The Forums Desperately Need Your Help And A Critical Update on @Penguin

I have spent way too much time on this post. It really needed to be posted days agp, but well, I hate asking for help like this because it bothers me a lot that it’s even necessary because of stupid legal technicality…

Quick Update on @Penguin

The regulars in the chat already know about this and have since it happened several days ago. During physical therapy the other day @Penguin had a seizure. It was caused by a dangerously low potassium level. This is something they should have been watching for because she does have a history of seizures triggered by low potassium levels.

She is currently in the ICU as a result of the seizure. She’s considered stable, but due to a current inability to keep her potassium level at a normal level they are unable to move her to a regular room as the danger of her having another seizure is too great.

Forum Finances

This is one giant clusterfuck to put it mildly.

Email hosting bill is past due

I got an extension until 2021-10-12T04:30:00Z to pay the remainder of the bill by making a partial payment but unfortunately there has been a late fee applied. The reason for this a combination of 3 things.

  1. Several patrons’ pledges did not process this month which left me responsible for paying the server bill, or I thought (I’ll get to this in a moment…)

  2. 3 of the big PayPal donors had their donations fail to process this month so far. One I have been in contact with and know why theirs failed. The other 2 I have been unable to contact. This left the forums with one hell of a financial shortfall thanks to 1.

  3. Apple fucked me over and charged me for renewing my developer certificate even though I had cancelled the renewal because I no longer develop software that is used by others. When informed of their error, their solution was to give me fucking iTunes store credit!

So that leaves me with needing to come up with $40 by 11:30pm CDT tonight to pay the email hosting bill or they will terminate services on the 12th.

On top of this, I actually have digital ocean $50 because the partial payment I made to mail host? Yeah, turns out I didn’t have the funds I thought I did. They were actually the rest of the server payment for this month.

To make this situation worse, both Digital Ocean (server) and the email hosting company want prepayment of November’s estimated bills or they will terminate services. Email host wants prepayment by the 16th, digital ocean by the 21st.

Yes, the situation is that screwed up right now. Part of why the email host is so bitchy though is all the fucking idiots who installed iOS 15 and decided to sign up for the forums with Apple’s stupid protected email feature and then deleted the email aliases causing thousands of bounced messages which got us flagged as potential spammers. That’s why they’re insisting on prepayment of our estimated November bill.

So essentially here’s where things stand right now:

  • $40 bare minimum is needed by 11:30pm CDT tonight.
  • $50 by the 16th to meet the estimated email usage (it won’t actually be that high, but that’s what they want paid, and it will just be an account credit so it’s not like it’ll be wasted) or they’ll terminate out account, effectively disabling the forums because Discourse requires functioning email services.
  • $140 by the 21st or DO will terminate services. That means no more chat or forums.

I am currently working on some projects that will help reduce the costs (it’s stuff that @Penguin started several months ago actually)

If you can help, please donate. You can find out how to do that here

The best option to use is PayPal or the Cash App options as those are both immediately available for use.

Speaking of donating and Patreon

Yeah, I know I’m very behind on posting updates there. The thing with @Penguin’s health the last few months and the stress of dealing with that and my own stuff and @ClawdiaWolf’s niece who has been living with us for awhile now has taken its toll. I literally don’t have enough hours in my day to do everything I need to do.

In fact, I’m going to be honest with you. Recently I’ve noticed myself starting to relapse to how I was last year. This is not a good thing. I know some of you might think that regressing for hours at a time is nice, but it’s not. It is not even remotely a good thing. The reality is that if I have another breakdown like the one I had in 2020, the forums are fucked because no one will be left who has the necessary access to the accounts to keep things going.

I need out from under the stress before the situation gets worse.

If you can help, please do. For @Penguin’s sake, for my sake, and for the forums.

If you have any questions feel free to ask them and i will do my best to answer them.

Oh, and to the asshole the other day who saw the post about my water bill and said they’d only help if I sent them a picture of my cat who is a service animal? Fuck you. Just fuck you. That little stunt wasn’t funny.

I’m sorry to hear that this situation has affected your health so deeply. I hope you are able to get some relief and that your Mom recovers soon and strong.

Has it been considered to sell the forums or transfer authority to someone else? Considering all the events in your own personal lives you’ve shared and the stress levels that follow, plus the frequency of “urgent donation needed” posts, it seems like administering these forums is causing significant undue and unwanted additional mental, financial, and sadly physical stress for both of you. If you need out from the stress, then after this current situation has stabilized, it may be worth asking the question of whether it is in your best interest to continue running this forum yourselves. You need to look out for your own health, and sometimes that means shifting and removing responsibilities when possible.

