Simon, How do you sustain this website?

by Wonderment 11 Replies latest forum announcements

  • Wonderment


    First, I hope you and your family are having a nice Christmas.

    We are at the end of the year, so it's time to ponder a bit about how grateful we should be to you and all the contributors for making this site for what it is. I have noticed other JW's forum related sites come and go, but this one has held steady for many years. How do you do it?

    Thanks for not forcing annoying ads all over the place on us. But how do you manage to keep this site up for so long? Maybe this question has been brought up before, but I don't think it should hurt members to be reminded that community services can't be taken for granted. Everything has a cost, whether is the time factor, or the needed funds to allocate for a given project. Hours spent on this site on your part is time you could have easily spent somewhere else.

    So again thanks for your efforts! We owe it to you Simon! And my expressed gratitude as well to all the contributors which make this site always current and relevant.


  • stillin
    Holy Spirit
  • Simon

    Glad you've found the site useful! :)

    You're right - there are two kinds of costs. The hard costs of hosting and the soft costs of time and energy.

    We're in a much better position that we were a year or two ago - we're now hosted on Google AppEngine Cloud instead of dedicated hosting and the time spent on the redevelopment to enable this has reduced the hosting costs which the ads, a necessary evil, now cover. I wanted to make the forum sustainable - sometimes I have received donations to help with the site which I'm very grateful for but long term I think the best model is ad-supported. That way if we ever decide to move on it can still continue under different management. At the very least I want to finish off some of the admin tools so we can get more moderators on board to help support the community we have.

    I don't think it's fair for anyone to charge for their time when it's volunteered. This isn't my full-time job and it sometimes intrudes time-wise (or I have to ignore the site because work beckons) but it's my time to chose what to do with and if I chose to spend it working on the forum then that's my choice and I don't think it's fair to expect other people to compensate me for it. I do get something out of it - I get to try out new technologies and learn from running the site which is valuable to me professionally. Right now I'm building out a new version based on a Go backend and Angular2 UI - not only should it be slicker to use, quicker and make some new features easier but it will also reduce the hosting resources further which always makes costs less of a concern (or what usually happens, it makes it easier to justify splashing out on some services / features).

    At the end of the day, I'm a geek and coding is my hobby so sitting in my basement fiddling with code and trying new things out is what I do for fun. Yeah, I know that sounds sad but I like it !

    People have questioned why we don't run on commercially available software and to be honest, I've looked at it and the costs would be too high. Things are getting cheaper but very often the tech is based on having a server and database hosting which all costs money. It get's harder as a site get's bigger (you can start a forum for free, but it's harder to keep running when it get's busy and larger). The custom cloud solution we have now is very efficient and allows the site to keep running.

    Even the fairly regular attacks we get and DoS attempts are insignificant - there is so much caching and cloud resources they just end up testing out Google's data centers and, well, I know who's going to run that one.

    So things are going pretty good - expect some new features, fixes and upgrades in 2016 :)

  • Simon
    Holy Spirit

    It's not always holy. But yes, "spirits" - how do you think the bugs get in there?!

  • stillin
  • disposable hero of hypocrisy
    disposable hero of hypocrisy

    Thank you Simon. I'm glad you're a nerd, and I'm gladder that you get something out of it too.

    This forum was a key instrument in my waking up, and I'm certain many others would echo that.

    Cheers buddy!

  • Truthexplorer
    Fair play to you Simon. This site (though I havent always agreed on certain topics, but at least agree to disagree) has been the only site that opened my eyes. I remember the days when I used to 'obsessively' go to the internet cafe to read the amazing topics on your site all those years ago. Your site led me to reading the book 'crisis of conscience' ( the most amazing book I have ever read). This site is the one site I always have and will continue to gravitate towards. So a big thank you to you, which helped me release the tension I bottled up for so many years. A big thank you Simon. TE
  • Simon
    Thank you Simon. I'm glad you're a nerd, and I'm gladder that you get something out of it too.

    I was going to object and argue that I'm a geek and not a nerd, but then I realized ... yeah :(

    But at least I'm not a dork ... yay! (half-hearted fistpump)

  • gone for good
    gone for good

    Simon -

    Like many others I too owe you a debt of gratitude for what you have done here over the years...

    Thank you sooooo much!

  • life is to short
    life is to short

    Yes thank you so much Simon. This sight has been such a huge help to me when I woke up. I honestly do not know where I would have been without the support this sight has given me.

    Just a huge thank you for all that you do.


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