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Re: Is PerlMonks economically viable?

by rchiav (Deacon)
on Apr 08, 2001 at 08:48 UTC ( #70790=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Is PerlMonks economically viable?

I haven't been here very long and I've still been trying to formulate my thoughts. What I've been feeling is that this is truely a rare site. I've thought that about other things before but the shine quickly wore off.

I've been thinking about posting something in Meditations about just how great of a place this is, but between still being a little hesitant, feeling that it's probably been said 100 times and not quite having the right words, I haven't.

Over the last couple days I've gotten a feeling that this site turely is for real. But my question then became one of how long it can last. Things change. Things evolve. And they usually don't preserve their original essence. My hope has been that since this site resolves around Perl and it's been able to maintain it's essence, maybe by some miracle so will PM.

My thoughts on making PM solvent are conflicted. On one hand I'd like to have PM change in a way that would alow it to be more viable but I don't want that to come at the cost of the community. There's something too good here to destroy. Here's some thoughts I've pondered:

Try to secure some type of corporate/(larger org.) funding. Would O'Rieley kick in a few bucks if there was a page here promoting their books? How does "Perl" get it's funding? Would they be willing to kick in? This is by far the best Perl community out there and it's existance contributes to growth of Perl.

There's also creating a subscription/donation type system. I feel that subscriptions have the potential to corrupt the site though. I'd happily donate, don't get me wrong. But the problem is that once someone pays a "subscription", they feel that they are owed something.

How about some donation type system where you get something for the donation. Say a sticker and a shirt for a donation of $50. Maybe you also get some type of token access/content on the site. Maybe a section only for donors. Also maybe some little symbolic designation on your name. That could encourage others.

Some of this is off of the top of my head so its not all that organized. Anyway.. that's all I have for now. If I come up with anything else, I'll add it.

bash: undo: command not found

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(jcwren) Re: (2) Is PerlMonks economically viable?
by jcwren (Prior) on Apr 08, 2001 at 09:23 UTC

    Some good comments here.

    Personally, I'd like to see donations separated from merchandise purchases. My wife and I donate to some animal rescue foundations and the Multiple Sclerosis society. In return, we get a T-shirt. I'd rather that they *didn't* send the shirt, because this pulls money away from the point of the donation. I'd rather they told the wolfy "Here, this food came from Chris and Cindy." No overhead, all the money goes straight to the cause.

    In the past, we've donated goods to animal shelters. One time, I took a pickup truck load of cat litter (1500 lbs!), 24 bottles of Clorox, 48 rolls of paper towels, and a polaroid camera to them. I negotiated a deal with the petstore for the cat litter, and the grocery store for the other goods. The value was that the shelter got something they needed, but more importantly, didn't have to send flyers, pictures, t-shirts, etc, that would have cost real money, and man/woman-power from the shelter.

    What's this got to do with the monastery? Well, we're having a critical shortage of cat litter... Just kidding! Seriously, I'd rather donate money straight into the server farm/fat pipe fund, rather than waste vrooms time and money getting a T-shirt out of it. If I *want* a T-shirt, I would like to be able to *buy* one, but not divert donation funds. And if I donate regularly, I can only use so many T-shirts. If some of the money from the T-shirt/merchandise sales makes it back into the operating fund, great, but the merchandise shouldn't *be* the income source.

    I'm a big believer in paying for the value of services. I get a lot out of the monastery, and besides whoring for XP with the stats pages (shameless plug), I'd like to hope that people think that I've put something back into the monastery. I'm more than willing to wave around my Visa card to help keep it going. I also completely realize that not everyone can afford to make a donation on the scale they would like. But even $1 (no, not the regexp arg) helps, and services like PayPal don't charge a transaction fee (they make their money on the float), so it really helps (some charities incur in excessive of 30% "handling" money. Donate a small amount, and it actually costs them *more* to get the money to the destination than you donated. Big scandal about this a few years ago.)

    This may be of more direct concern than many of you realize, for a couple of reasons. When vroom graduates, and gets a "real" job, he may not have the time to devote that he has in the past. EDC could see hard times, due to the current state of the dot-com's, and may not be able to support the cost of the pipe to feed this monster, without seeing a reasonable return. We are, for all practical purposes, living on borrowed time, and the good graces of EDC.

    It's my particular opinion that we've got something special. There are plenty of websites that are sustained by their users interests, but they tend not be of the "public service" nature that this place is. As a comparison, I went to #kernelnewbies on the network, and it's a bloody wasteland. They claim to "help the newbie kernel hacker" (that'd be me), but it's nothing but a bunch of script kiddies. Whereas, we offer personalized service to people with questions, and demonstrate an eagerness to help them. I would truly hate to see this site fade out of existence, with it's excellent people , abundant resources, and sheer potential, for a simple lack of money...

    End of public service announcement. This was brought to by jcwren, the letter 'B', and the number 6.


    e-mail jcwren
      You make some good points here. My rationale behind offering token items is that it will probably attract more donations. What if there was an option to not receive the goods? My thoughts were along the line of trying to create a snowball effect. Some way to maintain a non-buisiness type environment along with starting some type of donation frenzy.. kinda like the points frenzy. The points system has a good model to attract and keep people comming back. It exists purely on a token level, but it draws interest. Whatever is eventually done (if it's actually needed as tilly mentioned), I think it should build more around it than just a donation drive. As lame as it sounds, it should be made to look like it's "cool" to donate. The point system isn't much more than that.

      Another thought that just came to me. The point system really doesn't mean much in the whole scheme of things. What if there was a cap on how high you could go unless you donated? That doesn't prevent anyone from using the site. It would just be another token advantage for donating..

      bash: undo: command not found

        What if there was a cap on how high you could go unless you donated?

        That's part of what an "in (good|excellent|examplary) standing" label gets at. But instead of capping the XP level one could attain, it lets peer pressure drive donations.

        Part of my concern about a cap is that it's the often the highly rated monks that add the value that keeps people coming back for more.

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