operating cost of this forum

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gabriel1970
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operating cost of this forum

Post by gabriel1970 » Fri Jul 18, 2014 9:46 pm

Could the administrators talk about the cost of day-to-day operation of this forum? If there are previous tread on this, I would appreciate your pointing me to them.

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LadyGeek
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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by LadyGeek » Fri Jul 18, 2014 10:13 pm

I'll let the site owners comment on the operating costs.

The moderators and site admins are 100% volunteers. There is no paid staff, nor do we accept advertising (or permit commercial solicitations in forum posts).
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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by Leeraar » Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:32 pm

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, there were heroic efforts to move the BH servers from (as I recall) Philly to Chicago. At that time, there was an outpouring of contributions from members, many thousands of dollars.

I did suggest on the subsequent anniversary that we mount an annual campaign for contributions, and received no constructive response.

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segfault
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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by segfault » Fri Sep 05, 2014 10:23 pm

Moved from Philly to Chicago? We're not colocated like Netflix? :(

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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by Alex Frakt » Sat Sep 06, 2014 1:24 am

segfault wrote:Moved from Philly to Chicago? We're not colocated like Netflix? :(
Would you believe bogleheads currently comes to you from a basement in New Jersey? Though, from what I've been told, it's quite a basement. It's got a direct fiber connection to the net and a somewhat better than average admin. :-)

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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by bnes » Sat Sep 06, 2014 1:45 am

Don't forget the http://www.amazon.com/s/?search-alias=a ... Bogleheads
link up top. If you're buying from Amazon anyway, why not put 4 to 6% into a Bogglehead's pocket, rather than the pocket of Jeff Bezos?

After you click on the link, any products added to your cart will count if purchased.
If you enter amazon any other way (such as a direct bookmark), the credit no longer applies for new items.
Existing items in the cart still count.

The commission rate is high: 6% usually.

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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by spectec » Sat Sep 06, 2014 8:47 am

The Amazon link should be mentioned often, just to help others remember. I bought something through Amazon last week which was not finance related, and had forgotten I should go through the link on this forum.

I hope the forum is well-funded, and I especially hope the administrators/moderators would let us know if there is ever a need to beef up the cash reserves for any reason, at any time. I'd respond immediately with a payment over and above what I normally give, no questions asked. A forum independent of any domination by a commercial interest is of immense value to its users.
Don't gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it. - Will Rogers

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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by JMacDonald » Sat Sep 06, 2014 1:14 pm

spectec wrote:The Amazon link should be mentioned often, just to help others remember. I bought something through Amazon last week which was not finance related, and had forgotten I should go through the link on this forum.

I hope the forum is well-funded, and I especially hope the administrators/moderators would let us know if there is ever a need to beef up the cash reserves for any reason, at any time. I'd respond immediately with a payment over and above what I normally give, no questions asked. A forum independent of any domination by a commercial interest is of immense value to its users.
The way to never forget to use the Boglehead/Amazon link is to put the link into your bookmarks: http://www.amazon.com/s/?search-alias=a ... Bogleheads
Best Wishes, | Joe

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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by Leeraar » Sat Sep 06, 2014 1:19 pm

JMacDonald wrote:
spectec wrote:The Amazon link should be mentioned often, just to help others remember. I bought something through Amazon last week which was not finance related, and had forgotten I should go through the link on this forum.

I hope the forum is well-funded, and I especially hope the administrators/moderators would let us know if there is ever a need to beef up the cash reserves for any reason, at any time. I'd respond immediately with a payment over and above what I normally give, no questions asked. A forum independent of any domination by a commercial interest is of immense value to its users.
The way to never forget to use the Boglehead/Amazon link is to put the link into your bookmarks: http://www.amazon.com/s/?search-alias=a ... Bogleheads
Or, note that it is at the top right of most (if not all) pages on the BH forum:
Support_this_Site Amazon.com Wiki Blog
L.
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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by cfs » Sat Sep 06, 2014 1:28 pm

The Amazon link.

Concur with using the link. I have the link to Amazon bookmarked on all my computers, that's the only way I access Amazon and I am a frequent buyer.

Thanks for reading.
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pennstater2005
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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by pennstater2005 » Sat Sep 06, 2014 1:50 pm

cfs wrote:The Amazon link.

Concur with using the link. I have the link to Amazon bookmarked on all my computers, that's the only way I access Amazon and I am a frequent buyer.

Thanks for reading.
This is what I do now. The Boglehead link is named "Amazon" and is up in my bookmarks bar on my Macbook. Otherwise, I would never remember!

