How do you become a member of the SDMB?

Thanks for the tip.

Er …

And you could edit your title.

I don’t know if that’s still the case.

I’d try it, but I’m still living the Charter Member high.

I do wonder how much just getting paid memberships back up would help the current financial situation. I’m a bit surprised the owners let it go this long without getting some system in place, even if it was some temporary ad hoc solution.

Disclaimer: I have absolutely ZERO knowledge about the finances of this place, so keep that in mind for context. I am not speaking in any official manner whatsoever and I have no additional knowledge beyond what every user here has. I am speaking as a user here, not as a moderator and not in any official capacity.

The general impression that I get is that in the old days we made a fair chunk of change. Exactly how much I have no idea, but we were definitely worth keeping around financially. These days, with the decline of message boards in general, I think we’re barely keeping the lights on. Again, I have no knowledge of the finances here, but I suspect that paid memberships don’t bring in enough cash to get us up out of the “barely keeping the lights on” region of the finances. It would help, sure, but it’s not enough to turn is into the cash cow that we once were.

If I’m right, the financial managers of this place are being asked to fork over a bunch of cash to pay the software folks to implement a bunch of stuff that, if we’re lucky, might just barely make back more money than they invest into it (our old subscription software was strongly based around a vBulletin plugin which doesn’t work on Discourse for obvious reasons, so all of that needs to be redone). Message boards in general have long been in decline and if we’re not so lucky then they won’t make back their investment at all. That type of thing is a tough sell to management and might explain why they haven’t bothered with us.

I suspect that the real money was in advertising on the main page and the page views that came from new content, which we no longer have.

Again, just wild guessing on my part.

Discourse has no subscription model that can be adapted? Hell, the SDMB could try Patreon if nothing else works.

Just spitballing. I have no idea what the challenges are.

It is my understanding that Discourse has hooks in it to tie into an existing subscription system. But since our old subscription system was based around a vBulletin plugin, we don’t have anything for Discourse to hook into.

I don’t get to see that side of things though, so this is just guesswork. I did explain to Discourse developers as much as I understood about how our old subscription system worked, and then I pointed them to the folks who could give them more details, and that was all of my involvement in it, which isn’t much.

I guess the question I have is why adapt vBulletin into Discourse (or whichever way it works)? Why not just go with whatever Discourse has available?

Something is better than nothing.

The decline of message boards is sad. I feel comfortable in saying this is one of the best left (objectively and certainly subjectively). Getting some money flowing in to them is worthwhile IMO.

(I get that you do not have all the answers for this…I’m just asking in general.)

That’s not what anyone is proposing. Basically, the subscription part of things (the part that actually processes the credit cards, etc) that we used was a 3rd party plugin developed for vBulletin. That won’t work at all for Discourse so there’s no plan to port it or use it in any way. We have to replace that functionality completely.

I don’t think Discourse actually has a credit card processor and all of that built into it. Discourse expects to tie into the customer’s credit card processing system. Which I think is what we are lacking. Plus someone on the software side needs to make all of the connections once we do have that.

Again, lots of guesswork here, so don’t hold me to any of this. Discourse may very well have some sort of plugin for this that I’m not aware of and maybe someone just needs to plug it in and make all of the software connections to make it work (i.e. our technical admin, that we don’t have, which may be a big part of the problem…). TubaDiva was looking into all of this before she passed. I have no idea what is going on with any of it now.

Some integration:

No idea if those suffice.

Just for clarification, is the customer here the Sun-Times, the SDMB, or us individually? I would be surprised if the Sun-Times couldn’t accept credit cards. Do you know if the problem is with Discourse ( they can’t tie into the Sun-Times cc system) or is the problem with the Sun-Times (they don’t want SDMB memberships to be run thru their cc system for some reason)?

Discourse’s customer, the Sun-Times.

No clue. Way above my pay grade.

Okay, thanks.

So we can’t just write a check and snail-mail it somewhere?

There were a lot of people posting in Cecil’s thread saying they would willingly fork over some dough if that would help keep this board alive. I would. But how?

I had never paid for SDMB in the vB days because they ONLY accepted PayPal (AFAIK) and I had no other need to use PayPal or learn how it works, and I couldn’t be arsed to deal with all that just for ONE payment I wanted to make. SDMB needed, and still needs, to accept payment in more ways than that.

ETA: There must certainly be other Discourse-based boards that have developed a subscription model and have created the necessary plug-ins. I bet someone would be willing to share their plug-ins with us, that we could easily adapt as needed.

There’s a plugin to let Discourse take subscriptions here:

Would just need the non-existent technical admin to set it all up.

I’m curious how many people here would contribute per month as members of the SDMB – and get the member badge on their account.

Let’s take a quick poll to get a sense of the appetite for a monthly SDMB membership drive:

(poll removed)

This would be a recurring monthly charge.

User subscriptions / membership is something we’re discussing with Ed, Matt, Andy behind the scenes – and we just had a successful trial run of the subscriptions plugin with another UK based Discourse instance, who reached their goal of funding the site.

That said, this poll is informational only at this point, no promises, etc… but I want to see the SDMB thrive!

In the past, we had a yearly subscription, and anyone labeled “Member” had either chosen to pay it (or had some other member pay for them). It might be a good idea to also allow that, if possible. It gets you more money up front, after all.\

I’m also not sure it wouldn’t make more sense for this to poll to be a separate topic, as people who are interested might not read this topic due to the title. I’ll report your post to the mods to consider that move.

Yeah I can re-create it as a separate topic later, no problem. I agree it might get more visibility as a standalone topic.

In the meantime, consider how many people, and how much per month. This is our enterprise level hosting so it’s not the cheap stuff!

What does that actually mean? We’ve seen all kinds of numbers thrown around for what it costs to keep this place alive. Even if you don’t want to give out an exact price can you give a range or an order of magnitude?

I was gifted a year membership that’s stuck ever since!

Yes, please. You have a $100 level, a $300 level and a if you have to ask you can’t afford it level, which we seem to have. So is it more like $600 or more like $1200?