Forum:Funding the wikis
We need to pay our technical staff properly, and it's looking like the only realistic way to do that is to run ads - should we?
The situation[edit source]
The four years since we moved the wikis away from Fandom have been excellent in many ways, but behind the scenes, we've been in a precarious financial situation. We've managed to scrape by, but only because:
- Cook has at various points loaned ~$40k to pay the infrastructure bills
- We've been paying our two technical staff (Jayden and Kitty - the guys who run all the webservers and get a call in the middle of the night when things are on fire) an unreasonably small amount for the work they do. While the lines are blurred between paid and volunteer work, it would realistically come out to about £2 an hour if we counted all the time they were working on it.
When we first moved away from Fandom, this felt like an okay situation to be in temporarily as we figured out whether the project would succeed or fail. Since then, the wiki part of it has gone better than any of us could have imagined, but the financial situation hasn't improved - if anything, it's gotten worse as the traffic has gone up and inflation increased our costs. We simply don't have enough left over to fairly compensate our technical staff for the full-time roles required to keep things up and running.
It's been 4 years like this, and it's at a breaking point - something's gotta give. Both of the technical staff have told us over the last couple years that they can't keep working on the wikis like this, if they need to hold down a second job. Furthermore, attempting to “replace” them with someone else at the same compensation is not feasible because similarly skilled roles earn well into the 6-figures at other wiki organizations (not to mention the current group’s knowledge of our systems, since they built them). The technical staff have been involved with the wikis for a decade-plus and have been on-call nearly 24/7 for the last four years. They've stuck around because they care, but there is a limit to what we can ask people to sacrifice out of good will.
Their reduced activity has already had a noticeable impact on the wikis: the big GCP infrastructure migration took 2 years longer than expected, and most editor/user-facing bugfixes and feature development have been stalled because there's just no time.
The solution?[edit source]
The truth is, we just need more revenue - there's no amount of cost-cutting on servers that would make a dent. We've explored several options (including more funding from Jagex, Wikipedia-style donations, Patreon, subscriptions with additional features), but it appears none of them would come close to raising what we'd need for even one full-time staff member. In particular, even though soliciting donations sounds like a very promising approach, looking at similar things (e.g. RuneLite's Patreon, 117's RSHD Patreon) makes us think we'd fall short by around an order of magnitude.
So that brings us to the option of running ads. I know that's a dirty word after all of the terrible experiences with intrusive ads on sites like Fandom, but the intent here is to figure out the minimal consistent ad configuration that meets our revenue targets. We'll need to experiment a bit, because we don't know what the revenue for various options looks like until we test it in the field.
If we can get away with just having one banner ad below the fold, that would be a great outcome. If that's not enough, we'd want to try something roughly where the sitenotice is now. If that's still not enough, then we'll probably go back to the drawing board, because our current estimates suggest that the ~1.5 billion page views the wikis get per year (mostly in very developed countries) should give us a lot of non-disruptive options for hitting the goal.
We are very serious about keeping ads from hurting the wiki experience, as such:
- We aren't interested in running intrusive video or takeover ads (see Forum:Featured Article Videos for some fun history)
- We won't have ads for editors logged-in to the wiki
- There's a strong desire to avoid running any ads on mobile, although it might still be worth testing in case it's somehow insanely valuable and allows us to run fewer ads elsewhere
Where the money would go[edit source]
The main priority is to hire the two sysadmins full-time. Depending on how the revenue looks in the tests, we have other slightly lower-priority things we'd like to budget for, including:
- Additional technical employees to work on more feature-development-y things, including:
- Our own archival tools,
- Model viewers
- Maps/Pathfinding tools
- DPS calculators
- And more - we have a wishlist here
- Grants for IRL "summits"/"conferences"/get-togethers focused on wiki projects. We've funded a few 'techfests' before, and they were excellent at getting the GCP move done; being able to do more of those for similar things (though not necessarily as technical) would be very useful (e.g. fixing MMGs, DPS calculators, etc).
- Contracting a small business accounting firm so Cook and/or I don't have to work out UK employment and tax law alone
Every dollar made from ads will be put back into things that benefit the wikis and the community, and we intend to be very transparent about where the money is going.
It's up to the wiki community[edit source]
Ultimately, it's up to the wiki community to decide what happens here. The way we set up Weird Gloop (the company that runs the wikis) essentially makes it impossible for us to do anything that the editing community is dead-set against.
If the consensus here is against running ads, the wikis won't immediately cease to exist or anything… but it does mean we probably won't have any sysadmins soon. Without that on-call support, the wiki could easily just go down for 8 hours without anyone around to fix it.
Personal note from Gaz[edit source]
On a personal note from me (Gaz). As someone who's been involved with the wiki for 15 years, I can't pretend that I'm thrilled with re-introducing ads. We all know that bad ads were the primary reason we moved away. I always wanted to build this fork to be what Fandom wasn't, with a focus on the content rather than the ads that surround it.
We are never going to be Fandom, but we still have to face reality - we can't take advantage of the sysadmins any longer. I think running ads gives us the best opportunity to keep the lights on, improve the wikis' features, and pay the people who make those things possible.
I've tried to keep the main proposal here as short as possible so that it stays readable for what will probably be a very large audience, but this means that some specifics about implementation, governance, etc, have been left out. Please put any questions in this section, and we (mostly me and Cook) will answer here.
Question - What's been explored in regards to getting more funding from Jagex? Wouldn't this be our best option?15:13, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
- So one thing we didn't mention earlier is that Jagex is continuing their prior financial support, which is roughly enough to cover basic costs like the web servers and a couple other things.
- We had a lot of conversations with Jagex over the past year on how to close the entirety of the funding gap. On a basic level, direct funding certainly seems like the simplest route: the users don't have to see ads, and the wiki doesn't have ads for competing games trying to siphon people away from RuneScape (this was actually the main purpose of the Fansite Support Program from years ago).
- The reality is more complicated. We weren't able to come to an agreement for direct funding, and even if we could have done that for this year at the scale that would let us hire full-time staff (which was by no means a sure thing, and would have likely had conditions attached), these kinds of deal always have a fixed term. An expense that high for the wiki in Jagex's budget would have been heavily scrutinized whenever the term was up. There would be uncertainty every time we needed to renew the deal, let alone increase funding if we end up needing more in the future. They're a big enough company that a change in priorities (or even something as simple as the departure of the existing people at Jagex in charge of wiki relations) could put funding in jeopardy and have us back on the ads path anyway. 15:23, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Have you thought about asking the community for donations to help keeping the site running? Since this wiki is an important tool for pretty much every player, there should be enough people willing to help out. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 2a00:20:3046:8e36:cde6:75e1:6cb0:96a7 (talk) on 15:35, 20 January 2023 (UTC).
