July 26, 2000
by ocelot <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Yesterday I went to a discussion forum that I frequent and found a message that it was being shut down due to excessive expenses. Part of the message said:
But for the most part, I do not feel sorry for the loss of the rest of you. You are the teenager walking down the middle of the street or slow across the crosswalk just to be in the way. You are the same as the person that drives around with your music so loud it can be heard within a closed up house not caring about the 3-year-old that your waking up at midnight. You are the same as that person that cuts in front of everyone else at an offramp or the like, thinking your time is more valuable than each and everyone else's that is waiting. If you are one of these and didn't realize it, make amends, do what is right and fair now. If you are one of these people but do not realize it now or before, than I feel sorry for you. Not for your loss, but because you are lost, morally speaking.
Now this is a website that was started as a place for people who were subscribers to a newsletter, but grew in popularity (surely not in the least due to its mention by the maintainer on nationwide radio shows) until most of the visitors were not subscribers. Occasionally, the fact that you could subscribe to this newsletter was mentioned on the board, usually in the course of conversation. Donations were never asked for that I saw. I had no idea, until this notice was posted, that there was any expectation that we should contribute monetarily to this board.
I really resent being portrayed as a selfish bastard for utilizing a service when there was no real indication that I should do otherwise, especially since I've spent a fair amount of money out of my own pocket, not to mention countless hours of my time, to run similar services, with no expectation of repayment. And I know many, many other people who do the same thing.
If you're going to run a free service, run a free service. If you're going to run a pay service, run a pay service. If you need to change a free service to a pay service in order to support it, do so. But don't run a free service and then blame the people who utilize it when they don't pay for it!
And definitely don't take the high and mighty stance on it unless you're donating to every person who runs a not-for-profit website that you visit, or any other sort of free service you utilize, or the people who code Apache, the free web server that you run!
Published: July 26, 2000