UPDATE 19-Jan-2019: The mods have set up a PayPal account to accept donations. The monthly goal is $75. Hosting costs are due on the 1st of every month, so please donate as soon as you can to help Anchorhead and SilverWook make the first payment on February 1st. And consider making it a monthly donation, even if it’s only a dollar. Every bit helps!
It’s been an amazing and interesting 15 years for me, but it’s time for a change.
With my full confidence and support, SilverWook and Anchorhead will be assuming control of all site content and day-to-day operations: setting rules, assigning mods, moderation, banning, everything. They’ll also manage the Discord server and Twitter account.
My role here will be reduced to one of technical support and server management. I won’t moderate discussions and won’t participate in discussions as a member.
As part of this transition, I will no longer fund the operations of the site in any way as of February 1, 2019. How the membership responds to this new arrangement will determine the future of the community.
Option 1: Accept donations to fund the existing platform
SilverWook and Anchorhead need your financial support to keep the site going in its current form.
Hosting costs are:
- $50 per month for web hosting ($40 for an unmanaged server and $10 for daily backups)
- $15 per month for the outgoing mail server
- $5 per month for the admin e-mail account
So it’s $70 total per month. Edit: The monthly goal has been set at $75 to help cover various fees.
The mods are considering different options to handle donations (PayPal, GoFundMe, whatever they decide) and would transfer funds to me for hosting expenses as necessary (or have the hosting service bill them directly if we can arrange that). If they receive adequate funding to cover hosting, things will remain exactly as they are today. I’ll provide support to keep the site running, fix issues as they come up (the server is unmanaged, meaning it requires regular active maintenance for security patches and such), and occasionally work on new features.
Full disclosure: as a courtesy for the support I’ll provide, I’ll be permitted to host personal web projects on the server as long as they don’t negatively impact OT.com’s performance or availability.
Without funds to continue operations, the existing site will be shut down, leaving the following options.
Option 2: Migrate to a new platform
If someone with the technical acumen to do so wants to volunteer, I’ll make arrangements to give them access as needed to move the existing content to a new platform. This could be a direct migration of the existing forum software and data, or migration of the data to new software, which would be up to this individual (or group). This volunteer would be assuming full responsibility for the care and maintenance of the site and any associated costs.
To prevent someone from taking over the site for a few months and then flipping it for cash, agreements would need to be in place stipulating that the site can not be sold or transferred to another party under any circumstances without my express permission, and ownership would revert back to me in the event that the new admin can/will no longer maintain the site.
Option 3: Start a new community elsewhere
Anchorhead and SilverWook can set up a new community elsewhere at no cost (Proboards, reddit, etc.) and everyone can congregate there. Migrating existing data would be impossible, unfortunately. Since the forum would lose its entire search engine presence overnight, no existing content would carry over, and all links to the existing forum would break, it would be almost like starting from scratch. Surviving a transition like this is unlikely.
If the site were to shut down, I’d release the database files to the public (minus private topics and other user info) and possibly create static HTML pages that could be stored and viewed anywhere in order to preserve the site’s content for posterity.
We’re open to feedback regarding options we haven’t considered. SilverWook and Anchorhead would very much like to see the forum continue, as would I, despite my reduced participation.
The mods and I apologize for the timing of this announcement, but we figured the sooner the better.