I’d like to share a worry and concern of mine that I’ve had for a while that I’ve not, until today, done anything about! The concern is what would I do without a web community that I was involved with, or would I be willing to act to prevent its demise – and if so would I need to wait until its imminent demise to act?
I have been involved in board game internet communities for a long time, in fact I was playing Diplomacy electronically before the World Wide Web came into being! Over the years my board gaming interests have widened and so has the websites I’ve been involved with. I have experienced the rise and fall of many websites, some because the main organisers have lost interest others because the financial burden has been too much. As an end user its not apparent there are costs and the like for that website you depend on, and by the time you find out about difficulties its often too late and people have decided to close down.
I am an avid fan of BoardGameGeek and it is a great resource. I do participate, by submitting images and files, and activity in posting in forums, as without users being active any community is dead! However I have been an active member of many communities that have gone because the financial burden for the organisers has been too great. By the time organisers tell you of the financial plight, it is usually too late – they’ve decided not to continue, so even if money came forward they’d not continue. So that got me wondering, could I do without the Geek? How many times have I checked for posts on rules queries during games, or printed off player aides before hand? The answer is I couldn’t.
I am not suggesting that BoardGameGeek is any financial difficulty or imminently closing down, but I am asking how important is the site and its continuation to you? They have adverts and a donation mechanism, but it is too easy to think they are fine and not do anything until they ask (by which time it’s too late).
I have, for the last year at least, thought that whilst I feel I am an active member of the site for 5 years, should I be doing more (specifically financially). I guess the BGG admins must be quite aware of the constraints people have as they have a variety of subscription levels: You can give one off donations, and it you give $15 you get a badge under your username, and if you give $25 you get all the adverts disabled for you; or you can donate monthly if you can afford to support the site that way. So I decided to donate enough for a 2011 badge, partly because it shows some outcome of donating, and partly because I can then talk about it!
It is easy to be oblivious to money requests or to the feel that websites should be anything but free, but it really is about your appreciation of BoardGameGeek and how much you want it to continue. I go on the site at least weekly, so isn’t that worth 30 cents a week? To me yes, if I don’t become a Patron in 2012, feel free to harass me :-). Maybe if a few other gamers feel similarly, the site may go to a faster provider