Esolang talk:Funding

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Current status

The wiki's current hosting is sponsored by Bytemark Ltd. The following discussions are (at least for now) of only historical interest.

--(this comment by Fizzie at 00:05, 9 December 2017‎ UTC; please sign your comments with ~~~~)


Hi folks,

For the last few years, this wiki has been hosted on a rather seedy "one-time fee" VPS provider owned by User:GregorR. While it's been up most of the time, there have been extended (~days) bouts of downtime, including just recently, and the provider's support is best described as non-existent.

We (read: I) are now considering moving the wiki to a slightly less disreputable provider. Since the ongoing hosting costs, while still low, would be an order of magnitude higher than the current ones, we would like to ask any volunteers to contribute towards covering them.

The exact amount depends on the provider chosen, but would be approximately $5/month. At the moment, the only recurring cost is that of the domain name (~$1.3/month), which I can continue to cover.

We've thought of the following possible models:

(a) The "Random People Just Keep Sending Me Money" deal.
Basically, we'd post an informal appeal on the site, consisting of a transparent accounting of how much we've paid for hosting, and how much people have contributed. People would send me directly small (well, presumably) amounts of money any way we can agree on, e.g. via a PayPal personal transaction. As an (opt-in) reward, you could get your name mentioned on a "supporters" page, and possibly some other sort of status indicator. (Iff there's consensus this would be a good idea and we can figure out how to make MediaWiki do it.)
(b) The "Powered by Patreon" approach.
Similar to option (a), a little more structured. I used to think that Patreon wasn't really meant for this kind of use case, but looking at some of their other "creators", it might fit. Basically, people could choose to contribute any amount they wish as a monthly subscription, with the same rewards as (a). If we can think of other "virtual" rewards, even better. Pros: the site takes care of all the complicated details of accepting money, and with a subscription model, there is more of an expectation of continued payments. Cons: Patreon takes a 5% fee, and (to avoid accidentally making a profit) the monthly subscription levels would have to be really small, increasing the fraction wasted in per-transaction fees.
(c) The "Crowdfunding is Trendy, Right?" gambit.
Set up a one-off Indiegogo (or similar) campaign, with a target amount of money that would keep the site running for, say, 5 years (so around $300). Repeat every five years. (Or less often, if the target is exceeded.)
(d) The "Hope is a Strategy" notion.
Don't do any of this. Continue to hope our current provider can keep their pyramid scheme going, and doesn't completely disappear on us.

Please feel free to leave your opinions below, including any preferences you may have regarding the proposed options.

--fizzie (talk) 22:57, 13 November 2017 (UTC)


D makes sense for the short-term, but having a back-up plan for the next time there are issues with the provider makes sense. The advantage of B and C is that they're easy for people who want to donate; you don't have to email someone and have a discussion about how to get money to them. In terms of B, Kickstarter has their own Patreon-like app now,, which allows for payments by quarter instead of month which might work better than having really small amounts, in terms of fees. --Rottytooth (talk) 21:06, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for the tip. seems invite-only for now, but we could definitely start with A and do either B or C at some unspecified later time. --fizzie (talk) 01:57, 24 November 2017 (UTC)

I'd be happy to host the site on its own dedicated Amazon instance. --JayCampbell (talk)

In general, I think it would be good to have the same person be responsible for both the MediaWiki installation and the host it runs on, just to avoid having to get two people online if any sort of coordinated action is required. That's not the case at the moment, and it's a little inconvenient at times.
Also, I feel just a little bit uncertain about sharing the user data with someone I don't know (nothing personal!), though if there's consensus that it would be fine, then sure. (I'm not claiming to be a priori any more trustworthy, it's just a question of perspective.)
FWIW, there was some discussion on #esoteric (logs, starting around 03:00), and the point was made that "a dinky server" might be more appropriate than "the cloud", since we have pretty modest needs. The estimated costs on Amazon would be around $26/month, depending on region, based on a t2.small instance (wiki's currently running on a system with 2 GB of RAM) and 100 GB/month of egress traffic. The cheap option I've been investigating (well, one of them) is a €3.99/month (quarterly billing), 2GB RAM, KVM VPS here. --fizzie (talk) 01:57, 24 November 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for the comments. I've also gotten one more informal "I'd give some money" offer via IRC. Given that, I think I'm leaning towards starting with plan (a) (maybe in a few weeks), and then thinking about doing (b) or (c) if it seems necessary. Do let me know if you have any concerns or other feedback, however. --fizzie (talk) 01:57, 24 November 2017 (UTC)

We've also received an offer from a UK hosting company (Bytemark) to sponsor a server for the wiki on their cloud infrastructure. Since zero is realistically the best price we could aspire to (I doubt anyone's actually going to start paying us for the privilege of being able to host us), unless people have specific objections, I think we'll take up their kind offer and migrate there. --fizzie (talk) 12:10, 29 November 2017 (UTC)