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Originally Posted by ando
Originally Posted by Gombessa
Wow, you don't pull any punches, do you David? laugh

It might be direct, but I think David is right on the money. And if this is going to be the last weeks of being able to speak without having to pay for it - we may as well shoot from the hip.

My take: this forum is going to disappear within 12-24 months. As much as it has an incredible legacy of discussion and information, I think David is right, Frank is getting on and possibly losing his enthusiasm for this place. It's draining to a guy who is well past retirement age to keep it going. He's throwing a hail Mary at it by trying the paid-subscription model. If it happened to pay for itself with the money going towards paying people to maintain the site, all good and well, but I think his days of putting in uncountable hours of unpaid work into the site are coming to an end.

The bad news is that the world largely hates paying for discussion platforms when they have been spoiled for so many years with "free" services. Of course, in reality, Facebook, Youtube, Reddit, etc, etc. are generating huge revenue from its users through advertising, but most people see that as something they can take or leave and the service itself is principally free. (a myth, in truth, but we're talking about perception here).

Although I think the Pianoworld demographic is a little different in terms of financial well-being, I still think that resistance to paying money for a forum/social media is going to kill this place. Also, being a US based site, it will be more affordable in the local currency than foreign currencies. For me, $30US does not convert very kindly in Australian dollars. The AUD is trading poorly against the USD, plus there would be currency conversion costs which make it even less expensive. PayPal is famous for choosing exorbitant conversion rates for foreign currency transactions. Banks too, for that matter. I can see that this will easily push to $50AUD+ for me. I don't know that I can justify it given how little I post these days.

I'm like CyberGene really. I have enjoyed my time here a lot, but I really should just play more piano rather than pay for being able to talk about it. I am also very aware of how addictive forum checking is - it's a dopamine-enslavement that is difficult to disengage from. This might be just what some of us need...


I tend to agree with you completely!



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Wow, I never knew that running a forum can be financially devastating to someone, I guess I learned something new today shocked

Anyway, it's been nice with you all, I love contemplating pretty much anything related to piano and music, and I will miss reading everyone's invaluable input.

I wish we had some place where we could talk freely, but if it costs the boss man so much that even the ads on the side wouldn't pay for it, I guess this forum is done for. Any luck getting someone more well-off and enthusiastic that could take the forum into their hands so it stays up?

Also, consider various Reddit threads. I like lingling40hrs, but music memes can only entertain us so much frown I like the friendly atmosphere here.

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The patient hasn't complained of illness, yet you guys are already planning the funeral. frown

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It would be helpful to have a thermometer (or metronome?) that tracks how much is needed and shows how close to goal we are.


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Originally Posted by ando
I think it should continue in the current format, but with an annual fundraiser in exactly the same style as Wikipedia. And rather than just asking in a non-specific way, state precisely how much money Frank needs to keep the site operating for another year. I think there is enough wealth on this forum to get it over the line each year. People are motivated by such incentives. They don't want this forum to go away.


That's the way we do it in church. Every week in the bulletin is the monthly operational budget amount and the amount that has come in for the month. Each week we know exactly where we stand. There are always people who step up and help more when we need it. I really believe that would be the case here.

Although, just covering the cost to run the forum might not be all Frank wants to do. Maybe he wants to earn more income with it and he thinks mandatory subscriptions will accomplish that.

God Bless,
David


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There's no "maybe" ...
Originally Posted by David B
Just covering the cost to run the forum might not be all Frank wants to do. Maybe he wants to earn more income with it and he thinks mandatory subscriptions will accomplish that.
He has said so plainly in one or more of his sticky threads.

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
The people who <abc> are the same people who <xyz>.
This is a common cliche ... all too terribly common these days ... with no basis in fact.
Try a better argument please.


I'm a little puzzled by your response, Mac. It seems to be a pretty self-evident truth that it's the forum regulars who provide the most help to people. How can that statement have no basis in fact?


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Originally Posted by Chopin Acolyte
Wow, I never knew that running a forum can be financially devastating to someone.


I don’t think Frank mentioned he is destitute. Maybe he would just like to have the forum support itself. Or even be fairly compensated for building and maintaining Piano World. If there are 1700 active members, $5 a month would likely cover his cost and pay him for the time and the frustration of running a business. Even maybe update the website. Everyone else can still read the forum for free. They will be able to see the post and decide if it is worth it to join for as little as $3 a month. OTOH, if he is getting tired of all the responsibility. He might be able to hire (contract) with someone who loves piano and is willing to take it over for a monthly stipend.



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Originally Posted by Cheshire Chris
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
The people who <abc> are the same people who <xyz>.
This is a common cliche ... all too terribly common these days ... with no basis in fact.
Try a better argument please.


I'm a little puzzled by your response, Mac. It seems to be a pretty self-evident truth that it's the forum regulars who provide the most help to people. How can that statement have no basis in fact?


I'm puzzled too. This website is rather like a newspaper. Someone provided the framework for the whole enterprise (the owners, in our case Frank), others provide the texts for publishing (the journalists, in our case the posters), and yet others read the texts (the readers, in our case thousands of more or less anonymous lurkers).

