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Snao van der Cone

2019 AVEN Fundraiser

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Heart
17 hours ago, Road said:

Thanks for the answer, @Heart! I just have one follow up question. What would happen if AVEN doesn't raise the full $5000?

We would run the site as long as the money lasted. Realistically, we would likely do two things then: 1) try another fundraiser before the year is up, and 2) organizers would pitch in from their own pockets. This isn't ideal, since it's straight up a lot of money, and they've been funding this thing since the inception and up until we finally incorporated... they've put a lot  of money in over time, and I really think it's unfair to ask them to do more. But they will, because they love this place.

 

If they don't, the site goes offline. It did, briefly, back in February, and they had to pitch in personal money to keep it running until now.

 

2 hours ago, InquisitivePhilosopher said:

I wondered about this, myself; I just don't understand the appeal of chat rooms when forum posts are very similar to chatting with others. Whenever I've tried them in the past, there were so many people and conversations going on in seconds, it made it difficult for others to understand who I was responding to or what I was talking about because--in the middle of typing a response about something that was just brought up--several people suddenly brought up different or new topics.

 

For me, chats are too fast-paced for others to read and understand who's responding to whom; so, I like that forum conversations allow plenty of time to write more complex thoughts and allows others to completely understand more what someone is trying to say.

Honestly, the very thing you don't like about chat rooms is kinda what I like :P I enjoy the multiple rapid-fire conversations going on around me, because then I don't feel like I have to participate in any one of them, or even type to be honest. It's like being in a coffee shop, surrounded by people, without having to contribute myself. On the forum, I can only read one thread at a time, and it feels like I am engaging in one conversation, and that takes brain power. I honestly think I'd be more visible and around on chat nowadays than the forums (which is good, because I rarely come out on the forums nowadays...). So I guess I'm one of those people that is very anxiously awaiting chat ;) And that has changed depending on where in life I'm at and what I'm doing. But right now, for sure, I would enjoy the chat.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

I forget who asked, but we now speak about a "tech team" instead of "Coleslaw", because there are two people now :D That doesn't mean necessarily that we can get twice as much done, but more that Coleslaw isn't as overwhelmed and burns out less often.

 

I must say, I do honestly think most people don't understand how busy both people on the tech team are. They both work full time jobs, sometimes with overtime, and have "jobs" outside of their normal jobs. Even setting aside as much time as they do is exhausting and difficult for them. They also do huge amounts of work in the local community as well. And I know that's frustrating for the AVEN membership. I wish we had the capacity to properly hire a tech person part time, but that's not realistic. Tech employees are not cheap.

 

Someone mentioned that there are many folks who would be willing to volunteer their time, and that's also wonderful. In the most genuine way possible, we really appreciate how supportive our community is. However, Coleslaw has always been hesitant and slow to onboard people; remember that they only can dedicate a limited amount of time to AVEN work in general. If takes one afternoon to make and distribute an application form, and probably another afternoon to vet the applicants, and maybe another to do interviews.... another few months to onboard them, this becomes quickly a situation where AVEN breaks down while Coleslaw is away trying to expand the team. Not to even mention chat.

 

We have a difficult time sometimes drumming up enough candidates to run as mods, and we have such a high turnover that we've set up a whole team, the Training Team, just to handle onboarding our staff at that level. I can't even imagine how much more difficult that would be if only one person were responsible for that while also still having to mod. I think that would be similar to what Coleslaw does. And a webmaster position requires even more trust than a mod's position or even an admin's position; a webmaster who went rogue or MIA (it happens at times with mods or admins, as much as we try to limit that ability of any one person to bring down AVEN, so we have to assume the possibility for even a webmaster) or even was just inexperienced could drag the whole site down with them. Webmaster access is a huge security concern, any volunteers would need to be thoroughly vetted and trained to make sure they don't bring down the whole website by a mistake or intention. Even just getting that second person on the team was a load of work. With the backlog of other work that needs to be done, I don't know how feasible it is to be spending more time onboarding more webmasters right now. I guess that's a question for the tech team of two.