I ran this poll awhile back http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtop ... 1&t=134752 and was surprised that the majority of voters forget to use the Boglehead link....including myself. (Although not now because I bookmarked it)
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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by John C. » Tue Sep 23, 2014 5:00 pm

Alex Frakt wrote:
segfault wrote:Moved from Philly to Chicago? We're not colocated like Netflix? :(
Would you believe bogleheads currently comes to you from a basement in New Jersey? Though, from what I've been told, it's quite a basement. It's got a direct fiber connection to the net and a somewhat better than average admin. :-)
I believe it. Verizon FiOS/Fiber for business and home is extremely resilient and high quality. I have had a little business running in my own 'basement' set up for years and the uptime has beaten out some of my colleagues who chose to colo cheaply. Even during hurricane Sandy, it was online, I'm guessing power was the main issue. The speeds and reliability that Verizon provides you would never guess that a site was hosted from a basement and not in a datacenter unless you did an IP lookup. :wink:

Cheers to "SOHO" hosting!

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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by Reb Tevye » Tue Sep 23, 2014 5:43 pm

Hi. Here's my mindset.

I might get some decent advisor advice elsewhere for a rate 1% of AUM, or 100 basis points.
Through this forum and wiki I have received the same thing. For free.

So why not decide how many basis points, or even fraction of a basis point, Bogleheads is worth to me?
The community may be virtual, but the electricity, facilities and hardware and are real.
When you count something in hundredths of hundredths, or thousands of hundredths, pretty soon it still doesn't sound like much.

So, I picked my rate number, did the math, and donated.
"So, what would have been so terrible if I had a small fortune?"

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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by anonforthis » Tue Sep 23, 2014 6:07 pm

I only visit this site and Craigslist but those people are pretty crazy. I buy a lot of stuff from Amazon every month. Is there a way that my computer would recognize this site? I keep forgetting to use bogleheads link. I would like to support this site.

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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by runner9 » Tue Sep 23, 2014 6:18 pm

anonforthis wrote: Is there a way that my computer would recognize this site? I keep forgetting to use bogleheads link. I would like to support this site.
What about taking the link from the home page and making a link in your favorites, or on the favorites bar, simply called "Amazon" Then if you click that instead of typing amazon.com you're all set.

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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by toto238 » Tue Sep 23, 2014 6:39 pm

runner9 wrote:
anonforthis wrote: Is there a way that my computer would recognize this site? I keep forgetting to use bogleheads link. I would like to support this site.
What about taking the link from the home page and making a link in your favorites, or on the favorites bar, simply called "Amazon" Then if you click that instead of typing amazon.com you're all set.
Wait so a purchase of ANYTHING on Amazon through that link gives a % to Bogleheads? Or just the items that pop up when we click on the link?

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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by LadyGeek » Tue Sep 23, 2014 6:52 pm

The URL in the upper right corner: Amazon.com contains a referral tag. Anything you purchase is tracked with that tag.

Code: Select all

http://www.amazon.com/s/?search-alias=aps&tag=bogleheads.org-20&field-keywords=Bogleheads
At one point the site owner, Alex Frakt, explained how much went to certain categories of items purchased. I can't find it, perhaps Alex can clarify the details.

The left-side of the home page also has an amazon.com link under "Support this site." There's a link to another page with more info: Support this site
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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by nisiprius » Tue Sep 23, 2014 7:07 pm

I use the Amazon Smile program and specify the "John C. Bogle Center for Financial Literacy" as the recipient.
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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by Allan » Tue Sep 23, 2014 7:27 pm

I've always been curious as to how much forums like this are worth, can they be sold, who buys forums, how is value determined, etc. I know it has to do with advertising and this is a non-commercial forum, but with so many eyeballs that are on this forum daily it seems like it would have value for someone.

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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by pennstater2005 » Tue Sep 23, 2014 7:28 pm

runner9 wrote:
anonforthis wrote: Is there a way that my computer would recognize this site? I keep forgetting to use bogleheads link. I would like to support this site.
What about taking the link from the home page and making a link in your favorites, or on the favorites bar, simply called "Amazon" Then if you click that instead of typing amazon.com you're all set.
Exactly what I do. It works great.
“If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.” – Earl Wilson

anonforthis
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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by anonforthis » Tue Sep 23, 2014 7:59 pm

runner9 wrote:
anonforthis wrote: Is there a way that my computer would recognize this site? I keep forgetting to use bogleheads link. I would like to support this site.
What about taking the link from the home page and making a link in your favorites, or on the favorites bar, simply called "Amazon" Then if you click that instead of typing amazon.com you're all set.

