• We apologize for the somewhat convoluted sign-up process. Due to ever-more sophisticated attacks by chatbots, we had to increase our filtering in order to weed out AI while letting humans through. It's a nuisance, but a necessary one in order to keep the level of discourse on the forums authentic and useful. From the actual humans using WCP, thanks for your understanding!

Update about the outage and options for the future.

kayakwriter

Administrator
Joined
Feb 27, 2006
Messages
1,266
Hi all. Sorry about WCP being offline for a bit earlier this week. Greengeeks (one of the software companies behind the scenes) detected that unsolicited spam was coming from the website. Apparently, the contact form was being exploited by a bot for this. To put a stop to it, Greengeeks was supposed to simply put a captcha in place to access the site: instead that somehow caused it to become inaccessible.

Thanks to Raj (Tongo-Rad), we got that sorted out. I personally am hopelessly untechy...

Looking forward, it appears we may need to buy various add-ons and upgrades for the site to protect from this sort of thing. And while Raj has very generously been donating his professional IT skills for the community good, we may hit a point of hours required where it's not reasonable to expect him to continue that.

For background, I spend a few hundred dollars a year to keep WCP running. When I first took over from Dan years back, one of the possibilities I put forward was a two-tiered version of WCP, a free one with ads and a subscription ad-free one (a lot of podcasts use this model.) My thinking on this has changed: the online world is infested with ads. And I say that as someone who used earn part of my living writing the damn things!

The online ecosystem has also evolved from when WCP was first started. In particular, there are many, many Facebook groups that overlap with the areas of interest to WCPers (I'm a member of many of them, and some of them are run by WCP members.) But as you may have experienced, many Facebook groups have gone private to protect themselves from attack. Like me, you may also have had the rather creepy experience of being served ads on FB based on your apparent interests (how the hell did FB know I read French...and wanted male enhancement pills?)

I really, really like the idea of having the vast knowledge base that is WCP and the hive mind of its members continue to be free and accessible to all without having to wade through ads, or having your personal data captured, bundled and sold on to who knows who, or having to pay.

All that said, while I'm not looking to WCP to be a money-maker for me, there's a limit to how far out of pocket I can go. (I don't even need to "break even" on WCP; I just don't want to go too far in the hole.) So I was thinking of setting up some sort of online version of putting my hat on the sidewalk, so that anyone so inclined could toss some change in. Thoughts on how you feel about that (and experience-based recommendations on which service to use for this) are welcomed.

A belated Happy New Year and Happy paddling to all!
 
The HammockForums.net has a two-tier model. Most of the site content is available to all, and they have a smaller Donating Members area giving access to additional subforums for $10/year.

I was going to report that I still couldn't read WCP on my Mac that runs Opera browser - I'm writing this on an old Mac running Safari - but I just pushed the refresh on Opera now and your site/page came up. If you are taking a survey, my preferred browser is Opera. Safari doesn't always work on some sites (like The Spot's FindMe site), FireFox doesn't support Java anymore - a problem on some sites, and Chrome (Google) is too much of a target for hackers and loads too many trackers.

I do run under a VPN and occasionally I have to pass through a captcha. It works fine on WCP.
 
Tossing a few bucks in the hat from time to time would be my preferred method by a lot. Recurring subscription models are in my opinion vastly too common, and the idea of a "members only" section seems like it might discourage discussion, which is already less active on forums than it used to be.

I'm also a member of a few Facebook groups and I gotta say the quality of discourse (if it can be called that) on Facebook is pretty abysmal. Maybe I'm in the wrong groups but there doesn't seem to be the same enthusiasm to share tips and tricks with other experienced paddlers. This forum is a pretty awesome resource.
 
More than willing to help out. Pretty sure LAM would be good with it too. ;)
I would like the whole site accessible to all, rather than a two tier system, even if it means the minority subsidizes the majority. I really enjoy the site as it is.
Thanks to you and Raj (and Dan et al for getting it started) for the hours to keep it going.
Doug
 
Count me in! The “free” social media model (Facebook, etc.) was always predatory and only delivered shallow conversations. WCP is a treasure trove of good advice, warm support, and humour — plus, it’s searchable. Let’s keep this thing going.

Cheers,
Andrew
 
Since this is a recurring need I would give it a recurring donation option. Once people commit to a payment, making it an automatic renewal leverages the human psyche‘s propensity towards maintaining the status quo to allow those payments to continue. That sounds way more exploitative than I mean it to be, but I think you get my point. Patreon seems well adopted by creative producers who are paid for their work, so you could set up an X dollars per year donation option that would be recurring. It would probably be easy enough to set up a poll here where you would ask the members what they perceived value of this site is in the form of an annual payment. The more people who are interested in chipping in, the lower the dollar figure per head would be. I’d donate for sure.

And I don’t use FB.
 
I was going to report that I still couldn't read WCP on my Mac that runs Opera browser - I'm writing this on an old Mac running Safari - but I just pushed the refresh on Opera now and your site/page came up. If you are taking a survey, my preferred browser is Opera. Safari doesn't always work on some sites (like The Spot's FindMe site), FireFox doesn't support Java anymore - a problem on some sites, and Chrome (Google) is too much of a target for hackers and loads too many trackers.

I do run under a VPN and occasionally I have to pass through a captcha. It works fine on WCP.
Thanks for your feedback cougarmeat. Ah, Opera, that under-appreciated but wonderful browser...

