer to manually deal with a few larger transactions, keeping the workload down..
Our other option - move to paid hosting, hard for me to set up (I’m sure I can do it), costs money, slightly improves service/speed of response. In the first year or two if we make an upfront payment, not too expensive, but doubles after the honeymoon period. We have to keep paying for a domain name, keep paying for SSL etc..
We would have to fund it, there wouldn’t be any option, and one of the corporates/large companies would be getting the money. So I’m not super keen to do it if we don’t have to.
Me personally, I would rather give the non-profit freeflarum.org the money and see them thrive, so that small communities and displaced communities like ours, always have somewhere to go.
The problem is really how to donate to freeflarum.com
- I can make a link, and you donate £7-10, so transaction fees don’t eat it up..which is harsh amount to pay on an individual basis
- We have a donation thread. You make an individual post for how much you want to donate to freeflarum.com, I send a paypal FF payment request to your registration e-mail. This way I don’t have to have my e-mail details there for all the spambots to see. If you wanted to donate without disclosing the amount, you could send a pm
In all cases, I would give you a donation badge of course and I am thinking of small amounts of money, e.g. a cup of coffee, or an espresso.
The latter method has the slight disadvantage that I have to manually deal with it, it’s not point and shoot. Of course, you would have to trust me that I am not pocketing the few pounds for beer and fags, intending to ride off into the sunset, or trying to make a quick buck out of the forum..
As always, I welcome your thoughts on how best to proceed and always remember, no one has to pay anything and would never be expected to. Three of us ordinary members have already talked, and if we had to would probably fund the hosting out of our own pockets on a paid hosting platform…but that’s not really how I want to go. I’d rather support the guys that did all the work, so we can run our forum for free! This way, if I ever stop running it, it can be handed to another member to run and keep it going.