Again, I’m sad to read this. Seizures are especially scary. I hope for a speedy and strong recovery for your Mom, and the best for both of you.

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Does low potassium really cause Seizures? This is the first time hearing about this. I have problems with high potassium by eating things high in potassium. Most of it was do to one of the Dr. prescribed pills I was taking. Now that I’m off that one pill I don’t have high potassium problems anymore.

Sorry to hear you and everybody else is having health issues hope everything passes and you’ll be all strong again.

Sorry I can’t help out right now as i’m having my own finance problems otherwise I would donate a little to keep this site from shutting down

Even if @Penguin was where she could do so, there are legal issues involved that would prevent that.

As I pointed out in the chat earlier, the situation this month was completely avoidable if people had just made sure they’re payment methods for their patreon pledges/paypal donations actually had the funds available. The patreon pledges should cover the normal monthly operating costs minus about $8. The PayPal donations that didn’t process would have more than covered the overage for the email hosting, which would have prevented the very situation that caused them to demand prepayment of the estimated bill for next month.

Had the patreon pledges processed, there would have been no issues that could have caused the failed payment and thus digital ocean would have had no reason to demand prepayment of next months bill because the bill would have been paid in full.

Also, one thing you guys really need to understand is that one core issue the last few months is there is literally $1214 no longer in our household budget because no one can legally touch @Penguin’s bank account that her disability check is being deposited into.

And fuck, there would literally be no financial issues at all if I was allowed to use my own fucking money in my own fucking accounts. I am literally worth millions, which is why my financial shit is in control of a court appointed trustee until my conservatorship ends instead of in @Penguin’s control. That’s also why it’s such a fucking nightmare with our bill situation. The court has to approve any changes to the monthly budget of what the trustee is allowed to use of my money to pay things.

Now, one thing I really need people to understand is that while the situation with the forums is not helping, they’re not the main issue for me. Mom’s health is, because the reality is this: If mom doesn’t recover enough that she can make legal decisions for herself by the end of December, I become a ward of the state of Arkansas, which means I get locked up in a long term care facility until they judge me fit to end my conservatorship and take care of myself. And the state and the only facility here that can handle my situation will do everything in their power to make sure that does not happen the minute they find out just how much money I have in the bank.

Yes, actually most of what they check in a comprehensive metabolic panel can if the levels are low enough. for that matter, in the case of potassium and sodium they can also cause seizures if they’re too high, although in the case of Potassium, the “you die” level and the “can cause seizures” levels are less 50 apart.

Donation update:

As of the time of this post, $57.43 has been donated post PayPal fees.

Also $4.78 of the missing patreon pledges successfully processed today. There’s still about $38 of patreon pledges outstanding which may ore may not process before the deadlines.

I do know for sure that one pledge won’t, but I’m not counting that in the missing pledges because I know that person gets their SSI check on the last Wednesday of the month.

I didn’t intend to be confrontational here, sorry. This is a rough time for you and your Mom, and I just hoped to offer what I could, which at this time is only advice. However, you described this situation using the word “legal” way more than I feel comfortable continuing to interact with, so I will excuse myself from this thread following this reply.

If the forums aren’t the main concern, but your family is shackled to them for whatever legal reasons, then maybe there is some way to minimize costs and allow you to focus more on what really matters. Maybe a temporary outage for a while until financial affairs are in order could be a possibility. But its whatever your lawyers and advocates advise.

Wish you both the best.

Well conservatorship is literally an entire legal issue, and a very complex one that I have to deal with daily and does affect some of my options so I do have to point that out.

As for the transferring ownership thing. That’s two entirely different legal issues that I couldn’t begin to accurately explain one side of. The side I can explain is that due to data protection laws in some countries it’s not simple to transfer ownership. In fact the only way to do it without a lot of legal paperwork being involved would require deleting over 1100 accounts, which, you know, isn’t really a viable option.

My understanding of the other issue is that essentially due to legal fuckery that happened by mistake, @Penguin actually owns the legal rights to every story posted between April 3rd, 2010 and April 13th, 2018, and that would have to corrected before any ownership transfer could happen, and again, that requires a lot of legal paperwork and court filings to fix, and I can’t speak for others, but I know I would’t want to go to court over the owernship of a diaper story.

There are, and as I stated in the very first post, those options are in fact being worked on.

