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Saint Mark

Paying for The Forum

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Greetings to all the excellent residents of TWP!

This Forum is not free. Its roughly $30 (U.S.)/month cost has been covered by @Winnipeg, @Eli and @Darkesia forever.

It's time we step up and help out.

The Cabinet and I have been discussing ways this might be facilitated, but this is your region (and will be your money! :P), so we want to hear from you.

What are your thoughts?

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I believe there should be an option to contribute towards the upkeep of the West Pacific forums, however not in mandatory form to the point where access is restricted to paying members.

 

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I think that there should be special forum topics that people get access to if they contribute (Unless they are a guardian of the region, then they get access without contributing)

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I don’t feel that financial contributions should qualify one for special privileges. Players are in different financial situations. Many are students. My hope would be that contributions are voluntary and anonymous.

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I agree, that special considerations should not be part of the contribution package because not everyone has the means to contribute and that should not be counted against them.  Perhaps a badge or some means by which a person can choose to self identify or remain anonymous.  I'm positive there are ways to crowd source with the option to stay anonymous or name yourself.  I have used them before.  But I have not set one up and don't know how to do it.  

Any members here have an idea of a good platform and some idea of how to do it?

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I would certainly be happy to provide a contribution to the running costs of the forum.  The total sum is little compared to many of my monthly 'PC-related' costs so would be glad to contribute so that the total parts are four.

As Winnie is the actual original 'owner', how does he feel about this proposal?  Maybe Winnie, and Eli would prefer to keep things as they are?  Has an approach been made to them?

Just seen Dark's post... are we looking at a NEW forum as a possibility as well?  It would take some real work to set it up and I'm not sure we need to or want to veer away from 'our' tried and trusted current forum format that has served us so well for so many years.

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1 hour ago, Darkesia said:

I agree, that special considerations should not be part of the contribution package because not everyone has the means to contribute and that should not be counted against them.  Perhaps a badge or some means by which a person can choose to self identify or remain anonymous.  I'm positive there are ways to crowd source with the option to stay anonymous or name yourself.  I have used them before.  But I have not set one up and don't know how to do it.  

Any members here have an idea of a good platform and some idea of how to do it?

I don’t really have an idea of how to do it, but RocketHub or Patreon might work for fundraising.

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We are not looking for a new forum.  Unless Winnie says to hell with us, I never want to change our arrangement.  Frankly, having come from the days when forums were a risky place to reveal your IP, Winnie is the only person in the whole of NS I trust to be objective about forum/server ownership.  So logistically, we are only talking about a means to get donations to pay for the forum/server as it exists now.  It is a question of 1) how do we fairly collect donations, 2) how do we honestly and fairly get those donations either into Winnie's hands to pay the bills or into an account that directly pays for things.

When I spoke of a platform above, I meant one of those crowd sourcing platforms...  the names of which escape me now.  Charities use them all the time for donations.  We just have to figure out how to do it.  And we have to figure out a way to be transparent about it.  Some sort of accounting report delivered to the contributors maybe?  I dunno.  Just brain storming here.

We will need Winnie's input to know how much we need to break even and if he would feel more comfortable with any of this.

 

Edit:  Did a little research.  https://quickbooks.intuit.com/r/crowd-funding/8-crowdfunding-sites-which-is-best-for-you/

My favorite thus far is..

6. GoGetFunding

GoGetFunding may be a site you’ve heard less about despite the fact that it’s been around since 2011. But, it’s another great option, particularly for those who are looking for some flexibility in terms of the projects they can fundraise for. Additionally, GoGetFunding allows fundraisers to keep the money raised—whether they meet their target or not.

Who It’s Good For: GoGetFunding empowers users to raise funds for any cause—whether it’s business-related, personal or for a nonprofit.

What It Costs: GoGetFunding charges a fee of 6.9%, which sounds high when compared with the others. However, it’s worth noting that this fee includes both the platform fee and the payment processing fee—making this one a bit more cost-effective than most of the other options out there.

 

 

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I'm willing to contribute. I can probably compromise to $30 a year, at least. My economy down here is different than up north, but I think that sum is good.

The bigger NPO organization also uses / receives donations one about once every 2 years. I can ask them what platform they use if desired.

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Back in the day I just used Paypal for random donations, then later used Dreamhost's built in Paypal donation links (that way it went straight to the site maintenance rather than having to use my personal paypal as an intermediary... Unfortunately my current provider does not offer that in anyway.

 

This all said, I just learned recently that here in Alberta every citizen has access to a free virtual server hosting thing....so I'm looking into moving the forums over to that...Then the only real costs are the $25 USD/6months for the Forum Software, and $10/year for the domain name.

My biggest concerns with any crowdsourcing would be how it would affect my taxes...

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Moving the forum seems like a lot of work and disruption. I'm not sure it would be worth the savings.

