There has been an outpouring of ideas and solutions both here on the board and in conversations I've had with many members over the past hours, at this time (and without the support of all key members, which I hope they would support) is to prevent not only this event but any in the future by forming a loose partnership as an LLP or perhaps a Coop in the state of Delaware, USA (common law jurisdiction for business, low taxes, etc) and then become recognized as a Not For Profit by the federal government (503C status).
I've already stated I would fund this out of pocket but many others have too offered up support, even some of the major online eBike kit vendors have made very generous offers of domains they own and were going to use (they were willing to sign the rights over to an independent third party not in their control) for nothing more than an OptIn check box for mail from them on sign up (not a huge request, not an opt out trick)....
That all said, I am falling on the 503C side because while at this time I can support (for the forseeable future) a much more robust server farm dedicated as needed to support our demands as a community, what happens if I drop dead? I have formed not for profits before, to deliver wireless high speed internet... or more accurately a charter group of free wireless internet where everyone has access and people who want, donate and take it as a full deduction (think town watch)... http://www.wifreenet.com
and even today the initial and malvern locations are not only active they have grown in a viral fashion - 5 years after I walked away from the project.
I guess the point is we should and can be self supporting and uncontaminated by commercialization and data mining.... the one thing we can't fix is they can sell our email address list at will I believe, so we are all bound to be contacted by dozens of unknown third parties in the next days and weeks.... use caution and report any such activity either here or on the facebook forum.
Weigh in on this please people, do we want to truly become an uncorruptable community? If so then it's time to become soverign in nature.
The pluses you may not have thought of:
1.) No more outtages
2.) No more lost data and postings
3.) Not one server but perhaps 4 seperate clusters of redundant web and database servers all working as 1 virtual server - down time, slow access, overload what is that?
4.) No more confusion of the purpose of said site / forums, not for profit is not for profit
5.) Depending on the funding success (above and beyond my own personal contributions), we could have quite a fund available to:
a.) procure and test new tech kits, motors, controllers and truly rate them in a scientific manor and by multiple peers (ie: peer review of peer review) so the
information you get is 100% reliable at the time of writing
b.) Sponsor technical challenges with prizes - it's worked for Darpa for years, right guys?
c.) Setup funds to assist those who have become injured or worse with their medical expenses OR depending on size, negotiate additional health insurance discount
rates and other benefits for our members.
d.) Sponsor races, events, prizes for competition and such all around the country and world
e.) Custom bits and pieces needed (adapters, one offs, etc) which are specific to the type of thread could make out much better with group buys as a Not For Profit
f.) We could subsidize the popularization of alternative forms of transportation and even sponsor rental stations and charging stations where the membership sees fit,
g.) Sponsors and places like race tracks and such are much more apt to offer better rates to Not For Profit companies and lets face it, what race track owner wouldn't
pay to see bicycles churning the track at 50mph without rider effort.... or 1/4 mile drag times (Steveo, DocBass), even better they can donate their space as a
write off contribution and race events can be fund raisers too.
Unlike most non profits we would have volunteer our time and expertise (at least in the first year or two), not collect pay and thus 100% of donation money would go to the above (I would estimate about 8-10% will be the cost of overhead like bandwidth, etc... leaving 90% for the bonus features).
As so many have said, it's us the membership who make any forum what it is and I for one consider many of you (even though we have never met) to be friends, I take pleasure helping newer members through their technical issues (no matter how mondane or repetitive) and in general I enjoy the community we have here.... but we don't have to be here to be the same community.
I would like to add that I don't really fault KnightKMB or whomever actually owns / runs this operation - it seemed Endless-Sphere was really an offshoot of a consulting company (similar to mine) and times are tough plus, forums aren't the easiest thing to maintain which means membership will need to step up if we do somthing new to handle policing posts, administrative tasks, etc...
Oh yea, let's not forget about having our own IRC server and channel (or even channel on undernet.org), somthing we have needed for years now imho... suddenly that would be possible.
So there you have it people, again, please weigh in on this as I'm certainly not doing anything on behalf of a community who doesn't agree
It is just such a shame to see what we (note I say We) have built here and all comments are welcome, in relative terms I am a new comer here... perhaps 2 years maybe less, so sound off
PS: Please stop begging for the keys to the house back, we don't need the house - we can do better
Haven't you seen the real estate market and there is no shortage of brilliance and talent here on ES amongst it's membership base. I think we all just need to hash out a name (in private) via a group chat or somthing... facebook would allow this and NO I'm not suggesting we do our new bit on FaceBook just think of them as switzerland right now, they are neutral and the board owners aren't able to track our private group chats there...
May I suggest a time we schedule maybe late tonight (EST) or whenever we can arrange it, my email is above and I have calender so you can send prospective times or we could just create a Group Chat event and we could post it up? This needs to be a group decision.