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Chat and Donations...


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I find the current revocation of the chat room disturbing.

 

A site requesting a continuing increase in donations from the community should supply a breakdown of costs and expenditures of donations sent.

 

I find it odd that a site that hosts no content has such a large jump in month-to-month costs.

 

I stand strongly by the opinion that before CustomsForge can request or in the interest of transparency accept any further community donation/investment there needs to be an accurate disclosure of income and expenditure that can be validated.

 

As I understand it this was meant to be a community effort and the use of funds should be for the best of the community both those who create and those who download DLCs.  In that vein transparency is not only courtesy but necessary.  Spending should always be lean and to the benefit of that community.

 

This is, and legally cannot be, a for profit endeavor.  That endangers not only the spirit that brought many of the members to this site but would bring the ire of the RIAA.

 

Finally, a lack of transparency and of efficient spending will inevitably lead to those who produce CLDC to look for payment to create that which draws the community.  Again, the RIAA and their wrath will descend.

 

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The problem is that I thought we had another month before these renewals, which is my fault.

I've been slowly putting together a price list of everything we owe. I want to make it VERY clear that we do not use any money for anything other than CustomsForge purchases.
The problem is my life has been pretty crazy running CF on top of a full time job, while developing the future of CF, finding a new house, and other things. 

It takes a lot to run this website and I'm open to pricing everything. At this moment our development pricing is extremely high and I'm working on toning that down. 
We recently added tons of new staff and that requires $8 per staff member to add to our system (it's over a hundred at this moment). Plus github and deployhq (both needed at this moment).

Other costs include server optimizations with my hosting company as we've been running into serious disk and mysql issues lately. It's been a mess and I've been trying to clean it up. 
On top of that I've been optimizing the server so we don't have to switch to a dedicated, which will bring up more costs.

 

 

Server 10/1/2014 750 Biannually
Development Server 5/?/2014 5 Monthly
Status Server 4/30/2015 37.5 Yearly
Teamspeak 10/27/2014 28.8 Biannually
Mediafire Business 6/15/2014 $65.00 Quarterly
Domains CustomsForge.com 15 Yearly
Domain - (private dev URL, can't give out) 15 - Yearly
IP Board Renewals 8/17/2014 $65.00 Biannually
IP Addon Renewals 8/20/2014 - $60 Biannually
Slack ($8 per user) @21 users
DeployHQ $6 Monthly
Github $7 Monthly
 
This list above does not include addons we buy on the IP Board market, or other scripts/technologies we acquire when we need them. 

I'll work on better organizing and becoming transparent with this list. I am sorry for the chat issue and was not expecting it. 

Post edit: Sometimes we do buy addons for the server (example would be another cpu core) Or we buy a service to try it out and remove it. These are costs we're trying to avoid in the future as we do not want to waste anyone's money. I do want to point out that services like Slack have increased our teamwork and partnership between everyone so it was worth it. I'm still looking to cut all the costs down. I'm looking into creating three budget types. 1) Server Budget 2) Development Budget 3) IP Board Renewal Budget. 
Also a heads up we have developed a mediafire replacement for the business account which was needed to host editor on fire, and should be live next month. That will cut $65 down. 

"Just remember: when something breaks, kick it as hard as you fucking can"

-Trent Reznor
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What we are currently working on behind the scenes:

A new unique system, codenamed ignition. It's a new front-end for CustomsForge developed using Laravel/PHP. 

The features will include a requests system built in, a cdlc creator's area where they will have access to tutorials, uploading CDLC and more. And of course a revamped CDLC search.

We will have this feature packed and we hope everyone will love it. We're pouring all of our talents into it and it's turning into something beautiful.

 

Next to that we have our desktop app we are developing. We're looking into a CDLC Song Manager.

 

Additionally we are always looking into the forums here for improvement, and optimizing search2. Our priority is to make sure the user has everything they need for their rocksmith. 

I've added you on steam if you would like to discuss this more in depth. 

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"Just remember: when something breaks, kick it as hard as you fucking can"

-Trent Reznor
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Long time talking about developing costs, but I wonder why new front ends and search engines.

I'm a contributor because this site is exceptionally well made, and really only needs some detail adaptations.

 

On the donation page, there were regular changes, errors, transfers, and I could not make a relationship between the amount donated and the donation goal.

 

When it comes to money, many good project go down the drain, not by lack of cash but by lack of honest administration.

(My job consist in supervising correct financial administration and I get "feelings") 

 

Hope customsforge won't be another sad example.

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A few times the goals were completely reset. I'm not sure why. I checked logs and nothing was altered but it was set back to zero. I adjusted the goals to the amount donated. Obviously adjusted to other things that was taken out, for example slack fees. Anyways I will be making sure after the server is paid for that all future goals and donations are outlined and in detail that way everything is transparent.

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"Just remember: when something breaks, kick it as hard as you fucking can"

-Trent Reznor
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A reason a new front end/search is needed is because with the way we are setup now we're doomed for failure if we rely on a total ip board setup. We need something that is our own and doesn't rely on ip board. Only use ip board for authentication. If we have our own system it will be much better for all the users and will help shape our future. I don't want to rely on purchasing ip board add-ons because it costs too much to maintain. I'm trying to keep the costs down. Plus it will be awesome to have our own cdlc system rewritten from scratch with a requests system / cdlc author area too.

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"Just remember: when something breaks, kick it as hard as you fucking can"

-Trent Reznor
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Hi,

I don't think that we have here the same situation as in the past in another forum, where one admin in the background refused to be transparent on costs and income.

