One of the things that is built into this forum—the way I’ve configured it—is support for Patreon. The plumbing is there, although it is not hooked up, yet, as of this writing.
It costs time (quite a bit) and money (some—not gobs) to set up and maintain a resource like this.
I am not a fan of the advertising culture of the Internet. While I’ve never been all that enthusiastic about advertising in any context, I don’t actually mind it when it meets my notions of appropriateness. I could insert an entire essay in place of this sentence, but the short of it is that there is no current advertising mechanism available that is appropriate for generating a meager revenue stream to support this site and make it “free” in the sense that, say, many Web services like Twitter or Facebook are “free”. And I do not have the time (or desire) to create and run my own ad network right now.
The usual routine in the spirits and cocktails world is to seek sponsorship from a liquor company, because, in the Willie Sutton sense, that’s where the money is. I’m not entirely closed-minded to a sponsor arrangement that feels right, but this project isn’t supposed to live and die by that sort arrangement, and that sort of arrangement doesn’t tend to work long-term, anyways.
Another factor is that I believe people tend to value things they pay for differently than the things they get for “free” on-line. There’s a psychological difference, and maybe an attitudinal difference; different expectations of behavior?
My current intention is to link Patreon to this forum, with the following model:
- It will always be free for anyone to create an account and participate in the forum. Period.
- Patreon will be there as a way for participants to support the forum with small pledges ($1 per month)
- Those who participate significantly/substantially in the forum will be implicitly expected to support the forum through Patreon, if they can, because it’s the honest and right thing to do
- Commercial representatives who participate significantly/substantially in the forum will be implicitly expected to support the forum at a slightly higher Patreon level ($4 per month), again, because it’s the honest and right thing to do
- Patreon patrons are recognized as such (badge), and will probably enjoy some perks (TBD)
Comments, thoughts, ideas?