Author Topic: Anonymous donations?  (Read 777 times)

oggotale

  • Posts: 115
Anonymous donations?
« on: May 08, 2019, 07:27:46 PM »
It my last RP community management got a very small wage, the rest of the cost going to technical hosting issues.

It baffles me that there doesn't seem to be a dedicated way to donate to arm, anonymously. I've head legal issues aren't much of a concern and there are numerous ways to avoid any hassle.

Is there a place to conduct anonymous donations I'm missing? Why not have this functionality?

Veselka

  • Posts: 1107
Re: Anonymous donations?
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2019, 08:29:23 PM »
There used to be a way to donate, now there isn't. I think if Staff wanted to solicit donations or had a want/need to, they would. But they aren't a 501c3, and they likely don't want to go through the hassle of having a business entity, not to mention donating real money implies you will get real benefit (even if subconscious).

They're all volunteers. God bless'm!
Live your life as though your every act were to become a universal law.

--Immanuel Kant

oggotale

  • Posts: 115
Re: Anonymous donations?
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2019, 03:52:34 AM »
There used to be a way to donate, now there isn't. I think if Staff wanted to solicit donations or had a want/need to, they would. But they aren't a 501c3, and they likely don't want to go through the hassle of having a business entity, not to mention donating real money implies you will get real benefit (even if subconscious).

They're all volunteers. God bless'm!

Yea, the thought that it's all volunteering makes me uneasy.

What do you mean by the benefits though, I'm not advocating for any pay-to-win schemes, just donations that are strictly anonymous. You mean to say this might make players entitled?

cnemus

  • Posts: 212
Re: Anonymous donations?
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2019, 04:41:10 AM »
This topic comes up fairly regularly and has been commented to by players and staff. You may find about a dozen threads scattered through the GDB, but this is the most recent discussion I am aware of:
https://gdb.armageddon.org/index.php/topic,53872.0.html
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dravage

  • Posts: 501
Re: Anonymous donations?
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2019, 05:28:34 AM »
From that topic:

These have all been interesting points.  We do cover the monetary costs of the game our of our own pockets they aren't too much of a burden.  This is mostly due to some grandfathered pricing structures from our hosting provider.  Moving hosts to have better speed on the boards would make things more costly I suspect.

As for the DIKU license, I have, more than once reached out to one of the five creators of DIKU mud after reading that he full access to specifically his IP in DIKU but I didn't receive a reply.  This issue is that the IP in DIKU is mixed indeterminately with the other four creators.  There has never, to my knowledge been a lawsuit to test this license so there isn't any case law to indicate what is and is not acceptable use other than one's interpretation of the DIKU license.  For the record DIKU does not meet some conditions of the Open Source  Definition so it is not, in any way Open Source.

All that said, previously I went through an basic effort to look at the differences between our code and stock diku (diku gamma) and honestly there was pretty much nothing in common.  By that I mean when comparing a file only a few code structures matched, no actual block of code at all.  I didn't put the code through any kind of review that would be defensible in a court of law though, that was too much effort for a whimsical curiosity! Remember Armageddon has been in development constantly for somewhere around 27 years.  Their original source is 1.16MB of data including the world with one zone.  Our source directory alone is 293MB and our library (excluding the database) is 2.3GB. So, from 1.16MB to 2.6GB representing a 2600x change/growth. I suspect it would be able to be very defensible in court that we are no longer a derivative of DIKU but I suspect that is pretty much a moot point.

My issues with real money/donations is that when people pay hard earned money it is totally understandable to feel that one has a sliver of ownership.  That isn't a bad thing but it is quiet a balancing act to try and provide consistent service to an online community because nearly everyone has different needs and wants from ArmageddonMUD and a game that players are passionate about.  I can pretty much say with authority that even if there were donations we would not be providing any level of a salary to staff (including producers) nor would be implement any kind of pay to win.  The only way I would think donations would ever be used is to cover hosting costs and perhaps other additions that make the experience better.  One thing comes to mind is a proper certificate for encryption of the website.  One signed by the certificate authorities that all devices know are pretty expensive.  Those types of things!  That would probably technically be within DIKUMud's original licensing constraints.

Regardless, please keep discussing any opinions on the matter.  It's very intriguing!

Based on this, I wonder if it would still be feasible to get something going.

Lizzie

  • Posts: 8024
Re: Anonymous donations?
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2019, 08:58:10 AM »
I think that offering pay to the coders would give players a *sense* of entitlement. Not that they would actually *be* entitled. But if (for instance) someone donated $10 because they loved Arm however it was when they donated. And the staff had already been in the process of making changes and announced their change three days later. The player would say "That isn't what I PAID for."