Okay, seeing as how @danni was upset enough about this to call me this morning I felt the need to register and address some things before this situation grows out of control.

First, I know most of you have no idea who I am. I am @Penguin’s and @danni’s attorney. To be a bit more accurate, I am @Penguin’s attorney, but I represent @danni’s interests on her behalf. I was also @ClawdiaWolf’s attorney when she was alive and I represented her in court on more than a few legal matters involving these forums. That includes representing her in the situation that Danni alluded to above that is an issue with legally transferring ownership of the forums.

While Danni has the basic facts correct it is a lot more complicated than she makes it sound.

First, I need to make one thing very clear to everyone including Danni: Due to her conseratorship, Danni has no legal standing where these forums are concerned. In fact had I not been present as a witness when @Penguin asked her to assume control if she became unable to do so, I would in fact be forced to take control from her. The only person with any legal standing to anything right now is myself because for legal and financial matters I have Penguin’s durable power of attorney, and as an indirect result, I have partial control of Danni’s conservatorship. Unfortunately, the parts I do have control of are insufficient to keep her from becoming a ward of the state in December unless I successfully petition the court to transfer the conservatorship to myself.

Which brings me to why I am posting. I understand that some of you are uncomfortable with Danni’s multiple uses of “legal” to describe the situation. The sad truth is that most of what’s wrong with this situation is a bunch of legalities that even I think are stupid.

What is blocking the ownership transfer, which is something that @Penguin and I have been working on for the last year, is this:

Between the dates Danni mentioned the ToS for the forums was improperly worded and instead of assiging just the right to display the content, they actually gave full ownership to the person who had primary financial investment in the forums. Originally this was in fact a user who was not even on the moderation team. Later, this was @ClawdiaWolf as she dumped more and more of her own money into keeping the forums online. The original ToS that had caused this was corrected in 2014, but it was not corrected properly. The updated version of the ToS assigned ownership to, and as you probably guessed, because @ClawdiaWolf owned the domain, it effectively still gave her ownership.

In 2018 she contacted me when she realized just how screwed up the situation was. We had to contact the estate of the user who some rights were transferred to, who had to transfer those rights to the site itself. When Claudia passed, those rights transferred to @Penguin because ownership of the domain itself did. Since that time we’ve been working with several others in the legal field with more specialized knowledge in attempting to fix the situation because the truth is she never wanted to take over this stuff but she also refuses to transfer ownership in anything but a completely legal way that doesn’t make the situation worse.

The other issue Danni mentioned is quite frankly a clusterfuck. Legally we cannot transfer owership as long as there are any members in the UK or several other countries with strong data protection laws. It would requite signing legal contracts that would require revealing real names and other information about the party or parties the ownership was being transferred to and revealing way more information about @Penguin and @danni than either of them are comfortable with.

As for Danni’s little rant about her financial situation? The truth of that is she got royally fucked over by this whole conservatorship thing in that regard. The poor girl has literally had all her money except a pitiful allowance approved by the court taken from her.

I know Danni isn’t entirely comfortable talking about the conservatorship thing. I can’t really blame her, because a lot of restrictions she is still under are, quite frankly, bullshit. Until recently she wasn’t even allowed to have a girlfriend because the strictness of her conservatorship meant that if she did and they decided to have some *adult" fun together, her partner would have been guilty of committing statutory rape and faced jail time.

And here’s another thing I think people are really failing to understand about this current situation. Danni, unlike @Penguin, really does want to keep the forums online and not just out of a sense of obigation to someone who died in 2019. She genuinely cares, and for people to basically make her feel like shit for caring? I honestly am tempted to pull the plug right now, but I won’t because it would upset her more than she already is.

So let me lay this out for you: If the funds don’t come in to keep it online, that’s it, because if things end up getting shutdown because the financial obligations cant be met, it will not come back as long as I’m the one who is actually legally responsible for it because I, quite frankly, don’t find it worth the amount of stress it has cauded them both. So if you’ve been debating whether or not to donate, do take into consideration what I just said.

While some things were posted I’d have preferred not be, thank you @Anthony, I appreciate you taking the time to register and explain things better than I could.

I have some good news that came about because he got involved though. :slight_smile:

He talked to the mail host and pointed out they actually were violating their own ToS by forcing the prepayment, so they agreed to drop that requirement :smiley:

He’s also trying to convince Digital Ocean to do the same, but so far no luck. I actually kind of see their point though. I’ve had to manually pay them from the Paypal account because of an issue with the debit card so part of their reason for wanting the prepayment is because as far as the billing system is concerned there isn’t a valid credit/debit card on file right now.