Good idea. Thanks.

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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by Seekay » Tue Sep 23, 2014 8:47 pm

nisiprius wrote:I use the Amazon Smile program and specify the "John C. Bogle Center for Financial Literacy" as the recipient.
From what I understand, the Amazon Smile program gives only 0.5% to the charity in question, whereas using the affiliate link gives 6-8%.
Also, it seems one could use the Amazon Smile page, but then manually append the "&tag=bogleheads.org-20" to the url before actually checking out to actually give to both. However, this does require the extra manual step which is easy to forget.

My daughter's school district has both set up - they'd been pushing the Amazon Smile program for the last year, and switched tactics yesterday.

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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by Silence Dogood » Tue Sep 23, 2014 10:04 pm

nisiprius wrote:I use the Amazon Smile program and specify the "John C. Bogle Center for Financial Literacy" as the recipient.
What does the "John C. Bogle Center for Financial Literacy" actually do? Is the donation spent on running this forum or other endeavors?

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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by runner9 » Wed Sep 24, 2014 5:41 am


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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by dratkinson » Wed Sep 24, 2014 12:23 pm

I notice the next quarter Chase 5% cash back reward categories include Amazon. Time to restock needed items for a double bonus.
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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by Alex Frakt » Wed Sep 24, 2014 1:31 pm

Allan wrote:I've always been curious as to how much forums like this are worth, can they be sold, who buys forums, how is value determined, etc. I know it has to do with advertising and this is a non-commercial forum, but with so many eyeballs that are on this forum daily it seems like it would have value for someone.
I get several offers a year to buy the site from companies that aggregate special interest sites and then sell advertising across them. I ignore them and then when they follow up (most do), I tell them we aren't interested in selling.

I also get a couple of e-mails per day offering to pay us to put up standard ads or (much more commonly) ads disguised as links or legit content. These get reported as spam.

Keep in mind that the opportunity costs of running this site commercial-free dwarf the direct financial outlay. Donations and people using the Amazon link offset this somewhat and are greatly appreciated by Larry and I. But, depending on our personal financial situations, we may have to seek sponsorship of some sort eventually. Ideally, this will happen through the Bogle Center. If not, we'll have to figure out how to do it in a way that minimally impacts the goals of this site.

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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by Allan » Wed Sep 24, 2014 7:35 pm

I might be in the minority but a modest amount of advertising by reputable companies on this site would not bother me. I regularly visit a couple of other forums, as well as Twitter and Facebook and advertising is everywhere these days, you get used to it. If it allows good sites like this to keep the doors opened and functioning properly, I have no problem with it.

Allan

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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by The Wizard » Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:41 am

It would still be interesting to get some round dollar numbers to ponder when thinking about donations.
Let's make some initial estimates: Two types of costs: equipment costs and recurring monthly costs.
I have zero experience configuring and running an internet server, so will be interesting to see if I'm in the ballpark.

For equipment, a single-bay IBM BladeServer or equivalant might be sufficient. You have a bunch of redundant processors with the ability to add more to empty slots as usage increases.
And then you need disk storage. We seem to have seamless online access to all postings back to 2007, but mostly text is cheap so a few terabytes of disk should be enough? Do we do a redundant disk array or is nightly backup to the Cloud sufficient? I'm not sure.
Would $20,000 be enough to cover the BladeServer processor & storage? It's a starting point.

Then we need an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) together with a backup generator than can run for 3-4 days unattended. Power should be less than a kilowatt (??) so this is not a full house setup. $10,000 should be adequate.

So we have a total of $30,000 to replicate the hardware.

Monthly expenses.
Let's assume 1000 watts of power full time to run the BladeServer complex, so 720 KWH per month. That's a bit more than I use for my whole house in a month. Let's assume $150 a month pays for the electricity.

The internet connection is a tricky one. I have combined FiOS TV and 30 MB/sec internet, so I'm not sure what I pay for the internet alone, maybe $50 a month. But the Bogleheads server needs both higher bandwidth to handle hundreds of transactions at once, plus it's going on full blast at least 16 hours a day with some slowdown in the early AM hours, so a lot of GB of dataflow. No idea what Verizon charges for that and I don't feel like googling it right now. So I'll make a WAG of $2000 a month for internet service.

We also need a cloud-based backup service, I would guess. Mostly text content, so not a huge volume. Would $200 a month be enough for backup?

