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-   -   Upcoming TDIClub and Forum Updates (http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=437526)

VW Derf April 2nd, 2015 07:10

Upcoming TDIClub and Forum Updates
 
Since the inception of TDIClub nearly 19 years ago, it has been a website supported by its members. This support has come in many different forms, from providing the content on the forums to helping out members in the real world with vehicle problems and supporting the website financially. Financially, contributions have come primarily from three different sources: purchasing of merchandise at the TDIClub store (http://www.tdiclub.com/store), fundraising at TDIFests, and simply contributing directly to TDIClub.

To strengthen TDIClub’s resiliency and ability to grow, infrastructure must often be updated. Many of these updates are perpetually happening behind the scenes. One aspect of these updates, however, will be much more obvious as it is a big change: replacing the forum software that many of you interact with on a daily basis. It has become antiquated and work is currently underway to replace it with a newer product that can better meet the needs of our large and thriving community. Among other technical changes, the new software will allow us to more clearly recognize TDIClub’s financial contributors, who help us keep the forums free of nuisance advertising. To recognize and thank individuals for their contribution to TDIClub, below is a list of recognition levels and benefits:

http://www.tdiclub.com/donations.PNG

Membership contribution levels are valid beginning the day of purchase, and expire 365 days after the date of purchase. Please note that everyone, regardless of contribution, will be able to use TDIClub Forums, just as they are today – there are only minor changes to private message and image upload quotas. We anticipate adding additional benefits as time progresses.
We plan to upgrade the forum software and implement club contribution recognition within the next two months. All contributions to TDIClub made beginning January 2015 will be applied once the new software is in place.

For more information about TDIFest 2015, please see the TDIFest 2015 announcement; you may always visit http://wiki.tdifest.com for the latest TDIFest information.

john.jackson9213 April 2nd, 2015 11:10

3100 mile drive from San Diego, but only 180 miles from Montreal. I will have no trouble getting Anita to come along on this road trip! May just leave her in Montreal for the Labor/Labour Day weekend! Also fits well with a trip to the Maritime Provinces we have been thinking about for a couple of years. Our last road trip to Montreal was just about 7000 miles and 19 days.
As for the change to a more "membership" type financed TDIClub, I have no issue with it. It should make for a more predictable and smoother income stream to fund club expenses.

VeeDubTDI April 2nd, 2015 14:01

Thanks for the feedback! I'm looking forward to seeing your sweet B4V!

Digital Corpus April 2nd, 2015 17:29

The current default PM count is 2000. When will the contributor teirs begin, thus knocking down the PM count?

Edit: And how an we directly contribute?

VW Derf April 2nd, 2015 17:51

Quote:

Originally Posted by Digital Corpus (Post 4774040)
The current default PM count is 2000. When will the contributor teirs begin, thus knocking down the PM count?

Edit: And how an we directly contribute?

Contribution tiers will begin once the new software is installed (still a fair bit of work to do on that) but any donations (Paypal via the main tdiclub page) that were made after January 1, 2015 will be manually applied once the new system is in place.

How exactly these limits will be applied to existing users has not been fully determined. I will try to limit any issues to existing users, but it might end up that the user cannot send new PMs until the messages in their inbox is lowered. Once we get closer to the updates I'll have a more definitive answer.

turbocharged798 April 3rd, 2015 03:44

Mixed feelings on this. Is is really donations if you have to donate to improve your experience on the forum? I think not. Then again, the bills have to be paid somehow, especially with all the issues going on with the TDIfests.

On top of this, now we know how much exactly each member donates which I think should be personal, not something everyone knows.
Edit: maybe I read this part wrong, is is public info what level you are on?

VeeDubTDI April 3rd, 2015 07:43

The term "donation" was not used in the announcement. This is a membership/subscription system that allows users to customize their forum experience. Users who do not subscribe will still have access to all of the forums and features, but with reduced storage limits. At the end of the day, we want TDIClub to remain open and ad-free for everyone, and this is the best way to accomplish that and ensure a steady stream of operating funds.

mishkaya April 3rd, 2015 08:07

Quote:

Originally Posted by turbocharged798 (Post 4774296)
On top of this, now we know how much exactly each member donates which I think should be personal, not something everyone knows.
Edit: maybe I read this part wrong, is is public info what level you are on?

If this is set up like some of the other forums I have frequented, there will probably be an option to hide the conrtibution level. This said, some members like to advertize the level of their contributions...
I guess we will find out when the time comes.
I still would rather contribute financially than have to deal with constant ads...