 

I hope that helps illuminate things. And I'm sorry that what I say can sound vague. Mostly, that's because I don't have a very good understanding myself of tech things, so I really am trying my best. I promise I'm not trying to hide anything, I just don't know the answers to your specific questions :( And the tech team is not trying to hide anything either. It's just that thinking about and typing up these long and detailed responses can take a lot of time, and part of the whole problem is that they don't have a lot of time or energy left after the other demands of AVEN are done. I'll always try my best to communicate, but we're all only human.

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LeChat
35 minutes ago, Heart said:

...Honestly, the very thing you don't like about chat rooms is kinda what I like :P I enjoy the multiple rapid-fire conversations going on around me, because then I don't feel like I have to participate in any one of them, or even type to be honest. It's like being in a coffee shop, surrounded by people, without having to contribute myself...

Ah, I see. Yeah, I prefer participating in conversations, and in the past, it was slightly disappointing and frustrating whenever I couldn't really do that, properly, because others had just jumped in with different topics while I was in the middle of trying to quickly reply to what had just been the current conversation, mere seconds ago; when my reply would become lost among all the other responses; or because there were so many replies all at once that I couldn't keep up with reading all them and couldn't reply to anything I'd just read because the conversation had already moved on to something else.

 

Hmm...I guess that explains the reason why one person on an LGBT+ chat was concerned that, since I was new, that I was just there just to snoop on their conversation. I didn't really know that some people prefer to read chats without participating.

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Heart
6 minutes ago, InquisitivePhilosopher said:

Ah, I see. Yeah, I prefer participating in conversations, and in the past, it was slightly disappointing and frustrating whenever I couldn't really do that, properly, because others had just jumped in with different topics while I was in the middle of trying to quickly reply to what had just been the current conversation, mere seconds ago or when my reply would become lost among all the other responses.

 

Hmm...I guess that explains the reason why one person on an LGBT+ chat was concerned that, since I was new, that I was just there just to snoop on their conversation. I didn't really know that some people prefer to read chats without participating.

Yeah, humans are so diverse when you think about it! Some people prefer the forums so they can post a lot, some people prefer the forums just to read and lurk, some people prefer to participate in chat, others to lurk... and some people prefer in-person spaces while others only ever like online.

 

With such a giant community, it seems important to do our best to try and incorporate all the ways that people form community and feel like they belong :) 

 

Side note: I'm sorry someone on the LGBT+ chat was concerned with you when you joined. That sucks, but I could also see people in queer spaces being more cautious in general :( We have a lot of work to do to make the world a better place, and more work in some areas than in others...

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Kimmie.
5 hours ago, Heart said:

Honestly, the very thing you don't like about chat rooms is kinda what I like :P I enjoy the multiple rapid-fire conversations going on around me, because then I don't feel like I have to participate in any one of them, or even type to be honest. It's like being in a coffee shop, surrounded by people, without having to contribute myself

So basically what you like are the things that makes me have a mental brakedown. 🤣

 

And a honest question if the money is as tight as you say,  would it not make more sense to remove features instead of adding them? 

 

EDIT: and another thing I think could help the campaign is to have a more detail list on where all the money will go with the cost of every detail writen down. Then I guess people would be more open with donating money. 

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Ammy
2 hours ago, Kimmie. said:

EDIT: and another thing I think could help the campaign is to have a more detail list on where all the money will go with the cost of every detail writen down. Then I guess people would be more open with donating money.

This bothers me. I care about the forum being up, and so donating to help ensure it never has to go down is something that would interest me. But with the way the fundraiser is set up, it looks like every donation is just pooled together, and you don't really have a say in where your money gets used.

 

Bluntly put, I don't give a ... about chat, and I wouldn't be very happy if the site and/or forum were to end up going down in the future due to a lack of funds, with my money having been spent towards a new chat instead of being spent towards keeping the forum alive. And I wouldn't be very happy either if my donation ended up not being necessary to keep the forum alive, and the site owners decided to just use my money for a new chat. I'd donate towards necessities (which for me is keeping the forum alive), and new features are a luxury, not a necessity.