- We considered it, and based on similar Patreons (RuneLite, 177's RSHD), we think there just would not be nearly enough to hire even 1 full time staff. We think it would be unfair to run ads and solicit donations. Obviously if it were feasable, we'd probably do it. 15:41, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Question - Pardon me, I'm not too familiar with the wiki's current financial situation. I was under impression that Jagex is funding the wikis and that there's a substantial leftover. What is Jagex paying for, exactly? How much of the wikis' costs does that cover? Is it just the servers? It might be worth elaborating for users like me who did not keep up with this topic since the move in 2018. 5-x Talk 15:43, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
- The funding we get from Jagex is enough to cover the main infrastructure costs, domains, CDN, a few other miscellaneous corporate things, and a small amount for the sysadmins. There's not a substantial amount left over though - it varies a little bit with the GBP/USD exchange rate (funding is in GBP but most of the spend is USD, lucky us) but usually we hover between making a couple hundred or losing a couple hundred per month. ʞooɔ 17:34, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Question - How will you ensure that there are no adverts for anything that harm RuneScape and damage player experience, such as gold selling websites/gambling/bots? e.g. /r/2007scape has often had problems with these adverts appearing which despite their best efforts they're unable to remove. Hlwys (talk) 15:47, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
- It is more difficult to do in practice than you'd expect, ad networks have filters but they aren't always as perfect as we'd like (especially since the bad-ad-placers try to get around them). We'll be doing what we can, including changing providers if necessary, to get filters that work well for us. 16:30, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Question - Where would I find financial statements for the wiki, if they're public? What's the balance sheet looking like, are you cash flow constrained, etc. CraftyElk (talk) 15:50, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
- The required financial reports are filed at Companies House. We also talked about financials in the last board meeting - meta:Forum:Board Meeting - 2022-12-17#Current financials. In the future, they will likely be posted on Meta Wiki somewhere. 16:30, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Question - I know you want to maintain independence, but is it possible to put some sysadmins on Jagex payroll? The politics is likely too complicated for that, but just wanted to throw it out there. CraftyElk (talk) 15:53, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
- This is actually one of the things we were looking at early on. It's hard to pick just one reason why that didn't work out, but some mix of control issues, concerns about non-UK employment, worries about long-term commitment or them getting shoved to some other role, etc... it's a cool idea but I think it just breaks down in practice. ʞooɔ 16:08, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
- There aren't currently plans to implement ads on PT-BR RuneScape Wiki, RuneScape Classic Wiki, or Meta Wiki. 16:30, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Question - what kind of number are we looking at per year to avoid ads? I personally would be happy to pitch in $20/yr wikipedia style to keep the site ad-free. Let's say you could convince about 1 in 50 site visitors to do the same - how would that look? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 2605:8d80:580:b960:88a4:6ef6:d790:55a5 (talk) on 16:29, 20 January 2023 (UTC).
Question - Is there a proposal for what types/quantity of ads to be placed? I am curious if there's a proposal for the types of ads to be placed, in what locations on the page, and in what quantity. Is there a spec for where ads will be placed on the site? Lego6245 (talk) 17:11, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
- There's likely going to be some experimentation at the start, but we're aiming for the minimal amount of ads we can use to raise the funds we need. If we're lucky, we can get away with a single ad that only appears once you scroll down in the page. If not, the next most likely place would be at the top of the page as a banner, like where the sitenotice appears. We'd also prefer to avoid running ads on mobile if we can help it, but again we'll only know once we try this stuff out how each form of advertisement will do. BigDiesel2m (talk) 17:26, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Question - From the wording, I assume that the alternate options mentioned at the start of "The Solution?" are preferable if they provided enough revenue. If they're preferable, why have they not been attempted? I understand that they have been "explored" which I assume means "thought about and researched" but not actually "tried." While it's true that OSRS related Patreons historically have done poorly, I don't think that necessarily has to be the case for the Wiki--people really like the Wiki as it is and want to support it. The closest equivalent I know of to the OSRS Wiki for another community is the UESP, which has a Patreon that seems reasonably successful, and I'm not convinced that their active community is larger or more generous than ours. I think, if ads are the nuclear option, the other more agreeable options should at least be attempted before entering the launch codes. Qhp (talk) 18:00, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Question - Asking for money sucks...but I feel like there are other options to try before resorting to ads. A patreon, donations, streams, asking content creators for contributions. I seldom donate to things like this, but I would help out here as like many other people the wiki will always have a special place. Would these things be considered before doing ads, and do we genuinely think ads would be enough on their own? Chippy (talk) 18:17, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
- To give you an idea of the scale, this list of top patreons (sort by earnings) would mean we would need to suddenly become one of the top patreons to reach our revenue goals mentioned above. Top 100 for sure, maybe as low as top 30. Ads are absolutely enough, even the minimal use we are aiming for. 18:28, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
- The revenue goals/targets are not defined on this page. How much funding are you hoping to receive? To rephrase, how much would have to be received to avoid running ads? Qhp (talk) 18:30, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
- I'm a bit worried about giving an exact number off the cuff where we say "if we hit X, we won't run ads", since it's something that requires a lot more careful thought. But any alternative funding source would need to net well into six figures for it to be a feasible option. Whether it's $150k or more like twice that depends a bit on how much we value the various things we can spend money on besides the sysadmins, although that's a complicated discussion we're going to end up having regardless of how we fund it. ʞooɔ 19:50, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
- I think Patreon is an unfair benchmark to judge the amount of money the wiki could make from donations. If we were to implement direct donations, we would avoid the cut Patreon takes. If we also heavily advertised the direct donations, I believe we could make more than enough money.
- Here are the stats from Wikipedia:
- 241 billion pageviews in 2021
- 155 million in revenue from fundraising that year
- This works out to about 644 thousand dollars per billion views. Given the fact that we get over a billion views per year, and the RS wikis receive more views from developed countries where people would have more disposable income, I think this method of fundraising could be very viable. I encourage you to reconsider the merits of donation based funding. Hunterjd (talk) 04:45, 22 January 2023 (UTC)
- The amount of money Patreon takes from fundraising is relatively minor - last I checked it was something like 5%.
- Wikipedia's fundraising relies heavily on large institutional donors like the Sloan Foundation, and a email catalog of repeat donors that they've built up from their 20 years of soliciting donations. They have numerous full-time people with a background in charity fundraising that are working on donation drives, outreach and analysis.
- We have nothing that would help us replicate that. The only thing we have on our side would be banner-style fundraising pitches, which have become increasingly aggressive on Wikipedia in the last few years, and get a pretty significant amount of hate (justified or not) for how intrusive they are. ʞooɔ 05:03, 22 January 2023 (UTC)
- The revenue goals/targets are not defined on this page. How much funding are you hoping to receive? To rephrase, how much would have to be received to avoid running ads? Qhp (talk) 18:30, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Question - Have you considered sponsorships in lieu of traditional ad services like AdSense? A large number of RS content creators are funded by sponsors such as Raid: Shadow Legends or Manscaped or Displate or any of the other products that are interested in selling to the RS playerbase. Even if the sponsorship comes in exchange for running their ads, running ads for a sponsor is a lot more palatable than trying to filter out the scam/malicious/inappropriate ads from a mass market ad server. And the community is already used to these kinds of sponsorships. Quantumsandwich (talk) 19:34, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
- Yeah, we're certainly considering doing direct sponsorships as an (at least partial) alternative to just the classic ad networks. It's not clear what form those would take, and whether it would be more intrusive than standard display ads, but if there were ways to get advertising deals directly with the buyers and bypass ad networks (which have all the risks you point out), we'd generally prefer that. ʞooɔ 19:42, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Question - Are there plans to regularly and transparently review the impact of ads on criteria such as financial success and occurrence of unacceptable ads? For example, it might be good to have ads be added as a recurring agenda item for board meetings. cqm talk 21:25, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
- I don't think we've figured out exactly how we want do financial transparency, other than to say "we want to do all of it". Whether that comes in the form of a regular meeting (probably more often than the quarterly board meetings) or just a page that we update frequently, I don't know yet. It's an important thing to figure out and I'm interested in proposals on the most reasonable way to do it.
