Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by LaminatorX on Wednesday March 12 2014, @10:55AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the ontology dept.

prospectacle writes:

"An important choice remains for this site. What kind of organisation will we be, practically, legally and financially?

A for-profit, shareholder corporation seems out of the question, by general consensus (correct me if I'm wrong), but other questions remain. The basic choice is this:

Will we be like a charity, a co-op, or a recreational club?

  1. (Like a) Charity:
    Being like a charity means operating for the public benefit. What we produce is news and englightened commentary for the benefit of the world. All our finances and operations would be geared towards this aim. All excess revenue is reinvested into the site.
  2. Co-op:
    A co-op is for the mutual financial benefit of individual (possibly paid) members. Three main sub-options for this exist that might be appropriate for this site:
    2a) A retailer's co-op. Members use a common organisation in order to make individual profits. For example if members used this site to display their stunning intelligence, and then put their resume or website links on their profile page so people could hire them. Maybe there are services built into the site to find someone to hire who fits your requirements.
    2b) A worker's co-operative: Employees share any excess revenue. Some revenue would go to expenses, some would be reinvested, whatever remains is shared among employees.
    2c) A buyer's co-op. We exist to get discounts, or to buy together what we can't afford separately. Maybe we're buying well-written news and analysis from professional authors. Or maybe we're bulk-buying electronics, etc, so the price-per individual can be lower.
  3. A Recreational Club:
    This takes membership fees to provide access to equipment, organize competitions, etc. Maybe paid members would get to use extra services, like an email account, or storage space, or their own discussion thread area, or software project hosting, or chat-rooms, etc. Non-members could still be permitted, with fewer privileges, and would have to pay-per-use for the extra services (or pay to become a member).

This is a gross simplification, but gives some idea of the options involved. Feel free to offer alternatives. So what should we be, what is our purpose, really? And what kind of a structure is required to make sure we serve that purpose, and that money doesn't end up in the wrong pockets?

Bonus question: which jurisdiction should we set ourselves up in to fulfil our mission most effectively?"

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 1) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:05AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:05AM (#15168)

    I vote for option 1.
    And as for jurisdiction, anywhere outside the US and a few other countries is probably fine.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by jt on Wednesday March 12 2014, @01:19PM

      by jt (2890) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @01:19PM (#15242)

      Could you elaborate on why the US (and I am guessing UK and other 'five eyes') states are not OK, in your opinion? Moral issues with surveillance? Tax? Lawsuit exposure? Publishing news and opinions is key to this place so ideally we would pick somewhere that values free speech. Exactly what that means is open to debate. However, we should not lose sight of basic issues of practicality. The people who will run this place - where are they based? What are they familiar with? Lets not get carried away with esoterica at this stage.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by hemocyanin on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:45PM

      by hemocyanin (186) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:45PM (#15292) Journal

      Iceland.

      • (Score: 5, Informative) by frojack on Wednesday March 12 2014, @06:14PM

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 12 2014, @06:14PM (#15424) Journal

        Unfortunately, most (all) of the workers and volunteers don't live there.
        And Iceland has nothing to offer over any of the other countries.

        There are really only a couple reasons (other than TAX reasons) to choose any given country:

        1) Freedom from Take down notices
        2) Demands for submitter IDs and records

        I'm not sure all possibility of these can be avoided anywhere. Although with editorial care we can largely avoid the former, and use of a Warrant Canary flag [wikipedia.org] could at least make us aware of the latter.

        Press freedom (lets not lose the word NEWS in our name!!!) is still quite strong in the US and court cases have established bloggers as journalists [theatlantic.com], which offers a lot more protection that you would get in France, and possibly Iceland. EU regulations seem to be in a constant state of flux, but in some cases they are actually preferable.

        So it seems to me that there should be two things we seek out of an organizational structure, Tax protection and journalistic freedom protection.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 1) by hemocyanin on Wednesday March 12 2014, @06:55PM

          by hemocyanin (186) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @06:55PM (#15442) Journal

          you forget about the NSA and its ability to just bully any US based business into turning over records. Basing a web service in the US shows that the owners care nothing for their user's privacy.

          But I forget, your the toadie for the Feds. I can't help but wonder if you are actually Cold Fjord, but I don't have enough evidence yet.

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by frojack on Wednesday March 12 2014, @09:10PM

            by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 12 2014, @09:10PM (#15532) Journal

            Oh climb down from that soap box before you hurt yourself.
            Why is it you can't have a discussion without slinging insults?

            Its pretty hard to bully anyone into giving you what you don't have. Its even harder for the NSA to do anything with it once they get their hands on it. (What ever "it" might be).

            Do you know what a Warrant Cannery is, and how it works?
            Do you seriously believe being located anywhere else in the world would be a problem for the NSA?
            (Seriously, if you believe this, you haven't been paying attention.)

            --
            No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
          • (Score: 2) by demonlapin on Thursday March 13 2014, @03:08AM

            by demonlapin (925) on Thursday March 13 2014, @03:08AM (#15663) Journal
            If any dev is in the US, they'll just use him as the way in if they really want to.

            OTOH, you get the First Amendment and US libel laws. I don't know what the right choice is, but there are advantages to being based in the US as well as disadvantages.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12 2014, @07:03PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12 2014, @07:03PM (#15446)

      Iceland!

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:06AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:06AM (#15170)

    I think the number of "meta" stories is too high. This is a problem because it can make a lot of people go away.

    I understand your goal is to involve the community, but I'm sure there are other ways (for example with a banner on top of the page with a link to a discussion page, or by including the current discussion topics in the weekly "state of the site" story.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Subsentient on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:15AM

      by Subsentient (1111) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:15AM (#15173) Homepage Journal

      Indeed. I wasn't going to say anything, but they really need a separate section for this kind of thing.

      --
      "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." -Jiddu Krishnamurti
      • (Score: 1) by pillo on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:22AM

        by pillo (93) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:22AM (#15181)
        +1, why not making a "governance" section? I'm very interested in this kind of thing but I understand it can be totally worthless and even confusing to others.

        <kidding> Up to recently we could have called that 'drama' </kidding>
        • (Score: 2, Funny) by Kell on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:27PM

          by Kell (292) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:27PM (#15603)

          So what you're saying is "Fuck Meta"? ;)

          --
          Scientists ask questions. Engineers solve problems.
      • (Score: 2) by ticho on Wednesday March 12 2014, @04:38PM

        by ticho (89) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @04:38PM (#15368) Homepage Journal

        Isn't this exactly what irc, wiki, forums, and all that other stuff they waste time on should be for? Keep the meta on meta channels!

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by frojack on Wednesday March 12 2014, @06:33PM

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 12 2014, @06:33PM (#15431) Journal

          Wiki, maybe, But IRC is NOT a place for recording decisions, or even discussing them in a public way.

          See those 4 or 5 Icons at the top of the page? Use them.
          Maybe we need a new one for Organizational issues.

          And if an occasional "meta" (organizational) article creeps into the current front page, that's fine. We are ALL here due to some dissatisfaction with the level of transparency of /., and therefore it just seems wrong to be bitching (with a two digit id, for crap sake!) about one or two stories a week dealing with our fledgling structure.

          You can not be both Involved, Informed, and have a Voice, and at the same time totally isolated from any attempts to Involve you, Inform you, and give you a Voice.

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
          • (Score: 3, Informative) by ticho on Wednesday March 12 2014, @07:10PM

            by ticho (89) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @07:10PM (#15450) Homepage Journal

            The thing is that if I want to be Involved, Informed and have a Voice, I should actively seek out proper channels for that, and not have it pushed on me via channel I expect regular articles to come from. I honestly thought that since SN staff decided to spend so much time setting up mentioned side channels, they were going to use them for exactly this. If not, well, they seem rather pointless to me.

            As you said, occasional meta article is fine, but past several days are already far from occasional.

            p.s. I am not here because of my dissatisfaction with /.'s transparency, I am here because of my dissatisfaction with the user interface.

            • (Score: 2, Interesting) by jimshatt on Wednesday March 12 2014, @09:51PM

              by jimshatt (978) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @09:51PM (#15560) Journal

              dissatisfaction with the user interface

              But had they interfaced with the user in a more transparent way (or, at all, really, before it was too late), you might not have been dissatisfied. Decisions have to be made, but one can choose to involve the users or not. I prefer the latter, and I don't mind if that means a few frontpage articles. You can always choose not to read them.

          • (Score: 1) by dast on Wednesday March 12 2014, @07:11PM

            by dast (1633) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @07:11PM (#15451)

            Wow, I wish I had some mod points. We don't need to be kept in the dark about the governance of this new site. One or two stories per week isn't going to kill anyone. Maybe we all need to think more about the topic so that this place doesn't get passed around between owners like a cheap hooker.

            • (Score: 3, Insightful) by mrbluze on Wednesday March 12 2014, @07:35PM

              by mrbluze (49) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @07:35PM (#15464) Journal

              It's early days. You have to expect discussion on the foundation of the site, in a years time this will be business as usual more or less.

              --
              Do it yourself, 'cause no one else will do it yourself.
              • (Score: 2, Interesting) by dast on Thursday March 13 2014, @02:56PM

                by dast (1633) on Thursday March 13 2014, @02:56PM (#15900)

                Exactly. This early on, I'm extremely happy that the staff is keeping us up to date. This will die down after a while.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by linsane on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:40AM

      by linsane (633) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:40AM (#15188)

      Better to get it all the dramas and policies sorted out now imho. The other place will continue to bleed visitors and they need a nice home with stable long term framework and a good base community. I'd rather that than have a hiatus in 6 months time when someone flips the site into a bundle of trash.

      I personally don't frequent IRC as I tend to be viewing from random devices / locations however it seems that a lot more goes on under the surface away from the front page already. Perhaps one of the overlords could conduct these formally via the Journals, Launch News or Necessary readings, as well as continuing with the Polls side of things so that us http types can continue to be involved without it being all over the news stream.