So we have a total WAG of maybe $2400 a month in monthly expenses.
I wonder if my numbers are anywhere close to reality?
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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by John C. » Thu Sep 25, 2014 7:02 am

As someone who does hosting of social networks/forums similar to this one as their job (not going into specifics), $2400 a month is too high, but it wasn't a totally bad guess.

I'd estimate $200-$300/month and no more purely fixed-cost and infrastructure related. Someone else in IT here may be able to back me up.

Hosting is really cheap these days, you can rent and co-locate your own dedicated server in a data-center for $100/$200 a month. You are right that this forum is mostly text, even at over 2 million posts there's no way it's higher than 5-10GB in size. GB, not TB. That being said you can buy enterprise grade 1TB hard drives for about $140 each. A redundant array of 2x1TB or 500GB is worth it and I bet he's already doing this. Hard drives die too often to run on a single disk anymore. A quad core server with 16-32GB of memory (not hard disk) is around $1,500 as a one-time cost and I'm overestimating that a bit. Really not much else should be needed for the server itself. The cloud backup for this site, since text doesn't use much space should be cheap as well given the size.

1000 watts of electricity is way overkill, it shouldn't use more than 200-300watts maximum. UPS and generator are much larger costs. A decent UPS that can last many hours is about $1000, but won't keep you going 3-4 days obviously so you need a stand-by generator. This is the cost that bites. If power is that unreliable where surviving for more than a day is an issue (rare for most in the tri-state area except Hurricane Sandy), one does need a passive generator attached to their home. Because what if they're at work or on vacation? Who will be there to man the generator? I don't know though if you can achieve the same thing not having one attached to the home's electric though, so I may be ignorant here.

Not sure what type of package they have with Verizon but I pay for FiOS business which is unlimited transfer at speeds of 75Mbps. Cost for this in NJ is $150 with taxes. This is probably the biggest fixed monthly cost in terms of resources.

In my opinion the largest "cost" (if you want to look at it like this) of running this site is really in the time. Moderating a message board takes so much effort and time that if you consider the time value of money. I recently donated what I could... I saw how active the admins were on here and noticed that posts from new users required manual approval and inspection. With all the new sign ups and posts per day, that's a lot to keep an eye on... kudos. Forums/communities are very hard work to keep organized and running smoothly and few people can do it.

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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by Mudpuppy » Thu Sep 25, 2014 11:02 am

The Wizard wrote:The internet connection is a tricky one. I have combined FiOS TV and 30 MB/sec internet, so I'm not sure what I pay for the internet alone, maybe $50 a month. But the Bogleheads server needs both higher bandwidth to handle hundreds of transactions at once, plus it's going on full blast at least 16 hours a day with some slowdown in the early AM hours, so a lot of GB of dataflow. No idea what Verizon charges for that and I don't feel like googling it right now. So I'll make a WAG of $2000 a month for internet service.
As for the Internet connection, for something that requires a high level of availability and a large capacity, you'd usually go with a leased line, such as a T3/T4 copper line, an OC-1/OC-3 fiber optic line, or a dedicated point-to-point microwave link. What one chooses depends on what's available in the area and how much capacity one wants to pay for.

A data center wouldn't be using the same sort of Internet service as a regular consumer. Well, a single site server might be fine with a consumer-grade line, but a multi-site data center uses leased lines.

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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by harrychan » Thu Sep 25, 2014 12:47 pm

To the OP, starting a forum is not hard at all. You just need a websace which you can get for as low as $30/month. You will need a SQL database which usually comes with the webspace. Then you need your own domain which is about $10/year. As for the forum platform, you can use phpbb which is free similar to wordpress. A well visited site such as this one can be worth 5-6 figures easily. Ive .ade attempts to start forums but it is extremely difficult to get regulars to post and contribute. Marketing costs will likely be very high.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.

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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by Ged » Thu Sep 25, 2014 9:50 pm

John C. wrote:
I believe it. Verizon FiOS/Fiber for business and home is extremely resilient and high quality. I have had a little business running in my own 'basement' set up for years and the uptime has beaten out some of my colleagues who chose to colo cheaply. Even during hurricane Sandy, it was online, I'm guessing power was the main issue. The speeds and reliability that Verizon provides you would never guess that a site was hosted from a basement and not in a datacenter unless you did an IP lookup. :wink:

Cheers to "SOHO" hosting!
FIOS is great unless you are using anything related to Amazon, like AWS, Netflix or Amazon Prime video. There is a bottleneck between L3 and Verizon accompanied by a lot of finger pointing back and forth between L3 and Verizon that affects everyone even commercial cloud users on AWS. You can get around it using a VPN through another provider which makes me think Verizon is the culprit. Personally I think the FCC should slap them down. Hard. But that's just my opinion with somewhat incomplete knowledge of the situation being that I'm not in the data center where the interchange happens...