- On a related note, I think the Weird Gloop board is going to take on a massively increased importance in the next year, since there are decisions to make about monetization vs cost-savings that are genuine judgment calls without any right answers. We need a strong board that doesn't just agree with whatever I want. ʞooɔ 22:08, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Question - Has a viability study been done for the expected revenue of ads? A large portion of the playerbase is tech-savvy savvy enough to use RuneLite/Alt1 programs beyond the original installed game, and adblockers are increasingly commonplace on mobile browsers, and on desktop browsers, where (I can only assume) most of the clicks are from, adblockers are pervasive. What if such a measure isn't sufficient? Then we have compromising ads and still have problems? Loafdumbloaf (talk) 00:38, 21 January 2023 (UTC)
- We've done about as much due diligence as is possible without doing our own field tests. That includes consulting with other comparable game wikis, ad networks, etc, to get an idea of the cost-per-impression for different ad configurations, and a rough estimate of the AdBlock percentages (usually 30%-40%). The general range we got is that we can expect about 0.2 to 0.3 cents per pageview ($2-$3 CPM to use ad jargon) with an above-the-fold banner, and we'd probably be on the higher end of that because RuneScape/OSRS are dominated by US/Canada/Western Europe/Australia which tend to have really high multipliers on ad spend. That would lead to a truly absurd $3m-$4m/year estimate. We don't need anywhere near that much, so ideally we do as many reductions as possible on this (going below the the fold, less/no targeting, no mobile, etc) that still gets us in the range for a couple full time staff. But it's pretty unknown until we give it a try.
- To your second question...if for some reason our estimates are wildly off and we have to make a decision between a genuinely disruptive ad situation vs. not having staff...then I think we'd have to sit down and figure out whether those ads would be worth it, because it's not clear to me that they would be. But I think this is a rather unlikely hypothetical, given the huge difference between the revenue estimates and our requirements. ʞooɔ 01:23, 21 January 2023 (UTC)
- Right now the expectation is that it would just apply to anyone who is logged in - that's certainly the easiest thing to implement. We'd prefer to keep it that way, but I think we'd reserve the right to change that if for some reason (say) 70% of the readers started using an account - right now it's like 3%. ʞooɔ 01:23, 21 January 2023 (UTC)
Question - I appreciate that ads are a last resort for you guys, they would be for me as well... If ads make their way in, would you add a subscription option to remove them? I'd rather give you guys say £2-3 a month than see ads all over my PC and phone, and I'm sure many others would! —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 2a02:c7f:da87:a100:7c70:ea41:9e58:f66b (talk) on 21 January 2023, 11:06 (UTC).
- You (and anyone else asking a similar thing) might be interested in a parallel discussion that just started at Forum:Starting a Patreon for the wikis. In that discussion, there's talk about different perks for people who support the potential Patreon, including a guarantee that supporters would never see ads on the wiki. BigDiesel2m (talk) 09:31, 24 January 2023 (UTC)
Question - Can you provide an example of what the ad might look like? I know it really depends on how much revenue is generated, which might mean more obtrusive ads if more revenue is needed, but a quick and dirty example would help communicate the types of ads we're talking about. I'm not clear on the placement of the ad (embedded in the wiki pages, on the side ui, on the header ui?), the size of the ad, or if we're talking about text/image/animated ads. I suspect the ads would be less annoying than people are imagining, so seeing it on the page would ease some worry. TzTok-Chad (talk) 04:34, 22 January 2023 (UTC)
- If the wikis decide to go for ads, there's going to be a period of testing while we figure out which ad configuration meets the funding goals in the least obtrusive way, during which we'll probably try a lot of different locations for ads. Here's a few mockups as to where a banner ad would go, if that helps visualize it any. As for the other locations, I don't think there's much appetite for ads in the middle of the wiki's content, but we'll probably try sidebar and footer ads in that testing period. BigDiesel2m (talk) 09:31, 24 January 2023 (UTC)
Question - In terms of being transparent about where the money is going, what would be the plan to communicate this? A yearly report? I would prefer something more frequent than that since ads/donations give in quite a varying amount every month.10:01, 24 January 2023 (UTC)
- It would definitely be more frequent than annually. My current plan is to have some public monthly accounting of the various revenue streams and costs, although this is not set in stone and could change in any number of ways, since we've never done it before and might find some parts are more useful than others. ʞooɔ 10:10, 24 January 2023 (UTC)
Question - Would ad revenue make it possible to bring back OSWF? I seem to recall it died out because Jagex stopped supporting it. Would it be worth the investment if that were the case? 00:20, 26 January 2023 (UTC)
- Yeah, I think we could directly fund OSWF pretty easily on our own if we decided that was what we wanted to do. It's not so much that Jagex explicitly stopped supporting it, but it got passed off from one CM person to another as various people left the company, and it got increasingly difficult to actually get it reimbursed. It actually came up in a conversation last week that they're willing to fund it again, but TBH it's easier said than done. It's not the only reason OSWF has fallen a bit off the wagon the last couple years (it's been getting harder to come up with nicely packaged projects for new people, as we work through the ones we have)...but it's been an awesome program for getting new people involved, and I'd love to bring it back in a big way. ʞooɔ 00:27, 26 January 2023 (UTC)
Question - While it may not directly be what you're looking for, I have a game studio and our game has a Wiki. However, it doesn't look nor function as well as the RS Wiki. We have budget to invest into our Wiki; perhaps this could help? If this is an interesting option, please let me know and I'll reach out via email. (Unsigned for reasons) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 2001:1c03:4215:a300:6d50:2cbe:6254:7721 (talk) on 26 January 2023, 14:13 (UTC).
- Hi! We're open to this sort of thing - if you want to chat, I'm email@example.com ʞooɔ 14:19, 26 January 2023 (UTC)
Question - At the currently level of financial reporting we have no clue what amount of funding you are receiving and how it is being spent. That makes this thing look suspicious even though it most likely isn't. Will you start providing ongoing transparancy on this matter? JelleDK (talk) 01:56, 27 January 2023 (UTC)
- Yeah, I can see why it doesn't look good that the wikis are asking for more money without being really transparent about our previous funding situation. That has more to do with our previous contract though, rather than a desire on our part to hide how we're using our money. Under our previous contract, it wasn't really possible for us to be as up-front about financials as we would have liked, but going forward we intend to be very transparent with how we're spending our income. Not to turn this question back on you, but do you (or anyone else reading this) have a opinion on how often they'd like a financial update from the wikis? Personally, I think a yearly update would be too infrequent, and I'd at least push for quarterly financial updates (which is about as often as the board is supposed to meet, so that kinda lines up). Do you think quarterly is still too infrequent, and we should do something on more of a monthly schedule? Curious what people want from the wikis moving forward, in terms of frequency of updates and what information in specific they'd want to see. BigDiesel2m (talk) 03:52, 27 January 2023 (UTC)
Support15:06, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - I hate advertisements, but I think you are correct that other options are just not cutting it: there needs to be a consistent source of coins to be able to pay the Dwarven Engineers. I believe that you are feeling the same way, and thus trust that the number of advertisements will be kept to a minimum. Zorak plorak - Talk 15:20, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - Alas. But, if it's not feasible for our sysadmins anymore it's not feasible. Would be cool as well to be able to fund the other things listed. Additionally, it won't be anything like Fandom considering we want to continue to prioritise UX by running not-very-intrusive ads (and not for logged in peeps).15:22, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - It is what it is.16:13, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Comment - What does the weirdgloop/Jagex contract say about running ads on the website? I would have thought that there would be a provision in there about not doing that. CraftyElk (talk) 16:14, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
- The previous contract was indeed no ads, but as part of these negotiations we worked together on a new contract. Most of it is the same, but this is one of the restrictions that have been lifted.
