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KnowTheCosmos
2012-Dec-30, 05:48 AM
As many of you are aware, but some of you may not be, the server costs for our forum is paid by the donations to CosmoQuest via AstroSphere New Media (http://www.astrosphere.org/), the Non-Profit which serves not only CosmoQuest's forum and Citizen Science projects, but also AstronomyCast, 365 Days of Astronomy, Education & Public Outreach broadcasts, and more.

The cost to maintain the server for the forum is not cheap, but we choose to maintain it because the sense of community at CosmoQuest is extremely important. At the top of the forum, in the navigation bar, you'll see a "Donate" button discretely placed which allows you to actively support your community. In addition to the knowledge that you've helped maintain our community, we'll be launching out badges publicly recognizing you as a contributor to our fine community.

As of right now, there will be three tiers:
$60 over 12 month period = Supporter
$120 over 12 month period = Sponsor
$600 = CosmoQuest Hero

Obviously, any donation of any quantity is extremely generous and is greatly appreciated by all of the CosmoQuest team. There is another way to help support CosmoQuest, and that's by purchasing items from AstroGear.org (http://www.astrosphere.org/astrogear/), which proceeds to go to AstrosSphere to cover all costs associated with CosmoQuest as well. There are T-Shirts, AstronomyCast lanyards, posters and more, all of which gives you the opportunity to proudly show your support.

Thank you all for your continued commitment to this community and for maintaining fantastic dialogue throughout the forums. We're all very excited about new things coming to CosmoQuest and your support is always appreciated!

For further information see the blog post that Pamela posted here (http://cosmoquest.org/blog/2012/12/paying-the-bills/).


Best,
Scott Lewis
KnowTheCosmos

caveman1917
2012-Dec-30, 04:17 PM
When the merger was announced one of the main reasons for BAUT to be merged was the (high) server costs that had to be paid from the owner's personal funds. People at the time suggested donating as an alternative way of solving that problem. That idea was rejected in favour of merging with cosmoquest. And now we're getting donate buttons.

Don't get me wrong, i'm all for people donating for science outreach projects, but surely you must see the irony here...

Moose
2012-Dec-30, 04:50 PM
And I suppose, given the grants, google ads are no longer an option. Wonderful.

mutleyeng
2012-Dec-30, 05:04 PM
When the merger was announced one of the main reasons for BAUT to be merged was the (high) server costs that had to be paid from the owner's personal funds. People at the time suggested donating as an alternative way of solving that problem. That idea was rejected in favour of merging with cosmoquest. And now we're getting donate buttons.

Don't get me wrong, i'm all for people donating for science outreach projects, but surely you must see the irony here...

full disclosure,
I made the suggestion to Pamala on google plus that she could add a discrete donate button above the forum section.
So long as its discrete, people dont have their ears bent about contributing - I see it as the people who have said they wanted to help have now got their chance...everyones a winner
I aint gonna get a badge, but as a thank you for facilitating many a good argument, I was fine tipping a few quid.
I dont really get involved with the other areas of cosmoquest, but I do appreciate having the forum kept pretty much intact.
It is my hope that cosmoquest do understand that the forum is important to people in its own right, however they choose to brand it.

Gillianren
2012-Dec-30, 05:10 PM
When the merger was announced one of the main reasons for BAUT to be merged was the (high) server costs that had to be paid from the owner's personal funds. People at the time suggested donating as an alternative way of solving that problem. That idea was rejected in favour of merging with cosmoquest. And now we're getting donate buttons.

Don't get me wrong, i'm all for people donating for science outreach projects, but surely you must see the irony here...

I, for one, would have loved a t-shirt with the BAUT logo on it.

Solfe
2012-Dec-30, 06:48 PM
You need to plug the Telescopes4Teachers (http://www.astrosphere.org/astrogear/buy2give/telescopes4teachers/).

If you are taking suggestions for gear, I would like to get a coffee mug, water bottle or red tinted flashlight.

If those items were too hard, then a waterproof sticker pack would be cool DIY option. CQ, Astronomycast or BAUT themed.

EDIT - It occurs to me that there is a lot of different options for funding the CQ brand. Would it be possible to compile a list of all the different options and programs as a sticky? I seem to recall a "feed Preston button" for Astronomycast, but I can't remember which choice does that.

R.A.F.
2012-Dec-30, 08:37 PM
When the merger was announced one of the main reasons for BAUT to be merged was the (high) server costs that had to be paid from the owner's personal funds. People at the time suggested donating as an alternative way of solving that problem. That idea was rejected in favour of merging with cosmoquest. And now we're getting donate buttons.

Don't get me wrong, i'm all for people donating for science outreach projects, but surely you must see the irony here...


The "message" I'm getting is that it was wrong to suggest contributions when it was for BAUT only, but now that it's about cosmoquest, contributions are A-ok.

You may call that irony...looks more like bait and switch....wait until after the merger, and then ask for contributions.

Pamela, can you explain why people here should not be a bit upset about this??...and a "good luck" to you in advance, cause you're gonna need it.

R.A.F.
2012-Dec-30, 08:39 PM
I, for one, would have loved a t-shirt with the BAUT logo on it.

Good idea....meaning it will be ignored.

R.A.F.
2012-Dec-30, 08:48 PM
Ya know, not to put too fine of point on it, but I consider the title of this thread to be rather insulting to those who have freely shared their knowledge, and time trying to "battle" scientific misconceptions.

....which is what this board was all about at one time...

What is this board "about", now?...you tell me.

geonuc
2012-Dec-30, 09:24 PM
I'd have liked a BAUT t-shirt, as well.

As to supporting CQ monetarily, the way I figure it is there are any number of us for whom $60, $120 or even $600 is no big deal. I was a member of a forum a few years ago - a moderator, actually - whose owner fell on hard times. A few of us offered to fund the expenses or even buy the forum outright to keep it going. The owner was stubborn and refused. So now it's defunct and a whole bunch of us have lost something we put a lot of time into and derived much enjoyment from, all because the owner wouldn't accept our money.

I'm not saying CQ is in dire straights or any straights at all. I have no idea except for what's been posted here. But asking for donations is a reasonable thing, in my opinion. I don't really care what was said or promised when the CQ/BAUT merger happened. I like this forum.

The badge thing might not be a good idea, though.

R.A.F.
2012-Dec-30, 09:49 PM
I don't really care what was said or promised when the CQ/BAUT merger happened.

Who said anything about "promises"?


Perhaps I should re-read the thread in question...thanks for putting me on to that.

Gillianren
2012-Dec-30, 10:35 PM
I'm not saying CQ is in dire straights or any straights at all. I have no idea except for what's been posted here. But asking for donations is a reasonable thing, in my opinion. I don't really care what was said or promised when the CQ/BAUT merger happened. I like this forum.

I like this forum, too, but the argument was that the CQ grants would pay for it. That's why we agreed to switch to the name, no matter how unpopular it was. Not that "agreed" is quite the word, as we were told we didn't have a choice. We were told that they didn't want to take our money, and that was why we were merging. (I don't have a lot of money, and our budget has gotten even more strained for the foreseeable future, but I would have given something, especially if a BAUT t-shirt were in the offing.) It feels to me as though we were told we would be listened to and then have been ignored. We were told they didn't want to take our money, and that the merger was the way to prevent that. Now, we're stuck with a name few of us like. We've been told that we can't keep the colour scheme we prefer, even, if we don't like the new one. Oh, and could you give us money anyway?


The badge thing might not be a good idea, though.

The badge thing is a terrible idea.

Glom
2012-Dec-30, 10:37 PM
People seem quite annoyed about this. What did I miss?

pzkpfw
2012-Dec-30, 10:41 PM
Expecting everybody to pay $1 to join would be better than expecting some people to pay $600.

