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Skull132

Community Input Required: Donations

<t>Are you willing to trust us to use Patreon in combination with PayPal to manage donations?</t>  

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Please read everything here, before committing to a vote and/or a reply. This is important.

 

General clarification: At the moment, opening donations does not mean that the server will be 100% dependent on them. I still have the financial capacity to cover any gap for at least 1.5 years. The main intent is to make the community less dependent on me, as the time, energy, and money I have to contribute to this project are slowly tanking.

 

In accordance with this thread, we are closing in on the time where we should open donations. However, an issue has arisen.

 

The original plan was to use the donate-to-host service provided by NFO, our server host. However, with the recent downgrade of our server's CPU, and other annoyances regarding their MO when it comes to maintenance, I am becoming doubtful if this is the best way to go. With the present plan, it would lock us into using NFO for a year, or (if we do need to move) force us to discard all donations received, as they are not transferable. The benefit, however, is that transparency is easier to ensure in: the money transferred to NFO can only be used on the Aurora account, for the services which we are renting from them. The risk of mismanagement is minimal.

 

This has made me propose to the staff an alternative. Using Patreon and PayPal. The benefits of this is the fact that they do not lock us in with NFO. We are free to, with relatively good speed and way smaller losses, get a new host, should that ever be required. The main issue with this system, is ensuring in complete transparency of the process. I do, however, have a plan on how to do the best we can in that regard:

  • Every Patreon cycle, post transfer logs (preferably both docs and photographic evidence) of the donations moving from Patreon to the PayPal.
  • Post transaction logs confirming the payment from the Paypal to the hosting service provider.
  • Make note of funds left over on the PayPal, if there are any. Keep a tally of this, with publicly posted evidence, to ensure that it is indeed still there.

 

Obviously, if anyone has any better ideas about the above, please let me know. This is mocked up from a system that another community I was in, and has, thus far, been the most transparent execution of donations that I have seen.

 

Regarding Patreon: if set up, it will not be a "Per month" account, but rather a "Per thing" account. Where each "thing" is a billing cycle. No more regularly than quarterly.



With that said. This is the poll's question:

Are you willing to trust our management to properly use Patreon in combination with PayPal to manage donations?

Options and what they mean:

  • Yes - You are fine with the second plan outlined above, whereby a Patreon and PayPal account will be set up to handle community donations, under the condition that, at minimum, the transparency measures I outlined above will be executed by staff.
  • No - You do not agree with the second plan outlined above, and prefer the originally laid out plan, whereby the donations are handed straight to the current server host, NFO.

 

Any questions, feel free to post and ask. Or catch me over discord if necessary.

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Since I'm curious, how much is the bill being footed each cycle?

 

As was specified in the meeting minutes, at the moment, it is about 300 dollars per year.


If the swapping of hosts does become a thing, this is obviously subject to change (probably going to end up being somewhat more expensive, due to Windows). But, I'm not going to twaddle on that before seeing what our budget ends up being.

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I think if donations are tracked by CKEY donating, then we could apply some in-game perks for donors, such as more custom loadout points, bonus telecrystals when traitor, becoming lone-wolf antags independent of game mode...


We might also present a "fine" option if someone commits a bannable offense. A $5 donation to nullify a 3-day-ban shows a seriousness about wanting to play on Aurora that going to play on other servers for a few days doesn't. With the appropriate mea culpas, of course.


As we approach funding goals these perks are locked out, to be re-opened when the bill gets paid and the next bill comes up.


And frankly, if I donate $5 and find out Skull got himself a metric gallon of krokodil with my five bucks, but I can still play on Aurorastation? I don't care. The problem with donations I saw previously in SS13 is when a server host solicited money for a new server box, bought himself a high-end gaming PC, and then hosted it on something other than a high end gaming PC. Which is not the sort of thing I expect we'll ever see here. So long as some professional server hosting company is running Aurorastation with good performance, we see the bill for said company, and the bill gets paid, there's no need for drama.

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I think if donations are tracked by CKEY donating, then we could apply some in-game perks for donors, such as more custom loadout points, bonus telecrystals when traitor, becoming lone-wolf antags independent of game mode...


We might also present a "fine" option if someone commits a bannable offense. A $5 donation to nullify a 3-day-ban shows a seriousness about wanting to play on Aurora that going to play on other servers for a few days doesn't. With the appropriate mea culpas, of course.


As we approach funding goals these perks are locked out, to be re-opened when the bill gets paid and the next bill comes up.

 

For the sake of clarity and the record.


These all have received a clear and unanimous, "No" from staff and players alike. Higher management (myself, Garn, and Shadow), are all very directly opposed to any tangible perks to donations. A donation is an act of charity, and should never be seen as payment for goods or services.


The only thing that'll be instituted is a "wall", onto which the names of all who have donated will be placed. For the sake of recognizing their contribution, much like we do for retired admins.

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The way Patreon runs typically would imply some form of donation tiers, usually with some kind of benefit as incentive for the higher tiers; How exactly would that be set up?

 

Easy enough to make 1 tier with the minimum amount to whatever. "Get name on wall". Little need for anything more.

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I trust the admin team to manage donations if everything is transparent and above board. I think the admin team should divulge their real life information to the rest of the staff heads maybe, so incase of embezzlement of funds, their information can be passed on to the authorities. (maybe this is already the case)


An icon next to your name in OOC and the "who" list would be a nice addition for donating. I'm 100% against mechanical perks for donating.