 

I'm not that active here and I don't know any details about the projects and what is done in the background. I know to run a large website is a lot of work and nobody will thank you for the time you spent on it.

 

Just a few words on the list - my personal opinion and if there's a consenus on it then ignore it.

For the costs I would give them on a fixed period like one year and dividing them into categories is a good idea. On some items a description what they are used for - before searching I had no idea what Slack is.

Cutting costs is always a good thing, because you can't depend that users will always donate the necessary amount and then you end up paying the rest from your own pocket.

 

These are only my thoughts

- Slack is a paid service for communication? Why not using the forum with an internal forum only visbile for the staff for that? I don't see an advantage using a 100$/month extra service when you can have email notification in a forum.

- If you have to pay for an addon and it has no trial period I would not use it at all - this should be standard that you try before you buy it.

- What is or was the purpose of the Mediafire Business? For EOF this seems to take the sledgehammer to crack a nut ;) On their site they're reduced their price from 50$ to 25$ if this is necessary, but because not hosting files for what was or is it necessary?

- Don't try to make developing everything new and again a too important task if you've a running system. If people like it as is, keep it for longer and make slight improvements.

- The running fuel of the website are the developers (toolkit, eof), active users and quality customs (and their contributors) - site features are nice, but less important imho. Same for presence in social media like twitter and facebook.

 

As said it's no offense intended and only being constructive in critics or comments.

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The forums are forums and slack is chat. It's more than just chat through. (And it can't be replaced with our chat system because it's totally different.) Slack has an android/ios app too so all staff can stay in communication.

 

You can see an exclusive inside preview of what one of our developer channels look like:

http://i.imgur.com/TP9THGQ.png

 

It's used more then just chat but for developer communication that shows successful deployments and tasks. I am already planning to make this go back to the free account however, so this is all a moot point since prices will be going down to $0.

 

We try to expand our forums to what the users need or have replied to in the surveys. Some of the things wanted Twitch or a better FAQ system for example. Unfortunately sometimes these addons are crap from what are actually shown in the demo, I think only two addons out of a handful was a problem, so that's always good news. We ended up finding really good addons and using them. We try not to spend any money we don't need to but when we need a feature and see see it on sale, we will try to get it.

MediaFire business covers EOF. rayne needed an advanced stats for his downloads and I needed a better alternative than sendspace. We will be phrasing this out as well since we have our own built-in new EOF website in the future.

 

Ignition is a huge feature we're already knee deep in. I really do not want to back track on this and we will continue to move forward with it. It will be similar but improved by 400%. It will run better on our system and use less resources as well. 

 

Social features (FB, Twitter) are free so that doesn't bother us. It's nice to reach out to the community to ask questions and to let them know if something is up. Sometimes we need to improve our areas where we are weak. A lot of users have suggested an awards system. We have one it just needs to be setup.

 

I do appreciate your comments however. We do have internal meetings all the time to discuss this and we knew slack had to be cut down because it was way too expensive. 

"Just remember: when something breaks, kick it as hard as you fucking can"

-Trent Reznor
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Just a heads up.
I noticed an issue where the counter will reset, I've fixed that and adjusted the goal(s) and paid the addons, etc with the leftover money. Now it's just the server payment which is due October but I'd like to prepay it if possible.

"Just remember: when something breaks, kick it as hard as you fucking can"

-Trent Reznor
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Let's not get hysterical about legal aspects, the internet is a free communication tool and it should be allowed to do what you can do when you meet friends in public places, to share all kinds of things you have, whether in your mind or in your hands.

 

Those who are wrong, are the intermediates, who block the sharing process for their own profit. Providers of Culture and Tools will always exist, even after the temple has been wiped off the merchants. They always see your freedom as a threat to their client's revenues, but never the indirect profit they get from it.

 

I'm from the old "Amiga" ere, commercially dead, but still alive thanks to free users. RS would be just another dying music teaching system, (like the Piano Discovery system), if it wasn't boosted around the planet by the custom users.

 

About the use of servers, they are legal, if they conform to the legislation of the country where they are implanted.

Even Kim Dotcom knows now its more secure running them in a tiny spot of old Europe or some island.

 

Finally donations only live from confidence. We will not be asking to receive a certification of a financial Auditor service. B)

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It does get a bit confusing with websites, domain names, storage costs, servers etc.... but it still all adds up. There can be tweaks here and there and having to do it all in their spare time is pretty time consuming and take a lot of setting up.

I'm sure and trust that they are doing everything they can to keep costs down and when it's all sorted out with a fine flowing model the costs will come down and stabalise more.

 

From what I have seen so far and with a desktop app and cdlc manager in development (for free I might add), I think it's quite a fine job.I like the site, the community are mostly friendly and obviously creative and provide great cdlc for learning tools, and they are trying new things to get it just right for a good user experience.

 

As for the RIAA and/or any other copyright holders etc.... they should be thankful of sites such as this, as it is providing them with free publicity, they are indirectly helping people learn how to play their songs, uploading them to you tube/soundcloud (more free publicity) and likely increasing cd/mp3 sales as since I found this site, I have found cdlc for artists I have never even heard of, liked the cdlc and went off to find and buy their albums... 3 Doors Down, Evanescence, Radiohead, ZZ Top (The complete studio albums 1970-1990 for them) to name but a few.

 

Thanks again for a great site and community and keep it up. Looking forward to the desktop app and cdlc manager.

 

tris

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