(It'd be nice to require micro-payment - it'd keep more spammers out - but I guess it can't be done as it would lock out some of the audience we are trying to encourage, e.g. school-age kids who want to ask an astronomy based question and deserve a non-crank answer. And people who don't really want to be "members" but register to ask a one-off question.)

I find this awkward. Frankly, even $60 per year is more than I'd pay to remain a member. Sorry. But I'd feel bad not making my voluntary contribution while knowing that others have. (And vice versa).


I'd buy a BAUT t-shirt, not a CosmoQuest t-shirt. Sorry.


How about some statistics? ... (let's do science ...)
What does it cost per year to run the forum?
How many active members are there? (Say, average 1 post or more per week?)

Gillianren
2012-Dec-30, 11:07 PM
People seem quite annoyed about this. What did I miss?

A lot of remaining resentment as to how the merger was handled in the first place.

Glom
2012-Dec-30, 11:20 PM
A lot of remaining resentment as to how the merger was handled in the first place.

What was wrong with it, apart from the awful forum skin?

Solfe
2012-Dec-30, 11:31 PM
What was wrong with it, apart from the awful forum skin?

Mis-steps and confusion mostly. I can't really complain that much. If this round is cleaning up the overly prolific forum topic page, then I have fewer complaints. (Edit - other than the red color... I got nothing so far.)


How about some statistics? ... (let's do science ...)
What does it cost per year to run the forum?
How many active members are there? (Say, average 1 post or more per week?)

Using some arbitrary numbers, 12 years of operation, 52 weeks a year is 624 posts. There are 564 users who have more than 624 posts. I am kind of surprised at the low numbers. That includes banned users and such since all I did was look at the members list. Obviously these might not be reasonable numbers, they were very arbitrary and not anything like what proper web traffic tools could provide.

How much does a board cost would have to do more with traffic than users. The board DB must be pretty big, but that must seem like a fixed cost verses web traffic. Y posts times x users per day is pretty small verses all the Google search that must come in.

pzkpfw
2012-Dec-30, 11:51 PM
How much does a board cost would have to do more with traffic than users.

Yeah, I'm just looking to get (yearly cost of operation) divided by (some quantity of users) = (amount needed per year from those users).

564 users each giving $1 won't buy many cans of beans.
564 users each giving $600 means $338,400 - would that cover the costs?

Gillianren
2012-Dec-31, 12:09 AM
What was wrong with it, apart from the awful forum skin?

The awful forum name. The fact that it was presented as a fait accompli about three days before it happened. The fact that I'm not sure any suggestions from any long-term members have been considered, much less implemented. The fact that we were told that everything would be okay, and we'd just get used to it. The fact that quite a lot of things spent weeks broken despite us being told that one of the reasons for the merger was to enable real tech people handling the software, and the fact that we weren't given much in the way of details about how/if things would get fixed.


Yeah, I'm just looking to get (yearly cost of operation) divided by (some quantity of users) = (amount needed per year from those users).

564 users each giving $1 won't buy many cans of beans.
564 users each giving $600 means $338,400 - would that cover the costs?

Well, this member with over 624 posts isn't giving $600! That's almost a month's disability check!

mutleyeng
2012-Dec-31, 12:09 AM
yeah, I think this is about a remaining bit of resentment from the merger.

The request for donations is for Astrosphere costs generally - The cost of the forum is just a part of that. No one is expecting forum member to cover the costs of the forum.
Nothing hinges on members paying up. The costs are covered if no one gives a penny - its just that leaves less to be doing other projects.

Like I said in my post above, I suggested the button be put there, just so that the people who during the merger who went on about how they were prepared to contribute could have that opportunity.

Solfe
2012-Dec-31, 12:16 AM
The way I see it is, what is being paid for and how?

If CQ needs a single person to do some work on the board and that one person is paid, then ask yourself how little money you would take to do so? That is the baseline. I can't complain about fund raising at that point because I would ask for a good chunk of change.

I am always amazed when I encounter a website that has largely unpaid staff and it and it's staff consistently performs better than a site with paid staff. CQ/Baut mods aren't the only ones who perform this service, but they are archetypes of a very small group who do so.

R.A.F.
2012-Dec-31, 12:19 AM
... We were told they didn't want to take our money, and that the merger was the way to prevent that.

That's how I remember it also. Of course, at that time, the membership of cosmoquest was very small. Now that they "own" the membership of BAUT (yeah, thanks a lot, Phil), they have a large membership from which to solicite funds.....that could not have been done by cosmoquest before the merger.

What I don't know, is why couldn't it have been done at BAUT instead of the merger?....but I guess the answer to that is obvious.



The badge thing is a terrible idea.

Badges?...we don't need no stinkin' badges.

mutleyeng
2012-Dec-31, 12:32 AM
if i remember right, Fraser said that he spent a few hundred dollars a month.
You should go re read the thread, but from what I remember he basically said he couldnt be bothered to collect funds and he doubted he would get enough in each month to pay the bills anyways.
So yeah Gillian, they did tell you they didnt want to take your money and the merger was a way to prevent that.
What this is is the charity asking for donations to the charity - as charities do

R.A.F.
2012-Dec-31, 12:53 AM
if i remember right, Fraser said that he spent a few hundred dollars a month.
You should go re read the thread, but from what I remember he basically said he couldnt be bothered to collect funds and he doubted he would get enough in each month to pay the bills anyways.
So yeah Gillian, they did tell you they didnt want to take your money and the merger was a way to prevent that.
What this is is the charity asking for donations to the charity - as charities do

I don't think re-reading the thread will actually "help"...I'm sure that when members have a chance to review what was actually posted, the criticism will get much, much worse.

mutleyeng
2012-Dec-31, 12:59 AM
Wow....you should write all of cosmoquests press releases...you almost had me believing what you were saying...almost.

..and I don't think re-reading the thread will actually "help"...I'm sure that when members have a chance to review what was actually posted, the criticism will get much, much worse.

that almost sounds like an accusation RAF....is it? if so, of what.
What bit of what I said are you doubting?
I hope I am able to actually reply to this post, unlike the last one that got hung up because it had been deleted by the time I clicked "Post"

R.A.F.
2012-Dec-31, 01:03 AM
I deleted the part of my post you had issues with...before I saw your answer.

Solfe
2012-Dec-31, 01:13 AM
In re-reading, I think it is more charitable giving to science websites rather than "support this forum". Sure the forum gets some of it, but there are a bunch of other associated websites that share the gift.

Gillianren
2012-Dec-31, 01:28 AM
In re-reading, I think it is more charitable giving to science websites rather than "support this forum". Sure the forum gets some of it, but there are a bunch of other associated websites that share the gift.

If it were phrased that way, I, for one, would be a lot less annoyed. "Ways to give to science" does not trigger the same issues, at least not for me.

R.A.F.
2012-Dec-31, 03:09 AM
I've got an idea. I'll start giving money to this forum, when Phil starts posting to it...regularly.

....so I guess my money is safe. :D


Seriously, though, people here have always prided themselves that this was a "free" forum. Now like our name, that has been taken away, too.

I really don't want to know "what's next" from the cosmoquest overlords, because I know it can't be "good" news.



aside....I am curious how long it will take before the realization that "something is wrong". What was it last time, something like 3 days?

Hopefully the response will be quicker this time.

Tensor
2012-Dec-31, 03:34 AM
aside....I am curious how long it will take before the realization that "something is wrong". What was it last time, something like 3 days?

Hopefully the response will be quicker this time.

I realize it. I'm just not sure, at this point, whether it's worth my time and trouble to voice my opinion. After watching the way the merger, and its aftermath, was handled, I look at it as any opinion I voice will just be ignored.