 

I respect that many others would like a new and functional chat, and they have every right to want to donate towards making this a reality, but I'd be much more interested in pitching in to help keep something I care about online and accessible, than adding new features that I don't even want.

 

(As far as conferences go, I'm not strictly against helping make those happen, even though I would never get to attend, but I just don't have the disposable income to justify putting money towards that right now, whereas the forum has a direct impact on me and it's in my best interest for it to remain online.)

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Kimmie.

I know this have been up before but i don´t remember the outcome, Is it possible to maybe add some ads system or a "premium payed account system"? or will the cost for impement that be higher than what the income will be?

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Chihiro
3 hours ago, Ammy said:

Bluntly put, I don't give a ... about chat, and I wouldn't be very happy if the site and/or forum were to end up going down in the future due to a lack of funds, with my money having been spent towards a new chat instead of being spent towards keeping the forum alive.

Not addressed to Ammy, but this is why chat users have been super upset and even stopped being active on AVEN. They all donated for the last two rounds (I definitely did) but still the team haven't been bothered to spend $125 out of the $5000 for upgrading the chat (and we were promised that) and we are stuck with crappy chat. Super upset is a mild term that I am using here. We actually feel deceived, ignored and treated like unworthy beings.

 

Not just that, the team has failed to make a simple banner for chat which would help people find chat. Making a banner doesn't cost $, it can be done right there.... just below the fund raiser banner you see on top. This too has been requested repeatedly. Many chat people are such introverts, they make no posts in forums and won't even bother making a post to ask if chat still exists. 

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Ammy
2 minutes ago, Chihiro said:

Not addressed to Ammy, but this is why chat users have been super upset and even stopped being active on AVEN. They all donated for the last two rounds (I definitely did) but still the team haven't been bothered to spend $125 out of the $5000 for upgrading the chat and we are stuck with crappy chat. Super upset is a mild term that I am using here. We actually feel deceived, ignored and treated like unworthy beings.

 

Not just that, the team has failed to make a simple banner for chat which would help people find chat. Making a banner doesn't cost $, it can be done right there.... just below the fund raiser banner you see on top. This too has been requested repeatedly. Many chat people are such introverts, they make no posts in forums and won't even bother making a post to ask if chat still exists. 

I think there would be merit in separating costs for simply keeping the servers running and costs for adding + maintaining new features into separate fundraisers, and ensure that the money being donated actually goes towards what the donators want. Regardless of the reason why someone wants to donate, they should be able to ensure that the money goes towards what they want instead of being used for something else. And like @Kimmie. said, if the details of where their money would be used were known, people may be more open with donating.

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michaeld

 

4 hours ago, Ammy said:

Bluntly put, I don't give a ... about chat, and I wouldn't be very happy if the site and/or forum were to end up going down in the future due to a lack of funds, with my money having been spent towards a new chat instead of being spent towards keeping the forum alive. And I wouldn't be very happy either if my donation ended up not being necessary to keep the forum alive, and the site owners decided to just use my money for a new chat. I'd donate towards necessities (which for me is keeping the forum alive), and new features are a luxury, not a necessity.

Keeping the site up will always be the priority. My understanding is that the two go hand in hand. From my understanding, the new chat system that the techies are looking at isn't actually that expensive in itself as far licensing costs go. However it is likely to increase the overall load on the server. Hence this fundraiser is really all about[1] ensuring the stability of the server, including when we add a new chat. Thus it's pretty difficult to separate the two.

 

[1] With the earlier caveat that any extra we have, over the server costs, would be used to fund ace conferences and other vis-ed activities, if applicable - which isn't likely.

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Ammy
1 minute ago, michaeld said:

Keeping the site up will always be the priority. My understanding is that the two go hand in hand. From my understanding, the new chat system that the techies are looking at isn't actually that expensive in itself as far licensing costs go. However it is likely to increase the overall load on the server. Hence this fundraiser is really all about ensuring the stability of the server, including when we add a new chat. Thus it's pretty difficult to separate the two.

Fair enough. Personally I'm glad that keeping the site up is the priority, but in that case promises about new features such as a new chat shouldn't be made unless the admins are absolutely certain that they will be able to deliver on those promises. Those who have donated to previous fundraisers with the expectation of being able to have a new chat are understandably upset when the money just goes towards other things and they never actually get the new chat they wanted.

