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Exasperated Rants

Why you (yes you) should donate to The Tangled Web

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With Ao starting up the donation drive, now is a good time for me to say a few words on this matter which I feel very strong about: Donating to websites which offer things for free. Now, the same holds true for other free service websites like Wikipedia, but my buddy Brandon does a much better job of talking about them than I can. So I'll be focusing on The Tangled Web.


Now, I know how it seems, and how it feels. You're kind of in a tight spot financially. Or maybe you're saving up for something. Maybe you think someone else will make a donation so you don't have to. I know what that's like, I've had all of those going through my mind. I understand how difficult it can be to throw money at something which will give you the same services you already use regardless of whether or not you personally make the donation. The question becomes "What's in it for me?", and it's a reasonably fair question. It's also one which doesn't have a huge answer; your $1 donation probably isn't going to make a massive difference. Not by itself anyway. The Tangled Web has 20,591 members at the time of writing this. If only 3% of the total users donated just $1 each, this would cover the cost of the servers for 2 years. If only 1% of the total users (that's about 206 people) donated $5, that would cover nearly 3 years.

I understand that not all of those 20,591 users are currently active, but I bring up those numbers to make a point. Your small donation by itself may not seem like much, but our collective small donations can add up to quite a lot! This is the heart of the "small donation" model used by The Tangled Web. It depends on a large number of people donating small amounts. $1, $2, $5, $10, whatever they feel comfortable with. On a broad enough scale, this adds up to enough to pay the server bills. So while it's pretty easy to think to yourself that your single donation won't make much difference, therefore why bother... Ask yourself what happens if everyone else agreed with you? If everyone else thought the same way? But if you manage to pull together a few bucks to spare and pitch in to help keep the site afloat, what happens when the same logic is applied and everyone else does the same? Obviously, the latter is more desired than the former. By donating even just a small, token amount, you're helping to support the site which wants to give its services away for free. While your donation alone isn't a massive amount, it will add up with the not-massive amounts which other people have contributed as well. Collectively, we can raise a massive amount even with only small donations of a couple bucks.



I'll say this right now, I've donated $5 to The Tangled Web. I did this because I joined in March 2008 (at the time, mostly just for the online character sheet hosting), became more active on the forums perhaps a year later, and continues to use The Tangled Web for another 4 years. All without any charge. This is 5 years of completely free service given to me by this site. How massive would my sense of entitlement need to be if I wasn't willing to donate even a single lousy dollar to help support the continued existence of this free service which I enjoy? The Tangled Web does not charge a membership fee. It could. $1 for a years worth of membership would be pretty easy, and would support the entire server with just 350 members. But it does not do this. It does not demand payment. It only asks for whatever you think is fair, within what limitations of what you can spare.

I understand money can be tight for some people, It's tight for me as well. But when we're talking about a scale of money this small, it can be easy to find just a little bit. Personally, I chose to raise my $5 donation by eating a cup of noodles today instead of going to Arby's. There are many other ways I could have personally raised the money. I could have given up soda for 2 weeks. I could have packed a lunch for work today instead of buying food there. I could have asked my manager if I could come in to work an hour early. I could have done any number of things to have an extra $5 to spare. Imagine how easy it is to get just $1 to spare.



So, I'd like to challenge people. If you enjoy using The Tangled Web, post in the comments of this blog entry how you're going to spare just a few bucks to help support it. What small thing are you willing to change for just a short time to spare a few bucks which can contribute to keeping these servers running?

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Updated 12-24-2013 at 06:00 PM by Teksura

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  1. coboney's Avatar
    Personally I'm cutting my games budget in other stuff. I have one final thing I'm written for but after that I'm just ignoring new games for a good while so I could donate and help support the site. Its been a place for me for the last 3-4 years which I originally found for profiler purposes similarly to Teksura (though I was referred by an existing member by a chance meeting on openRPG) and then in April 2010 when the chat went up I joined in there and found out how much more there was to the site. Before that I had been a bit .... uhh... avoiditive of forums as I found them slow and often full of wastes of time people but Tangled We has really changed my view on that!
  2. Blynbradden's Avatar
    I agree. Just because something is "free" doesn't mean it doesn't have associated costs. I'm sure it could be worked out to reduce the cost of TTW. After all, do you really need all those archived posts? or how about the images in the PbP games being held in the server? Naw, who needs those. I know I really like to see pop up adds for Viagra and GEICO on every page I load.

    But seriously. If you have more than 10 posts under your belt you should probably be able to afford a single dollar. More than 100, dig a little deeper. What about 1000 posts, sheesh that's a slushfund's worth of peek-and-poke.

    I'm committing to the princely sum of $20, or what I spent last month on red box movies I forgot to return the next day.
  3. Major_Muffin's Avatar
    *Clap, Clap, Clap*

    That was a really inspiring speech. And it makes me feel really bad for all the times i have ever pirated. No jokes.