VW Derf April 3rd, 2015 09:00

Quote:

Originally Posted by turbocharged798 (Post 4774296)

On top of this, now we know how much exactly each member donates which I think should be personal, not something everyone knows.
Edit: maybe I read this part wrong, is is public info what level you are on?

I've done some informal polling on this before and many people have indicated they want to show their support of TDIClub so the current plan is to include that as part of the profile. There are still some technical things to work out but the suggestion of giving the user the option of suppressing their level is something can I think be accommodated. I know your questions is a little different as people will have a general idea of the contributions of others. At this point that is looked at as an an acknowledgement of your support of TDIClub. As we move forward, over time, there may be room for tweaks and improvements so I'm open to suggestions. We may need to move it to another thread or mean of communications (email/pm) though.

At the end of the day (as previously noted) the goal is to still enable people to freely join and fully participate in TDIClub and at the same time give a little something back to those that contribute funds to TDIClub and keep us from having to rely on ads to pay the bills.

meerschm April 5th, 2015 04:55

Happy to contribute, but the paypal interface seems to want only $cdn.

If you plan to peg support levels to US$, should I wait for the software update to contribute, make a daily currency exchange calculation, or something else?

j_martell April 5th, 2015 11:36

ive purchased a few items through the store here, and its always taken the funds in US$......

turbocharged798 April 5th, 2015 17:23

Quote:

Originally Posted by VW Derf (Post 4774463)
I've done some informal polling on this before and many people have indicated they want to show their support of TDIClub so the current plan is to include that as part of the profile. There are still some technical things to work out but the suggestion of giving the user the option of suppressing their level is something can I think be accommodated. I know your questions is a little different as people will have a general idea of the contributions of others. At this point that is looked at as an an acknowledgement of your support of TDIClub. As we move forward, over time, there may be room for tweaks and improvements so I'm open to suggestions. We may need to move it to another thread or mean of communications (email/pm) though.

At the end of the day (as previously noted) the goal is to still enable people to freely join and fully participate in TDIClub and at the same time give a little something back to those that contribute funds to TDIClub and keep us from having to rely on ads to pay the bills.

Well, I guess we'll see how it works. I always liked that TDIclub is run on donations only and the amount of money you give has no effect on the end product. But again, I realize bills need to be paid and the lack of TDIfest last year didn't help things.

Sorry if I came across harsh in my last post. Didn't mean for it to sound like that.

Any ideas when the changes are going to be implemented?

aslspiderman April 5th, 2015 18:22

Is paypal the only option to contribute/pay?

aslspiderman April 5th, 2015 18:46

Is paypal the only option to contribute/pay?

mishkaya April 5th, 2015 18:51

Quote:

Originally Posted by aslspiderman (Post 4776069)
Is paypal the only option to contribute/pay?

I know that the online store will take international money orders, so that will probably be an option. I am sure an admin will answer your question soon enough.

whitedog April 5th, 2015 19:01

So would the donation level only be in the profile or would it be under the username in each post? I like the profile option, myself.

Yes, being ad-free is such a great part of this site.

Any other options than PP?

VeeDubTDI April 5th, 2015 19:16

Quote:

Originally Posted by whitedog (Post 4776083)
So would the donation level only be in the profile or would it be under the username in each post? I like the profile option, myself.

Yes, being ad-free is such a great part of this site.

Any other options than PP?

Where the donation level is to be listed has not yet been determined. It could be in your profile, in your user title, both, or even have the option of being hidden.

From the TDIClub merchandise page: http://tdiclub.com/store/#OtherPayment

Quote:

Forms of Payment:

Paypal is a online service that lets one pay via their PayPal balance or by a credit card. If you do not wish to pay via this means you can do so by sending a cheque or International Money Order (please no Green Postal Money orders that say "Negotiable only in the US and Possessions") to me directly. Send me an email for my postal address.
The payment options above are only for purchasing TDIClub merchandise and sending donations. Payment options for the new membership/subscription system will be announced closer to the launch date.