I don't know how Canadian taxes work, of course, but if it's anything like the U.S., the amounts we're talking about would be well below what would trigger tax consequences.

... and I could be commenting from a position of no knowledge of tech or Canadian taxes ... :P

... and again MANY THANKS for all you've done in supporting TWP's forum over so many years!

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Typical Albertan, having cheaper gas, no sales tax and free virtual server hosting :P

Honestly it's high time that we chip in. The fact that Winnie, Eli and Dark have been bankrolling this operation for years without fuss is... Damn awesome. You folks are amazing, and I'd like to echo what Dark said about this forum and Winnie being owner. We have by far the least "dramatic" admin team in the GCRs who run this board professionally. Further, I feel confident that if we do need to do cosmetic changes here and there over the years, it can be done unlike in some other GCRs which are more focused on "tradition". 

I also highly doubt that any crowdfunding activity would be consequential to your taxes. Especially with the low costs (compared to some regions) for hosting our forums, it wouldn't take much for us to break even for operating costs. Essentially a few of us putting $5 into the pot would do it, from what it sounds like to me. My only thing is that we should not make anyone feel pressured or compelled to pay, especially those folks who are in high school, university, or are not employed. 

Also, yay for fast return to the forums!

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Since I'm the EA in the group, let me snoop around about Canadian Tax rules as it applies to using crowd sourcing.  I will also look into rules around setting up an account and implications (Can I set it up and admin it, or will Winnie need to do it?  Are there rules about cross border ownership of a funding source etc)

I am in meetings all of Thursday evening and overnight into Friday evening.  So any serious research will be done over the weekend, with a significant break for corned beef and cabbage and Jameson (You can keep your Guinness)  : )    I will have a better handle on any legal/tax implications by Monday.  Which will leave us with the more difficult, sticky issues involving human beings and their silly emotions.

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From what I can gather from the Internet and Canadian sites... If the crowdsourced money is seen as gifts or donations, it shouldn't have Tax Implications. If you give something FOR the donations, it does, as it is considered a Sale. However, I'm sure Dark's research will give further details.

I asked the NPO guys and they use Paypal donations. However, they are looking forward to use something different, they are particularly researching Patreon, as it allows for regular donations - say, if people wanted to give $1 a month, they could through Patreon automatically.

However, that may change the tax implications as well, so they are also looking into it. 

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I agree with Ele that Paypal and Patreon are probably the best options. The only thing is that with Paypal we keep all our money, whereas with Patreon, 5% goes to them, plus about 5% for transaction fees. Patreon's upside is that it makes recurring donations very easy (unless Paypal has a monthly payment option I don't know about).

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A Donation button could be placed in a custom block on the sidebar for convenience.

Winnie could create a Paypal Money Pool (if that's available in Canada) on his account.

"Money Pools are an easy and fast way to collect money with friends. Whether you need to raise money for a holiday, a group gift, or for regular shared expenses, just create a Money Pool and share it with your friends and family.  Please note that you’re responsible for spending the money collected for the purpose set out in your Money Pools page.

Your friends can chip in in seconds. If they don’t have a PayPal account, they can set up one in minutes "

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Which ever way Winnie wants this to go is okay by me... PayPal seems to be the easiest route to follow as many players probably already have an account.  Well, at least I do! 

Do we know what sort of level of funding, apart from annual fees that is needed?  Was thinking about costs for developing/enhancing/repairing features?  We used to have a great feature in Vortex which allowed us to see which nations we had not endorsed and vice versa. This excellent facility fell by the wayside, but maybe that was a different feature from the forum?

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On 3/14/2019 at 7:06 AM, Mediobogdum said:

Which ever way Winnie wants this to go is okay by me... PayPal seems to be the easiest route to follow as many players probably already have an account.  Well, at least I do! 

Do we know what sort of level of funding, apart from annual fees that is needed?  Was thinking about costs for developing/enhancing/repairing features?  We used to have a great feature in Vortex which allowed us to see which nations we had not endorsed and vice versa. This excellent facility fell by the wayside, but maybe that was a different feature from the forum?

Vortex was halted as it actually broke the MySQL database (too much data was retained I guess), I might be into looking at redeveloping that a somepoint, but do have to admit that when I get home from work, I'm less motivated to work on Web projects like that than I used to be. 

That said....now that you bring this up, I wonder if Vortex would be a good candidate to use SQLite instead of a full fledged database...I have had an itch to try building something using that.

 

As for a tip jar, I'll look at setting something up so we can use paypal...it seems like the least amount of work overall.

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@Winnipeg, given our discussion about this here and elsewhere, we all agree that we should allow others to be able to contribute.

It seems to me that setting up a Paypal to which people could contribute anonymously would be best, but we will support whatever system you set up.

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