funding a dedicated server

Geocaching Australia governance issues
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riblit
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Post by riblit » 01 February 08 5:31 pm

If we are heading along the association lines, the Tasmanians have already been down that road its worthwhile getting some input from whomever set it up there.

Each state will have different procedures so it would be a good idea to peruse the state requirements and pick the best state. The NSW information is at http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/busin ... tions.html
ASIC have some information and links to all the state web sites.
One quote from the ASIC site will need clarification "Incorporating an association in a State or Territory restricts the organisation to operating in its home jurisdiction. For example, an association incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act of New South Wales may only carry on business in New South Wales."

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Post by Cached » 01 February 08 6:01 pm

The Australian Naturist Federation is possibly a good model to follow.

There is a national exec, which represents the movement and sets a few very basic guidelines.

Then there are lots of member associations which are clubs in their own rights, who have voting rights in the national federation. These include clubs, resorts etc.

Those who are not members of clubs can be a supporter. A supporter is almost a club in its own right, and the supporters group has the same voting rights as the other clubs.

So, if the Tasmanians and the QLDrs have an association and are members of it, their association represents them. If the NT's don't, those people can join the supporter group.

Personally, I think an organisation needs to look after both aspects raised, the PR stuff and the website stuff.

Sam
PS, I'd probably be happy to be on a committee.

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Post by ideology » 01 February 08 8:00 pm

some good ideas about the association. would it be possible to put those in a separate thread because we want to keep focus on the immediate issue (for us at least!) that we need to get some more capacity very soon! an association might take longer than this to get together.

we forgot to address bear left and ian_and_penny's pareto-like idea of splitting geocaching.com.au and forum.geocaching.com.au. the observation that most of the load is from geocaching.com.au stats and not the forum is probably correct. the immediate solution would be to turn that all off and we could get significant capacity back. but that would be a pity as one of the key things we started out trying to do was open up the data to allow statistical analysis. it turns out a big chunk of usage is the google earth kml file - people naturally leave the feed on so it's always working while they are cruising around google earth - each user hitting the database every time they stop scrolling around google earth. maybe we could be clever and just have the google earth feed expire after 20 minutes or so, and if they want to see caches again they just re-enable that layer or something.

anyway, before we go doing a lot of work on this, we'd like to see roughly how much funding could be raised for the website as a whole. if it is only enough for a small server, then something will have to give one way or the other!

the other thing about any significant architectural changes to the site is that they require our time to do. (naturally the developers would most likely assist, but significant changes need us to roll up our sleeves and change configuration files on the server, etc) let's say something would take us a day to do. we'd rather pay $1,000 to continue supporting the site than spend a day buggering around with server config files, etc, breaking things, getting PMs and IMs that things aren't working, fixing them, responding to people, etc. not saying we are lazy or anything, it's just our time is limited and it's more efficient for us to just pay the $1,000 and get on with life! unfortunately that's what's led us to the situation where we have ended up putting in a fair bit of money per annum to keep this site going.

so our preference would be to keep all the sites (there's also a gallery and wiki) together on one machine. that way it's easy for us to migrate. if the machine isn't big enough, then either it needs more $$$ to make it bigger, or whoever is running it would have to turn off stuff, rewrite stuff, downgrade stuff or whatever. the developers would have better access to the logs on a standalone server so they would be in a better position to work out what's hogging the CPU, thrashing the disk, etc, so they hopefully will be in a better position to optimise stuff.

geof, we figured there'd be someone on the forum that could set up a new bank account in their name and when people donate money, they post something in the forum - almost like printing their own public receipt. they'd be kept honest because there would be a record on the forum of how much people assert they have donated. we've never met you but we'd be happy to transfer $20 into our account if we were able to make a public posting that we'd donated $20 via you. however, we recognise that not everyone may be as trusting as we are!

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Post by Cached » 02 February 08 12:15 am

If we decide to be an "association" or similar, a letter with two signatures on that basically says "we had a meeting and we want a bank account" is all that is needed. Signatories (at least one) need to be 100 point checked.

I've done this recently for an unincorporated new scout troop. easy as feeding the dog.

This would probably solve the immediate problem of where to put the $$. It still requires somebody to be the signatories, and the officebearers.

Friends of GCA could exist in a bank account on monday or tuesday if we followed this path. It wouldn't take much to set up a paypal donation box, thermometer and acknowledgement of donations. I assume the donation acknowledgement could be coded so that it shows on the front page immediately.

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Post by ideology » 02 February 08 7:28 am

please can we put the association comments in one of the association threads.

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Post by Map Monkey » 02 February 08 9:11 am

I think i am in the right thread. :wink:

Rather than a thermometer style target, is there an option to have some form of sponsorship style recognition.