So here’s where we stand now:

  • Mail hosting: Paid in full after they agreed to drop the prepayment requirement
  • Digital Ocean: After two donations that came in last night, we need $93 unless they drop the prepayment requirement. If they drop the prepayment requirement, it will just be an additional $3. I’m assuming they won’t drop the prepayment requirement for now, but if they do, we’ll be okay because there is one PayPal donation that I know will clear on the 18th because that donation comes from my girlfriend. :slight_smile:

Which is something I feel like I need to point out. I’m not afraid to put up my own money. I personally contribute $10 of the patreon pledges out of my allowance each month and my girlfriend has been doing $5 monthly donations since June of this year.

I can’t begin to count how much @Penguin has personally put into these forums, and as Anthony pointed out, she’s done so even though she has never had any real reason to do so except a sense of obligation to @ClawdiaWolf

Sadly, I do need to note that a troll was banned earlier today. They made a post that basically called Anthony and I liars, and while I personally don’t give a shit if you want to insult me (I’ll give as good as I get as you have probably noticed by now), insulting someone who has done literally hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars of work for free over the last few years is not something that will EVER be tolerated.

As a result of this trolling attempt, the #announcements section will no longer allow replies unless they are approved by a member of the moderation team. I’m sorry this was necessary, but it’s a temporary measure in case they try making additional accounts to try again.

I also want to say I absolutely, positively will not tolerate anyone insulting @Penguin after what she has sacrificed for me personally.

I mean do you people not understand just what she has put up with for me? When my conservatorship started I was basically a toddler in an adult’s body. I literally had the mental capacity of a 4 year old. I can’t begin to count how many diapers she changed because of my incontinence issues. I mean fuck, I can’t begin to count the number of times I accidentally pissed on her during diaper changes and she never once complained and someone wants to insult her? Fuck that shit.

Just realized I wasn’t as clear as i should have been regarding the replies thing.

Anyone with an account that isn’t in the silenced or suspended state can reply, but until one of the @moderators approves it, it won’t be visible to the public. Essentially, this category treats everyone except the @moderators as if they were trust level 0.

Danni, I understand you’re upset about that post that was rejected and why, but this is a bit of an overreaction, don’t you think?

I am not happy about what was said either, but honestly, if people really feel like they need to be asses, just ban them and move on. Don’t change settings that affect everyone because of a moment of anger. It’s not worth it.

This kind of stuff right is exactly what I was talking about with you earlier. You’re not very open to discussing these kinds of things except when somoene pisses you off and that does not help people to understand your actual situation and that’s why people get confused.

If you don’t want to talk about it yourself, I can always post for you, but it would be far better if it came from you. I know you posted some of it on Patreon awhile back but you never followed up with rest of the story. Maybe start with explainiing why that is. You know I’m here to support you, as are Jamie and Mikayla.

They really don’t. Announcements is a rarely-used category, and even when we have announcements, it’s not like there are a huge rush of comments. Takes the mod team 5 seconds to figure out whether a comment is nefarious and 2 seconds to approve or reject it.

Super easy. Barely an inconvenience.

He’s not talking about just the replies require moderation setting. I… changed some other settings that moderators wouldn’t notice, but he’s right, I shouldn’t have made the changes I did because of one idiot.

Also, HOLY SHIT! I just got a notification from PayPal that someone donated $450! I just applied $250 of towards the hosting fees, which will actually cover a bit more than this month and two additional months because I just found out that two VPSes I thought weren’t contributing to the hosting costs have been. They were old testing VPSes for the vBulletin gt; Discourse migration. Mom never deleted them so she’s been getting charged for them. It only saves $20 a month, but hey, $20 saved is $20 that can go to more practical use. :slight_smile:

Okay, yeah, if you created something that makes things difficult for everyone (especially you and the rest of the admin team), then yeah, probably should walk that back. But requiring moderation in this section is really no big deal.

I just want to publicly thank Danni and everyone else for your hard work and all the crap y’all put up with. I wish I could help financially but my extra money went to an emergency vet bill when my oldest cat was put to sleep after tests to figure out what was wrong with her.

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Effing beaurocracy…the reason I couldn’t get get a job years ago, and the reason why I’m probably not going to get one until late January! I feel for you, I truly do, it’s so horrible to be jacked up like that, I hope you pull through this without losing the site or yourself.

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