R.A.F.
2012-Dec-31, 03:44 AM
I realize it.

Oops...

Actually I was speaking of the cosmoquest overlords, not "ordinary" (and no, I don't think there is anything ordinary about you) posters. History indicates they can be pretty slow on the uptake.

Sorry for the confusion. :)



I'm just not sure, at this point, whether it's worth my time and trouble to voice my opinion. After watching the way the merger, and its aftermath, was handled, I look at it as any opinion I voice will just be ignored.

Sad isn't it?

Solfe
2012-Dec-31, 03:54 AM
<jest>
I vote for a new policy:

No mod/admin/owner posts about "changes" or "policy" on the weekends. Doubly so on holiday weekends. You know, the times when people relax and have free time to share with friends and family or in our case, internet people. "Change announcements" are begging users to kill off some precious free time for the staff.

The best days for "change announcements" is when a horrible disaster occurs. Or failing that, wait for politician or a celebrity dig themselves into a very deep mess. Ashton Kutcher, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and Charlie Sheen updates don't count, it has to be a real celebrity with surprising problems. Never shoot for the "slow news day", especially holiday weekends.

</jest>

Van Rijn
2012-Dec-31, 06:44 AM
I'd have liked a BAUT t-shirt, as well.





If you are taking suggestions for gear, I would like to get a coffee mug, water bottle or red tinted flashlight.


I would suggest that there be something tangible offered. I've seen sites where donations were requested, but they received little until they started offering inexpensive trinkets, and then things turned around dramatically. Also, it works better if you start at a lower donation level. People can self-justify $20 much more easily that $60. Typically sites would offer one thing for $20, something a bit more interesting for $40, and so on.

KnowTheCosmos
2012-Dec-31, 07:59 AM
I would suggest that there be something tangible offered. I've seen sites where donations were requested, but they received little until they started offering inexpensive trinkets, and then things turned around dramatically. Also, it works better if you start at a lower donation level. People can self-justify $20 much more easily that $60. Typically sites would offer one thing for $20, something a bit more interesting for $40, and so on.

Thanks for the suggestions, I'll discuss them with the team when we're face to face at AAS.

I've read the above comments and will try to get to them tomorrow morning. Currently in an airport.

Best,
Scott

Jeff Root
2012-Dec-31, 12:14 PM
I volunteered to donate to help pay for BAUT, and most
recently to help pay for professional programmer costs of
fixing the problem with inaccessible archived private mail.
Those offers were declined beause they weren't needed.
When I made those offers, they were to friends.

Now, just a few months later, requests for donations are
coming from people who I do not know, but who appear
to be working for pay. This is straight out of a Dilbert
cartoon.

Pamela's blog (linked in the original post) says there
was "a huge surge in traffic". I presume that means to
CosmoQuest, because the traffic to the forum has been
falling over the last year, not increasing. She also said
there was "a huge surge in server costs, which wasn’t
anticipated". Really? What were the costs before the
merger? What are the costs now? If the increase in
costs were due to the traffic of the BAUT forum being
added to that of CosmoQuest, how could they *not*
have been anticipated? If the increase in costs was
due to something else, then what was it due to?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

tusenfem
2012-Dec-31, 12:14 PM
I guess a T-shirt could be easily generated, I must check with a few friends here on the how and what.
Then I would need a rather big high-res version of the BAUT logo, something for the new year.

Jeff Root
2012-Dec-31, 12:39 PM
I have some comments and questions about the forum
management, and some comments and questions about
the colors.

First the colors.

A few years ago when BAUT upgraded to a new version of
vBulletin, I complained that the new colors did not have
enough contrast, making things difficult to read. Some time
later I think there was another change, and the colors then
were not so bad. Also at about that time, it became possible
for each individual user to select the colors BAUT displayed.
I have never tried to use that facility. I was afraid I'd make
things worse.

When BAUT and CosmoQuest merged, a few of the blue items
changed to dark reddish-brown. Other items remained blue.
That is what I am seeing now. It is not a problem for me.
When it first changed I thought it was a bit clumsy to have
a slightly mixed-up palette like that, but it wasn't particularly
ugly. So I don't understand the complaints about the colors.
It certainly isn't beautiful, it certainly isn't as well-coordinated
as the colors were before the merger, but it is readable and
inoffensive. Maybe I'm not seeing what others are seeing.
But as I say, I've never changed from the defaults.

Now about the management.

I wrote a few paragraphs here, then paused, and see that in
post #19, Gillianren has said much of what I wanted to say,
including some of the most difficult things to know how to
say. The reference to Dilbert in my previous post is the only
remnant of what I had written about management that I kept.

One suggestion: Make the Bad Astronomy / Universe Today
logo at the top of the web pages a much larger fraction of
the size of the whole banner. It is currently so extremely
small that it looks like it is intended to denigrate BAUT.

Make it AT LEAST twice the linear dimensions it has now.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Hlafordlaes
2012-Dec-31, 01:03 PM
I spent a spell off the board and found it was now CQ on return, so I missed the discussion and transition.

In principle:
- the owners of any private site are free to do as they choose
- users accessing free sites do not have many justifiable grounds for complaint

In practice:
- forums in particular acquire and maintain value via user content, not site content
- a sense of community among regular users is hard to build, but very easy to destroy

I am not offended by being asked for a donation, even if the issue has a confusing or contradictory history. Things change. But I am very worried by the sense I am getting from the posts above that users who are important to me are sounding disenchanted and, worse, alienated.

As a pure freeloader not much able to donate nor provide the foundational posts that drive value here, I don't have a right to complain. But I am quaking in my boots a bit, since I have lived through the rapid decline and death of two great forums due to policy change disputes.

I surely hope the new owners will become more cognizant of the need shown in this thread to establish greater rapport with users. Can we tread carefully and hash this out nicely, please?

Infinity Watcher
2012-Dec-31, 04:09 PM
I spent a spell off the board and found it was now CQ on return, so I missed the discussion and transition.

In principle:
- the owners of any private site are free to do as they choose
- users accessing free sites do not have many justifiable grounds for complaint

In practice:
- forums in particular acquire and maintain value via user content, not site content
- a sense of community among regular users is hard to build, but very easy to destroy

I am not offended by being asked for a donation, even if the issue has a confusing or contradictory history. Things change. But I am very worried by the sense I am getting from the posts above that users who are important to me are sounding disenchanted and, worse, alienated.

As a pure freeloader not much able to donate nor provide the foundational posts that drive value here, I don't have a right to complain. But I am quaking in my boots a bit, since I have lived through the rapid decline and death of two great forums due to policy change disputes.

I surely hope the new owners will become more cognizant of the need shown in this thread to establish greater rapport with users. Can we tread carefully and hash this out nicely, please?

Like Hlalfordaes, I don't feel I have a dog in this fight particulalrly, I understand Cosmoquest has a mission aside from this forum and may want funding, and like Hlalfordaes I'm hardly a founding member (although I do go back to the days when we were still BaBB) and I lack the knowledge and training to provide insightful astronomy posts (when Sci-Tech gets into human biology I'm a little stronger), I don't go into ATM particularly these days since I don't have the astrophysics or maths to really contribute for example. I also can't really donate (a student loan doesn't go very far to live on, and after christmas as well...) but I too am *very* concerned about the level of dissatisfaction I'm seeing expressed here. Whilst I may not have always seen eye to eye with RAF, he is a longstanding member who has contributed much to the forum and I respect him for that. As for losing Gillianren... well we might as well lose JayUtah... her loss would I think be catastrophic for all of us BA vets.

