Please note that the Donation Box has been closed, so the blelow is now of somewhat academic interest.

Let me state explicitly the fundamental premise this writeup is based upon:

It costs real dollars to run Everything2. Hardware, electricity, administration: it adds up in a hurry.
To a lesser extent, it is also assumes
It would be best if those who contribute the least quality to the database were to contribute the most money to it's operation, and vice versa.
The suggestion below certainly meets both of these criteria. It may not be a good one, but perhaps it could start some discussion.
This idea sounds somewhat blasphemous at first, but if my understanding of troll psychology is sound, I think it just might work.

The short version is this : let people spend real money to buy cools and upvotes for their own write-ups. I'll use dollars in the examples, my apologies to those who use other currencies.

I'm thinking something on the order of $10 for an upvote and $100 for a C!. You want a reputation of 100 for you writeup on snot? $1000.00 and it's yours. Want to make sure everybody knows how cool you are, by having all your nodes cooled? Just click on the paypal icon.

Possible questions :

Why would someone pay something for nothing?

Because they're stupid. Blockstackers Intergalactic will spend their money much more intelligently.

This sounds great! What other stuff could we dupe people into paying for?

Think of all the stuff that newbies and trolls complain about, and charge for it. How about

  • Buying XP?
  • Protection money? Pay Klaproth not to nuke a write-up for a month, or pay the EDB to reduce your sentence.
  • The ability to cast additional votes on the same persons write-up?
  • A picture on your home node (forever or for a month)
  • Some extra votes or C!'s.

Won't this disrupt the whole power structure of Everything?

Nope. Remember that XP and votes and cools don't really mean anything. We've all seen how tenuous the connection is between any of the E2 numbers and real quality.

Anyway, making the unwashed masses pay their own way is always a good idea. I bet there's something here that would work.

Comments? Questions? Rebuttals?

I don't see the above idea working out that well. Because if E2 starts selling C!'s for $100 other people will just start selling their C!'s for $10. I have a simpler and more elegant solution.

Add a new symbol to The Power Structure of Everything 2. That symbol will be for people who have donated money via Paypal. I would suggest a minimum $10.00 donation to get a symbol next to your name. That way people can feel good about donating, and get some recognition. Without screwing up the balance of power.

I am sure that most regular noders would contribute to get the symbol next to their name.

Although looking at the Donation Box, it appears that E2 might be bringing in enough to be self sufficient anyway. That is assuming that the server is already paid for, (it isn't exactly a multi-million dollar box ya know). E2 averaged $686.22 per month in donations over the last 90 days. That should cover most of the bandwidth. Last time I checked no one was paying the editors or the edev members. So E2 really isn't in that bad of shape.

Since both of you two seem to be at least partially serious (and you seem to be, otherwise you wouldn't have wasted edev's time with this), I'll nibble on the potential troll actually write a response. Keep in mind, I don't mean this personally...

This is the dumbest and most destructive thing I have heard thus far in my short stay here. Hands down, this wins. Numerous reasons:

Let's keep money out of everything. I feel I've earned my place on the pyramid, and I look up with admiration on people who are above me: the gods, the writers, and the people that make this my favorite place to be. Maybe I've said too much, but I can't tell you how much this idea truly hurts, if you are being serious. There is an honesty and a truth I've found in here, and maybe you haven't found it yet. I'd suggest you keep looking...

                 Or maybe I'm stomping at ants.

Here's some more ideas:

  • Pay for better response time. There'd be some sort of subscription service, $X per month, which would make E2 give your requests priority over other requests. By the time there would be enough subscribers so that non-subscribers would notice a slowdown, there should be enough money to buy another server to speed things up again.
  • Subscriptions for things that take more storage space and/or processing time. For instance:
    • Allow more 10 links in the personal nodelet.
    • Allow the user to watch certain nodes, and be emailed when new writeups have been added, old writeups have been modified, or new softlinks have been added. This would probably be the nodes in the user's bookmarks.
    • Allow the user to specify certain searches, and be emailed whenever new nodes or writeups matching those searched are created.
  • Earmark all donations towards things that would increase the response time and performance of E2, like new servers or more memory for old servers. I think people would be more willing to donate if they thought it was going to give the something visible, like better performance, than if it was just going towards stuff like paying for the net connection. You could also put stuff like "Only $300 more needed for a new server!" on the front page and nightly emails.
  • Put up the list of bugs and feature enhancements, sorted by priority, and let people donate money to increase the priority of fixes/improvements that they're interested in.
  • Do stuff to encourage donation of time to the Everything Engine by people who aren't members of edev. Give non-edev people who send in good patches extra XP, votes and C!s. Also, if they fix/implement a bug/feature that had money donated on it, give that money to that person.
How to get more donations for Everything: put the PayPal donation button up on the header of every page, rather than behind a little link down in the Vitals sidebar.

There's room right there next to the ad banner. You could also insert a text blurb underneath it that reads "Money raised this month:" and then the figure. Without shrinking the text, even. Maybe a monthly goal and a progress bar could be hacked up (this is achieving nice things at the Penny Arcade web comic).

This is pretty basic stuff once you read a little about web usability: put the means by which people can give you money up where they can see it. Maybe the fear is that users would think it crass, but I think most of the regulars here are like SEF (and, for that matter, me) in that they would just like a better understanding of the problem and an easier way to help solve it. The Donation Box link may seem like a trivial barrier to entry, but see if donations don't go up when you knock it down. Users of web applications are like that.

Of course, as far as usability goes, micropayments are what the world really needs. But whatever.

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