      L

      • (Score: 2) by linsane on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:46AM

        by linsane (633) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:46AM (#15194)

        PS - option 1, with transparency regarding costs and salary policies on the basis, efforts should be appropriately compensated but if we are to donate or subscribe (yes please btw) then it would be encouraging to know where it was going

        • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12 2014, @04:15PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12 2014, @04:15PM (#15346)

          > transparency regarding costs and salary policies

          As volunteers, two of us run a "non-entity" where students contribute a fixed amount to join. We spend the membership fees periodically on an expensive service that few of the students could afford individually.

          The books are open--a spreadsheet showing all members and all expenses (the expensive service and also incidentals) is posted on the home page. The goods (results of the service) are posted on a password protected site for download.

          According to my accountant there are no tax consequences (in USA) as long as no one makes any income. The money is held in a no-interest checking account.

          It's been running for nearly 10 years now and we've collected well over USD $100,000 -- and spent it on the service in large chunks every few years.

          Not sure what to call it, but it is satisfying to run. The students actually send their appreciation.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by melikamp on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:43AM

      by melikamp (1886) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:43AM (#15193) Journal

      This is a problem because it can make a lot of people go away.

      Why would anyone go away? Just because there is a story or two every day regarding a topic they don't care about? I have absolutely no interest in about half of the stories on this site, and 90% on /. before that, and I am sure the situation is similar for most readers and posters.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by codemachine on Wednesday March 12 2014, @05:50PM

        by codemachine (1333) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @05:50PM (#15410)

        Seems the comments volume is down quite a bit on any story that doesn't involve Soylent News itself.

        So much time and attention is being put into this transparency/drama stuff that the actual news site may be slipping away.

        People have been turned off, some have turned away. The focus has to move towards posting interesting stories and discussing them, or the rest of the decisions made here simply won't matter.

        We could run on this same server with this same obsolete code and we'd be okay for quite some time, as long as there were good stories and good discussion.

        • (Score: 2) by frojack on Wednesday March 12 2014, @06:41PM

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 12 2014, @06:41PM (#15437) Journal

          Actually comment volume is creeping up.

          I haven't seen a story scroll off the main page with zero comments in a long time, and 20 or 40 comments for a group of this size is quite impressive.

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by weeds on Wednesday March 12 2014, @01:08PM

      by weeds (611) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @01:08PM (#15232) Journal

      Agreed,
      We have a place for this type of "meta" discussion - on the forum (http://forums.soylentnews.org/). Exactly what it is there for.

      This site and these pages are for SoylentNews. News about SoylentNews belongs in the journals or in the forum.

      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by linsane on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:23PM

        by linsane (633) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:23PM (#15276)

        Concur - a link to the forums from the main site would be good if there is a topic picked out for debate please.

      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by mrcoolbp on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:31PM

        by mrcoolbp (68) <mrcoolbp@soylentnews.org> on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:31PM (#15279) Homepage

        The forums have fallen into near-complete disuse, due to the plethora of other communications systems available. The plan is to nuke the forums from orbit (as soon as relevant info is migrated to the wiki).

        As to your request not to have these updates on the main site, I think it is valid. The commenting system here is very useful to get an idea of what the community thinks. My vision would be to have a separate "topic" for these discussions so they could be filtered out. Currently that would require some dev work so it's on our list.

        --
        (Score:1^½, Radical)
        • (Score: 2) by weeds on Wednesday March 12 2014, @03:03PM

          by weeds (611) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @03:03PM (#15307) Journal

          Well, OK... But, you are adding to the dev list when you have a solution already in hand. The forum is ideal for this and as I have mentioned elsewhere can be a chat center too.
          As a development manager, I almost always put new features and bug fixes before reworking old code. I pretty much never build what I can get for free.

        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by mmcmonster on Wednesday March 12 2014, @04:27PM

          by mmcmonster (401) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @04:27PM (#15356)

          I would disagree with this.

          If you move these discussions away from the home page, you end up discussing it with only the people who remember where it's moved to. Even if you put a permanent link to it -- people aren't expecting a link to ongoing discussion anywhere except the stories and polls.

          So make it at most one story a day. That makes you pick the topic carefully.

          And give it a meta tag and icon so people can avoid it if they want to.

          • (Score: 1) by sbgen on Wednesday March 12 2014, @07:25PM

            by sbgen (1302) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @07:25PM (#15456)

            I second this. If I cant see it on the front page I am not going to actively seek. At the very least provide journal entry for such news at the top where I can see it.

            Cheers

            --
            Warning: Not a computer expert, but got to use it. Yes, my kind does exist.
          • (Score: 1) by SlackStone on Wednesday March 12 2014, @08:24PM

            by SlackStone (815) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @08:24PM (#15503) Homepage

            I like seeing this unfold on the main page. The whole 'beta' thing has been very entertaining and enlightening to watch, kind of like SCO back in the day. I'm very interested in the evolution process of SN.

            Not that it matters, but the new stories have just been so-so at matching my interests, I'd like to see more tin-foil hat stories that generate fun discussions. Most of the other news here is a bit dry for my taste, but still damn good compared to the rest of the WWW.

            And as for the IRC poll, SoylentNews has done a great job of reminding me how much fun IRC can be. As for FreeNode, isn't it primarily for Open Source projects? SN hasn't released back any code updates, so it doesn't seem like the right place for SN folks.

            • (Score: 2) by mrcoolbp on Thursday March 13 2014, @04:49PM

              by mrcoolbp (68) <mrcoolbp@soylentnews.org> on Thursday March 13 2014, @04:49PM (#15972) Homepage

              The plan is to have all the code open-source. It's all on github:

              https://github.com/SoylentNews/slashcode [github.com]

              There haven't been many updates recently due to the NCommander being overseas, but there is a lot in the que as I understand. Excuse my ignorance if this is not what you mean, I'm really not a dev.

              --
              (Score:1^½, Radical)
          • (Score: 1) by BradTheGeek on Thursday March 13 2014, @11:06AM

            by BradTheGeek (450) on Thursday March 13 2014, @11:06AM (#15796)

            This +1

    • (Score: 1) by kbahey on Wednesday March 12 2014, @04:43PM

      by kbahey (1147) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @04:43PM (#15373) Homepage

      We should have a limit on meta stories (e.g. two a week), not totally eliminate them.

      The discussion happens right there on the site using the same mechanism that we all know.

      No need to fork the discussions in IRC, or forums, ...etc.

    • (Score: 1) by dast on Wednesday March 12 2014, @07:04PM

      by dast (1633) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @07:04PM (#15448)

      How about just one weekly post summarizing what is going on?

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by c0lo on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:15AM

    by c0lo (156) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:15AM (#15172) Journal
    1. I'm here more for the comments and to see a variety of view points, than I am for the news (which's role I don't diminish, a good story/news item is a good starting point for the rest)
    2. having a "journal" space already qualifies as "extra services", I reckon. I mean, I don't need more benefits than it is now to consider the "membership to the club" worth paying;
    3. actually, I'm wrong on the point immediately above: if I can have the good and interesting time without being subjected to adverts, I'd even consider paying a gold membership fee (platinum if I'm not going to be called a lentil )
    4. I see all the other listed alternatives as more remote from what soylentnews (by any other name) is;
    --
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by prospectacle on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:42AM

      by prospectacle (3422) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:42AM (#15191) Journal

      I agree. We currently behave more like a club than anything else. Clubs gotta pay costs, so members who use their services pay dues. Simple, tried, true.

      You could make it free to watch; pay to play.

      Members could bring guests (within limits, of course. Perhaps for a limited time, and a limited number of guests each month).

      --
      If a plan isn't flexible it isn't realistic
      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:23PM

        by c0lo (156) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:23PM (#15211) Journal

        You could make it free to watch; pay to play.

        I'd rather not be that restrictive: it's not like the site can't accommodate a large number of persons because of limited space/facilities (this is where the parallel with the real-world brick-and-mortar becomes wrong).

        I would suggest a guest account may be obtained by anyone asking for it, with a certain restriction on the amount of activity per day or per story, but otherwise full access to posting/journaling/etc

        Membership by invitation from another "sponsoring/vetting" member may be one way to increase the number of full members... May even work as a strategy to increase the club's appeal (remember the time when one could get a gmail account only if someone would invite her/him?)
        Even so, an invite for a full membership should come with a cost for the member that vouch for the applicant - probably some karma.

        Another way a "guest" can get to receive an "non-sponsored invitation" (i.e nobody vouching for her/him) to membership if accumulating a certain level of karma and paying for the privilege of being invited with that amount of karma points. Until than, a limited number of posts per day (or per story) may be a good incentive to make their posts count for someone willing to join the club.

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by mrbluze on Wednesday March 12 2014, @07:47PM

        by mrbluze (49) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @07:47PM (#15474) Journal

        I strongly believe we should keep all the basic fictions of the site as free. Subscriptions and so on could buy benefits like access to downloads or something like that but the things that we do right now should remain free of charge. I personally favour the club model, and would suggest possible benefits of club membership be participation in the running of the site, access to peer support, employment listings, email, etc. At some point people who are paying for everything at the moment need to be recompensed and we need to think of turning a profit without becoming a user tracking and advertising service.

        --
        Do it yourself, 'cause no one else will do it yourself.
        • (Score: 2) by prospectacle on Wednesday March 12 2014, @09:54PM

          by prospectacle (3422) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @09:54PM (#15562) Journal

          You're right, MrBluze and c0lo. It's better not to shut down free services. Besides asking people to start paying for what was free, it would also be extra code-work to enforce that separation.

          Maybe it should go along the lines of: current features stay free, future features (after some cut-off date) are for members only.

          Perhaps members also get a vote on what the new features will be.

