A modest proposal for the Straight Dope

Well, exactly. I figured this would be my only shot.

Needn’t be either/or. I’m pretty neutral on the gateway’d discussion forum idea other than a.) I’m not sure if it will attract enough attention long-term to make financial sense in of itself and b.) I’m unlikely to participate myself except on a donation basis. Frankly I’d rather just make it simpler on myself and have a donate button, which something I would do.

But whichever - if there is still some odd impediment to simply having a Patreon or something, I’m okay with faux subscribing to a forum to donate. Just seems more cumbersome and limiting to make that the only way to support the continued existence of the board.

This. Don’t exclude possible revenue streams.

It’s a nice idea and I would probably sign up - plus the column will mean more people are likely to discover the boards creating a virtuous circle.

However I do wonder what effect it would have on GQ.

I don’t think anything has been excluded yet, which is why he is asking us what we think about this.

I agree this sounds like a Patron system, where you’re paying a certain fee to have the perk of being able to support what comments Cecil covers. If anything, the price is low, as it’s just $2.50 a month, while most Patreon users I know would require at least a $5 a month pledge to get that privilege. Though, of course, they’re not giving a year’s worth upfront. (On the other hand, the lowest tier contributors tend to be the most reliable.)

I think probably the best way to get it out there would be to post links on the Twitter, which then everyone can easily link to and start trying to get a following from. Social media is where you have to go these days. You may want to actually use Twitter to solicit the actual questions, even. People can always use multiple tweets if the question is longer.

Finally, I do wonder about something that is only tangentially related: if you and Ed are busy on this, would there be room to get someone else to do the administration? There are at least some software-side things it would be nice to get fixed which need the administrator to make some changes. I’m not even saying they would have to be the only admin, but just that Ed could get some help.

Anyways, I do think we’re in an era where Cecil is needed more than ever. Too much of the world is moving past facts. Just like I support Snopes, I would love to support other missions to fight “the war against facts.”

And it’s not like I would have to vote if I didn’t want to.

I’m in, but I gotta ask – is Slug going to be involved?

I was actually going to post something similar to this but Tamerlane beat me to it. I will agree that at the stated $30 a year, many people would be able to afford a sub, but having donations open catches those who can’t, but still want to give something.

As also spoken, you might want to consider tiers of subs, or perks for ‘one time’ contributions. A lot of people hate the ‘gaming’ nature of discourse and similar sites, but I’d still bet that at least some people would go for a badge or title of ‘Top contributor’ or ‘Gold-Giver’ or something equally silly for higher tiers and/or one time contributions. And it doesn’t really hurt anyone.

Taking a page from similar ‘gaming’ options, sell the cosmetics, not the play, and you’ll possibly get more funds without cutting the ability to contribute/participate for the whole.

ETA - I’d probably be able to squeeze the $30 a year for myself as far as budgeting goes. But if funds allow I think it might be nice to send some perks (even if something as simple as a free signed copy of a prior/new book) to the poor, foolish and forsaken mods here.

The complication is that money is being filtered through a corporation, so it’s difficult to ask for bigger bucks.

But not impossible. Consider Talking Points Memo. Owned by Josh Marshall, it is a for-profit corporation. It has a donations link. That’s separate from memberships: those come in 3 flavors, Prime ($60/yr), Prime Ad-free ($100/yr), and Insider ($500/yr - now we’re talking!)

So in practice, I think Cecil - if he wanted - could run a Patreon, or even a Substack. The latter won’t happen, since we want to drive traffic over here - I’m just saying.

Sure, I’m game.

With COVID having clamped down on things, I’ve got all this money saved up from not spending it on hookers ‘n’ blow.

I have a sneaky suspicion that joke will come back and bite me in the ass.

Maybe there is some way to tweak any payment system so that those who feel the urge can pay for subscriptions for some nominated number of less well heeled Dopers. Community spirit and all. I would happily pay for someone else who can’t afford it.

offers Mr Adams an absorbent pad

I think a Patreon should be added regardless. It’s an existing system for making regular donations and lots of people already use it. The Patreon wouldn’t have the membership benefits, but that’s probably okay. The SDMB subscription here can still be available if someone wants the membership benefits. Patreon would be used for people who just want to make a donation or don’t want their donation tied to their account.

In case anyone isn’t aware, Patreon.com is a website where people can donate to their favorite content creators on the web, like YouTube creators, podcasters, etc. It’s a way to support your favorite creators so they don’t have to chase down revenue sources themselves. The SDMB could setup an account on Patreon and then people with a Patreon could just donate whatever they like on whatever schedule they want. There’s not a link between Patreon donation and SDMB username, so a donation wouldn’t confer any SDMB benefits other than keeping the site running.

I’m in of course. Setting up some extra revenue streams is probably a good idea. We could bring back the custom titles. Mods can handle that one for Ed.

There has to be other silly little ways to cover donations as small purchases with no real merch involved.

Well, I don’t have $30 cause Tripler hasn’t been springing for hookers ‘n blow.*

[*and getting bitten on the ass costs lots more than $30]

Oh, here’s an idea for solving two problems at once: “Administrator for a Day”. Pay $100 and you can have control of the forums for 24 hours. I’m only half kidding. Obviously, we’d need some vetting and guard rails, but most posters would do right.

Oh yeah, I put that grammar error in there on purpose, too see if you’d find it.

Yeah, you passed my test! Uh, congrats!

You’re just full of clever tricks today, aren’t you?




Please no [to Youtube-izification]! So many things I’d love to read about are now only accessible by being explained at me by some dude who CAN’T GET TO THE POINT, and keeps waving the camera around. Don’t get me started on complex tools with no printed manual included, and the url on the box takes me to the movies…