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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by Houston101 » Fri Sep 26, 2014 9:07 am

I think it will be a good idea if we have a 'donate' button somewhere on the main webpage. This forum sometimes gives the impression that it either probably very little operating costs or it is sponsored by vanguard.

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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by LeeMKE » Fri Sep 26, 2014 10:12 am

+1 bnes

Don't forget the http://www.amazon.com/s/?search-alias=a ... Bogleheads
link up top. If you're buying from Amazon anyway, why not put 4 to 6% into a Bogglehead's pocket?

Support This Site button is also at the top of the page on the forum. Just made a contribution and it works fine.
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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by mptfan » Fri Sep 26, 2014 10:55 am

Houston101 wrote:I think it will be a good idea if we have a 'donate' button somewhere on the main webpage.
I agree. I think if it the donate option was conspicuous and easy to select, that more people would donate.

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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by Peculiar_Investor » Fri Sep 26, 2014 11:04 am

Houston101 wrote:I think it will be a good idea if we have a 'donate' button somewhere on the main webpage. This forum sometimes gives the impression that it either probably very little operating costs or it is sponsored by vanguard.
There is no explicit donate button, but ...

On every forum page, top right under the Search box is a Support this Site link.

If you mean the http://www.bogleheads.org page as the main page, then down at the bottom of the left most column is a Support This Site box that shows the various options.
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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by Mudpuppy » Fri Sep 26, 2014 11:05 am

LeeMKE wrote:humm. how to delete a duplicate post?
As an FYI for the future, only the last post in the thread can be deleted by the person who posted it (any post in the thread can be deleted by the moderators). So editing to say something akin to "duplicate - deleted" or contacting the moderators to delete the duplicate are the only options if someone has replied after you.

[NOTE: i deleted the duplicate post. - Mod Mel]

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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by jebmke » Fri Sep 26, 2014 4:51 pm

Houston101 wrote:I think it will be a good idea if we have a 'donate' button somewhere on the main webpage. This forum sometimes gives the impression that it either probably very little operating costs or it is sponsored by vanguard.
There is a link on the main page that says "Donate".
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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by LadyGeek » Fri Sep 26, 2014 6:11 pm

I should also note the Support this Site link in the upper right corner of this forum page, just to the left of the Amazon.com link.

The link goes to the same place as one under the "Support This Site" entry on the home page.
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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by LadyGeek » Fri Sep 26, 2014 7:00 pm

FYI - There's a related thread: Supporting the Operating Costs of the Forum
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Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Sep 27, 2014 1:45 pm

The "Operating Costs" are only considering the "out of pocket actual money to pay bills to non-BH vendors", and do NOT include any "staffing time", correct?

I've wondered about ALL THE TIME that is put in to make this Forum run so smoothly.

And sure enough, there's LadyGeek again, *twice*, right above :happy

And we only "see" a tiny fraction of what goes on behind the scenes, with vetting new members, dealing with trolls, encouraging civility at times, responding to questions or complaints, and "simply" (that word is a joke!) reading *everything* just in case...

I'd rather have a way to support some of this than to start seeing some advertising. Advertising has a funny way of morphing from the minimal to the obnoxious (or worse).

It's not only a "labor of love" to deal with the moderating/admin duties, but on occasion, that involves being on the receiving end of some... well... impolite comments.

THANK YOU ALL!

RM
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celia
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 6:32 am
Location: SoCal

Re: operating cost of this forum

Post by celia » Sat Sep 27, 2014 1:53 pm

Even though I have a bookmark to Amazon for a charity I work with locally, I forget to use it. In the URL box, as soon as I type "am ", the rest of Amazon's URL fills in automatically since my history knows I go there frequently.

One day it occurred to me to change my shipping address to add a "middle name" which is the initials of my local charity. For example, Alex Frakt could change his shipping name to "Alex Bogle Frakt". (DO NOT change your billing name if you use a credit card as the payment may not go through.) Then every time you are about to pay for your purchases, you will be reminded to go through your bookmark or the bogleheads.org site. Then you can return to your shopping cart.

To change your shipping name, while you are signed on to your Amazon account, go to Your Account > Settings > Change Account Settings.
A dollar in Roth is worth more than a dollar in a taxable account. A dollar in taxable is worth more than a dollar in a tax-deferred account.

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