16:30, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
- Does Jagex still have an effective veto on any advertising? The migration post said "Our sites will run no advertisements not approved by Jagex (excluding internal project and event promotions)." Jackladder (talk) 16:43, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - If it has to be done, it has to be done. There's value in the consistency and independence offered by this option in contrast to soliciting more funding from Jagex, as explained by the nominators. I do share the worry about malicious ads making their way on the wiki's as expressed above, but trust in the competence of the admin group to have considered the issue, and being able to prevent it. Ostentatio (talk) 16:21, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - Sad to see ads, but I trust the wiki community to keep the focus on user experience and not profit maximization with obtrusive ads. Also, our sysadmins are, in my opinion, world class. They should be very proud of building one of the best wikis out there, and they 100% deserve fair pay for that work. Eliuaustin (talk) 16:26, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Oppose I was keen on the Wiki moving away from Fandom / Wikia because it meant no adverts. Jagex's funding is conditional on them effectively having a veto on any adverts on the Wiki (according to the initial migration post) so I think IF the Wiki does plan to run adverts, they're putting the future of the Wiki in a precarious position if Jagex decides they don't like an advert. I'd rather other revenue streams that don't rely on having to keep Jagex happy with it, or going completely independent of Jagex's funding to pre-empt the risk of losing it. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Jackladder (talk) on 16:27, 20 January 2023 (UTC).
- Sorry that this wasn't made clear in the main post, but our most recent contract with Jagex isn't structured as an advertising contract, and moving forward the only things that they have a right to veto would be ads that we already don't want on the wiki (such as scams, rulebreaking, etc.) Jagex has been in the loop throughout this process so we don't see this as putting the wikis in a situation where Jagex might want to break ties with us. BigDiesel2m (talk) 16:41, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - I don't really like ads but I think the reality is if we cannot find a way to find consistent funding to support Jayden and Kitty, the quality of the wiki may snowball downwards. I loved editing the wiki a long time ago and being part of the community. It definitely evolved a lot more than I thought it would. There's a lot more automation and code writing than before, and I think the funds from the ads is justified as it's a real job at this point. Comment too Would there be a way to control what type of ads are being displayed by any chance? I'm just hoping there's some sort of control in case wiki may lose funding from Jagex too due to rule breaking ads or other types of ads like that. And do you really think it's unfair to ask for donations, along with running ads? I feel like as long as the ads aren't very intrusive and asking for donations is kept to a minimal or word of mouth, perhaps it might be viable. Powers38 (talk) 16:45, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Support conditional on much greater financial transparency - The current state of finances are could be better (this is the worst balance sheet I've ever seen); I would like to see disclosure on par with what is expected out of a typical nonprofit (in the US we call this a statement of functional expenses for nonprofits, idk what's the UK equivalent). But yeah, money's gotta come from somewhere, and ads seems like the least bad option if we want to fairly compensate people for their work. CraftyElk (talk) 16:49, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
- That's pretty typical for what you'd expect for a company of its size in UK. There's different standards required depending on the size, basically. I'd support more transparency. Jackladder (talk) 17:08, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
- I agree with CraftyElk. One of the points mentioned by OP is "Contracting a small business accounting firm so Cook and/or I don't have to work out UK employment and tax law alone" but hiring someone for THAT document seems like an absolute waste in its current state. 07:52, 21 January 2023 (UTC)
Support Historically basically every fansite has been ad funded (Zybez/RSC, TIF etc.) and it hasn't been an issue. As long as it sticks to banner ads and not autoplay video/popups a few banners wouldn't be a big deal. In addition I think it would be reasonable to tax excess funding to repay historical personal loans when funds are available. Wizzyhatg (talk) 16:52, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Support Everyone deserves a living wage, especially the people who run this wiki. It is integral to my experience playing RuneScape. Run ads, do it the right way, and all is well. Thank you all for the work you do. Notmothman22 (talk)
Support The wiki gets a very high amount of views so hopefully just a below the fold ad, and maybe a banner ad will be enough for funding. Jayden and Kitty to great work, and expenses like the Wiki's UK address and help with accounting need paid for. As long as there is perhaps a site notice explaining why the wiki has to run ads from now on should help with potential backlash, rather than firefighting after the fact. This greater funding allowing certainities like the DPS calculator finally being done, and in house archiving makes me feel fuzzy in my nerdy little heart. 17:37, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - Linking to products and services that users may be interested in could improve their lives. Sometimes people need a reminder that something exists, or are being introduced to the concept of a service for the first time. —17:47, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - It's abysmal that Jayden and Kitty don't get paid a fair amount for their work keeping the wikis running, huge support from me so long as the ads aren't intrusive like you've already stated :).17:52, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Sad but necessary support - I don't like the fact that it's needed, but I get it. Jayden & Kitty deserve to be paid better for their tireless work. I trust y'all a lot more than most groups in terms of actually implementing it in good faith/only what's needed. 