          --
          If a plan isn't flexible it isn't realistic
    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by VLM on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:09PM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:09PM (#15205)

      Could be a much simpler business model for a club.

      If you're a member your posts get a mandatory +1, and your posts list in public how many days of subscription you have left, and once a day you can give away a days subscription to any poster (aka you subscribe for 1 year but you actually get 1 year plus can give away up to 365 days, one per day)

      A meta-meta-meta moderation, sorta.

      Rather optimistically someone who makes "the best post of the day" will get a magic +1 for an entire day in the future as a subscriber, which seems entirely reasonable. Having to give away their extra day, once per day, will motivate subscribers to pay attention to find the best recipient. Being a subscriber or being awarded a subscription means a day of +1 which is worth something but probably not worth the attention of spammers (or if someone does start spamming, it'll cost the community a whopping 1 mod point to even it out, and if there's one thing the community is not short of, its mod points). If you want to be an anonymous subscriber, make out of band agreement for a non-anonymous subscriber to simply pay you their extra day, every day.

      This could be implemented partially or in phases. I imagine it would be no heroic achievement to start with something like two lines of display code, where one adds a little icon to a poster in the "paid" category, and another automagically adds a +1 mod to subscriber posts. Smacking the database to see how many days left people have might be a bit harder, or would it? I suppose you can cache any result for about a day... This whole "gift economy" thing would take substantial additional coding.

      Either that or "from each according to their ability, and to each according to their need" which I believe is in the United States Bill of Rights, correct? At least as practically implemented, if not in writing. Unfortunately not tongue in cheek.

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12 2014, @04:28PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12 2014, @04:28PM (#15359)

        Could be a much simpler business model for a club.

        [...]

        A meta-meta-meta moderation, sorta.

        I thought you said simpler!

        "from each according to their ability, and to each according to their need" which I believe is in the United States Bill of Rights, correct? At least as practically implemented, if not in writing. Unfortunately not tongue in cheek.

        No, that's Marxist socialism. :) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/From_each_according_ to_his_ability,_to_each_according_to_his_need [wikipedia.org]

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by etherscythe on Wednesday March 12 2014, @05:17PM

        by etherscythe (937) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @05:17PM (#15395) Journal

        I like where you're going with that, but I think it might exclude too many people up front.

        I'd take it one step back: leave things essentially how they are as far as being open access for all, but those who are more "invested" in the site get privileges to direct the site's direction just a little bit more. Subscribers get metamod capability (and possibly more persistent modpoints that don't have to be spent right away), separate results in polls (maybe as simple as two colors of result), and maybe a "behind the scenes" newsletter. You might also give the option to burn say 10 karma for a week of "subscriber" status, as a means of promoting those who for whatever reason don't want to or can't pay actual money, to reflect their contributions as part of the community.

        --
        "Fake News: anything reported outside of my own personally chosen echo chamber"
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by terryk30 on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:31PM

        by terryk30 (1753) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:31PM (#15605)

        (may now be redundant with etherscythe's "it might exclude too many people", but what the heck)

        I may not have understood that properly, but just speaking generally, a process that asks people to be continuously involved in things like vetting new members may be too much of a commitment for most readers and contributors. Sure, I realize that (a) it would be in their interest to do so, and (b) it may be the true price of maintaining what's important; but...

        Consider what I believe was the typical /. reader/contributor: someone who is busy and rations their time on the site, perhaps logging in (automatically from their main work or personal machine) once a day to check for anything of particular interest. Much of the content is quickly passed over as simply not personally relevant enough, mostly by story title, some by skimming the summary, some by seeing that the comments have added little value for them.

        Only for a select few stories will they read through the comments and perhaps moderate or contribute. Then, it's back to More Important Things. Other than checking later to see how a discussion unfolded, there may be no continuity of commitment. When things get really busy, they may only be skimming summaries for weeks, if at all.

        It would be sort of like having to use ALL your mod points to ever get more. In other words, contributions are of inconsistent intensity, and any continuous obligations will not be met by this group - but who, in total, add a lot of value.

      • (Score: 1) by bryan on Thursday March 13 2014, @12:49AM

        by bryan (29) <bryan@pipedot.org> on Thursday March 13 2014, @12:49AM (#15637) Homepage Journal

        Popular hardware review website techreport.com [techreport.com] just today announced their new plans [techreport.com] for subscriptions. Worth a look to see how they are handling it. Especially relevant is that they claim their traditional advertising model is no longer capable of generating enough income.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by mwvdlee on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:30PM

      by mwvdlee (169) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:30PM (#15213)

      +1 for "recreational club".
      The rest just feels like a lie.
      Sure it may be legally okay to take on one of the other forms, but these forms really weren't intended to be used as such.
      Do we want to be a community that is legally sound or morally sound?

      • (Score: 4, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:37PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:37PM (#15216)

        Do we want to be a community that is legally sound or morally sound?

        +1 for morally sound 3D surround.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by scruffybeard on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:52PM

      by scruffybeard (533) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:52PM (#15224)

      I too enjoy the comments and lively discussion, but what would be the membership structure? I would rather not close the site to people not willing to pay a membership fee, otherwise the discussion will suffer. How much would the membership fee have to be to cover the costs of operating the site, and would we have enough paying members?

      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday March 12 2014, @01:14PM

        by c0lo (156) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @01:14PM (#15236) Journal

        I would rather not close the site to people not willing to pay a membership fee, otherwise the discussion will suffer.

        Don't close it. Just limit the posts to a reasonable number per day (say 50)... What more? Then you surely enjoy your time here, you might as well help the guys that make it possible.

        How much would the membership fee have to be to cover the costs of operating the site, and would we have enough paying members?

        I don't know, because the costs of running the site are not known to me.

        If a half of the current user accounts can afford to pay $15/year (where I leave, that's the price for 1 cup of coffee/day for 5 working-days. Or how much I smoke in 1 day), it would be 1500 x $15=$22,500. Is it enough? Probably it would pay the hosting and domain name, but surely not hiring staff.

        Would I pay more than $15/year? I would certainly do, potentially sponsoring others living in countries where $15 may mean half a workday worth; but don't ask me how much more until you don't come with a brief of costing model: if there no transparency in the matter of... errr... things that matter, we aren't a community and the appeal of the site becomes lower to me.

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
        • (Score: 1) by Zanothis on Wednesday March 12 2014, @05:01PM

          by Zanothis (3445) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @05:01PM (#15387)
          I think trying to limit the number of posts is a bit unenforceable. If there's no way to stop the creation of extra accounts, then anyone can have an unlimited number of posts. I'd much rather have some unobtrusive advertising that you can pay to opt-out of*. This makes it possible for ACs to pay their way, while also allowing people who can't make payments to contribute**.

          Obviously, even advertising has problems in the form of ad blockers, but at least it doesn't interfere with the ability of the community to interact with one another.

          As an alternative, I think it was suggested at some point prior to the recent debacle that any money above the operational costs could be used as an endowment towards FOSS. I like the idea of the community being able to give back so that projects have a chance to make Cool Things TM that make it onto SN.

          /rambling, incoherent statement

          * I've already disabled ABP and Ghostery for the domain in preparation of this possibility.

          ** Some people have issues with restrictions imposed by their country of residence. Others can't afford it.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12 2014, @07:56PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12 2014, @07:56PM (#15486)

          Quit smoking.

          • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday March 12 2014, @09:56PM

            by c0lo (156) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @09:56PM (#15565) Journal
            I'm doing it. Quite often actually ;)
            --
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Taco Cowboy on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:16AM

    by Taco Cowboy (3489) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:16AM (#15174)

    I dunno why but somehow I feel uncomfortable seeing people already talking about "models of operation" of a certain thing when we do not even know if we will still be using the soylentnews.org domain in the first place.

    I may be a geek (always have been) but I do run businesses and do invest in many startups. The way business does thing is to be pragmatic - that is, we do not talk about the marketing plan before we have a product or before we have an idea how our product gonna look like, etc.

    First thing first - let's get back to the first cliff-hanger we have ---

    1. Are we going to use the soylentnews.org or not ?
    1a.

    If yes, use it.

    1b.

    If not, what other choice of domain name we are going to use ?

    Let's get this settle first, folks, before we start talking about the next step.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by quadrox on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:22AM

      by quadrox (315) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:22AM (#15178)

      This is not a product. We are not a company. We don't need to release anything to the public, let alone market it. We are here for us, not for some spreadsheet wielding overlords.

      Therefore the exact definition of how we want to ensure we can stay "free" is THE most imortant thing to discuss. When that is done, we can decide on the name according the organisational charter that we have chosen. Before we have that we cannot do anything without the risk of alienating part of the community. Only when we agree on how to operate and make decisions can we actually make those important decisions.

      • (Score: 0) by Taco Cowboy on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:29AM

        by Taco Cowboy (3489) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:29AM (#15184)

        Before you answer my comment, please read it, digest it, understand what I was saying, and then, reply.

        What is all with those "marketing people and executives need not apply" shit ???

        It has nothing to do with "marketing", man.

        The bit "marketing" that I used in my original message was to show that in order for us to get to second step, we must get the first obstacle licked.

        As of now, the first obstacle hasn't even been settled. We still do not know if soylentnews.org gonna be used or not, we still do not know which other domain names are in the "list" (as mentioned by someone else in another thread).

        Get that first obstacle licked first, and then we start discussing what kind of organization we gonna have. Or else it would be an exercise in futility.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by quadrox on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:36AM

          by quadrox (315) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:36AM (#15185)

          Your original comment does not make any sense to me - we didn't split from slashdot because we didn't like the name, we split because we didn't like the mode of operation. Therefore that is the important part

          If you view this differently, I can only attribute it the the two points you made in your post: The one being about marketing, the other being about your status as an executive.

          I can only say that from my POV your perspective is way off. Perhaps I misread the reason, but then it was your fault for putting something in that is ENTIRELY irrelevant to the topic.