I feel the forum management need to take a good look at communicating with the membership. I'm getting the impression that BAUT members are still feeling rather sidelined by the merger and are concerned about BAUT's mission being lost here. Even if the managment have no intentions of doing so they should be aware that regardless of intentions, this is a sphere where perception is vital, and it is certainly the case that BAUT has in a lot of ways been battered by the merger (we lost our name and url: one of the largest astronomy forums in existence) and as far as a lot of us BAUTians are concerned if I may be blunt, we don't yet know the Cosmoquest management from Adam, so we don't have the resevoir of trust that accumulates over time. Unlike say ToSeek, Frasier or the BA we can't point to the cosmoquest admins and say "well I may not like it much but they've always acted well towards the community in the past so I'll trust their judgement", given time and communication this will change but that time and communication *cannot* be skipped or rushed.

Moose
2012-Dec-31, 04:22 PM
Unlike say ToSeek, Frasier or the BA we can't point to the cosmoquest admins and say "well I may not like it much but they've always acted well towards the community in the past so I'll trust their judgement", given time and communication this will change but that time and communication *cannot* be skipped or rushed.

Unfortunately, a big part of the problem is that we do know what to expect from Fraser (server support only) and the BA (sweet jack). Pamela, well, that remains to be seen, but I'm not encouraged. Speaking for myself, I'm content to be left alone to the extent that this is still possible. If something gets added, fine. If not, fine. What I'm increasingly unhappy about is the apparent reality that Cosmoquest is going to wind up being a net loss for BAUT's community.

/ Fraser did say that google ads provided just enough revenue for BAUT to break even, and as I recall, they had been entirely acceptable to the membership.

Solfe
2012-Dec-31, 04:36 PM
I think we need a map of the CQ Brand. Personally, I am on G+ and Facebook, BAUTForum, listen to Astronomy Today and play with Ice Hunters and Moon Mappers. I get the distinct impression that I do not know the extent of half the brand.

More importantly, I have very little cash to donate and I need to do so wisely. I wish there was a donate page that covered all the options that are associated with the CQ Brand. I am intensely sympathetic to the server gang and Telescope4Teachers, because those seem to be real people, directly benefiting from the funds. I would pick one of them because they're "science with a face". I haven't donated because I just became aware of these things.

I have a feeling that there may be a half dozen (or more) things that fall under the charitable giving and CQ umbrella and I simply don't know about them. A map of donation possibilities would be very useful.

Additionally, the road map of CQ would give everyone involved an idea of what is CQ doing. My impression so far is that there are a half dozen channels of communication and all of them are seen as equivalent. Obviously, that isn't true.

If I were king of the CQ, I would get Fraser's name off the the UT updates and use his account to feed in his G+ posts (edit) and his real posts here. UT, Pamela and the CQ blog should have the same sort of G+ feed into the forum. Astronomycast should have an official "Bautforum" account. Maybe we could get Phil back here under the same style. The ground rules would be simple, reply on G+ or blog via those services to keep the policy of the BAUTForum intact. All threads would be locked on arrival.

Just my two cents.

neilzero
2012-Dec-31, 04:38 PM
I'm happy with the changes, except the loss of the spell check. I have not found an alternative way to check my spelling. I am sure many of you have noticed the doubling of spelling errors in my posts. Neil

Moose
2012-Dec-31, 04:43 PM
I'm happy with the changes, except the loss of the spell check. I have not found an alternative way to check my spelling. I am sure many of you have noticed the doubling of spelling errors in my posts. Neil

What browser do you use? Several browsers offer native onboard spell-check.

Infinity Watcher
2012-Dec-31, 05:02 PM
Unfortunately, a big part of the problem is that we do know what to expect from Fraser (server support only) and the BA (sweet jack). Pamela, well, that remains to be seen, but I'm not encouraged. Speaking for myself, I'm content to be left alone to the extent that this is still possible. If something gets added, fine. If not, fine. What I'm increasingly unhappy about is the apparent reality that Cosmoquest is going to wind up being a net loss for BAUT's community.

/ Fraser did say that google ads provided just enough revenue for BAUT to break even, and as I recall, they had been entirely acceptable to the membership.You're right of course: I meant to refer to when they were active administrators, I should have been clearer (ok I've got no idea how active Frasier was on UT before the merger since I wasn't there, but back in the days of BaBB the BA was active, and I couldn't remember the other administrators off the top of my head (please don't hurt me for that other admins) )

caveman1917
2012-Dec-31, 05:08 PM
So I don't understand the complaints about the colors.

For me it is that now i have the choice to stick with the blue (which i consider better), but that this choice would be removed. If i were forced to use the red theme i would consider it a slight decline in usability (it has way too much contrast for me - the colours are too strong). I don't particularly mind declines in usability, it's that i cannot find a way to justify this one. The default style is not broken, it doesn't particularly require extra work or implementation, it's just there doing its job. So it's a decline in usability without tangible benefit on some other front. Why remove a user choice just because you can?

Cougar
2012-Dec-31, 05:12 PM
...can you explain why people here should not be a bit upset about this??

Jeez Louise, R.A.F., did you misread the OP and think that there's now a subscription fee for this forum? If you don't want to donate or you can't spare the cash, then don't donate. End of story. I see no basis for anyone to become so "upset" about this. I recall people offering to donate so we could keep the BAUT name. Could we have guaranteed $5-10 grand every year? Not likely. Like Leon Lederman says, "Physics is not a religion. If it were, we'd have a much easier time raising money."

And what difference has the "traumatic" name change actually made? I just don't see much difference.

mutleyeng
2012-Dec-31, 05:17 PM
End of story.

you think?

Gillianren
2012-Dec-31, 05:49 PM
Unfortunately, a big part of the problem is that we do know what to expect from Fraser (server support only) and the BA (sweet jack). Pamela, well, that remains to be seen, but I'm not encouraged. Speaking for myself, I'm content to be left alone to the extent that this is still possible. If something gets added, fine. If not, fine. What I'm increasingly unhappy about is the apparent reality that Cosmoquest is going to wind up being a net loss for BAUT's community.

This is, of course, sad but true. One of the things I liked about how the BABB/UT merger was handled was that Phil and Fraser went onto one another's boards and were willing and able to answer questions. (Phil still talked to us at the time!) It was explained exactly why the changes were happening and what benefits there would be to the community as a whole; money may have been discussed, but it wasn't a major concern so far as I recall. This time, essentially the only benefit this was supposed to have was about money and what it could do for us. Dedicated tech people! Someone to pay for the server! All the benefits of the CosmoQuest grants! Personally, the way I supported my forum was to oppose this merger in the first place.


/ Fraser did say that google ads provided just enough revenue for BAUT to break even, and as I recall, they had been entirely acceptable to the membership.

Especially since half the membership already seems to have one kind of ad block or another on their browser. But even if I didn't, I hardly even noticed the Google ads after a while. Which may not be encouraging for Google, frankly, but if we still broke even, what's the problem?


And what difference has the "traumatic" name change actually made? I just don't see much difference.

This thread is the only time I have used the new name in conversation. Among my friends, I still refer to it by some variation on its old name. I will freely admit that we didn't have the practical effect I feared--a horde of New Age types drawn by the "heavy" nature of the name--but I still hate it. I understand why it was chosen, but it's unattractive and clunky.

R.A.F.
2012-Dec-31, 06:00 PM
Jeez Louise, R.A.F., did you misread the OP and think that there's now a subscription fee for this forum? If you don't want to donate or you can't spare the cash, then don't donate. End of story.

That might be a viable argument, if I was the only one "complaining", but as is evidenced by the numerous "upset" posters posting to this thread, I am not.



I see no basis for anyone to become so "upset" about this.

The only thing you will accomplish by trying to tell people who are "upset", that they shouldn't be upset, it to make them more upset.