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michaeld

Again, I'm not one of the tech team but my understanding is that the principal problem with getting a new chat is the matter of integration with AVEN's software. They've put in a lot of research to even find compatible candidates and it'll take a lot of work to perform the integration. But they'll do it because having a better chat is important to many of us.

 

I looked at the previous fundraiser and I can't find mention of chat in the fundraiser itself. The fundraiser said the money was to be used for the AVEN server, which is exactly where it went. There was some discussion later on in the thread about chat, but the fundraiser itself was never about requesting money for chat as far as I can see?

 

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Kimmie.
2 minutes ago, Ammy said:

Fair enough. Personally I'm glad that keeping the site up is the priority, but in that case promises about new features such as a new chat shouldn't be made unless the admins are absolutely certain that they will be able to deliver on those promises. Those who have donated to previous fundraisers with the expectation of being able to have a new chat are understandably upset when the money just goes towards other things and they never actually get the new chat they wanted.

I don´t know if GoFundMe supports this but is it poosible to add stretch goals? like everything up to a certain amount goes to make the servers keep runing as they are and everything over that adds new features?

 

I am just trying to make the fundraiser to take up speed. Becaue the goal is loooong away.

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Ammy
15 minutes ago, michaeld said:

Again, I'm not one of the tech team but my understanding is that the principal problem with getting a new chat is the matter of integration with AVEN's software. They've put in a lot of research to even find compatible candidates and it'll take a lot of work to perform the integration. But they'll do it because having a better chat is important to many of us.

 

I looked at the previous fundraiser and I can't find mention of chat in the fundraiser itself. The fundraiser said the money was to be used for the AVEN server, which is exactly where it went. There was some discussion later on in the thread about chat, but the fundraiser itself was never about requesting money for chat as far as I can see?

 

In all honesty, I hadn't looked at the previous fundraisers, I had just assumed that what was being said was accurate, so I apologize. It does look like the expectations were misplaced, but putting myself in the shoes of someone who really cared about the chat, I can understand the frustrations, at the very least. And in the case of this current fundraiser, a better chat does look to be advertised as something which resembles a promise, so I'd hope that working plans have been made and that there is a guarantee of a better chat happening if the goal is met.

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Kimmie.

@michaeld Is there a date when the money has to be in?

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michaeld

@Ammy - yes I feel we are definitely committed to adding a new chat at this point, if we have enough money to ensure the stability of the server. There is still no cast iron guarantee because there may be some unforeseen technical problem that precludes chat integration, but it's certainly not the expectation.

 

@Kimmie. - our server bills are monthly, so I don't think there is a hard deadline in that sense. It's always good to have security though, to know we're covered for the foreseeable.

 

Thanks everyone who has donated - or has helped spread our fundraiser!! :cake: You are all amazing!

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Kimmie.
5 minutes ago, michaeld said:

our server bills are monthly, so I don't think there is a hard deadline in that sense. It's always good to have security though, to know we're covered for the foreseeable.

Okay for when i look at the old fundraiser it took 18 months to raise 4,632 usd. So that do not sound that promising and a bit worrying that the goal will not be reached to be honest.

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Chihiro
50 minutes ago, michaeld said:

I looked at the previous fundraiser and I can't find mention of chat in the fundraiser itself. The fundraiser said the money was to be used for the AVEN server, which is exactly where it went. There was some discussion later on in the thread about chat, but the fundraiser itself was never about requesting money for chat as far as I can see?

I again kind of feel ignored, just like the last time. If you had followed the link I posted in one of my last post, it would have taken directly to the promise that was made. Why waste time on hard-to-please donors right? Yup, I know the fund raising logic (Doesn't matter that I have donated both times in the past). Nevertheless, here is the link again and I am quoting as well, in case anyone misses it-

"I can say this for certain: when we reach our funding goal, I'll purchase the license and upgrade chat. It'll be a last-ditch effort on an integrated, official AVEN chat client, and I hope it succeeds in solving everyone's issues. If people still have huge issues by AAW next year, we'll see what replacements may exist and, if none do, we'll have to retire our official chat." -Coleslaw

 

Not only the funding goal was reached, but it exceeded..... still couldn't afford that $125 for chat. Very misleading! :huh:

 

 

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OptimisticPessimist

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Kimmie.

