In February of 2014, a group of ticked-off Slashdot users got together, said "Fuck Beta!", and launched an alternative web site focused on the community. It started with an out-of-date and unmaintained open source version of slashcode which was promptly forked and renamed 'Rehash'. We incorporated as a Public Benefit Corporation. We experienced site outages, questions of leadership, and faced predictions of failure. Thanks to persistence, dedication, many late nights (and some very early mornings), we persevered and are still here today.
Soylentnews is a place for people to engage in discussions about topics of interest to the community. Not all topics are of interest to everyone, of course. In large part it is up to the community to submit stories [soylentnews.org] — the large majority of these do get accepted to the main page. This is all the more important during the "silly season" &mash; summer in the northern hemisphere — when many people are on vacation and thus reduces the number of scholarly articles that get published.
We are still an all-volunteer organization. Nobody here has made a profit off this site. In fact, Soylentnews is still in debt to the founders who put up the funds required to get us up and running. I am happy to report that we have finally made progress in this area!
Here are the unaudited numbers from site subscriptions [soylentnews.org] for the first half of our fiscal year (2017-01-01 through 2017-06-30):
Base goal: $3000
Stretch goal: $2000
Subscription count: 133
Gross subscription income : $3795
Net subscription income: $3645 (estimated - after payment processor fees)
Net over goal: $645
So, thanks to all you Soylentils who have donated, we have a surplus at the moment. The ultimate decision is up to the Board of Directors, but the current sense is that we should build a prudent reserve of some months' operating expenses before paying back the founders. In light of the foregoing, we are aiming for the same fundraising goals for the second half of the year.
We've been forthright and upfront right from the start and it is our continued commitment to keep you informed of any issues in the site's operations.
On an entirely separate note, we received a notice from our web-hosting provider, Linode, that one of our servers had been reported as having been added a spam-blocking list. Staff immediately responded and found a misconfiguration in our link-shortening service. (It was only supposed to shorten links originating on Soylentnews.org, but was accepting links for other domains, as well.) A dump of the database was taken, non-SN sites were purged, the shortening service was updated to correctly implement the restriction to only shorten links from soylentnews.org, and Linode was informed of these actions.
We also had a problem with our slashd daemon which, among many other tasks, hands out moderation points each night. This fell over on us for a couple of nights leading to our handing out mod points manually to all users. This seems to have been rectified — please let us know if you see a recurrence.
Lastly, one of our senior editorial staff has been on hiatus to deal with major illnesses in his family. His dedicated efforts in helping them has brought ill health upon himself, as well. I ask you to keep janrinok and his family in your thoughts and, if you are of a mind to do so, in your prayers.