      • (Score: 2, Funny) by Soruk on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:40PM

        by Soruk (484) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:40PM (#15287)

        <tongue location=cheek>
        1) Install SlashCode.
        2)
        3) Profit!

        </tongue>

    • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by Taco Cowboy on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:24AM

      by Taco Cowboy (3489) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:24AM (#15182)

      Just because I voiced out my opinion someone immediately modded my comment down with "redundant".

      Where is the "redundant" bit ? I have scanned all the other comments (so far 6) and there is *NO OTHER* comment that talked about the points that my comment above has brought up.

      Are we going to be as goddamn knee-jerk and as abusive as we did when we were in /. ?

      If the answer is yes, then damn this site as we damn /., for there is no point of having a discussion if someone mod a comment down with a frivolous excuse just because he or she does not agree with what that message has conveyed.

      If you guys want to behave just like those goddamn fuckers in /., stay back in /.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Open4D on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:36AM

        by Open4D (371) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:36AM (#15186) Journal

        I agree that your comment shouldn't have been modded down. I wonder if there's going to be meta-moderation at some point. Personally I'm keeping an eye on this [soylentnews.org].

        But I disagree about the name being the most important thing. In this thread [soylentnews.org] of today's Status Update story, I argued that we may want to consider sorting out our legal position before deciding on a permanent site name.

      • (Score: 4, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:16PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:16PM (#15208)

        I have mod points, but rather than mod you down I'm posting a reply to say nobody likes a whiner.

        • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:00PM

          You posted AC, so you could have done both.
          --
          My rights don't end where your fear begins.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:50PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:50PM (#15296)

            Actually I modded his original post up because I did think the "redundant" mod was unfair. The worst part about whiners is they're sometimes right.

          • (Score: 2, Informative) by cwix on Wednesday March 12 2014, @03:56PM

            by cwix (873) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @03:56PM (#15336)

            Actually no you cant.

            Mod a comment and then post AC and you will see at the top it undoes your moderations. It happened to me yesterday. It did this on /. as well.

            • (Score: 3, Informative) by efitton on Wednesday March 12 2014, @04:48PM

              by efitton (1077) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @04:48PM (#15377) Homepage

              You can do it if you sign out instead of "Post Anonymously"

              • (Score: 1) by cwix on Wednesday March 12 2014, @04:55PM

                by cwix (873) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @04:55PM (#15380)

                Well, yes I suppose that would work. Too much trouble for me though.

      • (Score: 1) by Peristaltic on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:26PM

        by Peristaltic (3122) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:26PM (#15277)

        Are we going to be as goddamn knee-jerk and as abusive as we did when we were in /. ?

        In a better world, it wouldn't happen, but this is a public site, and it's going to happen. The only way to significantly lessen the noise is to adopt something like the Hacker News moderation system, and while there is useful stuff to be dredged from the discussion over there, the attitude reminds me of a hipster coffee house in Soho. I don't think that would go over very well here.

        If you guys want to behave just like those goddamn fuckers in /., stay back in /.

        I understand the sentiment, but you're wasting your time holding back the tide with a rake. Take a step back and a deep breath, then do what most of us did on /. : browse the comments at 2 or 3 and let the moderation system work.

        • (Score: 1) by monster on Wednesday March 12 2014, @03:59PM

          by monster (1260) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @03:59PM (#15340) Journal

          I understand the sentiment, but you're wasting your time holding back the tide with a rake. Take a step back and a deep breath, then do what most of us did on /. : browse the comments at 2 or 3 and let the moderation system work.

          That doesn't work, unless someone actually browses at 0 or even -1 and upmod worthy comments. That is precisely the reason so many interesting comments in the other site were almost invisible, starting from 1 or 0 (even from ACs) while the obvious "¡OMG Ponies!" and links to XKCD would get +5.

          I can't speak for others, but for me this is a nascent community that needs encouraging for good behaviors and that is the reason I browse at -1 and almost always upmod instead of downmodding other comments. Please, applaud the good citizens before wooing the bad apples or just ignoring the masses (browsing at 2 and above). This is also the reason I have deactivated my "good karma" modifier: Anything I say should be weighted because of its value, not because it's me saying it. Anyway, that's just my opinion.

          • (Score: 1) by Peristaltic on Wednesday March 12 2014, @05:07PM

            by Peristaltic (3122) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @05:07PM (#15389)
            Yeah, I can't argue with that. Withdrawn.
          • (Score: 2) by mrcoolbp on Thursday March 13 2014, @05:02PM

            by mrcoolbp (68) <mrcoolbp@soylentnews.org> on Thursday March 13 2014, @05:02PM (#15984) Homepage

            As I understand it, you can browse at a higher threshold most of the time. If/when you are awarded modpoints, the convention is to make sure you change that to -1 for this reason.

            --
            (Score:1^½, Radical)
            • (Score: 1) by monster on Friday March 14 2014, @07:59AM

              by monster (1260) on Friday March 14 2014, @07:59AM (#16214) Journal

              But when that happens, are you going to re-read several articles to find those gems that you missed the first time, or will you simply go to those you haven't already read?

              Just my 2 cents.

    • (Score: 1) by harmar on Wednesday March 12 2014, @01:32PM

      by harmar (2020) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @01:32PM (#15247)

      Is your business successful? Seriously? You will create a product THEN see if there is a market for it? Sounds like a good way to burn up a lot of cash.
      You want to know if there is a market for your product, and how do you actually market your product before you make it...

    • (Score: 1) by GlennC on Wednesday March 12 2014, @04:21PM

      by GlennC (3656) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @04:21PM (#15350)

      I agree...get the foundation built first, then work on making it pretty.

      I'm also thinking that a new name and domain are a necessity, since nobody knows for sure about the intent of the person that bought out Barrabas.

      --
      Sorry folks...the world is bigger and more varied than you want it to be. Deal with it.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by bucc5062 on Wednesday March 12 2014, @04:34PM

      by bucc5062 (699) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @04:34PM (#15363)

      I think I got what bothered me about this post for on the surface there is some sense. Yet, while you claim a "geek" hat, you talk a little to much like a executive and the dissonance is jarring.

      Given that you invest in startups (can we talk, I got one in mind*) I figure you to step beyond the pragmatic at times and do what you 'feel' may be right. Not everything can be analayzed before a decision is made so we go with with may work, not always what will.

      Why not see that both can occur as discussion points. 1 - Who are we. that may take a little time to figure out and the process to get there *is* important so the overall body can feel accepting of that identity. Part of it is the name, part of it is the model by which is operates. As a fellow geek I understand that systems can run multiple threads, processing independent till the meet at the end. Similar to projects that can have parallel tasks that meet at a benchmark.

      This is how I see what is happening now. We have a name, but it is not established so in the interest of moving other aspects forward it is used as a substitute. In a survey then we could either say

      Do you like Soylentnews to be
      1 - For Profit
      2 - Non-profit
      3 - Free as in Beer
      4 - Cowboy Niel's bitch

      or

      Do you like [fill in the blank] to be
      1 - For Profit
      2 - Non-profit
      3 - Free as in Beer
      4 - Cowboy Niel's bitch

      while at the same time the other selection goes

      Do you want your [fill in the blank] business model to be named
      1 - NoMoreDrama.org
      2 - phucbeta.com
      3 - revoltisChaos.ru
      4 - CowboyNielsBitch.gov

      The two can be worked out in parallel, not just in series. So perhaps some folks didn't get that you had a valid point, but it was a little to coached in a language many of us don't like to read. jat

      * (OT) I'd love to start up a small horse farm providing boarding, training, and local events. My logjam is two much real estate rich, and equity poor. If I can get someone to just buy one or both of my properties (turn around and sell em) I can get the loan to this farm. (sigh), the struggle of the middle class is not that we don't want to work (we do) or that we don't want to start a business (we do), but we don't have the access to and capability to take the risk without catastrophic failure. In my case, I'll most likely lose this dream for I cannot carry three loans till I get rid of two, though I wont stop dreaming. Anyway, that's my start up story.

      --
      The more things change, the more they look the same
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by quadrox on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:17AM

    by quadrox (315) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:17AM (#15175)

    Charity: I do not see this site/community as such. The word charity implies that any contribution (financially or otherwise) is done without expectation of something in return - but what I want (the community) to have in return is control of the site. Therefore I see this as a bad choice.

    Co-op: I am leaning towards this option, probably 2c because this makes it more explicit that the site is by the community for the community. Community remains in control, everything is good.

    Recreational club: Community is in control, which is great. But I feel that the spirit of this site is more of a co-op than a club. But I'm ok with this choice if need be.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:55AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:55AM (#15200)

      When I read "community control", all sorts of adages spring to mind, including "too many cooks in the kitchen" and "designing a horse by committee".

      The truth is that an organization, even a non-profit, needs a strong leader. Decisions by committee often fail [mindyourdecisions.com] and ultimately, you want a leader who can be changed if they are not going in a direction that you like.

      • (Score: 2) by quadrox on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:10PM

        by quadrox (315) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:10PM (#15206)

        You make a good point, even though it was never my intention to let the community vote on every single decision. The daily operation is of course left to staff and management.

        But the community should decide the direction and be able to veto major unwanted changes (or initiate desired changes).

        • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Peristaltic on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:36PM

          by Peristaltic (3122) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:36PM (#15282)

          But the community should decide the direction and be able to veto major unwanted changes (or initiate desired changes).

          And there you go. Yes.

          Run it using the non-profit model and create some kind of "power user" perk for which members may pay something like $15 / year. The perk doesn't have to be over the top, just something to create a notion of extra value for members that care about the site.

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:10PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:10PM (#15267)

      No, no, that's not what "charity" means in this context. In this context it basically means "not-for-profit" from a US legal perspective, THAT'S ALL. It can be classified as, for example, an educational foundation. Plenty of "charitable" organizations even perform services for hire.