End of story?....heck, it's just beginning.

mutleyeng
2012-Dec-31, 06:13 PM
the biggest gripe so far, aside from a little self confessed resentment left over from the merger, seems to be that BAUT T shirts arnt available.
Dont over state you case RAF

R.A.F.
2012-Dec-31, 06:27 PM
the biggest gripe so far, aside from a little self confessed resentment left over from the merger, seems to be that BAUT T shirts arnt available.

Not at all. ...and I'm not willing (at least until some cosmo management joins this discussiion) to air all of my "gripes"...particularly after seeing some posters "take offense", at the simple expression of an opinion.



Dont over state you case RAF

I don't have a "case", only opinions.

Gillianren
2012-Dec-31, 06:39 PM
the biggest gripe so far, aside from a little self confessed resentment left over from the merger, seems to be that BAUT T shirts arnt available.
Dont over state you case RAF

No, that's not true at all. The effects are worsened by remaining resentment from the merger, but this post just demonstrates what I've been afraid of all along. There are some people who aren't bothering to understand why some of us remain upset. There are some people who aren't bothering to listen when long-term members voice their discontent. I have myself listed at least half a dozen gripes that I consider more serious than the lack of BAUT t-shirts, which was merely intended to demonstrate the ways we would have kicked in before the merger if asked--or just given the opportunity. Belittling those complaints doesn't make them go away.

mutleyeng
2012-Dec-31, 06:40 PM
Not at all. ...and I'm not willing (at least until some cosmo management joins this discussiion) to air all of my "gripes"...particularly after seeing some posters "take offense", at the simple expression of an opinion.

.

do let me know if that was referring to me - I have lots of opinions I can share if that's the case

mutleyeng
2012-Dec-31, 06:50 PM
No, that's not true at all. The effects are worsened by remaining resentment from the merger, but this post just demonstrates what I've been afraid of all along. There are some people who aren't bothering to understand why some of us remain upset. There are some people who aren't bothering to listen when long-term members voice their discontent. I have myself listed at least half a dozen gripes that I consider more serious than the lack of BAUT t-shirts, which was merely intended to demonstrate the ways we would have kicked in before the merger if asked--or just given the opportunity. Belittling those complaints doesn't make them go away.

I apologise if you feel I belittled your complaints - I do have trouble separating what you have said from problems you had at the time of the merger, and problems that you have had since that time.
I know you think you should have a voice as a longstanding memeber - maybe you should. What idea do you have that could facilitate that?

R.A.F.
2012-Dec-31, 06:52 PM
do let me know if that was referring to me - I have lots of opinions I can share if that's the case

No thanks...and Gillianren's post says it better than I can, and if after reading it, you still think there is no reason to be "upset", then we have nothing further to discuss.

R.A.F.
2012-Dec-31, 07:14 PM
I apologise if you feel I belittled your complaints...

So I post essentially the same opinion that Gillianren posted...she gets an apology, and I get a somewhat different response.

Interesting.

Gillianren
2012-Dec-31, 07:32 PM
I apologise if you feel I belittled your complaints - I do have trouble separating what you have said from problems you had at the time of the merger, and problems that you have had since that time.
I know you think you should have a voice as a longstanding memeber - maybe you should. What idea do you have that could facilitate that?

My complaints have not changed since the merger, because essentially none of the problems I had have changed. This is why there is continuing resentment to the merger. We are, many of us, feeling brushed aside. There is little communication from anyone on the CQ side, and we've had to resign ourselves long since to the idea that Phil and Fraser have nothing to do with the board these days. If anything, I have just developed more complaints, this time about, for example, the assurance that we would be kept in the loop's being a lie.


So I post essentially the same opinion that Gillianren posted...she gets an apology, and I get an "invitation to a fight"??

Interesting.

Well, I do have more tact than you do.

R.A.F.
2012-Dec-31, 07:39 PM
Well, I do have more tact than you do.

True enough,...


Knew I waited too long to edit it, but later is better than never. :)

Now if I could only do that before hitting the submit button.

Swift
2012-Dec-31, 07:51 PM
<snip>
but back in the days of BaBB the BA was active, and I couldn't remember the other administrators off the top of my head (please don't hurt me for that other admins) )
Back in the BABB days the BA was the only Administrator and there were no moderators. The UT forum had moderators. Both the BA and Fraser were content providers/visible participants on their individual forums, and continued to do so, at least for a while after the BABB/UT merger.

Swift
2012-Dec-31, 07:53 PM
I would remind participants in this thread that they will be polite to each other or there will be consequences. You may complain as you wish about the forum, but again, it will be done politely.

Ara Pacis
2012-Dec-31, 09:26 PM
I'm wonder what Pamela et al. are thinking. I assume thinking was involved.

I'm not sure what to say. I may stick around, I may leave. I may complain or I may twiddle my thumbs. While I don't think this and other communications and leadership errors are egregious, I admit they do cause me to lose respect for and trust in the board and site operators.

If people are upset enough, they can leave. They can also start up their own site. Or they could contact Pamela et al. directly and express their concerns. The main people in charge are well known and have published contact information. If people are upset enough, they could start an email campaign to change her mind, or a more public campaign...

I don't think I'll say anything more along those lines as it might get me infracted or banned, even if I don't condone such actions.

R.A.F.
2012-Dec-31, 09:43 PM
I am curious how long it will take before the realization that "something is wrong". What was it last time, something like 3 days?

Hopefully the response will be quicker this time.


Upon re-reading this, I realize it was completely unfair for me to think that cosmo management had nothing better to do than monitor the board during the holidays.


My apologies for that.

baskerbosse
2013-Jan-01, 04:48 AM
Pamela's blog (linked in the original post) says there
was "a huge surge in traffic". I presume that means to
CosmoQuest, because the traffic to the forum has been
falling over the last year, not increasing. She also said
there was "a huge surge in server costs, which wasn’t
anticipated". Really? What were the costs before the
merger? What are the costs now? If the increase in
costs were due to the traffic of the BAUT forum being
added to that of CosmoQuest, how could they *not*
have been anticipated? If the increase in costs was
due to something else, then what was it due to?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

As a manager of a very large media site, I have to add here that increased traffic does not necessarily equate load.
The server load is only proportional to traffic for a uniform site with uniform traffic.

For a non uniform site you can for example have increased traffic and dropping load.
If access to 'expensive pages' are dropping while access to 'inexpensive pages' (i.e. pages that are easier for the server to deliver) are increasing. The net can even be a drop in load.

The forum may very well not be the main cause of increased load, even if traffic has increased to it.
If there are heavy Java server side web apps in other parts of the site, they could have something to do with it.
Java server side web apps are inherently difficult to optimise and it's rather easy to put unnecessary load on a server..

Some detailed load analysis would be necessary before passing any judgement of where the increased server costs come from.

(just my 2c..)

Cheers,
/Peter

Gillianren
2013-Jan-01, 06:19 AM
Upon re-reading this, I realize it was completely unfair for me to think that cosmo management had nothing better to do than monitor the board during the holidays.


My apologies for that.

Though it then follows that it's exactly the wrong time to institute any changes.

Ara Pacis
2013-Jan-01, 09:00 AM
Though it then follows that it's exactly the wrong time to institute any changes.

Unless you don't want any pushback. Like Washington crossing the Delaware.

Jeff Root
2013-Jan-01, 09:42 AM
Like Washington crossing the Delaware.
That's an impressive simile!

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

KnowTheCosmos
2013-Jan-01, 08:18 PM
Thanks for the suggestions, I'll discuss them with the team when we're face to face at AAS.

I've read the above comments and will try to get to them tomorrow morning. Currently in an airport.

Best,
Scott

Been having issues with Internet connectivity while traveling. Haven't been able to get a stable connection, but once I do, will be able to full address questions and concerns.

