We are once again facing the problem of paying for the forum and we need to decide what to do. We have remained open due mostly to the generous monthly contribution from one of our Members and we are at the point of not having enough to go on. We still pay Invision for the forum software even though we use an outdated version and they won't give us any support unless we upgrade. If we upgrade, many of the posts on the forum won't work anymore and we will have to pay hundreds of dollars more to fix all of the problems. We have switched to a cheaper Hosting service than we used before, but it still costs about $200/year or more for this. We pay a small amount for regular backups and for encryption to keep us secure. We soon have a bill for $80 due to Invision and we don't currently have that much. We also will owe GoDaddy for Domain names in February and that was about $70 last year. Even if we come up with that, later in 2022 we will need to pay for Hosting and there are smaller amounts to pay during the year.
If we were being used as a valuable resource, I would consider putting my own money in to keep us going. The truth is that we rarely get anyone asking for help any more and I spend most of my time just making sure we stay secure. We don't get a lot of new people signing up to join the forum, but most of the ones we get are here to post ads or scams so that they are banned. In most cases there is evidence online that they are crooked and they are banned before they can become members. In some cases I am unable to find clear evidence, so they are admitted and monitored. In rare cases, they are legitimate and are allowed to remain members. In other cases, they post something inappropriate and are then banned. While this keeps the forum clean, it isn't really helping the global community. I know other faithful staff check in regularly and will offer support when someone asks for it even though that is infrequent.
If you look at other messages regarding these issues, you will see that we have discussed various ways to increase our usefulness and have tried many of them. As yet, this has not been fruitful and we now may go weeks without any new posts. I am still open to other ideas and I believe that Rocket Grannie is as well. However, I question whether there is any value in rescuing the forum once more unless we can prove to be worthwhile. Our options seem to be:
1. Close the forum and use remaining funds to hold on to the domain names for a while longer to reduce the chance of criminals exploiting what is left of our good name. We only renewed for a year and will need almost $70 to renew again in February.
2. Close the forum and donate remaining funds to another forum that is likely to stay open and be helpful.
3. Find enough donations to pay for another year and face this question again next year.
4. Scale the forum down and switch to a free hosting service while converting the software to a free version. This would have the advantage of allowing the forum to stay open indefinitely. The disadvantage for me is that I don't have the expertise to do these changes, so we would need to have someone who did to help with the transition.
5. Your ideas??
If we do close, we will archive the forum and hopefully hold on to it for the future. It is likely that this would be on my computer and that it could become inaccessible if I am unable to function at some time in the future - I continue to age and may not be around a whole lot longer.
Even if you don't have any other ideas, please state your opinion regarding what we need to do. Given that there aren't many people around these days, your opinion will likely have a lot of weight.
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