      This is CLEARLY the right choice out of the three -- there's no reason any few should profit greatly from a supposed community site. You have reasonably paid staff and a paid/volunteer board of directors. That's it.

      This is NOT reinventing the wheel -- just look at any number of not-for-profits, from JREF to Red Cross to the Salvation Army. In the tech world there's FSF, Debian, Apache, Mozilla...

      Not a lawyer, but I think this place needs one soon.

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12 2014, @03:58PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12 2014, @03:58PM (#15338)

        The Red Cross compensates its president/CEO north of half a million dollars a year [snopes.com]. JREF's president is compensated to the tune of $200,000 [wikipedia.org] a year. Are you comfortable paying someone a triple-digit salary for running this website? Are you comfortable paying ten people who run the website this salary? Your "there's no reason any few should profit greatly from a supposed community site" indicates that you are not.

        I'm guessing your solution involves by arbitrarily deciding what's a "fair" wage for someone else. But if the workers are based in the mid-west, $100,000 a year would be a very good compensation. If they're in San Francisco (proper), they're making minimum wage when you factor in the housing. And if you hired one person from each city to do the same job (let's say being an editor), would you pay them differently? Or would you only hire people from places that have low incomes to keep the cost down? In that case, why not get the maximum savings by outsourcing everything to India? What exactly is your plan here?

    • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Wednesday March 12 2014, @03:00PM

      by hemocyanin (186) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @03:00PM (#15305) Journal

      I think I like 2(b) the best. I'm not involved with this site in any manner beyond user, but, I think that 2(b) would encourage those who are doing the heavy lifting of making it available, to do the best work they can because of the opportunity for distributed personal profit amongst the workers. This is also increases the incentive for the site workers to prevent any single person from wresting control of the site, and secondly, it doesn't create a situation where some corporate overlord torpedos everything for extreme concentrated personal profit at the expense of users and site workers.

      I feel I would benefit because the site workers would feel greater motivation to keep the site going, rather than experience charity burnout or any of the stuff surrounding that ("it was fun but I need to earn a living" -- "it was fun but I have a real job and a family and need the time back" -- "it isn't fun and I'm not getting paid so fuck it").

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by The Mighty Buzzard on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:18AM

    Just to declarify, many charities do pay their admins and staff. Well even, judging by the suits many of them wear. When was the last time you saw Shaprton in anything off the rack?

    How about as a [for|non]-profit with revenue beyond staff payment, overhead, and reinvestment being donated to the charit[y|ies] chosen by the community?

    --
    My rights don't end where your fear begins.
    • (Score: 1) by strength_of_10_men on Wednesday March 12 2014, @01:16PM

      by strength_of_10_men (909) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @01:16PM (#15238)
      I second this. I was going to suggest a "Newman's Own" kind of model where SN itself is a for-profit but donates all post-tax net income to a separate SN non-profit. That way the site can be run as a business and still be a "charity".
    • (Score: 1) by bootsy on Wednesday March 12 2014, @06:54PM

      by bootsy (3440) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @06:54PM (#15441)

      I agree with the above. There are some more extreme examples of this, see the pay off ( never mind the annual wage ) that ex-head of Amnesty International got when they left. I find it obscene.

      http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/N ational/article555707.ece [thesundaytimes.co.uk]

      (it's a link to Murdoch owned site but you can use your favoured search engine to find another )

      You can be very, very well paid working for a charity.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by geb on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:22AM

    by geb (529) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:22AM (#15180)

    Splitting the core elements of the site (news, comments, journals and so on) into free and paid areas would be divisive and bad for the growth of such a new site.

    Adding on extra features so that people can pay for those, while leaving the core elements free, would be difficult. I suspect that most people paying would just be doing so as a form of donation. (You could in fact just have people paying to recieve an "I donated" icon on their user page)

    What there is right now is a site with an uncertain future but lots of people who want to see it succeed. Take donations, see how long you can run on donations alone, and then make changes if that doesn't work.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by MOS6510 on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:22PM

      by MOS6510 (3732) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:22PM (#15210)

      I'd have to agree with this comment. Considering the amount of interest this site has generated in such a short amount of time, I imagine any expenses for growth, maintenance, etc could be funded by donations alone.

      It's obvious there's a lot of buzz being generated around SN, maybe granting donors a special status like "Gold" or "Silver" members based upon the amount committed on a yearly basis could be an additional incentive to donate.

      Anyway, kudos to everyone involved in getting this site up and running! I'm very excited to see a worthy alternative to ./ spring up and look forward to watching it mature.

      --
      g=c800:5
    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:32PM

      by c0lo (156) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:32PM (#15214) Journal

      True, but it doesn't need to be divisive.

      If you really like the community site, you are going to fork something like the equiv of 1 week coffee for at entire year to pay for maintenance, dev and staff, aren't you?

      Otherwise, with a "guest" account, you can still be able to access all the functionality of the site, but within a limit of... say... 50 posts per day?

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by The Mighty Buzzard on Wednesday March 12 2014, @01:58PM

        Um, hell no. Paywalls of any kind never, ever do anything but utterly demolish a site's readership. There are plenty of other ways to give paying members additional benefit without taking anything away from the people who make the site.
        --
        My rights don't end where your fear begins.
        • (Score: 1) by Soruk on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:46PM

          by Soruk (484) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:46PM (#15293)

          Linux Weekly News seem to have made this work.

          The paywall is temporary, articles are made free to view (and comment on) after a week. Paying subscribers get the current news as it's posted.

        • (Score: 1) by captaindeerface on Thursday March 13 2014, @09:50AM

          by captaindeerface (2029) on Thursday March 13 2014, @09:50AM (#15778)

          This a thousand times!
          Paywalls be damned!
          -Captain Deerface

    • (Score: 1) by G-forze on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:13PM

      by G-forze (1276) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:13PM (#15269)

      I suspect that most people paying would just be doing so as a form of donation. (You could in fact just have people paying to recieve an "I donated" icon on their user page)

      Agreed. An "I donated" icon and the right to vote in important matters concerning the site (if one has donated some sufficient sum within some timeframe, that is) would probably be satisfactory to most of us.

      --
      If I run into the term "SJW", I stop reading.
    • (Score: 1) by Reziac on Wednesday March 12 2014, @03:49PM

      by Reziac (2489) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @03:49PM (#15331) Homepage

      I agree. The story/comment system should be free for all. Otherwise you're going to wind up with elites and marginalized, which is manifestly contrary to the spirit.

      Working as a co-op, maybe -- but the structure needs to be kept as simple as possible. Otherwise there's going to be unfairness and hard feelings as too many corner cases worm their way in.

      I've been a subscriber over on Slashdot since around 2001. It's probably cost me all of $20 total, which with the small benefits made it a good value for my miserly budget.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Open4D on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:25AM

    by Open4D (371) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:25AM (#15183) Journal

    Bonus question: which jurisdiction should we set ourselves up in to fulfil our mission most effectively?

    There's an argument that most of what you've said above is quite specific to one jurisdiction. The USA, I presume?

    Whoever is going to make the decision, I would encourage them to consider shopping for jurisdictions (as I mentioned in this thread [soylentnews.org] of today's Status Update story).

    Perhaps some existing group like the FSF have people who'd be happy to give unofficial advice on these kinds of decisions? It seems [fsfe.org] there are actually 4 FSF organizations in various parts of the world. I wonder which of those is happiest with its legal status.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Cornwallis on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:38PM

      by Cornwallis (359) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:38PM (#15217)

      I like the FSF connection idea. (FSF and EFF are the only orgs I belong to.) In any event, don't base the org in the US!

      • (Score: 1) by mrchew1982 on Thursday March 13 2014, @03:29AM

        by mrchew1982 (3565) on Thursday March 13 2014, @03:29AM (#15671)

        Is there any way that either of those organizations would help us draft our legal papers? If not pro bono, then maybe a "friends of open source" discounted rate?

    • (Score: 1) by mrclisdue on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:40PM

      by mrclisdue (680) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:40PM (#15219)

      Thanks for the links; was scanning this thread for exactly this ....

      cheers,

  • (Score: 1) by neuromancer on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:36AM

    by neuromancer (3736) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:36AM (#15187)

    I suggest you to go all free. Something like wikipedia, besides the criticism that there is regarding wikipedia money speeding.
    Create a simple and comprehensive structure, that allows everyone to know how stuff works and who is in charge of what and what to do when things go wrong. I'm not sure about the legal framework, in Brazil i guess that is more easy to make NGO than a Foundation and there is a lot of tax free incentives and government founding - US should probably be the same.
     

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Thexalon on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:40AM

    by Thexalon (636) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:40AM (#15189)

    Either a charity or a workers' co-op would both move things in a reasonably good direction.

    - If it's a charity, that will ensure that contributions of time and money go to the good of the site and not to line anyone's pockets. That would at the very least reduce the chance of another round of drama whenever NCommander decides to do something else.
    - If it's a workers' co-op, then those who do the work will get rewarded for their efforts. That's good too, especially if you make it relatively easy for people to go from being non-working users to workers.

    Both systems can allow for straw polling of the membership to make any critical decisions. In either case, I'd recommend having the membership vote in a board that will set the direction and policy of the entire organization.

    --
    Alcohol makes the world go round ... and round and round.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by gallondr00nk on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:57AM

    by gallondr00nk (392) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @11:57AM (#15201)

    As far as I'm concerned, there are two things I wish to avoid:

    1: One "Lennart" style alpha type having control and changing everything arbitrarily, coding the whole thing in javascript etc.

    2: The site being sold, closed or otherwise having ownership transferred against the wishes of the userbase and staff.

    3: The site being transformed into an MBA focused cash grab.