This forum have helped so much so it is not more then fair for me to do the same when it needs help. I really hope that is is enough. 

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Heart
15 hours ago, Kimmie. said:

 

 

And a honest question if the money is as tight as you say,  would it not make more sense to remove features instead of adding them? 

 

EDIT: and another thing I think could help the campaign is to have a more detail list on where all the money will go with the cost of every detail writen down. Then I guess people would be more open with donating money. 

I'm not sure what features we could remove? We're already pretty bare-bones, with only a forum and a semi-functional chat. Do you mean we should remove the forum, and stick with the home page?

 

10 hours ago, Kimmie. said:

I know this have been up before but i don´t remember the outcome, Is it possible to maybe add some ads system or a "premium payed account system"? or will the cost for impement that be higher than what the income will be?

I promise you, we'd end up with porn adds. Since the word "sex" is in our URL (www.asexuality.org), then all the bots assume we are a site about sex. I've heard stories from Coleslaw about getting emails offering money to put up adds, but they've all been porn sites.

 

Coleslaw and the whole team has worked hard to keep this place add-free. I don't know for sure (and this would have to be a really shitty situation to make us consider this), but I suspect we'd rather let the site break down slowly than to add advertisement functionality. Even if we don't sign a contract with a porn company directly, any "smart algorithm" that decides what adds to display will try to display sex adds. This would quickly and efficiently alienate a large chunk of our membership, a chunk that already feels alienated by the rest of the internet.

 

So I'm afraid it's not likely that we can get add revenue or have premium accounts :( At least not in any way I can think of.

 

7 hours ago, Chihiro said:

I again kind of feel ignored, just like the last time. If you had followed the link I posted in one of my last post, it would have taken directly to the promise that was made. Why waste time on hard-to-please donors right? Yup, I know the fund raising logic (Doesn't matter that I have donated both times in the past). Nevertheless, here is the link again and I am quoting as well, in case anyone misses it-

"I can say this for certain: when we reach our funding goal, I'll purchase the license and upgrade chat. It'll be a last-ditch effort on an integrated, official AVEN chat client, and I hope it succeeds in solving everyone's issues. If people still have huge issues by AAW next year, we'll see what replacements may exist and, if none do, we'll have to retire our official chat." -Coleslaw

 

Not only the funding goal was reached, but it exceeded..... still couldn't afford that $125 for chat. Very misleading! :huh:

 

 

I'm under the impression (and I may not have this all technically correct) that this option referred to above ended up not being compatible with AVEN's forum. In the background, we've gone through something like five or six serious options that I know of, and each of them has failed our needs.

 

I know we said that if that didn't work, we'd just give up and have no chat. I guess we're not very good at giving up. Now, for the chat services that I know of that we're looking into, an additional cost is the cost to host them ourselves, which we need in order to be able to moderate them. That's an additional non-negligible monthly cost, though we don't have a good idea exactly how much that would be until we test it and see how much uptake there is on the chat. When can we expect to be able to test it? No idea, it depends on so many things like when this fundraiser reaches what goal. Keeping the forum online at all comes first, including the computer-based chat that we have now.

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Kimmie.
2 minutes ago, Heart said:

I'm not sure what features we could remove?

Basically everything on the forum that is not Education and visibility. (so jff, arcade and so on)

But that is a last thing. That i hope will never happen. 

 

 

4 minutes ago, Heart said:

So I'm afraid it's not likely that we can get add revenue or have premium accounts :( At least not in any way I can think of.

Okay thats to bad. But I guess that is expected. 

 

I have donated by the way and I am ready to donate more if it is needed to keep the forum up. This place means so much to me. 

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Heart

Thank you so much @Kimmie. :cake: Members like you remind me why I put so much work into this place.

