To put it bluntly, AFN has grown beyond the size of a hobby forum and requires decent hardware, hosting, and security to keep the site going.
I'm not sure how many of you know this, but we don't have any actual employees on the forum; everything about the site has been volunteer ran since day 1 (9+ years ago.) Everyone has donated their time, energy, efforts, and spirit to trying to make what we have here today.
This wasn't really ever setup to be a business; we've never spent a dime (not one penny, ever) on advertising for the forum, it's 100% organically grown and it's through offering forum space to companies and vendors that we've afforded to keep the site going, afloat, to try out new things, and ultimately stay going this long.
We seemed to have hit some snags the past year+, ran into some obstacles we weren't prepared for, and honestly made a few decisions we thought were going to be for the best, but turned out to not be the right thing to do. But we're trying to listen and trying to get back to what everyone loved and enjoyed, and it sounds like that's just keeping this simple (and we're super cool with that.)
We want to take the emphasis off "trying to make this a business" and instead focusing on "make this community driven, community inspired, community ran" means that we're not in the pocket of these people sending us stuff or testing stuff with us (not that we EVER were (not once, not ever, not in the history of this site) but needing to the keep the lights on is a real struggle sometimes.) AFN is home to a lot of people. We had considered even closing the doors once before, but we had so many people tell us "no, that's not the right thing to do." Honestly, the support recently to keep this going has been relentless. And that's pretty awesome. We have some really great, amazing people here, both staff and non-staff, that know that we are just hitting some speed bumps on our way through this obstacle course and finding our way through it all.
To feasibly pay the server hosting, license renewals, backup storage, etc, $2000 is about a close average of an annual operating cost. That doesn't include service work, "what if's," etc. No incidentals. And will just go up as the needs of the site increase. I would like to get us a specialist to look at optimizing our server and forum setup as well, we can talk about the laggy pink elephant in the room, and if we can figure that out, then we'll do it.
We've setup a GoFundMe (which gave us the greenlight when we asked them if we could do this as a canna forum,) if anyone would like to donate towards this cause.
Sonny Hobbes AFN Community Campaign The Autoflower Network (AFN) is an online community forum that provides a friendly environment for the education and shar
At present, this would keep the site going annually, 100% community sponsored, not vendor sponsored.
We want to be transparent with what comes in and goes out too. That way there's no accusations or "is this really going for what it's meant for." Then this is what is, this is what we brought in, this is what went out, no one is bullshitting anyone here.
Before anyone starts raising the flags and banging the war drums, AFN is -NOT- in any way at risk of shutting down or closing our doors. Instead, we're trying to get back to why this forum was created. For learning, for sharing, to have a just chill place for people to grow at. Putting the science to the anecdotes. Having a place we can always call home because you know it's consistently this "good vibe of the tribe" kind of place.
We appreciate any consideration and everyone that helps make this community what it is. There's not much of a forum without the community members and that's what has always made us shine, our strength in diversity!
Thanks for listening!
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