    I think we were lucky with Slashdot, in so much that it went through three or four owners without really impacting the site. It could well have been that a Dice like entity could have bought and gutted it back in the early 2000's.

    I'd feel a worker co-op is the best way to avoid this. With proper transparency and an actual formalised, clear way of making decisions, I think the site would flourish. I'd be happy with the site volunteers having the majority of the decision making process, as long as the wider community had some way to participate. I think that from the outset, we should organise a structure that prevents any one (or a few) individuals from having overall control.

    This would require another slashcode site open to members only with a banner on the main page detailing vote schedules and such - keeping it all on the main page is disrupting the flow of the site.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Marneus68 on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:35PM

    by Marneus68 (3572) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:35PM (#15215) Homepage

    What about using that wonderful poll thingy we have ?

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Thexalon on Wednesday March 12 2014, @03:35PM

      by Thexalon (636) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @03:35PM (#15322)

      Here's why, in a nutshell:

      This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.

      --
      Alcohol makes the world go round ... and round and round.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by gishzida on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:59PM

    by gishzida (2870) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @12:59PM (#15229) Journal

    A non-profit organization can do all of 1, 2, 3 -- if they so choose [go look at Smithsonian or National Geographic]. Non-profits can make money and pay employees they just can't sell themselves out as 10M web sites for personal gain. For example U.S. based Credit Unions are "non-profit financial organizations" and just like real banks the employees get paid.

    The problem I see for myself is that "mandatory monitory contributions" [i.e. Pay to Play] will effectively shut out anyone of "limited means" from participating. I happen to be of limited means now and for the foreseeable future. I imagine there are others who have similar problems. I can understand if you choose to shut us out [gotta pay the bills after all] but think before you do. Community is not just the well heeled.. I also hope you will consider that a "private boy's club" is no more appealing than DICE using the other place as a prospective recruiting and marketing pool.

    Luxumborg is optional but I'd say that that an EU state [and non-US / UK hosting] would be better than any of the players in the "Big Brother Spying Club". I realize that it probably won't eliminate "the man behind the curtain" but at least the EU actually has privacy laws... and at least some might get redress under EU law for bad behavior by the "secret squirrels government".

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by robp on Wednesday March 12 2014, @01:22PM

      by robp (3485) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @01:22PM (#15244)

      (My unorganized, sleepless two cents.)

      I agree with this call for a non-profit without mandatory paid for services. Ideally, there would be reasonable projections of continued cost over time available, and most of the funds would go into paying for servers and operational support. I think some sort of compensation for editors would be nice, but realistically, how many editors do you need for the volume of stories posted in a day? Is that really a full-time job for anyone? I can see having a couple supervising editors on staff, but I don't see that supporting tons of paid people at this scale. I don't know what the current structure is now, but I'm sure you could find a number of people willing to volunteer a subset of their time.

      Personally, I've been using the other site since about 1999, mostly as a consumer, would use mod points if I got em, and rarely commented. From time to time I saw an ad that was relevant to me (in the days before adblockers were common) and would click on it. However, I would *never* consider paying a dime to the other site because as much as I liked it, it's not the kind of thing I would value paying a monthly fee for. They make more than their fair share off of advertisements and slashvertisemnts for what is essentially all user-generated content. I really do appreciate the community of commenters, but do I appreciate it at say $5/mo, when there are tons of alternatives? Not really.

      If Soylent were run as a non-profit, I would be willing to donate from time to time, but if I had to pay for any significant functionality, I would simply go elsewhere. To put it bluntly, I'm not going to pay for a nostalgic HTML layout. I would *donate* to see a cool thing happen, as long as there is reasonable transparency on how the funds are used as well.

      All that being said, I am cautiously optimistic about the future of the site, and would love to be part of this community. Just remember that you're competing against the other site and pretty much the rest of the internet, so don't try and go too big with things.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:11PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:11PM (#15268)

      I have no problem with paying for services as long as there is still a way to preserve privacy. I am not willing to pay via paypal as it links an account name to an actual person. Please consider allowing anonymous payment methods such as bitcoin, or simply cash mailed in an envelop with a requested username and password.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by timbim on Wednesday March 12 2014, @01:06PM

    by timbim (907) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @01:06PM (#15231)

    Just throw some damned ads on the side and be done with it. Nobody's going to pay for a membership. Man, you nerds really over think thinks sometimes.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by jt on Wednesday March 12 2014, @01:31PM

      by jt (2890) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @01:31PM (#15246)

      Simple is always good. I understand that SN came to exist as a result of dissatisfaction with the business organization of Slashdot, hence the unusually early discussion of these matters, but equally we should keep organization to the bare minimum. We can always add more structure later if we need it.

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by Vanderhoth on Wednesday March 12 2014, @01:56PM

      by Vanderhoth (61) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @01:56PM (#15258)

      Ah... I'd pay a membership fee to avoid seeing stupid ads. One I was getting a lot was someone holding some kind of a small transparent jelly with red veins and blood with the caption "want to lose weight, eat this and find out how!"

      I can't remember the last time I bought a physical item online, but recently took an interest in electric circuits and bought a couple of small DC motors from Amazon about a week ago. Now I have an ad for DC motors which is actually tolerable to look at, had I known spending $40 on Amazon was all that was required to get the disgusting slime off every site I visited I would have bought something sooner. I'd pay a membership fee just to have this as one of three sites I frequent where I'm not forced to look at highly non-work appropriate nearly naked cartoon women trying to sell me on some MMORPG or some crappy weight loss ad, I'm 5'9" and 180lb why the fuck do I need to lose weight?

      Not to mention these are not the kinds of things I want people reading over my shoulder when I'm Googling stuff to see. Mostly because a) I like games in my off time, I don't need ads for them plastered all over my work space. b) I know it's inappropriate and co-workers shouldn't be subject to it. But especially c) since we have a very strict sexual harassment policy and quite a few extreme feminist kicking around my office looking for any reason they can find to have the guys around here fired. Not the "women are awesome and I'm proud to be one" kind of feminist, the "your a man and must suffer the death of a thousand suns even though you've always been nice to me and have never given me a reason to hate you, actually you've saved my butt on a number of occasions and I should thank you, but you were born as part of gender I hate on principal" kind of feminist.

      --
      "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
      • (Score: 1) by radial-flyer on Wednesday March 12 2014, @01:59PM

        by radial-flyer (1020) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @01:59PM (#15261)

        I vote the route of charity.

        What about providing ads by default, allowing people to block them, and allowing for premium payments as well?

        • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Vanderhoth on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:36PM

          by Vanderhoth (61) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:36PM (#15283)

          That I'm ok with. On the other news site I appreciated being able to click the little check box to disable ads. I'd have no problem paying a premium so I don't have to see them and letting anyone who just wants to leach from the site deal with them their own way.

          --
          "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by melikamp on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:53PM

          by melikamp (1886) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:53PM (#15298) Journal

          I believe that unsolicited advertisement should die. It is brainwashing, and pushing it on people who didn't ask for it is unethical.

          On the other hand, solicited advertisement is perfectly fine. I strongly urge the stuff to implement opt-in ads. No one should be able to see any ads by default, but if a user clicks a "upport this site" link, they should be offered to get to see ads. This can be done even for ACs, with a simple cookie. As long as ads are tastefully done, this should provide at least some revenue.

          Commenting on the other posts in this thread, I would never pay a ransom to make ads go away. I simply don't trust anyone who is already pushing unsolicited ads. They will surely take my money, and then a week later will start pushing "unobtrusive text-only ads", or "relevant links from our sponsors"... They will come up with some bullshit excuse why their ads are not ads (looking at you, NPR). Fuck it. Be ethical, don't be a dick to your readers and contributors, and you may actually see some cash from me.

          • (Score: 1) by timbim on Wednesday March 12 2014, @05:25PM

            by timbim (907) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @05:25PM (#15401)

            I just figured everyone uses AdBlock anyway. Ya know?

            • (Score: 2) by melikamp on Wednesday March 12 2014, @05:29PM

              by melikamp (1886) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @05:29PM (#15404) Journal
              I don't think that's true, and there are straightforward ways to defeat it anyway. If you think about it, seeing how no one is actively trying to defeat the blocking, one could guess that only a small proportion of users even heard of adblock.
        • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday March 12 2014, @05:49PM

          by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 12 2014, @05:49PM (#15409)

          Flip it?

          Subscribers either see ads and pay no money, or see no ads and pay a modest amount of money.

          Anonymous cowards and regular account holders by default see no ads.

          But, if you subscribe, either way you "pay" for it, you get a little thumbs up icon next to your name on every post.

          This should make everyone happy and generate at least some revenue?

          At great cost in coding, you could probably generalize "ads" not just to banner ads but also outright soilvertisements and cheesy reviews and affiliate link stories. Again, no need to torture the general public or drive anti-ad people insane, but those who are cool with helping the site make a little money, either directly or indirectly, get the ads. Or if not, that's OK, no change.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by jt on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:00PM

        by jt (2890) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:00PM (#15262)

        Agreed that adverts are never welcome. Besides which, we all block adverts in our browsers anyway?

        • (Score: 2) by Vanderhoth on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:34PM

          by Vanderhoth (61) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:34PM (#15281)

          I'd block ads, but most of the blockers I've tried wreak havoc with my web development and I'm too lazy/forgetful to switch the blocking on and off so most of the time it ends up just being left off anyway. When I do remember to turn it on I forget about it while I'm working and will spend hours trying to figure out why somethings not working or doesn't look quite right. Also IE and compatibility mode F things up, but I've blamed IE for issues I thought were related to compatibility mode, that were actually caused by an ad blocker and vice versa. So unfortunately for me I see the ads so I know when things aren't working it's not because of a third party browser plug-in.