Best
Scott

KnowTheCosmos
2013-Jan-02, 02:33 AM
Apologies about delay. Getting internet connection has proved to be... an absolute nightmare. Let me go back through the posts, find my notes and hope that my friend's hotspot doesn't die while I'm getting that done. Thanks for your patience,



Scott

A.DIM
2013-Jan-02, 02:38 PM
As many of you are aware, but some of you may not be, the server costs for our forum is paid by the donations to CosmoQuest via AstroSphere New Media (http://www.astrosphere.org/), the Non-Profit which serves not only CosmoQuest's forum and Citizen Science projects, but also AstronomyCast, 365 Days of Astronomy, Education & Public Outreach broadcasts, and more.

If you're asking me for money while claiming NonProfit, my main concern is this:

According to GuideStar, a reporting agency on Non-Profits in the US,
This organization is not registered with the IRS.
This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

This organization's exempt status was automatically revoked by the IRS for failure to file a Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-N, or 990-PF for 3 consecutive years. Further investigation and due diligence are warranted.

R.A.F.
2013-Jan-03, 02:41 AM
If you're asking me for money while claiming NonProfit, my main concern is this:

According to GuideStar, a reporting agency on Non-Profits in the US,
This organization is not registered with the IRS.
This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

This organization's exempt status was automatically revoked by the IRS for failure to file a Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-N, or 990-PF for 3 consecutive years. Further investigation and due diligence are warranted.



A full 12 hours after A.DIM posted this, and still no response to our "concerns".

I gave the benefit of the doubt because of the holidays, but today was a work day, and the holidays are over.

pzkpfw
2013-Jan-03, 02:49 AM
A full 12 hours after A.DIM posted this, and still no response to our "concerns".

I gave the benefit of the doubt because of the holidays, but today was a work day, and the holidays are over.

Speak for yourself. I've done very little work today, and don't "expect" anyone else to have.

R.A.F.
2013-Jan-03, 03:07 AM
Speak for yourself.

I never said otherwise.

Hlafordlaes
2013-Jan-03, 04:36 AM
Hey, R.A.F., come on, it's not like the board is on fire or anything. Not even particularly active these days. I'm thinking at least after Epiphany or thereabouts we'll start to see some feedback.

ToSeek
2013-Jan-03, 05:03 AM
A full 12 hours after A.DIM posted this, and still no response to our "concerns".

I gave the benefit of the doubt because of the holidays, but today was a work day, and the holidays are over.

Scott/KtC would be the one to respond, and he's currently on the road.

Ara Pacis
2013-Jan-03, 06:52 AM
Scott/KtC would be the one to respond, and he's currently on the road.

Cayman Islands? :p

Copernicus
2013-Jan-03, 10:36 AM
Was wondering if there was a charge for posting a link to one's homepage in every post?

Copernicus
2013-Jan-03, 10:38 AM
Was wondering if there was a charge for posting a quote on every post?

CJSF
2013-Jan-03, 12:03 PM
[reluctantly de-lurking]
Come on, now. I've been very critical of BAUT (well, formerly) and this new franken-board, but to me this "donate" issue seems to be more of a lightning rod than anything else. I don't think the implication is that without "voluntary" donations, the board will cease to be. I get the bigger picture: lack of communication, perceived marginalization, etc. and I think those complaints have merit. But then again, I felt more and more of the membership was getting marginalized BEFORE this latest merger.

I also don't understand why Phil's name is any way brought into this. It's been pretty clear now that he's made the "big time" he has no interest and/or time for us. Perhaps it's a fine time to lose the "BA" part of the name. We never even got courtesy forum entries for Phil's blog entries like we did with Fraser's... I always remember hearing how they were in some secret mod/admin only viewing area. What the heck was the point of that?

CJSF

Swift
2013-Jan-03, 01:04 PM
We never even got courtesy forum entries for Phil's blog entries like we did with Fraser's... I always remember hearing how they were in some secret mod/admin only viewing area. What the heck was the point of that?

CJSF
The BA's blog posts were mirrored in the Moderation forum; that was all set-up before I became a moderator. I think it was originally supposed to be in public spaces, but never got set-up that way for some reason (maybe because of some content issues, but I'm not sure). It wasn't a perk for being a moderator, I pretty much ignored it.

CJSF
2013-Jan-03, 01:26 PM
I didn't mean to imply it was a "perk." I was just saying that we couldn't see them.

CJSF

Moose
2013-Jan-03, 02:42 PM
I didn't mean to imply it was a "perk." I was just saying that we couldn't see them.

Probably just as well. As was pointed out earlier in thread, BA gets quite political on his blog. Much more so than the board rules allow. It would have caused a pretty major headache all around, with little benefit.

R.A.F.
2013-Jan-03, 03:22 PM
Scott/KtC would be the one to respond, and he's currently on the road.

He was online here yesterday via tapatalk.

Just sayin'.



Also, is Pamela unavailable? She was running the show during the merger, so why isn't she involved in this donation "business".

R.A.F.
2013-Jan-03, 03:27 PM
...it's not like the board is on fire or anything. Not even particularly active these days. I'm thinking at least after Epiphany or thereabouts we'll start to see some feedback.

Ok, since I'm getting "heat" for this, then you guys tell me...what would be the appropriate time to "wait" for cosmo management to respond?...today?, tomorrow?, after the weekend?

ToSeek
2013-Jan-03, 03:36 PM
Probably just as well. As was pointed out earlier in thread, BA gets quite political on his blog. Much more so than the board rules allow. It would have caused a pretty major headache all around, with little benefit.

My understanding is that that's the main reason it never went public rather than any technical issues.

R.A.F.
2013-Jan-03, 03:37 PM
I also don't understand why Phil's name is any way brought into this. It's been pretty clear now that he's made the "big time" he has no interest and/or time for us. Perhaps it's a fine time to lose the "BA" part of the name.

Sadly, I am in complete agreement with this...I also think it time to "lose" the bad astronomy section of the forum...it serves no purpose, as it is duplicated on other sections of the forum.

R.A.F.
2013-Jan-03, 03:41 PM
Cayman Islands? :p

Glad I waited before having that first cup of coffee. :D

R.A.F.
2013-Jan-03, 03:48 PM
He was online here yesterday via tapatalk.

I knew I should have looked before posting...apparently he was online via tapatalk 15 minutes ago.

Again...just sayin'. :)

Ara Pacis
2013-Jan-03, 06:31 PM
Probably just as well. As was pointed out earlier in thread, BA gets quite political on his blog. Much more so than the board rules allow. It would have caused a pretty major headache all around, with little benefit.

That's why I don't follow him on his blog. It's not just about politics there, he's a political agitator. At least it was when I started it and I read a few entries and posted a few comments. It's not the same culture and behavior that he cultivated on the BABB, so it made sense to keep it somewhere else.

geonuc
2013-Jan-03, 09:44 PM
Ok, since I'm getting "heat" for this, then you guys tell me...what would be the appropriate time to "wait" for cosmo management to respond?...today?, tomorrow?, after the weekend?

Two weeks, maybe a month.

Moose
2013-Jan-03, 09:53 PM
Because of where everybody's located, discussions that involve the entire moderation team can take up to 24 hours for everybody to become aware that a significant discussion is taking place. Given that Scott is traveling, end of Monday would be a reasonable hard minimum.

pzkpfw
2013-Jan-03, 10:10 PM
At this point, my membership here is free. I don't think I have much right to place my expectations on how things work.

I do think the A.DIM post needs to be addressed, but heck, a Month, maybe even two Months, would be fine.

Service level agreements are paid for.