Stealth TDI April 8th, 2015 11:10

Hello,

Quote:

Mixed feelings on this. Is is really donations if you have to donate to improve your experience on the forum? I think not. Then again, the bills have to be paid somehow, especially with all the issues going on with the TDIfests.
Nothing personal... just my thoughts on the topic, regardless of author: I was curious to see what a $0 contributor may lose or not have. So I took a look at my PM box to see where I stand in usage. I have 178 messages stored. I clean frequently. I deleted my TDIPics photos since I've hosted my photos at StealthTDI.com for years. As far as my use of TDIClub server resources are concerned, I consider myself a rather basic user, especially during the past few years when my activities have not been as VW-centric. In short, it appears the plan to implement tier levels will have no impact on basic users. I could use the site for $0 with no loss of [site] "experience." I don't plan to do that. But I could. However, I don't think contributing $100 will "improve [my] experience," either... not with my posting habits (READING, some posting, and few PMs). It's all about supporting the background efforts here.

Regarding the display of "level" on my profile, I have no problems having it there. I don't consider having "Enthusiast" next to or under my name to be too audacious, no more than my current display of "Pre-Forum Veteran," anyway. Perhaps $100/yr is steep for some. But I know there are folks here who've contributed more than that with little or no credit. To some, "Enthusiast" says someone coughed up $100. Some may even take that to mean "this guy is owed something" (or thinks he is). To me, it means "this guy cares about the future of this site." The lack of a level does not indicate the opposite to me. But I'm sure some may harbor elitist thoughts (e.g., an Enthusiast could see a $0 user as a freeloader). Could it lead to discrimination? I think the majority of frequent users here are above that kind of behavior, even if they're not above the thoughts. Time will tell if that becomes a problem. But TDIClub history has shown that our Admins handle with the riff-raff pretty well. ;)

I welcome the change. I'm not sure how much or how often I will contribute. But contributions will be an easy decision in the years I go to TDIFest.

All of that said, I can see how "purchase" may be a better descriptor than "donation" since one is buying a service (more forum capacity) or paying for an activity (TDIFest). Just my $0.02 (which won't go toward a $20 "Friend" fee). ;)

Scott

VW Derf April 8th, 2015 23:09

Hi Everyone,
A few updates:
1) Input is appreciated. As time progresses we may adjust things to work even better.
2) Donations before the new software is installed will be accepted. I'll convert those to contributions at a later date.
3) Yes, donations are only accepted in Canadian dollars right now and I hope to have that fixed up in the coming week. If you want to do it now, feel free to add 20-25%. The US dollar has risen in the past year and the two currencies no longer at par.
4) Cheques (ok checks for some of you :) ) and international money orders are accepted. Please contact me directly for this info as I'll send mailing instructions privately.

Fix_Until_Broke April 11th, 2015 23:14

Maybe I'm seeing this all wrong, but here's my take on it...

Why do people come to TDIClub? This is one of the best technical resources around for TDI's and related tech in my opinion. People come here primarily to learn about something about their TDI's. I've been frequenting other forums over the last year or so for a Duramax project I'm working on and am longing for somewhere like TDIClub in the Duramax world.

Where does this technical information come from? The members on this forum who are willing to take the time to figure things out, document and freely share with the community.

So, if I understand this proposed change correctly, we want to charge the people that contribute the most which is the very thing that draws people to the site in the first place?

Really?

Selfishly, I've put hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into the things that I freely share on this site specifically for the good of the TDI community. And now you want me to pay an annual membership fee to continue to do so?

Am I the only one who thinks this is completely backwards?

I know the "bills need to be paid", But I think this could be the beginning of the end for the forum as it is today. Members will either host their own photos which won't result in any revenue to the forum or they just won't contribute at all which won't result in any revenue to the forum.

Those who will support the site financially will likely do so regardless of these "benefits".

I don't have a good solution or better idea other than to be above board with everything (big picture, not details). Do we need $5k, $10k, $20k, $50k to update the software? Do we need $??k/year to maintain web hosting/servers/bandwidth/whatever we need?

Keep a public running tally of what the donations are to date for the year along with a goal (like one of those thermometer things when a church wants to raise money for a trip or something). Make it more obvious that it cost money to run this site and what the consequences are of members not contributing.

Maybe have vendors pay a nominal fee each year to maintain vendor status? That's not sponsorship - same fee for all vendors who use the forum to make money. Just throwing ideas out...

My apologies if this comes off rude or selfish, that's not my intent.

Seatman April 11th, 2015 23:27

No you don't have to pay a penny, you can if you like and will get some extras to go with it but you don't have to. Its all in the first post.