I would rather see as many members as possible contribute to the funding of the server as a first option , rather than the current situation :P . However members have different financial priorities wrt donating.....some will donate a sizable amount, whilst others dont want to donate anything.

Is there an option to "sponsor" the server for a day, or two or three etc. Set the fee at say $10, and with the possibility of sponsoring based on selecting dates. I want to donate $70, and have selected the whole of next week to be sponsored. A small coded recognition of sponsorship of the site could be located at the bottom of the homepage etc stating "Today's sponsorship courtesy of Map Monkey" etc. A small yet appropriate recognition of members contributions.

A calendar style page would show prospective donors the available dates that they could sponsor, similar to this one, ignoring the numbers in the brackets (well you get the rough idea :wink: ):

Image

Just another left-field idea for comment. :P

mm

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Post by Richary » 02 February 08 11:00 am

A new possibility for hosting that looks like it might be worth investigating on a quick read through.<p>

http://news.smh.com.au/amazons-hot-new- ... -1pnq.html

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Post by riblit » 02 February 08 11:37 am

richary wrote:A new possibility for hosting that looks like it might be worth investigating on a quick read through.<p>

http://news.smh.com.au/amazons-hot-new- ... -1pnq.html
That's a virtual computer, essentially a software computer running on another computer. At the moment we are feeling the pinch where we are sharing resources with other sites. I would by wary of heading that direction.

smugmug are using it for data storage, not number crunching. we do more number crunching than straight storage.

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Post by ideology » 02 February 08 1:36 pm

it seems quite interesting. it is the back-end for smugmug, so it must be able to handle a fair load. we've skimmed some of the documentation and at this stage we understand very little, but hope to get some time to research it more thoroughly

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Post by fehrgo » 02 February 08 5:47 pm

Can you give me an idea of the current database load, in peak transactions per second, for all sites put together? There must be a lot of backend jobs running if we are saturating a shared environment with an average of under 6 page views per minute. Possibly the current hosting site does not have an optimum database architecture.

I'd like to put together in my head what the system requirements are for this, so that I can get a feel for the real hosting cost. I have a few hosting options in mind, but would like to base my cost projections and system requirements on real numbers. When it comes to dedicated hosting, we have two costs, one is the up front hardware costs (unless leasing a server), and the other is the ongoing power/bandwidth/rack space/hands and eyes service charge.

Regards,
Eric

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Richary
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Post by Richary » 02 February 08 9:52 pm

With the Amazon solution, I noticed they stated it handled basic database queries without providing all the bells and whistles of a full blown hosted site. Now I have no idea what is involved with GCA, so just thought I would throw it into the mix for those who know how it works to consider.

I suspect if Amazon are throwing this out to a worldwide market, they must have a pretty confident business model showing it can handle the loads that will be thrown at it. They aren't known for going to market too early with a product.

I also thought the "utility style" regular bills rather than a lock in long term pay up front contract might be attractive.

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Post by ideology » 03 February 08 7:42 am

map monkey, the idea of allowing different levels of donation with different levels of recognition is interesting. we could install a PhpBB calendar mod which would have 80% of the functionality you mention.

fehrgo, we've sent you a pm with some database logs.

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Post by Team Piggy » 03 February 08 9:27 pm

I was discussing this funding issue with another cacher today.
I am personally not for the association at this point, all seems too much trouble. political hoohaa + redtape = blah..

It seems to us that if you make a donation (or annual membership) to this site you need to get something in return (EG special priveleges or something such as:)

1/ An advertising free site for paying users VS advertising banners (creating more income) for non paying users & bots.
2/ A special section for members?
3/ Cake (cake is good)
4/ Acknowledgement on the site as a benefactor etc.
5/ Geocoin or sticker or badge or sock)

In reality if you get nothing but warm fuzzies as a donator, why would you do it when you know you have "everything" for not donating??? Makes sense doesnt it..

How about this then: For a once a year small fee ($5 to $??) you get:
:
:
(Drum roll):
:
:
STATS..
(And maybe cake)..
It seems that the stats are the big bandwidth hoggers on this site.

So in return for your annual membership you get access to them. It seems this will cut down the number of hits and amount of data on the stats, and those that really want it can still have it, whilst supporting the site.

Thoughts?

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Post by zactyl » 04 February 08 2:33 am

You have a point there Team Piggy, I'm sure many will donate even if there is no benefit, so IF there is a benefit it would need to be something that might tempt those who would not otherwise donate. Stats seems like it might fit.

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Post by SuperMoosie » 04 February 08 8:40 am

I'm sure many will donate even if there is no benefit, so IF there is a benefit it would need to be something that might tempt those who would not otherwise donate
What about the "I donated $50 to GCA" cache?

Its all about the numbers

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