How to crowd fund the Discourse costs

Added this here so it isn’t missed. Really useful summary of why I said I liked how Twitch works and to clarify, isn’t something I’m planning to do, I just like it as a user.


For whatever it is worth, I don’t have an issue with supporter badges or anonymous gift subs, I don’t think they impact on anything on Twitch whatsoever. I didn’t get involved in this discussion last time because sometimes it doesn’t feel worth it when people are very firmly against something, but that’s another topic.

I’ll just repeat what I said elsewhere, whatever we end up doing it just needs to open and transparent.

I would also add that maybe a longer term goal should be to put aside some of any surplus to solve the issue of the old boards for good - presuming paying for developer time is one of the issues there.


Earlier I had the thinking about this.

At the moment you require £600 to fund the forums and with there being 300 users, as you say that’s £2 each.

Now not everyone will want to or can pay, but also you’d need some certainty of receiving the £600 as to not lose out yourself.

How about a voluntary donation of £2, but the user can also decide to donate an additional £2 or multiples of for others who cannot.

So you could have say 200 x £2 for the paying users, and then an additional pot of say 100 x £2 for those donating on the behalf of others. Obviously those who cannot pay don’t need to claim their free membership or anything like that.

But keeping a record and maybe publishing monthly how many paid for and how many additional donations, may push those who can pay a little more to do so. Also be completely open even if you go over £600, and perhaps donating any surplus to the DiS hardship fund once a quarter or something

This is sort of where my head was at too but I’m sure there are 25 things wrong with it they we’re not all seeing. Not least what the different donation platforms can do.

The main flaw to all of this is that if we don’t reach our goal each month I’ll personally be making up the shortfall else the site goes down.

Hopefully we can get the costs right down and it’s gonna be far less of a concern and burden.

Perhaps build a surplus in the first few months, but have a thread where you publish the following each month.

How many paid for £2’s
How many extra £2’s on behalf of others
Your monthly bill from discourse.
The monthly surplus.

Perhaps allow a £300 max surplus for future quiet months or unexpected bills.

Then if the surplus ever grows to much, donate to the DiS hardship fund.

I think openess and transpancy is the key. Also people knowing any future surplus would go to the hardship fund would potentially encourage more donations.

I was one of the original hardship fund organisors but I stepped down as my anxiety was bad and I didn’t think I was known enough for the responsibility. I do regret they now, but I can’t imagine the stress for you.

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Sorry if this has been covered but my mind is a bit fried. Are we thinking this would be something like:

  1. £600* or more is raised in one month. Any surplus goes into the pot, to make up potential shortfall in a future month.
  2. If there is less than £600 raised in a month, the surplus is utilised. Perhaps alongside some kind of message on the forum to draw attention to this situation.
  3. The surplus is capped at £600. Anything beyond that (i.e. the surplus-to-the-surplus) goes into the DiS hardship fund.

I’m not saying we’ll definitely end up with £600 in surplus - certainly if we do it won’t be for a while. But it’d be good to have a plan in place. It would obviously need to be clear to Patreon subscribers that’s what would happen to any extra funds generated. Maybe some people wouldn’t be happy with it going to the hardship fund because it isn’t really what they’re donating money for, I’m not sure. If the surplus is never more than say, £100, it wouldn’t be an issue of course. It’s a bit hard to gauge right now but hey ho.

*This is all on the assumption that costs stay at £600 and don’t go up or down. Also assuming that £600 is a reasonable target. I really think it is but tough to say for certain.

Edit: Sorry @ynot didn’t realise you’d basically said all this in the post immediately before! Long day. Well, obviously I agree with you.


Great minds and all that.

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I’ve always tried to do this and definitely a priority going forwards. Hoping I can find a platform that allows for it.

I post here on a fairly casual basis but would be really sad to see the place go under. This place has provided me with guidance on everything from deciding where to buy a house to what to watch on tv in the evening, not to mention providing a whole bunch of laughs on a daily basis.

I wonder if a ‘pay what you like’ set up would be a good idea. We don’t want people feeling they have to shoulder a significant burden (nor does that seem sustainable in the long term), so there should be an upper limit, but I also feel that for such a busy site it’s not a great ask for people to pay some kind of fee for usage. Perhaps £1 to £10 a month, you decide, is a good way to go?

