What? Change? You know I hate change, Tracy.
I know, I’m here to shepherd you through it. CN, we’re bursting our buttons. When I started this place in 2012, I was self-employed, living in the barbecue capital of Texas, thinking I’d create an amusing little brain dump of what I learned about infidelity and poke at the Reconciliation Industrial Complex.
Tops, I thought I’d be chatting with a couple hundred chumps, by some flukey Google algorithm.
Seven years later, this site has over 26 million page views and is an international support site. A testament to the healing power of snark.
That’s insane, Tracy.
Totally. But with growth comes challenges — chuck the whole enterprise or grow with it? I’ve pretty much been running this site by the seat of my pants, with the heroic moderating help of Tempest and Rebecca (Tempest to knock heads on comments, Rebecca to fish your comments from spam on the existing forums.) But we’re at a turning point…
Why are you moving the forums to a new platform?
Because the old platform, BBPress on WordPress, has to be scrapped. My site, as it is running right now, is not sustainable. It’s not just the traffic, it’s the size of the database.
Every post, every comment, every forum post, every forum comment swells the size of the database. And that slows the performance and load time of the site. Discourse backs to the cloud. It will be cleaner, faster, and I won’t be lugging around a giant carcass.
What’s Discourse got?
Oh, it is a veritable forum Shangri-La, CN. Here are some features:
Community groups. (No more creating a thread to find Chicago Chumps — you will have your own hang-out space!)
Private, invite only space. Want a left-handed vegan chump group? You can make one.
The ability to edit posts, create drafts, drag and drop graphics, dynamic notifications, expanded links, community moderation, spam blocking, badges, emojis.
Sounds great! But WHOA, what’s going to happen to the old forum? Where will all my posts go?
They’re being imported into the new forum. The sandbox is as you left it.
Is there a catch? I sense there is a catch.
Yes. The current system is not sustainable (see also Carcass, Site Won’t Load, Too Much Content) and the new system costs money. We are WAY past the free Discourse plan. And maybe past the Business plan of 500K monthly page views at $300/month, but that’s what I’m going with, fingers crossed. I’m sorry, even with ads and Patreon, I have to pass some of this cost on to readers.
Starting Thursday, August 1 — the forums will have a pay wall of $3/month via Patreon. The cost of one coffee per month. Everything else on the site remains FREE. The daily blog posts and the archives.
The content here is enough to get anyone through the meat grinder of betrayal and the RIC. For forums, there is a modest fee.
Here’s a perk — with a private, secure, pay-wall forum, it’s much harder for your ex to stalk you!
Here’s another perk — the site continues to exist.
I’m sorry to be a public-radio-tote-bag bummer, but I need your support.
What about Patreon?
If you currently support the blog on Patreon — THANK YOU. You’re in like Flynn. You are the awesome minority of readers who are paying it forward for the majority.
I hope with a modest fee for the forums, we’ll be able to spread some of the cost, give folks more community and more ways to meet up IRL and online. Win/Win.
I’m also re-doing perks and tiers on Patreon (more on that in a moment.)
What about the ads? I hate the ads.
I hate the ads too. But at present I can’t see a way around them. They also drag the site down, however, offloading the forums will make the site run faster, also I’m having the Genesis theme updated. The new theme will also help improve the site performance.
The cleaner the machine runs, the more I can ask of it. Right now, I can’t add another thing, like translations or a forum, because the site is creaking under the weight of the database and lousy theme coding.
IT professionals cost money. The theme update and the new forums are going to cost about $3K. That’s before the monthly costs of hosting this site and monthly costs for Discourse. And it doesn’t include my time — as in, having zero margin to my life with a full-time job.
I get up around 5 a.m. I write a column before I go to work. I come home to an over-flowing inbox. I take my laptop on vacations. I deal with trolls, IT requests, suicidal pleas for help.
When you support this site — you’re supporting that unseen work, beyond the snark, beyond the daily post. Writing is the FUN part. Maintaining a site this large is the suck-fest and I need to delegate and offload more of that responsibility to professionals.
I thought that was the point of Patreon?
Patreon has been a game changer. But I’m also changing this as well starting in August.
They’ve rolled out a new program where, for a larger cut, Patreon does the marketing and distribution of perks. I send them my cartoon art and they make the fun prizes (stickers, mugs, posters, et al.) and distributes them to patrons.
And they’ll switch it up every few months to different perks. (Trust That They Suck stickers anyone?)
With a full-time job, as much as I want to do additional content (podcasts, video, etc.) — I’m stretched too thin. I would rather spend what extra time I have on finishing the second book (working title “Co-Parenting With a Fuckwit — The Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us”).
Are you getting rich on this?
No. The blog supports itself, which is AWESOME. Ads and patrons support the operating costs with some left over for me. However, it must support itself, because it costs money to keep it alive.
Patreon takes a cut.
IT professionals take a cut.
The IRS takes 28% self-employment tax. (Side hustles are taxed at a different rate.)
You get the picture.
Why don’t you do this full-time? People make millions on youtube.com discussing Disney princesses and reviewing toasters! I think you could do it!
Thank you for the vote of confidence. That was the initial goal of Patreon, to get enough supporters to go back to freelance life and have more time to make Stupid Shit Cheaters Say videos and what have you.
I almost did that. However, when reaching out to my old editor about freelancing, I got a terrific full-time job offer. Great jobs in journalism are as rare as hen’s teeth. I’m 52 and blogging doesn’t have dental and 401Ks.
I love my job. I also love this community. (Okay, and I’m still pissed at the dominant RIC narrative.) And as much as I caution against cake-eating, I believe I can do both. But I need to work smarter, delegate, and learn to ask for help. (I’m a chump, and I suck at that.)
What do I get for my $3?
You get forum access and all the community bonuses described above. Plus all the stuff already posted on Patreon (podcasts, interviews, behind the scenes stuff).
At higher tiers, you get Chump Nation-themed cartoon perks (stickers, mugs, posters, et al). And you get angel wings for paying it forward.
Is there something you’d like to see? Tell me in the comments, please.
Why are you still doing this?
Every day someone at CN reaches out to a chump newbie and says “We’re here for you.”
To stand behind that promise, I have to stand behind this blog and keep it going.
Happy to answer questions about the forum move or anything else in the comments.