(I note that good old astrotech, has quoted this over on Toms' forum. It'd be nice to have that cleared up. (The bulk of his posts over there are whining about this forum. It's funny.))

Extravoice
2013-Jan-04, 02:58 PM
I just noticed the "donate button".

Whoever handles this, should probably check for typos, as I have no idea what "Google Hanguts" are.

I'm not opposed to allowing people to donate, or even asking politely, but would need to see A.DIM's issue addressed before I'd seriously consider it.

ngc3314
2013-Jan-04, 09:46 PM
This organization's exempt status was automatically revoked by the IRS for failure to file a Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-N, or 990-PF for 3 consecutive years. Further investigation and due diligence are warranted.[/i]

As far as I can tell, Astrosphere's announcement of existence wasn't quite three years ago. I feel the need to poke around - something seems really funny here.

StarStryder
2013-Jan-04, 11:21 PM
If the IRS took away our non-profit status, they didn't tell us or the state of Illinois. Please see the attached image which was produced using the form here. http://www.ilsos.gov/corporatellc/

NGC3314 is correct - we haven't been a non-profit for 3 years filing periods yet (our first 990 went in 2010 after we were granted status in November 2009).

I'll be looking into this more.

Please understand, I'm extraordinarily busy. During the merger I tried spending all the time that was demanded in the forums doing what the forums demanded, and it wasn't possible. Recognizing this was beyond my ability to balance, I hired KnowTheCosmos to be the liason between me and my programming team and the forums.

The cost we experienced is due to: The size of the database the forums require us to maintain and the size of the server needed to run the software without noticeable lag. Traffic isn't an issue in what we pay. The forum is simply a beast, and while optimized, still requires a lot of resources.

When Fraser asked me if I would take on the BAUT Forums, he said they hid nicely on his existing server. This is because the other projects he runs are far far larger than BAUT, and I didn't know that. CosmoQuest has (had) a small server foot print by design, and Fraser didn't know that. Fraser and I had a coming to God moment about this, but at the end of the day, the merger was done, and server admin beware.

No one is being forced to donate. No one is required to donate. If no one donates, I will do like Fraser, and just pay the whole bill out of pocket as long as I can afford to. Luckily, some people have donated. Prior to the merger, our internet bills were consistently around $150-$250 per month. They are now $450-$550, consistently. We also needed to hirer Scott to help manage things because I can't afford the time to do so. We simply can't do everything you ask, as quickly as you ask, on a system that works as laglessly as you demand for free.

17840

A.DIM
2013-Jan-04, 11:54 PM
Well, I hope I didn't cause any problems by pointing out what I found in Guidestar's report on Astrosphere (http://www.guidestar.org/organizations/26-1785198/astrosphere-new-media-association.aspx). I'd like to think it's simply a matter of insufficient info collated by Guidestar.

Hlafordlaes
2013-Jan-05, 01:38 AM
Thanks for the info, StarStryder.

Behind all the complaining is really a lot of love for the board.

Hint: If things get hairy, use a sockpuppet to throw some bait into ATM, give everyone something else to vent our crankiness on. That'll keep us busy. If not, there's always the LiS section. Car keys.

Gillianren
2013-Jan-05, 03:35 AM
Hint: If things get hairy, use a sockpuppet to throw some bait into ATM, give everyone something else to vent our crankiness on. That'll keep us busy.

We've been light on hoax believers lately, too.

KnowTheCosmos
2013-Jan-05, 04:03 AM
He was online here yesterday via tapatalk.

Just sayin'.


I knew I should have looked before posting...apparently he was online via tapatalk 15 minutes ago.

Again...just sayin'. :)

My phone's been out of commission for quite some time and just received my new one today when I arrived home. I appreciate you looking out for my whereabouts, and now that I'm around a stable internet connection, I'll be able to reply to comments.


Because of where everybody's located, discussions that involve the entire moderation team can take up to 24 hours for everybody to become aware that a significant discussion is taking place. Given that Scott is traveling, end of Monday would be a reasonable hard minimum.

Thanks for sharing insight, Moose. We all live in different areas of the globe, all with many different hats to wear IRL and online. Many of us are travelling (I still am) and the majority of the time when there is something major happening that needs to be discussed, it's discussed in the admin/mod sections before brought out to the public forum as a reply.

I truly appreciate all of your passion for this forum and completely understand your concerns. Pamela just posted a reply regarding our Not For Profit status which I hope will sate the appetites for those who were majorly concerned about CosmoQuest and/or Astrosphere's financial legitimacy.

I'll be perusing the forums a little more this evening while I'm getting everything prepared to leave again for the AAS Meeting. I'm also considering some other options to maintain open communication with myself both on and off the forums, but won't have a fully-detailed plan for that until after I'm back home from traveling. Like I said earlier though, my replacement mobile device has now arrived and I now have access to the forum via tapatalk once again so I can address pressing issues. If there's something that needs my immediate attention on the forum that I have not been able to address, please feel free to PM me about it.

Thank you all for your patience and passion for our community.


Best,
Scott

KnowTheCosmos
2013-Jan-05, 06:32 AM
I just noticed the "donate button".

Whoever handles this, should probably check for typos, as I have no idea what "Google Hanguts" are.

I'm not opposed to allowing people to donate, or even asking politely, but would need to see A.DIM's issue addressed before I'd seriously consider it.


A Google Hangout is a teleconference infrastructure that's in the Google+ platform that allows us to gather people from across the world to create our video content to broadcast live. The Virtual Star Parties, AstronomyCast, Weekly Space Hangouts, etc all use this infrastructure to create live video content all over. We used this with the Virtual Landing Party for Curiosity Rover (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrJT1d1BKhw) and Transit of Venus - Live (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t79iec2b-3M) broadcasts.

Hope this clears it up a bit. :)

tusenfem
2013-Jan-05, 03:40 PM
A Google Hangout is ... snip

Methinks, Extravoice was actually complaining about the typos on the donate page.

Moose
2013-Jan-05, 04:36 PM
"Google Hanguts"

I don't speak much Huttese, but I think "Google Hanguts" roughly translates to "Mount Han [Solo]'s carcass [there on that wall]". I'm assuming Jabba had been indicating by gesture, and not inciting necrophilia.

KnowTheCosmos
2013-Jan-05, 04:45 PM
Methinks, Extravoice was actually complaining about the typos on the donate page.


I don't speak much Huttese, but I think "Google Hanguts" roughly translates to "Mount Han [Solo]'s carcass [there on that wall]". I'm assuming Jabba had been indicating by gesture, and not inciting necrophilia.

Oh well that's just the newest way of torturing people, brought to you by Google. iVisceration was already taken. ;) I'll get that changed, thanks for pointing it out.

Edit: no more guts hanging. ;) Typo Corrected.

R.A.F.
2013-Jan-07, 02:25 AM
My phone's been out of commission for quite some time and just received my new one today when I arrived home. I appreciate you looking out for my whereabouts, and now that I'm around a stable internet connection, I'll be able to reply to comments.

Good to know...so...

Before the merge, the membership of BAUT was told that saving the BAUT board wasn't possible through donations...that the "answer" was to merge with cosmoquest, because Pamela had access to grants that would pay for running the board.

Now we are being asked for donations...

We were told one thing, now we're being told another...which is correct?


This is my major concern...that there are trust "issues" with the ownership of this board.

Gillianren
2013-Jan-07, 05:13 AM
Good to know...so...

Before the merge, the membership of BAUT was told that saving the BAUT board wasn't possible through donations...that the "answer" was to merge with cosmoquest, because Pamela had access to grants that would pay for running the board.

Now we are being asked for donations...

We were told one thing, now we're being told another...which is correct?


This is my major concern...that there are trust "issues" with the ownership of this board.