I recognise this perhaps strays away from the crowdfunding element and on to reducing traffic/page views, but I used to post on a board (it was maybe an Invision board?) that had a little chat room function at the top of the main page. This was quite useful as the every day greetings and random musings could be carried out there, with threads created for stuff that required more thoughtful discussion across a longer period.

Anyway, good luck with everything and here’s to many more happy years of DiS!

Don’t we have this already? I’ve been paying £2 and 69p cos I’m a child a month via Direct Debit for a good while now. @sean can I check this money is still useful/going to the right cause or does it need to switch over to something else? I’d certainly be happy to bump it up to £4 and 69p a month to keep this place going and I’m sure plenty of other woudl too.

Hello. Yes. A few people continued their PayPal donations and they’ve been contributing towards loads of running costs that I’m topping up each month with my own money to keep DiS alive (although admittedly I’ve spent 3 months, 100+ support tickets and 14 hours on the phone with AWS trying to get my account unlocked so that the main site can get back online).

However, we should set up a cleaner and more transparent way of doing this rather than about a day a month or my consultancy work paying the shortfall to keep DiS going so that it didn’t disappear completely . At no point has any of this money been used for anything other than paying for things like server costs and domain renewals. I don’t have an exact breakdown to hand as I’m just responding between meetings before anyone suggests anything untoward.

Admittedly I know many people aren’t interested in the music editorial preservation and apologises if it was unclear that the contributions, when asked for in the past, were not going directly to the community since Discourse set up the crowdfund pot.

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Ok cool, I think streamlining it and pushing it to everyone sounds like a great idea. Just glad to know my 69ps are still useful :slight_smile:

Discourse have introduced something like this. I switched it on yesterday to see what it was and for a lot of abuse but good to know you find it useful on other forums, however given the resection I really don’t think the community would go for it, even if it lowered costs and server use.

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In principle, that’s the plan to make it pay what you can. I’m just cognisant if there isn’t a basic amount set or an idea of paying it forward for others, we might not reach our target (admittedly this should lower if we can move to a private server)

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genuine question: why do you keep it going?

After the last 48 hours, it’s a question I’m wondering myself, seeing how much hurt the site has caused to some users. It’s an existential question I try to avoid.

Outside of the forums, Drowned in Sound has done a lot to help elevate the music we love both to our readers but also to the wider industry as a trusted voice. We also pushed for change in many areas (we were sounding the alarm about diversity issues, especially gender inequality, from very early on in our history and have run high impact editorial around it that drove industry conversations). I’ve also launched the careers of numerous artists through the label (I discovered Bat for Lashes through someone raving about seeing her support CocoRosie on the forums for instance) and managed to sustain all of this under the Drowned in Sound umbrella, which has name recognition as a voice that champions independent music from Auckland to Aberdeen.

I don’t think much of this stuff ever really makes its way into the forums as I’m pretty much absent from them and to be honest records I’ve released have been leaked in here by users (Youthmovies really sticks in my mind as we lost a fair bit of money releasing that) or really slated, so I tend not to share the things I’m involved with or excited about that much.

Not sure if that makes sense or makes me sound like a proper wanker. Probably both. I’m really keen to continue the positives of what I set out to do at 17 with the new podcast and singles club.

absolutely not at all and its nice to read your initial intentions etc (most of which i think i knew between here and socials)

hopefully if things can pick up financially it may enable you to get back to what was at the heart of setting up in the first place

thanks x

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Being one of these people it’s nice to know that it’s still proving useful. Happy to let it continue until a way forward is agreed on. Thanks for all your efforts keeping the lights on Sean, I’d have to do a lot more work if this place didn’t exist! :slight_smile:


I changed mine over to the Discourse thing, but I’d like to start again until we settle on something definitive. Can you remind me of the process?

See also, for example, Greenbelt festival which has (honesty-based) pay-what-you-want tiered ticket pricing - from £150 to £230, with no distinction between the tiers in terms of access/benefits.

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