It would start a very ugly precedent. In subscription-paid games like Gemstone and others, you pay monthly. It's not a one and done. So if you don't like the change badly enough to complain about how you're paying for the game, you have the option to cancel your subscription. If you pay once, you might have it in your head somewhere deep down, that you "paid" for the game - so they owe you whatever you expect from it.

That's not to say most people would ever think this way. But even if just ONE person felt that sense of entitlement and tried making a stink about it, we'd end up with far worse than the kinds of critics we've had in the past.
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th3kaiser

  • Posts: 441
Re: Anonymous donations?
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2019, 09:33:35 AM »
I'd be pretty happy with a donation/patreon kinda thing. I've always felt a bit guilty that someone else has been paying for everything and I've been mooching since 2000.

Riev

  • Posts: 5567
Re: Anonymous donations?
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2019, 10:06:02 AM »
I'm telling you right now, that if the staff actually got paid to do what they'd do, I'd stop playing.

If there were any payments going towards people administrating the game, I would wholly expect them to operate like a business. Have transparency, accountability, mission statements... essentially act like an organization.

That the game is paid for and can maintain itself, and there's no need for us to pay, is fine with me. I dislike a lot about the structure of the organization, but the introduction of money will cause more problems than it would solve.
Masks are the Armageddon equivalent of Ed Hardy shirts.

Lizzie

  • Posts: 8024
Re: Anonymous donations?
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2019, 11:00:30 AM »
I think, if there were a way to donate *directly* to the server host for server costs, maintenance fees, upgrades, cloud services, etc...that would be useful. I don't feel it should *have to* cost anyone on the Armageddon staff a single cent to work on this game. That they do, is reflective of their dedication and sincere interest in seeing Armageddon thrive.
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Cerelum

  • Posts: 2192
Re: Anonymous donations?
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2019, 01:36:48 PM »
I was always under the influence that some staffer like Nessalin just owned the game and paid for it outta their own pocket.

Maybe the owner of the game is some secret millionaire who writes it off as a business expense and doesn’t care about money.
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Namino

  • Posts: 472
Re: Anonymous donations?
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2019, 01:38:54 PM »
MUDs are super light as far as server space is concerned. You could likely host one for less than 5$ a month. Hell, if you didn't care about security, an older laptop sitting in the corner of your house would be able to host a game with 100+ connections.

What donations really pay for is non-financial costs, like the hours put in improving the game, clearing requests, yelling at Namino on the forums, ect.

Veselka

  • Posts: 1107
Re: Anonymous donations?
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2019, 01:53:42 PM »
There used to be a way to donate, now there isn't. I think if Staff wanted to solicit donations or had a want/need to, they would. But they aren't a 501c3, and they likely don't want to go through the hassle of having a business entity, not to mention donating real money implies you will get real benefit (even if subconscious).

They're all volunteers. God bless'm!

Yea, the thought that it's all volunteering makes me uneasy.

What do you mean by the benefits though, I'm not advocating for any pay-to-win schemes, just donations that are strictly anonymous. You mean to say this might make players entitled?

I'm curious -- Why does their volunteering make you uneasy? Would your DM at a weekly DnD session volunteering cause similar unease?

Staff are former players that are now 'playing' the game in a different role. Staff. I suppose your unease is the sort of capitalist unease at someone volunteering their time rather than being paid for it, and wondering what their motives are for doing so?

Why are all of us playing the game and not getting paid, on that same token?

If Staff is comfortable paying for the server costs/running the game, then what is the purpose behind anonymous donations, or donations in general?

Lizzie hits the nail on the head. We may not expect actual compensation for the money we donate, but typically, when someone donates, they are at the very least able to write it off on their taxes. It creates a perhaps not conscious sense of entitlement to a piece of the game. I, Soandso, have helped keep the game alive through my generous donations. I now have a piece of the game.

By keeping it volunteer based, both on the player and Staff side, it removes the ability to claim that, or even for possibly lawsuits for termination of Staff members, particularly if they are suddenly employees receiving a paycheck. What state law governs the employee (Staff)? Where is the server located, or where is the sole proprietorship or LLC located? What are the articles of organization for 'ArmageddonMUD, LLC'? Is it a corporation, and are there shareholders? It isn't a business, it's a shared hobby.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2019, 01:55:46 PM by Veselka »
Live your life as though your every act were to become a universal law.