          --
          "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
          • (Score: 1) by SuperCharlie on Wednesday March 12 2014, @10:09PM

            by SuperCharlie (2939) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @10:09PM (#15577)

            Kinda same boat here, however, I use different browsers for developmet (Firefox) and personal (Opera for now) which lets me use the adblock and not forget to turn it off for dev. Also keeps my bookmarks and logins, yada kinda straight.

            • (Score: 2) by Vanderhoth on Wednesday March 12 2014, @10:18PM

              by Vanderhoth (61) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @10:18PM (#15581)

              Just found out today from the technology services group they're banning Firefox in our Windows 7 upgrades based on an impact report done last year. So only IE 9 and Chrome will be approved browsers, and Chrome will be extra locked down, because you know it's less secure than IE 9.

              Where do they get these security advisor from?

              --
              "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
      • (Score: 1) by timbim on Wednesday March 12 2014, @05:21PM

        by timbim (907) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @05:21PM (#15398)

        holy shit man, I'm sorry about the militant feminists. That's no fun! What line of work are you in? I guess it's not IT.

        • (Score: 2) by Vanderhoth on Wednesday March 12 2014, @06:46PM

          by Vanderhoth (61) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @06:46PM (#15440)

          I am in IT, but I work with a lot of non-IT people from other teams in our group, and there are a lot of groups made up of a lot of other teams in my organization, who deal with data collection (mostly men), quality control (50/50), HR and other clerical work (mostly women). Most of my team (data processing and development) is made up of very talented people, at least half of which are women and the women I work directly with are brilliant, laid back and easy to work with. It seems it's the women in other groups, HR specifically, that have chips on their shoulders. There are only really a couple of women that seem to spend their whole days pacing up and down the cube farm poking their noses in on what other people are doing, specifically the men in data collection and development, and criticizing their work. Two of these women in particular have made their positions on men in the work place very well known publicly and have been spoken to about their attitudes and blatant discrimination, but obviously they can't be let go. Actually it's not obvious at all, but for some reason even after repeatedly starting conflicts by sticking their noses in on what others are doing and being told to bugger off they're still at it.

          --
          "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by ancientt on Wednesday March 12 2014, @07:49PM

      by ancientt (40) <ancientt@yahoo.com> on Wednesday March 12 2014, @07:49PM (#15476) Homepage Journal

      Speaking as someone who still has a paid membership to slashdot, I humbly beg to differ.

      I find advertising generally irritating, but particular types of advertising unacceptable. To browse the web with sanity, I use adblock and noscript pretty heavily. There are a few places where I've appreciated what they had to offer enough that I was willing to throw a few dollars, just a few, toward supporting them. Mostly it is limited to sites that I actively participate on and want to survive. (Slashdot has probably gotten their last contribution from me. Even though I still hope they turn around and fix their issues, I'm not optimistic.)

      I would happily add SoylentNews to the list. Probably. If they pick a different name, then it is more likely.

      You know what I'd like to see? Two polls. One for fun and one where each vote costs $1 with a limit of ten votes per account for voting on site issues and features. Add the disclaimer that "We reserve the right to ignore the results of a poll but try to take them seriously."

      --
      This post brought to you by Database Barbie
    • (Score: 1) by PoiBoy on Wednesday March 12 2014, @08:38PM

      by PoiBoy (3713) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @08:38PM (#15511)

      But don't all good nerds use adblock?

  • (Score: 1) by velex on Wednesday March 12 2014, @01:37PM

    by velex (2068) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @01:37PM (#15251) Journal

    All of those options sound good to me. I think the important question is when push comes to shove, who gets to make the final call? That needs to be resolved first before we have more drama.

    It sounds like the consensus is that the site will be guided by the community, but what does that mean? A simple majority vote among registered UIDs? I think that would be unwise.

    There needs to be an understanding (perhaps provisional bylaws?) in place about the process we'll use to make this decision and that once the decision is made, for better or for worse, that's the direction the site is going in until such time that it would be prudent to revisit that decision. (And of course, procedures and officers who would be able to make that determination as well.)

    My $0.02 is that pay-to-play would be bad. Pay-to-play will discourage the influx of folks from the other site we need at this point.

    At the same time, I like the idea of rewarding folks who donate/subscribe. An extra +1 in addition to karma bonus or maybe even some kind of silver or gold badge-type-thing that could go next to their UID below a comment's subject would be good--something simple that doesn't force new people or refugees from the other site to pony up before joining the club but recognizes individuals who are helping keep the lights on.

    I also wouldn't be put off by text ads or by tactful, unobtrusive image ads. I only used my karma bonus on the other site to disable ads a few times (when the t-shirt ads got too annoying) and I browse logged out most of the time.

    There is plenty of time to decide on details. The important thing right now is to get a written framework in place to decide how to answer the question of what kind of entity, form the legal entity, and move forward from there.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by SomeRandomGeek on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:09PM

    by SomeRandomGeek (856) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:09PM (#15266)

    I have a lot of trouble with determining the organization of the site by deciding which of a bunch of unrelated things it should be 'like.'

    Instead, we should enumerate the key features that we wish the site to have, then choose an organizational structure that enables it.

    For me, those key features include (in no particular order):

    0) Mission improve our understanding and entertainment through interesting news and high quality discussion
    1) Right to fork
    2) Free and gratis to read
    3) Free and gratis to comment
    4) Staff drawn from the community
    5) Moderation by the community
    6) Major decisions taken after sufficient community discussion to generate informed opinions
    7) Staff environment such that people might actually want to do the job
    8) Not for profit
    9) Contributors can choose what they want to support: Hosting, editing, software platform, marketing, etc.

    • (Score: 2) by dmc on Thursday March 13 2014, @11:40PM

      by dmc (188) on Thursday March 13 2014, @11:40PM (#16129)

      mod parent up. Only thing I would add is a strong desire to find a way to do it without ads. The more ads I see, the more I'll personally aim to hit (1) with the ad-less mod.

  • (Score: 1) by VitalMoss on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:15PM

    by VitalMoss (3789) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:15PM (#15271)

    While I see the merits of the other options, having other services tied to this website and ran by the users would be a lot more beneficial as a whole. If one person knows what we want in our services, it's us.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Hannibal on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:32PM

    by Hannibal (1589) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:32PM (#15280)

    If it's anything like the UK then setting up as a recreational club is far, far easier than setting up as a charity or any other form of corporate body. Charities have to justify why they're a charity, as opposed to for example, a LLP, LTD etc. Even if you have can get set up then you have to start considering accounts, audits, trustees & executives, not to mention ultra vires spending etc. Become a recreational club and if there's a real need for a function that doesn't allow, *then* consider a more complex organisation.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 13 2014, @05:45AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 13 2014, @05:45AM (#15716)

      Why the bloody hell would you put ANYTHING with a need for free speech in a country that adores prior restraints on journalism? That would be the death of this site.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by lhsi on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:39PM

    by lhsi (711) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:39PM (#15286) Journal

    Wouldn't it be a good idea to pick a funding model first and then select an organisational structure that best fits that?

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Lukehasnoname on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:41PM

    by Lukehasnoname (3303) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:41PM (#15289) Homepage

    Full access to the site for free. Users can contribute for tags and recognition, and (as someone else suggested) "sponsor" a part of the site, such as development dollars or hosting, SSL, IRC hosting, etc.

    Transparency in funding. Personnel, hosting, legal, so on.

    Ads? You can try, but so many people have blockers now I don't know how it'd work. Don't do sponsored stories. Ask for money from the community before selling out that hard. Don't get greedy; keep the site afloat and perhaps employ one or two people happily on it, if it gets to that.

  • (Score: 1) by egcagrac0 on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:55PM

    by egcagrac0 (2705) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @02:55PM (#15301)

    Just because the site is owned by a corporation doesn't mean that we have the goal of making as much money as possible at the expense of the community.

    Make the stated goals "foster community, cover the bills, and pay the staff a little something for their time".

    As for funding, put ads on the site, and offer subscriptions (suggest $26/yr to get "reduced ads", $52/yr for "no ads"... that's a dollar a week (or every two weeks), which should be within the means of many). If you want to go crazy, a small store offering coffee mugs, bumper stickers and the like (not unlike Fark) might do well.

    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday March 12 2014, @05:55PM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 12 2014, @05:55PM (#15415)

      "If you want to go crazy, a small store offering coffee mugs"

      If we're going to tiptoe around the existing "soylent" food product trademark, I say F it and go gonzo and start selling actual Soylent in the store. The real meal replacement stuff not the "made of people" from the movie.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by bradley13 on Wednesday March 12 2014, @03:14PM

    by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 12 2014, @03:14PM (#15311) Homepage Journal

    To some extent, deciding on the jurisdiction may have a huge impact on the form. Just as an example, here in Switzerland you would have the possibility to become a "Verein", which is a very official form of club. You must have bylaws, finances, and so forth. However, you are not subject to the type of regulations (and, usually, taxes) applied to corporations. As a "club", you have to have meetings, the people running the show must be elected in annual meetings, and so forth.

    It seems to me that this kind of organization could make a lot of sense - it is automatically community based, you are not prohibited from selling things (clubs have to finance themselves), etc, etc...

    However, you also need to base the organisation where at least some of the staff and a portion of the community is located. Whatever form and whatever jurisdiction, there will be legal requirements to fulfill, and some of those involve a warm body showing up at a government office.

    Someone asked "why not the US". The answer from my perspective is "because the US has joined the dark side". With an arrogant government that thinks it can apply US laws anywhere in the world, with the NSA, with the IRS - the US is no longer the good guy. Any gesture to reduce the dominance of the US over the Internet, is a gesture worth making.

    --
    Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by tomp on Wednesday March 12 2014, @03:55PM

    by tomp (996) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @03:55PM (#15335)

    I think you're right on the mark from the perspective of the audience. However, far off the mark from the perspective of the community. The community cares.

    A big part of the reason we're here is that other sites place the desires of their audience above the needs of their community. Please guys, don't make the same mistake here.

