Saving DPF


PinPics : writerkay
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100% -- forums are all about the community. While i'm not involved with the community any more, I do have an interest in keeping this forum alive for those that are.

RE: Software change -- It does look and feel a bit different, but I think the improvements make it easier to use. The "Marketplace" change was a little misguided, as I believed having a more "visual" representation of items for sale/trade and more of an ebay/shopping type experience would make buying/selling/trading a better experience. However this might have been a case of "too much too fast", as after the upgrade, everything worked entirely differently than it had been for years, and without a good explanation or a "user guide", it was destined to fail. Going forward, I think we can address that, and perhaps some community input on having the marketplace work like it should, and building that out over time for a better experience.

I wasn't aware of the change in PinPics mgmt, so i've no thoughts about that atm.

fully agree. Since I'm not fully informed on the "drama" (per se) regarding the community's feelings on PTDB and the postings about it, i don't really have an informed opinion, so i won't say anything other than going forward, I don't think other projects or links in the interest of community growth or alternative resources should be restricted as much as it sounds like it has been. But that also doesn't mean a free-for-all shilling other sites. Again, moderators + new mods going forward will use their own discretion as to what's best for DPF.

I don't run ads on the site, and it's fully supported by the occasional donation drives we have for forum software/upgrades/modifications to better the user experience.

In the interest of full disclosure, The site is running 2 virtual servers (a web server and a database server) that cost roughly $100/month combined with the traffic that we receive (this can go up if the forum ends up returning to its previous form and starts being more active); additionally, keeping the forum license is about $55-60 per year in order to get the latest updates. Paid addons/enhancements vary anywhere from about $25-100 per addon/enhancement, and we are running quite a few of these to ease the mod's job, provide a better user experience, and increase visibility of the forum. At this point I've not outsourced any custom development, but that does get expensive if we were to want a custom solution for something the community wants. So, it doesn't cost a whole lot in the grand scheme to keep it running, but we also generate 0 revenue, and none of the staff (mods/smods) are paid. DPF is, and always has been, entirely a community-driven endeavor.

I'll get to page 2 a little later.

Of course continue responses at your own pace, @Cicada , but just wanted to express appreciation for the clarifications and responses already. It’s awesome that you are able to take the time out to check on this great site and - on a personal note - still my number one stop for Disney news.

The amount of people coming together who enjoy this site speaks volumes of the hard work that has already been invested and put in freely by you and your staff team. And hopefully the growth of the mod team gives the needed help to the amazing ones already a part of it <3

Looking forward to how everything works out, and wishing DPF all the best in getting the help it needs! :)


Staff member
DPF Administrator
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Among the conversations we have attempted to have with @Cicada is the funding and operation of DPF. We know that @Cicada has turned down offers to both purchase and sponsor DPF. The proposed sponsorships discussed range from selling advertising space to ... we do not even know. DPF's finances are just as much a mystery to us as they are to the rest of the forum. Beyond saying that DPF is expensive to operate, @Cicada has refused to discuss operating costs with any member of DPF Staff and insisted on retaining in sole control of the forum payment. It is not that we are refusing to discuss this with you, we do not have any information to share.
There have been offers to purchase the site, but I'm not personally interested in selling it. My interest is (was[?] by the tone of things around here) more in developing the forum as the place it's always sought to be from the beginning, and I think that profiting can — and often does — get in the way of community development in the interest of economic incentive. However, I do realize that economic interest paves the way for action and innovation. It's a double-edged sword.

Again in the interest of full disclosure, the forum does not cost a ton to operate, but apart from a sizeable donation drive in 2017 to "upgrade" to "DPF 2.0" in which we raised (if i recall) a little over $2,000 for upgrades and maintenance/running costs, the forum simply does not make any money. I did mis-speak when I said we generate no revenue, because there is an affiliate thing running in the background, but even then, it really is not much (it seems I get paid out anywhere between $15-30 every ~2 months or so). Some back of the napkin math (as far as I can figure from a cursory search of paypal and email receipts) for what's happened with the donations since the latest forum upgrade in April:


We have had this discussion with Cicada more times than we can count. Every single time the forum has gone down, starry_solo has discussed the addition of new moderators and correspondents with him. If he wanted to add new staff, he would have done. Our concern is that if we disrespect him by ignoring his wishes, he will find out and that piper will be paid in a way that nobody wants: when the bill for DPF comes due at the end of the month, he will let it lapse and the lights will turn off. Permanently. He already has little-to-no interest in the day-to-day operations and is maintaining the forum at his own expense out of pure kindness. We are genuinely afraid that if we cross a line, he will decide that we are a white elephant and close us down.
I do truly appreciate the remaining admins/smods/mods' work in keeping the forum at least functioning on a base level -- without them, DPF would have been no more a long time ago. If that was the perception, it certainly isn't the intention. I'd like to keep this going as long as possible, and make it incrementally better over time through adding things the community wants; It does suck to see the forum dwindle (as it tries to compete with other, more active, outlets of interaction that exist now) I just haven't had the time, energy, or interest lately to commit to doing the work that needs to be done on the site to ensure its growth, so most of this falls entirely on my (lack of) effort in that arena.

I'm not sure if there's some system we can work out that raises the most urgent concerns to the top of either the help desk or private forum, so that I can address them as I can -- maybe there's something we can come up with, or a reddit/knowledgebase-style upvote/downvote thing that would track issues that need addressing. (there's probably an add-on for that)

But I think that absenteeism is affecting the quality of life here on DPF.
I completely agree and acknowledge this. Prior to (and following) the hack, I've been largely absent except for when something goes wrong. Providing no guidance for the remaining team has also taken its toll. I really don't want to be the person that says something isn't or shouldn't be done, and so I left it entirely up to them. I hadn't heard many complaints, so I assumed everything was fine. But being so disconnected has turned out to be a liability as evidenced in this thread.

Someone mentioned above about an "inactive freeze" for members and mods. I think that should ~absolutely~ be a requirement for mods. If you're someone who can't or won't check in once every 60 days, then I'm not sure you're the best candidate for a mod. And it's not for everyone! I couldn't think of something I'd want to do LESS than be a mod. But I think we've got enough people on here who would be a great fit for it.

Of course, the only person able to grant mod privileges is Cicada, as far as I know. Hence, back to our tail.

In the subject of mods, I'll just spitball some restructuring. Feel free to build off of, change, whatever. I'm just pointing to places that have specific needs that I think a dedicated mod would help a lot.

Super Mod - Proxy to Cicada, oversees other mods
Mechanics Mod - someone in charge of maintenance, security, forum announcements, etc. Responds to issues with the forum generally (maybe with Member Mod)
Discussion Mod - someone who monitors the Discussion threads to maintain integrity
Marketplace Mod - someone who monitors all Marketplace threads, closes finished threads, double checks threads limits, etc.
Game Mod - a dedicated mod who runs randomizer, maybe doubles with RAK or Secret Santa threads
Other / Anything Goes - a catch-all who can fill in as needed
Members Mod - someone who maintains new memberships, monitors "inactive freezes", name changes, password changes, etc. Responds to issues with the forum generally (maybe with Mechanics Mod)

That's six mods plus a super. Voting is easy, super is a tie breaker.

Again. These are just suggestions. But I think a team with dedicated members will help a lot, and take the onus off of other mods too. But "active" is the major thing.
Great suggestions; I especially like the structuring of this, and the "separation of duties" -- While going forward, I still expect to be mostly absent except for technical issues, I do realize we need more [key word] "active" members participating in running the site as moderators/correspondents. Maybe a separate thread for everyone to discuss this is necessary, along with any nominations (applications?) that have come in since this thread was created.