--Immanuel Kant

oggotale

  • Posts: 115
Re: Anonymous donations?
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2019, 06:26:39 PM »
What are the chances of a patreon?

Economic incentives arent always effective and can be counter productive, especially in these sorts of situations where pay offs of agents are tied into intrinsically motivational factors and reputation.

That being said, maybe I can't get in the staffs mindset but I dont see the mundane portions of their job like writing code (whoever does this) and mundane administrative work as something they'd have intrinsic motivation for. The thought that, at some level, economic incentives would work well as an incentive to some small degree seems apparent to me.

Lizzie

  • Posts: 8024
Re: Anonymous donations?
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2019, 07:06:24 PM »
Dood. It's a hobby. Why do people play golf? Why do people collect stamps? Why do people crochet? Why do people change their nail polish color every 2 weeks? Answer to all: because they enjoy it.

There is no reason or need to incentivize something that someone enjoys doing. The fact that they're doing it - is the incentive.
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Brytta Léofa

  • Posts: 647
Re: Anonymous donations?
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2019, 08:07:55 PM »
That being said, maybe I can't get in the staffs mindset but I dont see the mundane portions of their job like writing code (whoever does this) and mundane administrative work as something they'd have intrinsic motivation for. The thought that, at some level, economic incentives would work well as an incentive to some small degree seems apparent to me.

This is gonna wind up like your buddy trying to pay you to help him move. If you love staffing, you'll probably do it for free; if you don't love it, there's no way in hell Arm will pay enough to make it worthwhile.

About the best use I can imagine of donation fundz would be to run Facebook ads for Arm.
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dravage

  • Posts: 501
Re: Anonymous donations?
« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2019, 10:47:27 PM »
The point about paying staff has already been addressed: in Nath's last statement, quoted above, he categorically said that if the game took donations they would never go towards paying staff, but to cover other costs like revamping the website (SEO etc), faster forums, more storage, that kind of thing.

AdamBlue

  • Posts: 840
Re: Anonymous donations?
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2019, 06:02:30 AM »
I host a server for different games of various sorts, and I pay it through a fiverr. Occasionally goof around and then make money that I can then use to pay for some stuff.

Namino

  • Posts: 472
Re: Anonymous donations?
« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2019, 11:58:11 AM »
I host a server for different games of various sorts, and I pay it through a fiverr. Occasionally goof around and then make money that I can then use to pay for some stuff.

MUDs are super light as far as server space is concerned. You could likely host one for less than 5$ a month. Hell, if you didn't care about security, an older laptop sitting in the corner of your house would be able to host a game with 100+ connections.

There is no reason to require additional funds for server stuff, guys. "More space"?  More space for what? Even a substantially sized MUD isn't more than a GB in my experience. Even several thousand rooms of text, their exits and descriptions are usually < 20MB.

dravage

  • Posts: 501
Re: Anonymous donations?
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2019, 01:24:00 AM »
Quote from: Namino
There is no reason to require additional funds for server stuff, guys. "More space"?  More space for what? Even a substantially sized MUD isn't more than a GB in my experience. Even several thousand rooms of text, their exits and descriptions are usually < 20MB.

Did you read Nath's quote above? The source directory is 293MB and the library is 2.3GB. The other factor mentioned was the speed of the forums, website hosting, banner hosting externally if we want to advertise, the live help tool etc. It's not nothing, just sayin'.

Veselka

  • Posts: 1107
Re: Anonymous donations?
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2019, 02:51:12 AM »
What are the chances of a patreon?

Economic incentives arent always effective and can be counter productive, especially in these sorts of situations where pay offs of agents are tied into intrinsically motivational factors and reputation.

That being said, maybe I can't get in the staffs mindset but I dont see the mundane portions of their job like writing code (whoever does this) and mundane administrative work as something they'd have intrinsic motivation for. The thought that, at some level, economic incentives would work well as an incentive to some small degree seems apparent to me.

They've been doin' alright for this long.

As Lizzie mentioned, it's a hobby, a passion. They likely derive enjoyment from it beyond monetary compensation for their time. Things like contributing to the game you've enjoyed playing for 10+ years, leaving your mark, doing some good, making some fun, coding some cool shit, give them satisfaction. It's also why there's turnover on Staff -- They aren't compensated for their time, so they aren't stuck in a dead-end job. They can leave when they don't have enough time to volunteer/contribute, and it's no skin off their backs, or off the backs of other Staff.
Live your life as though your every act were to become a universal law.

--Immanuel Kant