Fix_Until_Broke April 11th, 2015 23:41

So, how will that raise any more money for the forum?

greengeeker April 12th, 2015 00:38

I'm happy to donate but I do see the upload quota as a potential issue moving forward. What if like FUB says you have a historically very active, contributing member who has uploaded lots of images to the photo server and is already over 100MB. Will they no longer be able to upload any pictures if they are unable to donate?

Digital Corpus April 12th, 2015 14:15

Quote:

Originally Posted by greengeeker (Post 4780953)
I'm happy to donate but I do see the upload quota as a potential issue moving forward. What if like FUB says you have a historically very active, contributing member who has uploaded lots of images to the photo server and is already over 100MB. Will they no longer be able to upload any pictures if they are unable to donate?

They aren't sure how this will affect existing members and how it'll be applied to them, though it's a legitimate concern.

FUB, I get your frustration entirely. I also know that being a prolific user of free image hosting services isn't the best solution. I'm that odd ball who has their own server, against my ISP's TOS for many years and they don't care, and have most of my images hosted there. This also is t a viable option for most either, but one that readily more available as home bandwidth continues to rise. As useful as photos are, a lot of the time this information doesn't need to be shared via photos. I do recall though that myturbodiesel had a similar transformation a couple years ago and for similar reasons I'd guess too.

With all of that said, I still like this method of contribution over other models employed because it has no limit for the end user who needs to find and consume the data, only to those who put it up. This is opposite what most models do and that benefits the community. Yeah, it's a bit of a pain for heavy contributors, but outside of various GTGs and events, there hasn't been a direct means of donating funds to the site and this gives us that mechanism. That's just my two cents.

meerschm April 12th, 2015 14:51

Perhaps with the extra money a way will be found to update the photo sharing features.

for a while now, I have been denied any further posts, since it says I am at my quota.

I tried to delete some photos, but it does not seem to matter.

VW Derf April 13th, 2015 00:56

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fix_Until_Broke (Post 4780936)
So, if I understand this proposed change correctly, we want to charge the people that contribute the most which is the very thing that draws people to the site in the first place?

If this is what the feeling is that these changes bring, then there is a communications issues as that is not the intent. This changes are not to restrict the experience for non financial contributions like technical info (which are also very important), but just give an extra bit of thanks for those that contribute financially. Believe it or not while the basic limit of stored PMs is being reduced (you can still download them), the allocation for image uploads is actually being doubled for non contributors as these limits have remained the same for years. This will help out people like meerschm without a financial contribution. Nonetheless, the concerns about photo storage limits (which already exists) is a good one about what to do when people have valuable images to upload and they run out of space.

While many things are already currently set, please keep the constructive comments coming as hopefully the concerns can be addressed and over time there may be opportunities for further improvements.

kjclow April 17th, 2015 12:45

Although I have not donated in the past, I will now to help keep this site running and commercial (ad) free. I have frequented other sites where you have to pay to contribute to their forums. Not worth it when all you're really trying to find out is what speed of lens do I need to get decent shots of my daughter dancing.

My question is this, and my current assumption may be wrong: If the current support method is a tax deductible donation (my assumption), then will the contribution support fees also be deductible?

JSWTDI09 April 17th, 2015 12:59

Quote:

Originally Posted by kjclow (Post 4784905)
My question is this, and my current assumption may be wrong: If the current support method is a tax deductible donation (my assumption), then will the contribution support fees also be deductible?

I am no expert on this, but it is my understanding that donations are only tax deductible (in the USA) if they are made to registered non-profit charities. I seriously doubt if the TDIClub has registered with the appropriate US entity to be legally considered a "deductible" donation. Perhaps some member here is a tax accountant and can be certain about this issue.

Have Fun!

Don

VW Derf April 18th, 2015 01:09

Don is corrected, you need to be a charity to issue tax receipts, which we are not. That means there is no mechanism to issue a tax receipt in Canada or the USA.

kjclow April 18th, 2015 09:07

Thanks. I couldn't remember if this was a nonprofit.

Campbellonh April 30th, 2015 10:36

I have been on forums that are not ad-free and I think it is well worth contributing to keep this one ad-free, even though I barely use the space I am allowed already. But that is because I can (contribute, I mean). In the past, $100/yr would have been much to hard to swing for me, so I understand how this can be a concern for some members. As for the quotas, I wonder if those of us who do not upload photos much could make our space available to those who need the space but can't afford to contribute? That way those who can contribute technically but not financially don't feel restricted?

Abacus April 30th, 2015 11:38

I have an external site at which mine are stored so I don't need the space here.


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