Without getting off track too much from the original post about potential donations, allow me to explain a bit about the forum and web standards (in other words, some geek talk :geek:)... Xenforo (the underlying software this forum is built on) requires an annual license and the owners seem to have an ethos for supporting W3C Web Standards which is a good thing as not all companies care about this. Although we (at WCP) have no control over the coding of Xenforo, we do strive to keep it up to date often to protect it against hacks, fix bugs and to keep it running smoothly for standards-compliant browsers. Ultimately, both your own browsers of choice and our forum need to stay up to date for the best results.

Regarding Chrome, if you use many add-ons / extensions in Chrome, that might be contributing to sites not showing up properly, as those extensions are made by third-party developers and maintained (or not) to varying degrees. Chrome is Google's lipstick (and invisible tracking) put onto the excellent, open-source Chromium browser which they then heavily marketed for Google's purposes, namely making $$$.

My first choice of browser is Brave, which is Chromium without Google. It safeguards users from cross-site cookie tracking, bounce tracking, fingerprinting, phishing, and malware attacks. Brave works well on all major devices; Macs, PCs, Linux, iOS and Android, plus all Chrome extensions should work on Brave.

I hope that helps. Now, back to the main topic...
 
Thank you, admins, for the endless hours and expenses involved in running WCP. Thank you, too, for recognizing the value of maintaining an ad-free corner of the internet.

Over the years, many of us forum users have offered to donate to help keep WCP afloat. Just let us know how much and when.

Alex
 
I too would be more than glad to contribute. Would you be willing to share what your annual expenses are? Maybe you could establish a Venmo or PayPal account to make it easy to Make a donation
 
As a FaceBook resister, I support the donate button or some such device. But not a 2 tier system. I am unaware of any other kayak/canoe forum that is anywhere near the quality of this one. Thanks to Dan Millsip and other early workers and to their descendants Philip and Raj for their equally selfless work.

If I have a kayak question this is where I go. I am not a DIY type (verified by my spouse), but I see how incredibly helpful such people on this forum are i.e. John Abercrombie et alii. They always pitch in with useful advice.
 
I absolutely would NOT what to join some "social media" group to access/donate to WCP. Looks like many, including myself, are happy to donate something. Having an easily accessible method - a donate button - would facilitate that. If it is strictly voluntary, I can put a yearly repeating reminder in my calendar.

It might add some "accounting" responsibilities for the administration - like a yearly income/expenses report.

Tongo-Rad, thank you for the Brave (browser) info. I'll take a look at it. Opera also has a free built-in VPN but I found it a bit slow. Fine for just text, like we have here, but I went with NordVPN. There's an option to activate it on my router so all devices (the normal limit is six specific devices) benefit. But because some websites have a problem with VPN, I'd have to help out others in the household if they can't reach their site - easy for me, complicated for them. So for now, I just have it on my own devices.
 
Thanks everyone. I can't express how moving it feels to receive all the support and offers of financial support. It's wonderful that everyone feels there's value in WCP and that it offers something well differentiated from Facebook groups.

I'm also heartened that like me, so many of you would like to keep the option of "all areas access" being free. I'm strongly in favour of this: I know especially for people new to kayaking, getting set up with the gear can be costly. As many of us know, good gear is only one part of the of the safety equation: skills and knowledge are the others. Anything we can do to make access to knowledge as low-barrier as possible is a good thing both for individuals and for growing sea kayaking.

I'm ironically busier on most weekends than weekdays, so I'll start my search for an appropriate donation platform during the weekdays tomorrow. Based on my own experience with supporting sites that do actual journalism and/or advocacy for causes close to my heart, I should be able to set something up that gives donors a choice between a one-time donation or a recurring one. In the meantime, I've had some DMs asking about just doing an e-transfer. If that's your preferred method, my email address is philip.torrens@gmail.com and I bank with RBC (Royal Bank of Canada).

I too would be more than glad to contribute. Would you be willing to share what your annual expenses are?

A timely question: Raj and I were discussing future options for WCP last night and agreed that when you're asking people for money, transparency about what's happening with that money is key.

We're working up a bit of a future budget, which will include line items such as enhanced security and search functions, plus some honorariums for Raj's time. As mentioned upthread, Raj has been donating his valuable "particular set of skills" but some of the upgrades may take more work than is reasonable to ask him to do for free. This budget may take a little while as Raj will be doing the search for suitable software "off the side of his desk" while he mainly uses those same skills for work that actually pays to keep a roof over his head and a sprayskirt on his kayak.

In the meantime, to give you a sense of current costs, here's what I spent in 2022 (I've spent similar amounts each year since I took over from Dan):

Greengeeks
Invoice #3014990
Single Account Dedicated IP - westcoastpaddlers.com (2022-08-09 - 2023-08-08) $48.00 USD
------------------------------------------------------
Sub Total: $48.00 USD
Credit: $0.00 USD
Total: $48.00 USD

Receipt from XenForo Ltd.
Receipt #1236-5363
AMOUNT PAID
$125.00
DATE PAID
Dec 18, 2022, 8:51:43 PM
PAYMENT METHOD
Visa - XXXX
XenForo Purchase (FAD4103376A5) for philip.torrens@gmail.com $125.00
Amount charged $125.00
 
I'm late to the party, but support points made by the majority:

- I don't do FB / social media groups.
- Fully appreciate the gem we have in WestCoastPaddler - thank you kayakwriter and Tongo-Rad for keeping it going.
- Happy to add when the hat comes around.
- I would prefer a donate button over a two tier approach.
 
I visit this site multiple times a week and always get great information. I would gladly donate from time to time if there was an e-transfer email or some other way to move funds.

Just saw the email address! : ) donation sent!!
 
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