With the newspaper, the readers pay the owners, who in turn pay the journalists. What is proposed here is that the journalists pay the owners.

My prediction is: this won't work for long.


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Originally Posted by QuasiUnaFantasia
Originally Posted by Cheshire Chris
I'm a little puzzled by your response, Mac. It seems to be a pretty self-evident truth that it's the forum regulars who provide the most help to people. How can that statement have no basis in fact?
I'm puzzled too. This website is rather like a newspaper. Someone provided the framework for the whole enterprise (the owners, in our case Frank), others provide the texts for publishing (the journalists, in our case the posters), and yet others read the texts (the readers, in our case thousands of more or less anonymous lurkers).

With the newspaper, the readers pay the owners, who in turn pay the journalists. What is proposed here is that the journalists pay the owners.

My prediction is: this won't work for long.

You are right. That's why Wikipedia doesn't charge a subscription to the Editors who use the features of Wikipedia the most. Instead, it does a quarterly fund raising where anyone can make pledges. I suspect that if one were to do an analysis of where the funds for Wikipedia come from, it is mostly people who have never edited articles or contributed!

I think the pledge model David B mentioned near the top of this discussion is vastly superior to a subscription model. And having given Patreon some more thought, a form of pledge model could be put into effect through some combination of PayPal and Patreon also mentioned in the thread above (one-time pledges vs monthly pledges).

That said, Patreon is also a system for content creators which is at the heart of this discussion since Frank is not a content provider, he is an infrastructure provider. So maybe something else (like PayPal again) is needed for an automated monthly payment option.

Frankly there are people on this forum who could easily cover the cost of this forum if it is $7500. I don't recall if that point was made in this thread or in the parallel one discussing this topic. The pledge model would allow such people to assist in an anonymous fashion because pledgers of larger amounts usually do not want attention.


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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

I think the pledge model David B mentioned near the top of this discussion is vastly superior to a subscription model.


I suggested that one immediately after you posted this topic.

In case Frank does an about face, I do feel a pledge model would be more equitable overall, but I'll probably end up paying a subscription if the DP forum continues to be "highly trafficked" after the switch. If it suddenly become "payment mandatory," then whatever the payment is then needs to be worth the money.


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Originally Posted by Gombessa
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

I think the pledge model David B mentioned near the top of this discussion is vastly superior to a subscription model.

Sorry, I misattributed. Then it was your good idea.

Originally Posted by Gombessa
I suggested that one immediately after you posted this topic.

In case Frank does an about face, I do feel a pledge model would be more equitable overall, but I'll probably end up paying a subscription if the DP forum continues to be "highly trafficked" after the switch. If it suddenly become "payment mandatory," then whatever the payment is then needs to be worth the money.

Well, I'm already a subscriber and could upgrade to Unobtanium, but like you, I just think this forum needs to continue to be highly trafficked to be worth it, and I just don't see that.

Regarding "worth it" from another perspective (more technological), I just made a comment in one of the parallel threads discussing this topic.


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Speaking of which, I've been one of the ones harping about PW's lack of real mobile-friendly viewing and posting for a while. But hey, how much noise can you reasonably make for a free service? If payment is required, I imagine I would feel a lot more entitled to a service that is responsive to my needs.


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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
[Well, I'm already a subscriber and could upgrade to Unobtanium, but like you, I just think this forum needs to continue to be highly trafficked to be worth it, and I just don't see that.

Just to clarify my earlier remark, I meant in the brave new world where all content creators have to pay a subscription to PW. It's in that world where I just don't see this forum being highly trafficked. I am not referring to its state today where it is still free.


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OK, I'm sold. Make it a pledge model. I'll pay.

Note: There's something missing here ... Frank.
Will someone present these ideas to him?

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Given that the subscription minimum is $3 per month ... what must PW provide to be "worth it"?
Originally Posted by Gombessa
If it becomes "payment mandatory," then whatever the payment is then needs to be worth the money.
The Germans might refer to $3/month as pis*-gelt. It's so small as to go unnoticed.

If PW were not worth $3/month to me ... I'd likely not come here even it it were free.

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Well a Starbucks coffee is $3, but I wouldn't pay that for an empty cup even if it is "pis*-gelt."

"Worth it" to me just means a contined level of activity worth participating in regularly.

IMHO, forums that don't have a few dozen new posts a day are pretty "dead" and don't have enough activity to keep regular interest.


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Many of the most helpful posts are made my those that rarely post but browse around semi-regularly.

When they happen upon something for which they have something to contribute … they jump in.

Those are usually quality postings with valuable insight based on consideration and experience.

I believe you will lose that element.


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I want the forum to continue but I would like to know what Frank needs to keep it running. I also think it needs a mobile update. I went to add something here on my phone and it didn't take again!
If I'm going to support the forum IMO it needs an update to modern times. I know others don't feel that way but it is how I feel. Cakewalk was sold and they updated the forum software and is very mobile friendly. I have more post now in 6 months then I did on the old forum in 14+ years! I'm on the go and much easier to post on phone.

Frank if you're reading these posts, talk to us and let us know how bad it is. Also as an idea could you do something on your store-front that says an X-percentage goes to keep the forum running. I know times are tough as I'm struggling with business too.

Ed


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