It sounds to me that the problem was communication between Pamela and Fraser. They just didn't realize how much the board costs when they agreed to take us on. The new management disagrees with Fraser's assessment.

R.A.F.
2013-Jan-07, 03:58 PM
It sounds to me that the problem was communication between Pamela and Fraser. They just didn't realize how much the board costs when they agreed to take us on. The new management disagrees with Fraser's assessment.

I think It would be nice if we had some idea what is going on.


I'm done with this subject...

starcanuck64
2013-Jan-07, 08:59 PM
There are people here who not only have the knowledge base to explain some very complex concepts and theories but also have the patience and commitment to do so, often repeatedly. I know I've learned a lot in my time here, not just facts but critical thinking skills from them.

That seems like the best way to support the forum to me.

Ara Pacis
2013-Jan-08, 09:13 PM
I think most of my contribution has been my critical questioning skills, FWIW

Wait, are we supposed to be explaining why we don'tpay/shouldn'thavetopayforservices/shouldbepaidforourservices?

Jeff Root
2013-Jan-08, 10:10 PM
The cost we experienced is due to: The size of the database
the forums require us to maintain and the size of the server
needed to run the software without noticeable lag. Traffic
isn't an issue in what we pay. The forum is simply a beast,
and while optimized, still requires a lot of resources.

When Fraser asked me if I would take on the BAUT Forums,
he said they hid nicely on his existing server. This is because
the other projects he runs are far far larger than BAUT, and I
didn't know that. CosmoQuest has (had) a small server foot
print by design, and Fraser didn't know that. Fraser and I had
a coming to God moment about this, but at the end of the
day, the merger was done, and server admin beware.
Does this mean that BAUT was moved to a different physical
server? If so, is the new server in the same server center
as Fraser's or is it in a different location now?

Did Fraser show you any of his bills, or summaries of them,
before the merger? If not, why not? If he did, what was
your impression of the costs you saw?

Who is responsible for making backups of the forum and
ensuring that the backups are good? You? Or the people
who own and run the servers?

Edit to add:

What is the current size of the forum database?

What are the current hardware requirements of the forum?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

.

Hlafordlaes
2013-Jan-08, 10:25 PM
I'm not at all miffed by the surprise increases in costs, nor the request for donations, only by my own ~ hopefully temporary ~ inability to contribute. Send me some good karma vibes so I can win the lottery and I'll fund the board for a year.

baskerbosse
2013-Jan-08, 11:35 PM
Some real world insights in how cloud computing companies make their money?
:-/

(The pay-as-you-use surprise bill?)

KnowTheCosmos
2013-Jan-12, 07:28 PM
I'm not at all miffed by the surprise increases in costs, nor the request for donations, only by my own ~ hopefully temporary ~ inability to contribute. Send me some good karma vibes so I can win the lottery and I'll fund the board for a year.

We completely understand and thoroughly appreciate your (and everyone's) commitment to making this community one that thrives on discussing and *doing* science!


~Scott

KnowTheCosmos
2013-Jan-12, 08:46 PM
Does this mean that BAUT was moved to a different physical
server? If so, is the new server in the same server center
as Fraser's or is it in a different location now?

Did Fraser show you any of his bills, or summaries of them,
before the merger? If not, why not? If he did, what was
your impression of the costs you saw?

Who is responsible for making backups of the forum and
ensuring that the backups are good? You? Or the people
who own and run the servers?


-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

.

Yes, the BAUT forum was physically moved from Fraser's server to the one here at CosmoQuest which Pamela pays for.

Due to circumstances that were out of our immediate control, the merger happened weeks earlier than we had initially intended, leaving both the community and our admin/mod/build teams scrambling to get everything working as well as possible with the rushed timeline. It didn't go as well as we had wanted, which is why we've spent a lot of time and energy focusing on bringing things back up snuff after the fact.

We (our build team) create our own backups and also utilize Apache Subversion for all of our software so that we can do incremental restores to the database if need-be.

Fraser
2013-Jan-15, 04:36 PM
I run an Extra-large server on Amazon EC2 with extra memory. It costs about $1000/month and primarily serves Universe Today. BAUT was vastly smaller and less memory intensive that UT itself; however, it would suffer (and did), any time there was an issue with the UT server - which was all the time, because I'm not a very good server admin. Unfortunately, I can't afford to hire server admin people, so I'm the best person I can afford.

Until the merger, BAUT was running on that same EC2 server, so all the service disruptions were happening at times that Universe Today was getting flooded with traffic because a story went viral. The forum is still running in EC2, just in an account owned by CosmoQuest, not me. It has its own dedicated resources, and doesn't starve for resources when the larger site gets hit.

I don't think Pamela realized how massive the database and resource requirements were. She only had experience with her previous forum, and my current server is so fast, that BAUT wasn't a big resource hit in the overall scheme.

Jeff Root
2013-Jan-15, 05:28 PM
Thanks, Scott and Fraser.

Can you say the current size of the forum database?

What are the current hardware requirements of the forum?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Fraser
2013-Jan-15, 06:50 PM
I forget the size of the DB, I'm guessing it's in the 3-5 GB range? A few years ago it was 1 GB when I moved it over to Amazon EC2, and it's expanded quite a bit since then. I don't have direct server access to it any more, so... big.

I would say the forum needs at least an Amazon M1 Large Instance
http://aws.amazon.com/ec2/instance-types/

7.5 GiB memory
4 EC2 Compute Units (2 virtual cores with 2 EC2 Compute Units each)
850 GB instance storage
64-bit platform
I/O Performance: High
EBS-Optimized Available: 500 Mbps
API name: m1.large

I'm running an M3 Extra-Large Instance for Universe Today

15 GiB memory
13 EC2 Compute Units (4 virtual cores with 3.25 EC2 Compute Units each)
EBS storage only
64-bit platform
I/O Performance: Moderate
EBS-Optimized Available: No
API name: m3.xlarge

Ara Pacis
2013-Jan-15, 08:06 PM
Would it help if we stopped posting so much? Or is the problem outside visitors from search results?

Jim
2013-Jan-15, 09:32 PM
Would it help if we stopped posting so much?

No, just use smaller words. Or txt.

Moose
2013-Jan-15, 09:46 PM
Maybe try to avoid using full colons where semi-colons will do.

/ (Yes, I just ripped off Scott Adams. Not ashamed of it, either.)

Ara Pacis
2013-Jan-15, 10:03 PM
Would it help if we stopped posting so much?

No, just use smaller words. Or txt.
kthnx

Swift
2013-Jan-15, 10:16 PM
Would it help if we stopped posting so much?

No, just use smaller words. Or txt.
I sincerely hope that these words are small enough. They are as small as the software will support. Or did you mean something else?

Fraser
2013-Jan-15, 11:18 PM
It's just overall forum usage. It's a massive database containing a decade's worth of posts and member history. At any time, there are a large number of people browsing the forum and posting. There are search engines crawling through the posts. It just takes a lot of resources.

Jeff Root
2013-Jan-16, 12:43 AM
Do you have backups from years past?

I tried to make copies of all the posts on the FidoNet
Space and Astronomy echoes and on a couple of the
GEnie SpacePort categories, but I still haven't moved
them from floppy disk to current media. It is possible
that my copies are the only existing record of all those
thousands of posts.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Fraser
2013-Jan-19, 06:15 PM
When I was maintaining the forum, I was taking snapshots of the server about 4 times a day and storing them on Amazon S3. But it was an incremental system, so I didn't maintain a full backup beyond a few weeks - otherwise it just got too expensive to drag this data along. So, it allowed me to recover from catastrophic failures of Amazon EC2 (which happened a couple of times).

Once the forum gets to a certain point, it's really like wrestling with an elephant any time you want to do anything with the entire database.