 

I hope this picks up momentum as time goes on. It's only been a day or two, it sometimes just takes time :) I also haven't donated yet, and I definitely plan to! I made an honorarium recently for speaking at a local ace conference, so when that comes through I'm just going to put a hug chunk of it straight into here. The other chunk will go to my local ace community :) 

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Kimmie.
1 hour ago, Heart said:

The other chunk will go to my local ace community

A local ace community?  things like that exist? 

 

And you are awesome by the way to put your income back in to the community. 

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Snao van der Cone
9 minutes ago, Kimmie. said:

Basically everything on the forum that is not Education and visibility. (so jff, arcade and so on)

But that is a last thing. That i hope will never happen. 

I hope that will never happen as well, because I think the sociability of the forum here is one of the biggest factors in how a sense of community is established among the asexual and grey population, as well as allies. We would not be as big of a community or as far reaching as we are without that element. The chatroom that used to be part of the forum was also very good at that, which is why it's still part of the overall goals for the site to maintain a functioning chatroom. There have been barriers to that, unfortunately, but those are much more complicated than keeping the social side of the forums running. 

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Heart
5 minutes ago, Kimmie. said:

A local ace community?  Those things like that exist? 

 

And you are awesome by the way to put your income back in to the community. 

Yes, and ours in Vancouver is actually one of the biggest! We started right here on AVEN, in the meetup mart, just over 10 years ago. Since then, we've evolved and now we have a Facebook page, a Meetup.com page, and we have partnerships with local organisations that let us use their rooms for meets... it's crazy. We're even going to march for the first time in our Pride Parade this year :D

 

You live in Sweden according to your profile? I have visited Sweden several times and I love it deeply. I'm planning another trip there next summer, to visit a different friend of mine. We should see if we can get some Swedish aces together and have a meetup ;) 

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Kimmie.
53 minutes ago, Snao Cone said:

I hope that will never happen as well, because I think the sociability of the forum here is one of the biggest factors in how a sense of community is established among the asexual and grey population, as well as allies. We would not be as big of a community or as far reaching as we are without that element. The chatroom that used to be part of the forum was also very good at that, which is why it's still part of the overall goals for the site to maintain a functioning chatroom. There have been barriers to that, unfortunately, but those are much more complicated than keeping the social side of the forums running. 

I was thinking that because AVEN main goal (as in its name)  is for education and not being a social media . And if it is necessary to strip the forum to ease the servers than that is a no brainer for me. But I do agree the social part is what makes this place so great. 

 

53 minutes ago, Heart said:

You live in Sweden according to your profile? I have visited Sweden several times and I love it deeply. I'm planning another trip there next summer, to visit a different friend of mine. We should see if we can get some Swedish aces together and have a meetup

That would be great but I guess it would not be many people at all. 

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Guest

Have you considered using a site like Patreon to get consistent monthly donations?

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Kimmie.
1 minute ago, Road said:

Have you considered using a site like Patreon to get consistent monthly donations?

I would be up for that! 

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Ammy

Keep in mind that Patreon takes 5% of all the earnings. You'd be better off just having PayPal and setting up a recurrent monthly donation towards AVEN's PayPal, which only takes 2.9% + 30¢ per donation.

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Heart
1 hour ago, Kimmie. said:

I was thinking that because AVEN main goal (as in its name)  is for education and not being a social media . And if it is necessary to strip the forum to ease the servers than that is a no brainer for me. But I do agree the social part is what makes this place so great. 

 

That would be great but I guess it would not be many people at all. 

*really, really hopes it never comes to this... I'd rather donate more myself :P Half my social life is here or came from here in the first place! :cake:

 

 

19 minutes ago, Ammy said:

Keep in mind that Patreon takes 5% of all the earnings. You'd be better off just having PayPal and setting up a recurrent monthly donation towards AVEN's PayPal, which only takes 2.9% + 30¢ per donation.

Yeah, we've (mostly people other than me, so thanks a huge amount to those people!) have put a lot of thought into how to collect money so that the most of your money as possible gets to us instead of other companies.

 

I'll bring the suggestion of paypal to the board though. We actually have one of those set up with my local ace community, and it's been really nice and useful.

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