𝓡𝓪𝓯 18:04, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - If this is what it takes to pay people fairly, then it (unfortunately) needs to be done. As much as I would like the wiki to be ad-free, I don't think Jagex or donations would be reliable solutions. Omnes Ferant (talk) 18:08, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Conditional, reluctant support - It is my understanding that Jagex has a single promotional slot on the Main Page as part of a deal. Could this deal be expanded to be a collapsible, site-wide banner to negotiate increased funding? In regards to Gaz Lloyd's comment on running ads and soliciting donations simultaneously, could RSW run ads by default and players can pay to hide ads? As per CraftyElk, better financial transparency is a must. At the end of the day, I strongly feel every person should earn a living wage and it is embarrassing when that is not the case. Although I oppose advertisements on principle, I will support this only to ensure those are fairly compensated for their work and the search for a better alternative continues. Swyllikx of Guthix (level: 138) ▸ Choose OptionTalk to Swyllikx of Guthix (level: 138)Follow Swyllikx of Guthix (level: 138)Report Swyllikx of Guthix (level: 138)Contributions Swyllikx of Guthix (level: 138)Walk hereExamine Swyllikx of Guthix (level: 138)Cancel 19:43, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - Nobody loves ads, but I do love the wiki. Allowing it to continue to run as it does now and allowing the folks who put in hard work to make sure it works to make a living is something I will always support. I see no reason to oppose this, especially with the restrictions proposed put in place. Ia Morte (talk) 19:57, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - i have zero insight into the running of the site or the wiki's finances so i defer to the people who actually know and would be the ones implementing it Hlwys (talk) 20:22, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - The amount of times the Wiki has gone down over the last 4 years is evidence of how skilled and dedicated the technical staff works. Real world companies pay huge amounts of money for this type of SLA. Jayden and Kitty should definitely be compensated for their work in maintaining one of the largest websites without having to worry about about a second job. Shoyrukon (talk) 21:07, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - Honestly, these things need to be done. The work put in deserves the proper compensation. I am also sure there is a lot more that is involved than what is even publicly shown, backend work is always a huge undertaking. Additionally, the "We won't have ads for editors logged-in to the wiki" statement, I would absolutely love to be able to turn on ads even though I am logged in if I choose to. If it means a bit more revenue to pay for the staff, then I would turn them on to help out. Kosmiklove (talk) 21:18, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Support, but double check other options - I think it might be worth looking into the feasibility of donations once again. HD and Runelite both don't prominently ask for donations. If we were to implement Wikipedia style fundraising, with banners and a clear explanation of why we need the money, I think it could turn out very differently from what those Patreons may have shown. You guys have looked into it more than I have though, so I support this if it truly is the best way. Hunterjd (talk)
Support - Assuming the implementation is tasteful, this is a no-brainer. Furthermore, having read Reddit threads, the discussion here and asked a few questions on Discord, there's no indication that this will harm the wiki in the eyes of the community. While I think it's important to maintain community trust on this, I'm open to seeing the results of the proposed experimentation. cqm talk 21:28, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Support, but double check other potions - I agree with Hunterjd, most people probably don't even know Runelite has a patreon. But if we had essentially ads for the wiki itself from time to time, similar to how Wikipedia does it, that might be the missing order of magnitude. Microbrews (talk) 23:08, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Conditional support on also attempting other sources - I'm assuming ads would be done tastefully. I'm hoping for something similar to how LTT forums implement their ads. I would be very much against video ads, and that ads must NOT cause layout shift, most importantly in locations where people might accidentally press on it when attempting to press another link. And would very much like other revenue streams to be explored/attempted at the same time. (I do like Kosmiklove's suggestions of allowing logged in users to enable it. I would be one that would enable it if done right).23:11, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - I believe in the current staff's ability to implement advertisement in a way to does not disrupt the user experience across the wiki(s). I will vehemently oppose advertisement that comes in the form of pop-up, pop-under, and hover ads, but place my faith in the admins' ability to recognize these as majorly disruptive.23:30, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - Options like Patreon are fickle at the best of times as an alternative to traditional advertisement to supplement an income for a site or individual. As nice of a gesture having people provide Weird Gloop with a more direct revenue stream, Patreon and others take a very large percentage of any pledge, it's less desirable the lower the of an individual to pledge due to credit card company fees before Patreon takes their cut. Weird Gloop should do what is necessary to keep them at no less than a living wage and ideally more. A separate opinion from me on Kitty and Jayden is that I would desire to see them reimbursed for the hours worked back to no less than a living wage as a form of backpay over the last few years. Same for Cook and all individual parties who placed significant capital into maintaining the wikis all this time. - Ryan PM 23:58, 20 January 2023 (UTC)
- Regarding the back-pay, I second this. Work done is work paid. Swyllikx of Guthix (level: 138) ▸ Choose OptionTalk to Swyllikx of Guthix (level: 138)Follow Swyllikx of Guthix (level: 138)Report Swyllikx of Guthix (level: 138)Contributions Swyllikx of Guthix (level: 138)Walk hereExamine Swyllikx of Guthix (level: 138)Cancel 00:00, 21 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - It's definitely a "lesser of two evils" type scenario we have here. Either we run intrusive ads to people, and possibly ruin the entire mobile viewing experience (Have you SEEN the mobile experience on Fandom wiki pages?! It's horrible - you can't scroll for a couple of seconds without an ad taking up the entire screen! Don't even get me started on those videos that autoplay at the top, and forces you back up if you forget to pause them) or we don't, and there's a chance these sites go down one day and never turn back on.
I've had the honor of being a custodian on the OSRS Wiki since late August last year, and it's been a pleasure helping to maintain the place. I wouldn't be where I am today in Old School without the wiki, and I am eternally indebted to it. The same goes with so many other people.
I've thought over this for a while, and I've made my choice. If this must be done, then so be it. It's the least we can do as players to help what I'd argue to be the best and most informative video-game related wiki on the entire fucking Internet, period. You guys have helped us without charge for so many years, it's about time we repay the favor. YoshiFan12 (talk) 00:57, 21 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - I am not a fan of ads personally, but since the peoples pay is hurting, it only makes sense. I rather not see the site die due to monetary issues as I use it on the daily. Triforc4Link (talk) 01:07, 21 January 2023 (UTC)
Oppose - Unacceptable given that Jagex owns the wiki and links to it from the game, using it as the formal knowledge base that used to exist.
Running ads is not the only realistic choice, Jagex can allocate more funds from their vast profits.
Instead of running ads, run a site blackout and remind Jagex how important the Wiki is. Let them shit their pants as players riot. They didn't buy the wiki out of the kindness of their hearts, they bought it to save money on running the Knowlege Base they used to have on the official site. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 2607:fb90:98b0:e837:2dd0:95d0:6d8c:bdce (talk) on 01:28, January 21, 2023.