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An icon next to your name in OOC and the "who" list would be a nice addition for donating. I'm 100% against mechanical perks for donating.

 

I'm personally against that type of thing. In this type of community that tends to create an air of elitism.

 

I gotta agree with Sierra here. I don't even like having a different color name for being a CCIAA. And on Hippie, my name is a different color for being a BYOND member, which feels almost embarrassing for some reason. When I inevitably donate to this server, I don't want to further stand out compared to my peers. Though I like the wall of donators idea.

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It's not like there is anything to offer to donators either. Open sourced code and such.


We'd also be better off without the drama for "lol you paid money to win in a video game" sort of thing.


Donating to the server should be seen as an act of charity to ensure the server stays up for everyone else to play on, not something others will compete and get in catfights over.

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Ah, real money. That great destroyer of friendships.


But in seriousness, this sounds fine. Either way you talk about doing donations seems fine to me, and I am glad you put so much thought into the matter. In the end, if this is really $300 a year, what is left over after payments isn't enough money to really stress anyone out too much. I have a hard time imagining people, ah, embezzling a hundred dollars or so from the heavily scrutinized account of their friends and acquaintances. It just doesn't seem worth it (though I have, admittedly, been surprised before).


And Bedshaped, that sounds like a pretty bad idea. Compiling a giant list of IRL information on senior staff seems to me like something that would cause way more trouble than it would avert. Think of the blackmail, drama, doxxing, etc. that could result if shit hit the fan. I don't mean to be overly pessimistic here, but I have seen similar things happen. In my opinion, anonymity and lack of real life consequences hold communities like this one together.


I, personally, would try to make a point of donating, but I don't think that making a big issue out of it will have a positive impact in the long run. I would be pretty categorically against recognition or extra features in game based on donation, though I know Skull already shot that down. A wall of names is something I could deal with, as long as it didn't show as, for example, a different color in OOC or something.

 

I don't even like having a different color name for being a CCIAA.
Huzzah for Mr. Paragon of Civic Virtue over here!
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Sorry for the language, but this is the only way I can think to get it across:


I'm glad you got THAT stick out of your ass. It's mighty valiant of you to foot the bill, but it's not sustainable. Glad you're finally considering, at least, community funding.

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I wouldn't have any issue with a patreon/paypal approach, the people who would be in charge of that have proven themselves to be more trustworthy than most with that kind of thing. I don't think they need to all divulge IRL information to each other though, that's silly. Even though this has already been iterated and re-iterated on it's still something I want to put my two cents on, completely against benefits stemming from donations. Wall of donators is no issue, even if it is a charity thing, I'm sure people would be happy with their contribution being noted in some way. But elitism and separation between donators and non-donators would definitely become an issue if that was implemented. BUT luckily it looks like no one is interested in that in the first place, so I didn't even have to mention it.

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I don't even like having a different color name for being a CCIAA.
Huzzah for Mr. Paragon of Civic Virtue over here!

I am the master of virtue signalling.


On glorious old code, we were not segregated from the laity. I will forever quest and campaign to return to the idealized past of mine.

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I don't think putting all your eggs in one basket is a good idea, regardless of how convenient it is, regarding server hosts. Having dealt with a bunch of different hosting problems over the years, I know you need that fluid ability to switch hosts; sometimes in a hurry if service goes downhill in a hurry as it tends to do. That said, transparency is always going to be an issue, and perhaps you could find a service that could ultimately accomplish both.


A VERY brief internet search revealed this http://www.donationtracker.org/ as a potential option; which may or may not apply to this community's budget. I don't mean to create unnecessary headaches, either way; I'd much prefer a happy medium for anyone who donates to feel they are helping pay for the server costs, while giving server host administration ease of fund use.

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You know, I'm glad its a unanimous rejection of donor perks. I'll take unanimously declined over contentiously accepted suggestions any day.


Also I note Skull made his protests about donor perks... not the implication of a krokodil addiction.


People love you, Skull. Not us, per say, but people as an abstract concept. Say no to bootleg industrial solvent abuse.

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Guest Marlon Phoenix

As long as every step is taken for transparency so the community's trust is consistently upheld then I fully support allowing donations.


I am fully against doner perks. Anything that creates a small community of "other" in that they are IC or OOC privileged creates an air of superiority, which turns to smug superiority, which turns to elitism. I have seen this trend in nearly every community that rewards donations.


A wall of fame applications for everyone that donates would be different, and really nice, so let's do that.

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I am going to state a few things that I heavily disagree with.

DO NOT ADD PAY TO WIN I do not want to see some traitor get 20 telecrystles because he donated a 100 dollars.

Do not have a "pay to get unbanned", they broke the rules, they serve the ban

Do not add a pay "to become an antag"

More costume load out points can be acceptable if it is not insane.

Honestly, people who play on this server do not strike me as 10 year Olds, I think if they like the server, then they will just donate to it. If the server costs 300 dollars a month and everyone chips in like 10 dollars a year, it will stay up

Set up a patrion

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Sonic, did you even read the thread?


It is pretty much unanimous that we aren't doing donations as part of benefits.


I mean, not counting Nikov, but I'm pretty sure they were composting for the sake of it.


Everyone else has pretty much agreed this is for the benefit of the server being up and nothing else.

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