This will cover several questions that are often asked about why we ask for donations. Please read the whole thing carefully as some of this information has recently changed.
They are used to cover the hosting costs each month, at least when there is enough to cover it entirely with donations, which is rarely the case. Despite some beliefs to the contrary, no one on the moderation team gets paid. In fact I have lost money most months because I’ve had to eat the difference between the current level of donations and the actual costs of hosting the forums.
In fact, to be blunt, there have been several times in the last year the site would have gone offline had it not been for a few very generous last minute donations.
The actual hosting cost is currently $90. It was down to $80, but with the migration to Discourse I had to upgrade the hosting plan to have enough RAM for Discourse to operate comfortably when under load.
Most of that cost is simply because of the amount of RAM and Storage required for the data base.
The cost in time? Just doing the normal administrative tasks that need to be done by me personally takes about 20 hours a week, completely unpaid.
Donations. Seriously. Although it’s not that active at the moment, if you have an active recurring donation or make a one time donation of at least $5, you gain access to a private section of the forums only available to donors. There are plans to add additional sections like the #donors-lounge in the near future.
Please understand that while in the past @ClawdiaWolf and myself pretty much ate the hosting costs, this simply isn’t possible any longer. I literally cannot afford to keep this site running and pay my own bills as well.
If you wish to donate, there are a few ways to do so.
Note that the PayPal process has changed slightly. The page the above link takes you to is still a generic page, in that I can’t directly tie your donations through that page to your forum account unless the email addresses match. If they do not match, make sure you include your username in the notes. Alternately in your Account Preferences you can add your PayPal email as a secondary email and the script that process the donations from PayPal will automatically match that way and use it to add you to the Active Donor’s group. If your account’s primary email is the same, it will match on that instead.
The 3 most common donation amounts are available for easy selection, but you can also enter a custom amount instead if you prefer.
The big change here is the optional Use this donation for dropdown. Here’s the breakdown of what the options are.
Hosting - Goes to cover the hosting of the forums. Donations received with this option selected are automatically paid to the hosting service at midnight US Central time the day after the donation is made.
Utilities - This will trigger an automatic transfer to my checking account that I use to pay my bills, especially my internet bill, which is required for me to manage the hosting account and the board itself. These transfers happen weekly.
Clawdia Memorial Fund - This does the same as selecting Utilities, except that they go into a savings account instead that is intended to provide an emergency fund to keep things online when other donations aren’t enough to cover the hosting costs.
If you don’t select one of the options above it is treated the same as selecting Hosting.
If you wish to make your donation a recurring monthly donation there is a checkbox on that page to enable that as well unless you are in a country where it’s not allowed.
After months of fighting to get it approved (long story) we officially have the option of doing recurring donations via Patreon
If you don’t want to (or can’t) use PayPal, this is the preferred alternative.
Just scan the QR code below. And yes, this belongs to Clawdia’s old account for historical reasons.
Note that donations made this way have to be manually processed. If you donate this way when entering what it is for, please enter STRY - username.
This is necessary for me to match your donations with your accounts here.
Virtual gift cards for Walmart are always useful. While they can’t be directly used to fund the server, by helping to offset the monthly costs of my medications and groceries you are still helping indirectly.
Amazon gift cards are less useful, but there are still a lot of household items I can purchase through Amazon that would help make funds available for the site that otherwise wouldn’t be.
Currently the previously listed methods are the only methods of donating.