    • (Score: 1) by tomp on Wednesday March 12 2014, @03:58PM

      by tomp (996) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @03:58PM (#15339)

      D'Oh! misthreaded. Nothing to see here, move along.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by everdred on Wednesday March 12 2014, @04:28PM

    by everdred (110) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 12 2014, @04:28PM (#15357) Homepage Journal

    I'm not sure where I come down on what the particular financial structure should be.

    I do know that I'm willing to support the site (at least in its current form) financially, but only under the condition that it be free for others to use, regardless of payment. I know that others can't or won't pay up, or want to be anonymous... and that's fine with me. Their voices should be welcome here too, and in equal volume to those who pay.

    I'm iffy on the idea of extra services. I can't help but feel like it has the potential to create two classes of users, even if the features aren't "core." But I could be wrong.

    I'm sure I'm not the only one willing to open their wallet simply because it means the site continues to exist.

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by randmcnatt on Wednesday March 12 2014, @04:37PM

    by randmcnatt (671) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @04:37PM (#15365)

    I was closely associated with a non-profit organization, a merchants' association disguised as a historical preservation society, writing the bylaws and charter and serving as the first chairman and president. We went with a 501(c)3 organization, which most folks do, because it can go pretty much any direction you want. I would hope other countries have similar structures.

    You can have paying members if you want, but they're not required. We have charter members, who get a vote on the board -- it weeds out the really interested from the just curious and trolls -- and sustaining members who want to support the organization but don’t want to get personally involved. They get a newsletter and front-row seats.

    You can accept advertising which you might have to pay taxes on, but might not have to (the rules are a bit arcane). You can accept straight donations. You can reimburse board members and officers expenses. You can outright pay staff.

    We also set things up that it takes 3-10 years to fully replace the board, unless board members resign, which prevents a palace revolt.

    As an aside, the whole set-up was just as difficult and messy as the creation of SoylentNews, and this was just a neighborhood business owners' club.

    --
    The Wright brothers were not the first to fly: they were the first to land.
  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by kbahey on Wednesday March 12 2014, @04:39PM

    by kbahey (1147) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @04:39PM (#15370) Homepage

    The coop thing is not workable for a site that exists for its contributors and regular visitors.

    So, this leaves the charity as the only realistic option. We still need to define how the site makes money (ads, subscriptions, donations, and/or sponsorships) to pay for hosting, and some staff, while also retaining some unpaid volunteers.

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by skullz on Wednesday March 12 2014, @04:45PM

    by skullz (2532) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @04:45PM (#15375)

    Just say "Don't Be Evil" then start making money. That always seems to work.

  • (Score: 1) by SuperCharlie on Wednesday March 12 2014, @05:17PM

    by SuperCharlie (2939) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @05:17PM (#15394)

    I was thinking about this the other night and came up with some ways to help monitize the place. First off, ya gotta have a geek shop with shirts, printed USB drives, keychains, coffee cups, yada. Come up with unique geeky swag.
     
      The next idea was in the vein of collectable (ish) icons, tokens, etc.. tier them at different price points like $10 get you a little icon by your name with "SuperGeek", $20 gets you "Nerdmaster" or whatever.. higher prices get you swag + icon, etc.. make it fun and add new ones on a regular basis.
     
      The most important one for me is to always have a free level both for newbys to get wet and for people who just want to participate.
     
    Im not sure which model this fits in, but theres my 2 cents. Good luck.

    • (Score: 1) by welshmnt on Thursday March 13 2014, @08:10AM

      by welshmnt (1311) on Thursday March 13 2014, @08:10AM (#15758)

      Soylent-NUDES?
      Remember the women's institute nudes calendar? Sell something similar with us as the pinups!
      Some of us buff surely(?) plus some neck-beard basement dwellers :) .

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Geezer on Wednesday March 12 2014, @05:21PM

    by Geezer (511) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @05:21PM (#15397)

    I'm kind of liking the idea of a co-op arrangement. It lends itself well to diversified ownership, and continuity of existence in case of conflict.

    As to jurisdiction/venue, I'm inclined toward any non-aligned entity with a good record of respecting the rule of law and basic common sense. Iceland or Switzerland come to mind. Costa Rica is a possibility as well.

  • (Score: 1) by Wakaranai on Wednesday March 12 2014, @06:40PM

    by Wakaranai (486) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @06:40PM (#15436)
    There's a platform 13 km off the UK coast that refers to itself as the Principality of Sealand [wikipedia.org], and claims to the world's smallest country.

    In 2007, The Pirate Bay apparently considered buying it [theregister.co.uk]

    Now it appears that Sealand are getting into the server market [sealandgov.org]
  • (Score: 1) by freesword on Wednesday March 12 2014, @08:44PM

    by freesword (1018) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @08:44PM (#15513)

    Don't pick a structure and try to fit into it!

    Define what the site should be and how you want it run and then pick the structure that will let you achieve this.

    The news and commenting need to remain free with no paywall or membership requirement. This is the core that the site/community is built on. Barriers to entry will only weaken it.

    Benefits for subscription/donation are not a bad thing. Access to group buy (as in the buyers co-op) or e-mail accounts (listed in the club description but not exclusive to that structure) would be good perks to encourage subscriptions without creating an elitist sub-group. Having a retail outlet component for "geek swag" was mentioned, and this would in addition to a revenue option offer another possible perk of subscriber discounts. The key is they are a bonus and not tied to the core news/commenting functionality of the site.

    I do feel that subscriber/donor perks should not include buying "voting rights" or any other controlling interest in the site as this could be open to being leveraged and abused.

    If advertising revenue becomes a necessary evil, then care should be taken to keep it unobtrusive.

    While I admit to a very limited knowledge of business structure and legal matters, I feel what I just described appears to fit best with the buyer's co-op option, but I could be wrong.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by whisperjeff on Wednesday March 12 2014, @09:59PM

    by whisperjeff (2111) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @09:59PM (#15569)

    My two cents (late to the discussion) are simple - whatever the site becomes, if I get a sense that it is becoming biased to drive page views and spark controversy, I'm gone.

    I want a site that posts interesting stories for discussion and sparks interesting and informative discussion, regardless of whether I agree with the points raised or not. I want it to be _INFORMATIVE_ and _ACCURATE_.

    Slashdot was that, for a very long time, and I learned a great deal from the posters on the site. In recent years, since generating revenue became a larger priority for the site, the informative value has dropped. Radically.

    Understand - I'm not asking that everyone post the same opinions as me. I want informative commentary from people to help further expand my knowledge. If this site can't do that than, as with Slashdot, I'll go elsewhere. As a news source, these sites suck so its value is in informative discussion.

    Thus, in my opinion, revenue should be a distant priority that purely involves ensuring the site is able to continue to function. The primary priority should be to foster intelligent discourse free of manipulation, FUD, and bias.

  • (Score: 1) by el_oscuro on Wednesday March 12 2014, @10:47PM

    by el_oscuro (1711) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @10:47PM (#15591)

    How about a paypal link for donations, like Wikipedia? People that donate at least say $5/year could get a karma bonus. Just make sure you don't have those dorky half-page banners like wikipedia. :)

    --
    SoylentNews is Bacon! [nueskes.com]
  • (Score: 1) by elias on Thursday March 13 2014, @01:38PM

    by elias (666) on Thursday March 13 2014, @01:38PM (#15847)

    For any of the legal entity types that you list the most important part is not the legal entity itself but the explict goals that you have set yourself. For any legal structure those goals will most likely be added to a charter, or management agreement, or any such document of constitution.

    You can be a for profit that caps the income of its owners aiming to benefit the world, and you can be charity with no caps on the salary for the employees (usually the director) aiming to do damage.

    So the questions you need to ask first are along the lines of:

    In our mission:

    • Do we just provide news, or do we want to support freedom of expression (for instance by stating in a clause that no third party, for no amount of money will be able to sponsor the removal or change of a post, unless there are legal requirements).
    • Do we provide login just to post and participate, or do we guarantee (with disclaimer for technical mishaps) privacy of the individuals etc. et.

    In our Business Model

    • How much income do we need (just keep the server running? Remunerate X,Y,Z)
    • Where is the income coming from?
    • Who is owner, who is employee, who is unpaid contributor, who is (unpaid) member?

    In our charter

    • Can we be sold to a third party. Are there any rules in place in case a sale takes place (who decides, are there any guarantees for the privacy of users, etc).
    • Remuneration are according to industry standards (can be very expensive ..), or X amount to be reviewed anually. Perhaps for different functions.
    • Remuneration is capped to 110% of industry standards in <region> - should you feel it is import to keep the income of players in line.
    • If we use adds as a means of income, do we exlude pornography, animal cruelty, etc or does anything go?

    The choice of organization type depends completely on what you come up with on questions like the above. In fact, it will folllow from the answer that you gave. Not sitting down to ask them - and perhaps get some advice from someone who knows how to ask, will get you in trouble again like the ones you experienced earlier on. And yes you need to write things down and make them very explicit.

    I do notice that I wrote : In our which means that apperently I do feel part of this movement. And so do many others which is part of the huge opportunity that you guys have. So I can tell you what I as one in "people" would like to see:

    • Sane advertisements (I may unblock adds on soylentnews if they do not annoy me too much)
    • A clear privacy policy
    • A clear editorial policy (no mixing of paid ads and posts, i.e. no paid posts; deletion of overly hateful, racist, slanderous comments etc. etc.).

    Those three are key for me to ever consider paying a contribution, because I want to be sure that my contribution is to a site that will never run into trouble because, for instance, supremacist trolls took over or it has become a site with a clear political agenda (whichever agenda).

    Ultimately, for me, it is about the submissions and the comments. So the main challenge you have it to stabilize as an organization and make sure that the community feels comfortable enough to put the effort required for the content to grow. Remember, "soylentnews is people" :)