MO Oatmeal

Brent Plummer
by Brent Plummer
Ask and ye shall receive, MOians: The MO donation system has been fully integrated into the main authentication database, thus anyone who donates (or has donated) will be recognized as a "privileged" level MOite, with all the perks thereof. If you have previously donated, never fear, you should see a message in the top right of your browser's window.

We're also starting to announce some of those privileged features, and the possible path to fee-dom that we're taking...

First, the donation system is the base code for MO moving to a fee site. As I've mention many times before, migrating our entire (flat-file-based) site into a fee database/sql-powered schema is incredibly difficult, but it moves along well. If we don't go fee, at the very least, registration will be required to read MO.

We will likely maintain a small, arbitrary number of concurrent "Anonymous Squid" sessions -- this is the "newsstand" analogy I mentioned before: Anyone can go to the newsstand or library and read any print pub for free, but if there's a couple people ahead of you reading them, you have to wait until they're done, or cough up the cash to buy your own, or subscribe. This lets the dreamers and cheapskates in, but will limit bandwidth usage at peak times. That is, we'll only allow X number of simultaneous Anonymous Squid sessions, additional users will have to come back in off-peak times, or subscribe. You'll have to log into the Anonymous Squid account, and that group account requires cookies. If you can't be bothered to read MO with cookies on, then we can't serve free content to you. Why everyone thinks zillions of free readers who're unwilling to pay are anything but a liability, and a costly one at that, is beyond me. Let me say this again: One million anonymous readers are worth less to advertisers than 150,000 registered ones.

Privileged users are going to have early access to content-in-the-works, and when we get twice to three times the amount of editorial running, we'll have polls for them, in certain instances, to decide which we complete first.

We're also selecting all users who donated over $50.00 to be moderators, and a random sampling of everyone else (though if you've donated and are aching to be a moderator, e-mail me and we'll probably let you) This is significant: If you post @MO and get moderated below the default viewing threshold of "1", no one will see your post unless they've gone and chosen to see posts that're moderated down. If you get moderated to -1 more than twice in a day, you get labeled a "Troll" and can't post for 24 hours. Once moderation really gets going, it's cool: you can set your threshold to "2" and only see meaningful posts that have been moderated up.

I haven't yet upgraded the ad server, so those of you that have donated will still see the donate ads for a while.

Lastly, if we do go to a fee-based site, anyone who donates will have their account reset to expire one year from the day we go fee-based, not from the day you donate.

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Brent Plummer
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