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Author Topic: Concerning Subscriptions - PLEASE READ  (Read 4845 times)

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Offline dedgren

Concerning Subscriptions - PLEASE READ
« on: July 20, 2011, 01:08:21 AM »
I'm going to dust off my mysterious ex-Administrator powers here and butt in to say a few things that quite apparently need to be said, but which I think the site's senior staff are too gracious to say.  For reasons many of you know I am not very active these days, and I have gone this year several months at a time between my visits to SimCity 4 Devotion.  This go-round I seem to have walked right into a completely pointless semi-riot over jeronij's decision, after almost five years of bearing the responsibility for paying the ongoing costs of SC4D and the LEX, to give the membership some incentive to contribute to the defraying of those costs.

You can be sure that this decision was not an easy one.  Giving away substantial value for free doesn't usually draw much protest from those who benefit.  Not to slight other SC4 fansites, but SC4D and the LEX have been the exclusive source since 2006 for much of the best community-created content, from BATs and MODs to Mayors Diaries and tutorials, that is available.  If you've kept up as the years have gone along, you could stop downloading from the LEX today and have what is in truth a completely reinvented game.  There's years worth of new stuff to tinker with, and it's all become yours for the cost of nothing more than a little download time and bandwidth.  You've also seen for the cost of just taking the time to take a look the work that many of the creative masters of the community have posted here.  SC4D has provided a home, as well, for the game's user-developers and mad scientists.  Wide radius curves, fractional angle roads and single-track rail came from this site, to name a few.  It doesn't matter that you can get them off of SC4D today- you would not have them at all but for the creative environment and critical mass of development endeavor that exists here and only here. Imagine playing the game without them.  But human nature being what it is, these things all have become taken for granted.  "SC4D has always been free- it's not fair for them to start charging."  Isn't that what all the grumping is about?

While SC4D has had a voluntary "Subscriptor" program for most of its existence, there were only a few places on the site where members were encouraged to contribute.  And there is no doubt the vast majority of members didn't bother.  There are about ten of you who have Subscriptor labels today and about that number again who have chosen to remain anonymous.  Twenty folks out of the 66,000 who have registered for membership is, statistically, the equivalent of zero participation.  Up until now that rate has been acceptable.  jeronij has now let you know that this has to change.

IMHO, he has tried hard to leave SC4D free for the average member.  Just about all but most premium content is still accessible for viewing without the site costing a penny (or whatever your smallest currency increment is wherever you live).  The LEX (which, I believe, is the most expensive part of running the site) is still unrestricted.  jeronij has also indicated that he is willing to take a member's content or other contribution to the site as the equivalent of subscribing.  There are less enjoyable ways of earning the equivalent of 12 Euros than working hard at developing a quality MD and posting it here.  Or submitting a tutorial.  Or joining and contributing to a custom content team.  If you participate at that level, nothing changes.  But, starting now, if you want to enjoy all the benefits of membership without doing those things, you are being asked to subscribe.

OK, so much for the explanation part.  Now for the hard reality of the situation.  Do you, to the extent that being asked to contribute to SC4D by becoming a Subscriptor is something you find objectionable, really believe that jeronij has some obligation to you to continue to foot the bill?  If you don't believe that he should, who do you propose?  If jeronij was going to pull the plug on SC4D and the LEX tomorrow because he couldn't cover their cost or wasn't willing to continue to do so, what then?  Would you rather see the fate of SC4D rest on the shoulders of one person, however well motivated, or on the shoulders of the entire membership?

Now, do I think 49,980 members are going to join the current 20 and create a windfall for jeronij?  Some of you apparently must believe this, because I've seen posts demanding "an accounting" or something comparable.  I have two words for you: get real.  What would happen in the best of all possible worlds is that a couple of hundred members will become Subscriptors and a year's worth of bandwidth and other costs will be covered.  At the high end, there might even be enough money to implement some new bells and whistles.  Between 100 and 200 members will contribute in other ways.  The rest will adjust to a limited membership status.  Things will die down, then we will go through this all over again when the time comes to renew.  Not fun, but necessary.

The current situation, though, is unacceptable.  Folks, if you are reading this and you agree with my analysis of the situation and think that supporting SC4D is worthwhile, get on PayPal right now and subscribe.  It (the voice of experience here) just takes about two minutes, tops.  If you don't have a PayPal account, get out your credit card and set one up- it's easy to do.  You'll have spent 12 Euros on a year's worth of great new custom content and full participation on a premier SC4 fansite- less than the cost of a couple of movie tickets or a meal out.  You'll have the further satisfaction of doing something you know is the right thing to do.

If you don't agree with me, let me make a suggestion.  First, get used to having more limited access here than you used to have.  Times change.  Nothing is forever.  If you find that situation unsatisfying, as several of you have said there are other SC4 fansites that do not require subscriptions to access all content.  It is regrettable that the site would lose a single member over this situation, but jeronij has done what he believes he has to do to insure SC4D's long-term viability.  You are free to do what you believe you have to do as well.

Except...

I've seen a number of comments, in particular from a few folks who should know better, about SC4D and its staff that are apparently motivated by this situation that are not consistent with continued membership on this site.  I wrote this into the rules [linkie]


Quote
  • In cyberspace generally SC4D is, by and large, a self-policing community of members.  The staff cannot enforce these rules at some other fansite, or indeed anywhere away from SC4D itself.  Please do not expect, then, to the extent you would have a complaint about another member's conduct offsite, that any action will be taken- we are a fans of a computer game and not the cyberpolice.  One exception to this, however, is if a member is found to be offsite stating untruthful or defamatory things about SC4D or its administration- if you have a complaint about or some other issue with us, please give SC4D the courtesy of bringing that to our attention here in the form of a PM to any admistrator or moderator.  If a member is found to be offsite making statements that, in our view, are not constructive as regards SC4D or otherwise reflect inappropriate discredit, our assumption will be that the member no longer values the benefits of SC4D membership and he or she will almost certainly have membership terminated or, at the very least, suspended for an extended period, to include privileges on the LEX.

when I was an administrator about three years ago during a similar unsettled time.  I may not be the one these days who will enforce the rule but, trust me, it still is a rule of the site and it will be enforced.  It's sad to have to conclude on this note but I'll ask you the same question here that I asked them: why would you want to continue to be a member of a fansite that you have such a poor opinion of?

Anyone who has any questions about this post, about subscriptions, about membership, about anything SC4D at all, feel free to PM me.  I may not know all the answers, but I'm sure I can find them and pass them along.


David
« Last Edit: July 20, 2011, 01:10:07 AM by dedgren »
D. Edgren

Please call me David...

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