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Westeros

Westeros Fundraiser

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It’s that time of year again, folks, to support the Westeros.org community. It’s not just the forums and website, that have seen far more activity and membership than they ever have, but it’s also the Wiki of Ice and Fire (the premiere ASoIaF wiki on the web) which is one of the most visited parts of the site—well over a million unique visitors per month, coming by to look up all the details that you, the community, have put up there to share your knowledge and love of the series.If you’ve ever used the resources of Westeros.org, discussed a theory on the forum, browsed the wiki—please consider chipping in a bit of money for the fundraiser! The funds raised will go directly to our wonderful server admin Sparks to defray the costs of hosting , and allow us to start looking into upgrades that might further improve the speed and stability of the servers.Many thanks for your time, consideration, and (we hope) your donation! ChipIn allows payments through credit card or Paypal; sorry, we can’t take money orders, cheques, or cash, but we do appreciate the thought!

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Ugh. Thanks, mor. That's what happens when I post this while running a fever. Linda and I have both been knocked flat.

BTW, maybe an info box or something on the wiki index highlighting the fundraiser might be an idea?

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I can't get the ChipIn button to work. Is there a way to PayPal directly?

Never mind. I got it to work by clicking the link on the sidebar of the forum page. Keep up the good work, y'all!

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Just so you know, on my computer, in the upper left hand corner I can see the outline of a box, a banner above it that says Donate, and one of those tiny squares in the upper left corner of the box that normally you would click on to View Contents, or whatever it should say. Clicking on it does nothing. I assume that the same sort of apparition is showing up on other people's computers. I just happened to notice LacyinTX's cute little smartass avatar and then noticed the topic to get here.

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Ah, thanks. I'm not sure what's happening, but if you click the link in the various announcement posts, it should let you donate even if the widget isn't function or you.

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The widget worked for me.

But it doesn't show any contributions as yet, at least on my computer.

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I'm rather baffled by what's going on with the widget! We've presently raised $1340 from 41 contributors, though. I've tried to update the links so that they work better.

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Doesn't it seem like your goal isn't high enough? ^_^

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Well, it's two times more than we we ever usually ask... but yes, it may be a little low. We may run a second fundraiser later in the year just to help along with upgrade costs. :)

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The support from everyone is great! I donated right away because this forum is awesome. Everyone here is awesome, despite the occasional heated arguments. The discussions are great, and the intelligence of some people here is just astounding. I love it here and donating to improve this site is only a small way for me to give back.

I hope this becomes a more frequent thing, because (no offense) this could use some upgrades and we are all willing to help, as evident by how quickly the goal is being reached.

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Nice in 103% in two days! Does the additional 3% part means people who came up late can still chip in with the extra money going toward the same goal?

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Any money raised above the initial goal will of course go towards the server costs as well. :)

We do need to clarify one thing, though. The initial goal of $2000 is to help cover current server costs.

Upgrades, unfortunately, are not one-time costs. The servers are rented rather than owned, so if -- for example -- additional memory was added, that would permanently raise the monthly cost. So to be able to upgrade we would have to be confident that we could raise enough each year to cope with the running fees being higher than they have been in the past.

We are also looking at a caching system called Varnish which may help further reduce memory usage. It has been praised a lot but it is also quite fiddly to configure correctly.

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Happy to chip in. As Shadow Fox said, this is a wonderful forum, and where else can we discuss our beloved Ice and Fire with such passion? I also appreciate the work that has gone into the information side of Westeros.org. The Wiki section is amazing. To produce something like that takes real dedication. I am in awe of you all.

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So to be able to upgrade we would have to be confident that we could raise enough each year to cope with the running fees being higher than they have been in the past.

I've said this a number of times in the past, but I'm fairly certain that if you asked for it, you would get it. The amounts that you've asked for in the past have been ridiculously small (to your credit) in comparison to the passion with which most boarders love this site and their willingness to help out financially. You may have your reasons for not asking for too much, like perhaps not wanting to be over-reliant on outside funding, but there are lots to be gained by the average boarder by having a larger fundraiser. The obvious things are technical improvements and better usability, but there's also the feeling of ownership, that since we contribute toward the maintenance of this place, that somehow we are also responsible for it being a good place to be. That's certainly why I contribute.

Of course, if my saying so isn't enough of an assurance, you could always have some sort of a pledge drive or survey, where you can ascertain the amount people are willing to give without actually collecting anything at the time. Sure, the amount people pledge is not necessarily the amount they give, for one reason or another, but you can factor that in your results easily enough.

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I've said this a number of times in the past, but I'm fairly certain that if you asked for it, you would get it. The amounts that you've asked for in the past have been ridiculously small (to your credit) in comparison to the passion with which most boarders love this site and their willingness to help out financially. You may have your reasons for not asking for too much, like perhaps not wanting to be over-reliant on outside funding, but there are lots to be gained by the average boarder by having a larger fundraiser. The obvious things are technical improvements and better usability, but there's also the feeling of ownership, that since we contribute toward the maintenance of this place, that somehow we are also responsible for it being a good place to be. That's certainly why I contribute.

The fact that we have managed to raise the target so fast this year certainly has made us feel as if it seems more likely that even an increased yearly cost such as an upgrade would bring could be managed. :) We just wanted to clarify that the upgrade isn't a one-off, since that might be the natural thing to assume.

We'll be talking to Sparks about the options, but if possible we do want to try Varnish first to see if it makes a difference or not.

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We'll be talking to Sparks about the options, but if possible we do want to try Varnish first to see if it makes a difference or not.

Wouldn't trying a varnish as you say though be essentially wasting money?, you and Ran have been saying as long as i have been here that you guys need to switch to a new server that can handle the increased traffic of the site. Some of the recent tweaks have had an obvious improvement but it is painfully obvious once Sunday rolls around that the server just can't handle the traffic. Sometimes even on regular weekdays things still bog down significantly. I understand that switching servers is not an easy thing to do at all, but after talking about it for the year i have been here you guys must have looked into it and know what it will cost and entail. As Naz said in his above post people would be willing to donate more to help the site work at it's true potential, would it not be more financial prudent in the long run to ask for enough donations to allow a proper move to a new server. Instead of using funds to put on a coat of varnish, that may or may not help with the current issues when a switch to better server will fix all the problems the site is currently having?.

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Varnish doesn't cost anything except time and fiddling. If it works well, it'll let us readjust what we need to do to improve and maintain stability.

I also have to say that the move from the Apache web server to Lighttpd near the start of the new GoT season really did do wonders, even if it still gets bogged down on The first three days of the week due to the amazing show traffic (traffic spikes like we've never seen since ... well, ep 9 and 10 of last season, as a regular thing now).

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