- Jagex funds the wiki infrastructure, but does not own it on any level. Nor did Jagex buy the wiki - the way the wiki's content is licensed means it can never be bought. However, I imagine you're correct to say that funding the wiki is cheaper than hosting and maintaining their knowledge base, but that'd be straying into speculation on our part. cqm talk 09:24, 21 January 2023 (UTC)
- I stand by my main point, Jagex needs and benefits from the Wiki just as much as the player base does and I fear that fact is getting lost here. Given the amount of support here I imagine this change will be going through and it will be very disappointing if Jagex makes no extra investment to supplement the ad revenue. The Wiki is not an independent fan sitr at the end of the day, Jagex has a stake and the finances of the site should reflect that. 2603:6000:CB01:2E00:814E:118:9A4:DFD8
- It certainly seems preferable for Jagex to provide extra funds, but they ultimately declined that proposal after many months of discussions. On reflection, such a large jump in finding may not have been wholly reliable long term which would have led us back needing this discussion. Personally, I think independently financing this aspect of the wiki is more sustainable over time and provides far more flexibility that anything Jagex could provide. cqm talk 23:47, 23 January 2023 (UTC)
- I stand by my main point, Jagex needs and benefits from the Wiki just as much as the player base does and I fear that fact is getting lost here. Given the amount of support here I imagine this change will be going through and it will be very disappointing if Jagex makes no extra investment to supplement the ad revenue. The Wiki is not an independent fan sitr at the end of the day, Jagex has a stake and the finances of the site should reflect that. 2603:6000:CB01:2E00:814E:118:9A4:DFD8
Support - People need to get paid, one way or another. If Jagex won't financially support the team, then ads are a fine way to do it. No ads that play audio or auto-play videos. No gambling based ads. Banner ads along the verticals seem to be the least intrusive.01:39, 21 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - Not displaying ads for logged-in users invalidates any reason for opposition and is a very, very low bar for users to hit that everyone should hit, but few do. It can always be upgraded to require a minimum number of edits. Make the ads as intrusive as you want. Cronos Dage (talk) 03:13, 21 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - The contributors and administrators have been infallible throughout the years and have built up possibly one of the best places for information out of any game I've seen, or even heard of. The team and contributors have high standards for not only content the wiki provides, but how it's also provided. We've had community-driven drop log data to help us find drop rates not only for unique/rare drops (if not officially announced), but also on common drops as seen here: Dark beast. The amount of information provided for the public is outstanding. I remember a long conversation about drop rates with Cook and he was happy to spend his time to help me better understand the calculations, which is something I am not so good at. It shows a lot. Personally, I understand that it's become really tough to financially sustain the wiki and the people who are paid to work on it. Hopefully, with better funding that can be resolved and any net profits from adverts will go towards the site. We look at adverts with disdain and contempt, but I have full confidence in the administrative team to be nonintrusive implementing such feature. Funding is needed and this is a potential solution. We sometimes ask ourselves if 'the end justifies the means', and in this case I would agree. The wiki is one of Runescape's greatest assets; let it not falter. 04:01, 21 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - While it would be preferable to make arrangements with Jagex to at least supplement the revenue from advertisements (if not keep the official RuneScape Wiki completely ad-free, given that it is now fully integrated into the game/advertised on official platforms and not "just" a community-run resource anymore), I think that this would be a justifiable change to make. Now that we would have the ability to integrate advertisements into the webpages ourselves (instead of having Fandom/Wikia integrate whatever obtrusive/disruptive advertisements/media they please for their own profitability), we could implement them in the ways that Gaz suggested to preserve users' experiences without compromising on performance or page loading latency. I would also consent to at least giving logged-in users the ability to support the Wiki by loading advertisements, and perhaps explore options for creating an incentive-based monetization program (through a service like Patreon) to let those who are able/willing to directly support the Wiki to do so (provided that any profits are reinvested into the Wiki itself). Audx (talk) 05:36, 21 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - I agree, volunteer hours don't put food on the table, and servers aren't powered on good intentions alone. I think you guys have strong vision of what constitutes minimally invasive advertisements, so I'm not overly concerned about the wikis devolving into a Fandom 2.0. I would also support a user setting to enable ads even when logged in--I'm here to contribute after all, not incur more costs on you. I agree that a Patreon doesn't seem like the best solution, but it might play some part financially, even if it's just for covering things like the Discord Server. Having a donation portal for general donations is likely not a bad idea for those that want to financially contribute, perhaps with options to donate towards/poll specific projects they're interested in seeing completed (like a standalone DPS calculator, or IRL summits). Clevin (talk) 08:00, 21 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - necessary11:17, 21 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - The fact that one of the best wiki's I've had the pleasure of using is stuck in a position of "ad's or die" is reprehensible. OSRS and RS3 may have come from humble roots, and OSRS especially once operated on a virtually nonexistent budget, but times have clearly changed. Jagex now has both the means and the intent to see OSRS grow and thrive, the operational expense for the Wiki is a rounding error compared to the revenue pulled in. on principle I do not support ads, but the fact that Jagex refuses to financially support one of the most powerful tools used to keep players motivated to play and informed is really sad. the quality of the game would take a sharp dip if this wiki were to cease. I would however ask that donation requests are issued to users in a non intrusive way, in much the same way Wikipedia proper does. whenever prompted with those requests i often donate as it's a very convenient matter, and i imagine many OSRS users are of similar mind. if financially supporting the OSRS wiki is convenient and non intrusive, many might wish to do so, regardless of whether or not ads exist. CoffeeKitty (talk) 13:28, 21 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - Ads suck, but if there's no other realistic options, then what choice do we have? The Wikis are too integral to their respective games to be left in limbo. That being said, it's extremely disappointing that it has to come to this; given that both RS3 and OSRS deemed the Wikis important enough to link to them in-game I would have hoped that they'd be more willing to step in on a permanent basis. Pikaandpi (talk) 18:26, 21 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - but custom build your solution to avoid malicious/bad ads and keep it text only on the sidebar, no images. 2600:1005:B117:BBA3:392D:CD8A:57A4:BFA5 20:48, 21 January 2023 (UTC)
I am not a contributor to the wiki, just a regular reader, but I hope options for crowdsourced donations will be considered in addition to ads. It takes a while to build up (Wikipedia didn't start raising millions of dollars right away), so it would be best to start now, and if it does reach a significant amount, sunsetting ads would be possible. If there are any MediaWiki things I can help with, please let me know. mw:User:Legoktm / 188.8.131.52 21:07, 21 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - Having known for a while now the people who made the fork work and those who continue to work to keep the wikis up and running, I have trust that the solution of ads is the current route we need to take. Hopefully, in the future, we won't have to run any ads, but that's not now. Rarely in life is the necessary path the path the preferred path. Badassiel 23:46, 21 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - Having been on the board last year, I trust Cook & Gaz to implement this effectively and not upset the community. We need to financially support Jayden and Kitty. Their good will can only go so far. Haidro 00:11, 22 January 2023 (UTC)
Oppose I can't wait to see the goldfarming websites take over the the banner ads. Take it to Jagex and ask for a solution, if they're willing to use /wiki in game they should financially support the site. Bx (talk) 00:32, 22 January 2023 (UTC)
- Sorry if it wasn't clear enough in the post - we spent the last year+ trying to find a solution with Jagex, and direct funding ended up not working out. It's something we probably would have preferred, but we can't exactly force them. More info in Gaz's response to the first question. BigDiesel2m (talk) 03:32, 22 January 2023 (UTC)
- BigDiesel2m, I don't understand. Are you saying that revenue from the ads would not go through an account owned by Weird Gloop Limited or Jagex Ltd? Did you gain authorisation from said companies to grant you a waiver of the non-commercial clause of the copyright license of the wiki? If not, anyone running those ads is probably going to be liable to a copyright infringement lawsuit from any of the authors who contributed after the fork...
- You say "we can't exactly force them", but adding ads behind their back does sound like a way to force them. :) Similarly you can just set up a parallel structure to collect funds for reimbursements and work compensation. Seeking help from accountants is a good idea but a fiscal host could help you get started faster. For example Open Collective Europe allows to pay invoices for work. First you could go through reimbursements for those 40 k$ (!) of infrastructure expenses and then you could start paying invoices to the people who provide their work (they'd still need to take care of their own accounting if they don't already have structures for freelance work, but it would be a standard thing). Nemo bis (talk) 11:52, 22 January 2023 (UTC)
- We have been in constant communication with Jagex on this issue for over a year, they are well aware of the plans to run ads and this thread. 11:57, 22 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - While this isn't ideal, it is realistic. The wiki has expanded greatly, especially with regards to tools and other behind-the-scenes items. Costs have increased and unfortunately there hasn't been a sustainable sort of revenue in order to offset them appropriately. --Legaia 2 Pla ᴛ · ʟ · ᴄ 00:56, 22 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - While I wouldn't say that I would particularly enjoy ads (Who would!), the wiki is still an integral part of both the osrs and rs3 community, and it'd be an absolute shame for it to die out! Besides, popular opinion both here and reddit seems to be quite supportive, so might as well add my own two cents! :D AppleRank (talk) 01:47, 22 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - per the above comments. The service the wiki provides the community is invaluable, it'd suck to see the quality degrade because of not being able to pay the server techs a fair wage. I'd whitelist the wiki if it comes to serving ads to logged in users, if needed.04:36, 22 January 2023 (UTC)
Comment: As Legoktm above, I'm not a regular user around here, but I was happy to see RuneScape wiki walk on its own. I wish its host success, however I have a hard time believing that ads are a realistic solution: they might as well produce more work than they are worth, for the same reasons Techdirt gave up on ads (they have a similar amount of traffic, being around rank 8000 in the Tranco list). Therefore I suspect it would be easier to use OpenCollective or another tip jar; you don't need to use a charity as fiscal sponsor, so the payments don't need to be donations fiscally speaking.
By the way, is it clear that Weird Gloop Limited has a valid copyright license from authors in order to serve ads? Ads are definitely commercial usage, and the CC BY-NC license would most likely not allow them; I don't see on https://weirdgloop.org/terms/ or Meta:Copyrights any copyright assignment, and there's only a sentence "waive the commercial use restriction of the CC BY-NC-SA license in respect of Jagex Ltd's use". Personally I think it would be safer to switch back to CC BY-SA and seek a relicensing from the authors who contributed after the fork. Nemo bis (talk) 11:40, 22 January 2023 (UTC)
- The available literature suggests that it is possible to run ads on a website while using the NC license, since NC only precludes usage that is "primarily intended for commercial advantage". So far as I know this has never been tested in court, but we'd be far from the only website using NC content and running some ads.
- I'm familiar with the Techdirt situation, but it seems like the main reasons they stopped using Google ads are not really applicable to us, and it's not clear from your message why you think advertising is not a "realistic" solution. For what it's worth, if AdSense ends up being that much of an issue, we have the option to exclude that provider and only serve ads that are direct buys between game publishers and our provider.
- Donations sound awesome, but it would take a truly unprecedented campaign to cover the costs of multiple full time staff, unless heavily supplemented by ad revenue. I don't think we can risk the success of the project on such a low-likelihood outcome. ʞooɔ 11:52, 22 January 2023 (UTC)
- Can you provide an example of such a website running ads on content licensed solely through a CC NC license? Usually the ads are run by a company which has a separate copyright assignment or commercial license. As for case law, people definitely get sued over NC.
- I'm not sure how donation revenue is considered to be lower likely outcome than ads revenue, however note that OpenCollective doesn't necessarily raise donations. It can also be used to raise subscription revenue or other payments. Nemo bis (talk) 12:00, 22 January 2023 (UTC)
- We talk about this in the thread, but reasonable estimates for gaming website ad revenue if we don't scale it back would be around $2-$3 per thousand impressions, which would correspond to upwards of $3m per year. We don't need anything close to this so we'll take lots of steps to reduce disruption in exchange for less revenue (probably 90%+ less). On the other hand, the closest comparable donation-supported projects in adjacent communities are pulling in $10-15k per year. They are not even remotely comparable. It doesn't matter what tools we use for reimbursement and collecting donations, if the numbers are that far off.
- The case you linked seems to be a lawsuit getting dismissed as a summary judgment, and is only related to our situation insofar as the case relates to commercial use. One can be sued for anything, but a mostly unrelated case getting dismissed is not exactly a smoking gun here. As far as sites using NC licenses and running ads: there are a variety of old Wikia acquisitions licensed under NC that are running ads. ʞooɔ 12:19, 22 January 2023 (UTC)
- Memory Alpha (Star Trek) to name one. 12:21, 22 January 2023 (UTC)
Cautious Support - I appreciate the caution being taken here and I do believe that a very reasonable strategy can be taken that both supports the wiki more than enough, and does not hinder the user experience too much. As other members have mentioned, please do be careful with layout shift and do try and look for inspiration on how ads are done tastefully on other sites. Loafdumbloaf (talk) 08:03, 23 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - Volunteering is great, but there comes a time when the voluntry work becomes the job, and that's when it deserves renumeration. I ='ve been in that situation before and ended up quitting for my sanity before i got burnt out entirely. I support simple advertisements provided they do not cause great disruption to page loads or layout. I am a littly worried about the liklihood of advertisements for unscrupulous businesses appearing (RSGold sellers etc) but that would be the responsibility of the sysadmins to manage. I hope you can also explore some sort of Patreon or subscriber feature which removes adverts for a small monthly fee or to give additional features for powerusers. I do not agree with mobile ads. I'm aware that would mean an avenue of income missed out but often mobile ads become such a detriment to the user that visitors cease to visit the next time due to the poor experience. Mercifull (talk) 11:45, 23 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - Not having to rely on external parties (Cook) to fund things (that should be really funded by Jagex) will be good. Paying two people to keep the wiki running and updated and adding new stuff is important and they deserve to be paid after all this time already. With an option to be able to allocate funds towards important projects, it will be cool to see what can be done. With all of the considerations in place, especially with minimizing the impact of ads I cannot see how to not support it. Fjaratalk 22:07, 23 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - Lame, but unavoidable at this stage. ˢᵗᶦⁿᵏʸ ˢᵗᶦⁿᵏʸ ʲᵃᵍᵉˣ10:13, 24 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - run ads as proposed (i.e. minimal ads, try and avoid having them for logged in users). It’s disappointing to have to return to having ads on the wikis but I think it’s necessary for us to be able to keep operating in the long-term. I trust that the Weird Gloop board (and wider community) will monitor the ad situation and get the balance right between ensuring that ads are sufficient to meet our financial needs and providing the best possible experience for users. It is not in our interest to go beyond whatever the minimum ad experience is unless there is a good reason for needing additional income: we’re not looking to make a profit here, just to be able to put back into making the wikis even better.
The current situation is unsustainable:
- To have our (very talented) sysadmins be in a position where they have to consider leaving Weird Gloop to find jobs which can pay them properly is unacceptable, and it would be a huge loss to us if that ended up happening. I think we went into this underestimating how much sysadmin time would be required to maintain and develop the behind the scenes side of the wikis but in reality we do need them both to be available full time. We should be aiming for the technical side of the wikis to be up to date and optimised with changes in things like the GCP changes and for the sites to be constantly available, with any issues resulting in downtime swiftly addressed. The current funding level does not account for this.
- Jagex have failed to pay us on time on multiple occasions and being dependent solely on their funding has put us into a position where we have had to have someone from within our community (i.e. Cook) cover expenses using their own money. This is not an acceptable way for the company to operate - what would we do if Cook was not willing/able to do this anymore? It's not really a good idea for any member of the community to be personally financing Weird Gloop in my opinion. The company is supposed to operate in the best interests of the community and having the company be financially dependent on someone within the community creates a conflict of interest there - could we really go against what someone thinks Weird Gloop should if that person has the ability to withdraw vital funding from it?
The response from the wider RS community on Reddit is lovely, but don’t think we can rely solely on donations to keep the wikis going. We need income to be reliable to be able to meet our financial obligations and it seems unlikely this would raise enough money or be a consistent cash flow. I’ll comment separately on the donations discussion but would be happy to try that and then reduce ads accordingly if it works out more effective than we first thought. Sadly negotiating with Jagex further is a deadend: the reality is this that has been in discussion for over a year. If Jagex could see the value in increasing our funding then they would have and they must surely have foreseen that the community reaction to them not doing so would be poor. They’re not going to change their minds.
I think that having our contractual relationship with Jagex has actually hindered us at times and I can definitely see benefits to having another funding stream and decreasing our reliance on them. Firstly, our contract with Jagex has always prevented us from being transparent about our financial situation and this has made it hard for the community to put forward any suggestions about how money could be spent. Assuming that we will not have the same restrictions on disclosing the amounts of money we have available to spend from ad revenue, and just generally having more funding available, this could lead to us being able to come up with some great projects to move forward with. Personally I had hopes that the partnership with Jagex would have more benefits than just the funding but, while we have had some good things like wiki searching in-game, I’ve been quite disappointed by what’s materialised on that front. Based on my experience on the board, trying to communicate with Jagex on anything has been incredibly frustrating with lots of back and forth and them often failing to come through on things they’ve promised us. It also places a huge burden on Cook, as a familiar point of contact for them, to navigate the vast majority of communications. It’s exciting to think that we’ll be able to move forward with projects to improve the wikis (e.g. the feature development of things in “where the money would go”) without having to go through Jagex to try and get their support in providing data etc to move forward with new projects. It would hopefully make it possible for other people in the board to have responsibility for looking after projects, rather than Cook having to oversee everything. At the same time, we still do have that relationship with Jagex so the option for more (non-financial) support is there - grateful to everyone who worked on getting us to this point. I’m sure the renegotiation of the contract to get to the point where our relationship with Jagex continued, but with the option to get funding through running ads, has been painful.19:14, 24 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - I've said in previous discussions on the wiki discord server that i support running unobtrusive ads as a means of both improving the wiki experience, not depending solely on one (seemingly inconstant) source of money, and although this is mostly just a pipe dream of mine, expanding Weird Gloop to cover more games with high quality wikis so that maybe one day we won't have to put up with Fandom (and Fextralife and other overly ad-covered wiki sites). Also i didn't know about the sysadmins not being well paid, that has to be fixed post-haste.19:31, 24 January 2023 (UTC)
Cautious Support - I'll have to put my trust there will be the bear minimum advertising to cover costs for the admins and the lower-level priorities. The Runescape Wiki is the current destination for players looking at bossing, skilling, questing, item location and clue scroll guides. It also helps retain players and minimises the frustration when entering or playing the game. If the admins aren't being properly compensated for their work, especially having to be on-call to fix server issues, I would understand their frustration in not wanting to continue maintaining the servers. Without the properly compensated staff, or worse, the shut down of the Wiki, players will feel frustrated when navigating through the game world.14:30, 25 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - I've always thought the wiki admins didn't get paid enough for maintaining arguably the best game wiki that exists. I do agree with other points though; I think sticking with safe ads that aren't intrusive or misleading (looking at you, mobile ads) is a great way to help earn revenue to pay for this massive repository of information. You guys deserve to actually get compensated for the time spend on maintaining this beast, assuming of course the ads stay in a moderate amount. Especially if you find relevant partners to advertise, it would even help push new recommendations to viewers.01:30, 26 January 2023 (UTC)
Support — I'd like to see something like Patreon working, but like you already pointed out, the reality is that likely it wouldn't be nearly enough. So ads it is. Thingummywut (talk) 04:14, 26 January 2023 (UTC)
Support — The wiki's will proudly become my only whitelisted domain. There's a lot of work behind this, it's truly deserved to keep this running by something as trivial as ads. Duneswinton (talk) 04:38, 26 January 2023 (UTC)
Question - Can we raise membership 50cents and have Jagex pay for it entirely? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 2601:582:4780:50F1:717B:67A4:768A:FED7 (talk) on 04:42, 26 January 2023 (UTC).
- If Jagex were interested and willing to fully fund the wiki in a way that worked, I’d imagine they could. Raising membership rates by 50¢ wouldn’t be the thing that would clear out the obstacle to that happening - some of the issues with that approach have already been detailed above. Micha (talk) 05:01, 26 January 2023 (UTC)
Soft oppose – With the currently available information (which has also been mentioned in a lot of other comments and questions) I would find it difficult to support this proposal. While it should obviously never be necessary for individuals to loan money to the company and employees need to be paid properly, information about the current and expected finances is very much lacking. In my opinion there should be a much more detailed breakdown of the current finances (the Companies House filings and brief discussion notes from board meetings are nowhere near adequate for this purpose) as well as a rough plan of future expenses and how much income the company would require (more precise than "$150k or more like twice that"). It would also be interesting to know if looking for a few more volunteer technical staff has been considered as a (partial) alternative to more paid work. Two technical staff for a mostly volunteer based project of this size seems like a very low number to me. Soana (talk) 15:53, 26 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - I trust the Board will do all they can to avoid disruptive ads and will give regular, frequent and detailed report of the income and expense. IF those will happen, I can live with some ads.17:31, 26 January 2023 (UTC)
Support - In my experience with Google Ads revenue, given the wiki numbers, I believe an unobtrusive, single side bar ad would take care of things. I believe revenue through both Patreon and ads are symbiotic and I'm a huge fan of the freemium model. Just became a wiki best buds patron!
/bren/tc 19:35, 26 January 2023 (UTC)
Reluctant support - I think we all would prefer to not have to resort to running advertisements, but Jayden and Kitty need to be paid properly for their work, and if this is the only way to do it then so be it. It is understood that in order for the long-term sustainability of the wiki to not be an issue, we were always going to have to have some backup plan that didn't entirely rely on funding from Jagex. --LiquidTalk 21:26, 26 January 2023 (UTC)
It sounds like we need to do it, and I don't see why we wouldn't trust the people who led the charge to leave Wikia because of how bad the ads were to exercise good judgment in implementing ads here. No-reservation support. (wszx)
Support - i live on this wiki. If ads need to happen then we can live with it. Its not like your asking for billions a year. Your only trying to make some peoples VERY valuable time mean something. Doing what they have been doing only shows you there support for this and no reason we can't show our appreciation to them.Manny2k10 (talk) 23:41, 26 January 2023 (UTC)
Oppose: Fan sites deciding to start using paid admins instead of passionate community members is a worse long-term prospect than the occasional lack of admins between volunteers going and coming. It's a fan-site, not a business, and where volunteer-operated fan-sites often have periods of inconsistency, mild inconvenience or deferred gratification on upgrades (especially as their associated game wanes), fan-sites run as businesses often have short sharp stops. Radagon (talk) 01:54, 27 January 2023 (UTC)
- For what it's worth, it's not like all admins would be getting paid as a result of this. Admins will still just be volunteers editing. The people who would be put on full time are two people with hard technical skills. Paying them doesn't mean they aren't passionate, they've been doing this for basically peanuts for a while now. If they weren't passionate I would think they would have left by now. The issue isn't that they don't want to do the work, it's that they cannot realistically do so if they need to hold down another job. - Andmcadams (talk) 02:42, 27 January 2023 (UTC)
Support: I would even consider whitelisting the wiki on my adblocker if the ads are not too intrusive. If they are, well, I have an account and know how to log in. But it sounds like you're trying to keep them as minimal as possible, so I'm in favor. -MuseumGirl (talk) 14:51, 27 January 2023 (UTC)