Thoughts on the forum

Hi All:

I just wanted to put out a few thoughts, most of which I have shared with
John in off-forum emails.

For some reason there is a $25 number in my head, although I know people
have also been talking about $100. One of the voiced concerns is having a
small minority of people paying for a number of users who do not pay into
the site. Other concerns have included legal ramifications, costs, and

Perhaps I am na?ve (okay, strike the first word), but I am not all that
concerned about freeloaders. The site is used for owners and dreamers, and
if those dreamers are the ones that eventually make the company be viable
once again, then paying $25 a year on my end makes it an investment in the
future of a boat I love. What if I hit the point that I need to sell my
boat? Having a support site makes it all that much easier. I?d rather have
people have ?free? access (maybe for a limited number of times?) with the
idea that if they find it useful enough, they?ll join. I don?t think
advertising is the way to go! People come to this site because they are
intrigued by the boats we have, not for sailing in general. What we have is
specific expertise and knowledge about these boats.

So questions as I see them are:

  1. Do we want the site to continue?
  2. Does the site have to cost so much? (Answer, if we want the support,
    security, and service that ColeData provides WITH NO ADVERTISING - yes.)
  3. How do we pay for it?
  4. Who “owns” it?

Answers (on my end)

  1. YES. I well remember the hours Jeremy spent setting up the first forum,
    and the hours he worked with John to transfer the stuff to the new one.
    Many, many times we have gone to the forum to find answers to questions.
    Unfortunately, Jeremy does not have time to set up/run another forum.
  2. Yes it does. John at one point to me had offered to eat some of the
    cost of the site, but I don’t think that’s fair. Of course, if he wants to
    be a “major” donor, that’s fine! I don?t think we want John to be in the
    hole. There have already been a number of hits at $25 a year for keeping
    the forum open ? why drop to $10? Some ideas from a conversation with John:
    The cost is $700 a year. If we had a set number of ?owners? at say $25 a
    year, and then newcomers who might have fewer ?rights? at $10 a year ? how
    might that work? Could it? If people want more admin privileges, they can
    also pony up and we can reduce the cost accordingly. If TONS of people sign
    up at $25 a year, then we could reduce the cost to cover the cost. Any
    excess could be used for a t-shirt or a rendezvous cocktail party or
    something . . .
    3 and 4: Donor lists cover these. Visitors have 3 freebies, and then the
    cost is $10, for which they have limited access to past archives. Full
    membership is $25, unless we get so few that we have to increase it, or so
    many that we can cut it.

I may be throwing ideas out that take more time than I imagine to set up and
into place, adding to the cost of the site. I?m the first to admit that I
am a computer idiot.

There you go, if anyone has gotten to the bottom of this. My $.02.

Cheers, and bring on sailing season!

S/V Calypso, BCC #6

It seems to me that we seem to be belaboring the point: I believe we ALL want a forum to continue. Rather than trying to re-invent the wheel, why do we not have a look at the Cape George forum:
I believe John Cole runs that one too. Maybe he can explain how that forum works, what are its costs, how are they paid (I believe donations), how are new membership received, etc. We could use that as a basic model and fine tune it based on John’s experience. What about it John?

I’m a firm believer of the KISS principle and that donations (no strings attached) are much easier to manage in the long run rather than shares(where everyone will want a voice).

For further thought: Will this be a BCC only, A Sam L Morse only or a Lyle Hess site?
With the latter we can also invite our Nor’Sea friends to join.

Yes, I do run the Cape George Cutters forum. I was asked to create it because of the success and simplicity of this forum.

However, the original design cost and hosting cost for one year for creating the Cape George Cutters forum was paid by a member of this website, also a BCC owner, out of his own pocket. It is planned to introduce a method of donations on that site to reduce the funder’s initial costs and annual maintenance. This has not beeen done yet, as the forum is only a couple of months old.

There are three distinct elements to both these sites:

The forum: The hardest of all to maintain as it requires contant moderation, and very frequent updates to software, as the “black hats” spend their time trying to overcome security checks, so that they can implant their spam messages.

The Gallery: The maintenance on this is less than that required for the forum, but the same constant need for updates is required.

The database of vessels: This is only viewable by owners, all changes are made by request to the webmaster. The database on both the websites we are discussing is incomplete, and possibly incorrect, so there is a little time spent on updating these.

To answer your specific questions:


Every 3 Years: Renewal of domain name, $75
Hosting: SLM has been paying $400 annually - this has now ceased. We are proposing $325 for ongoing years.
Maintenance, updates and upgrades: Last year we devoted 79 hours to these items. We are proposing to ask $300 to cover this, which works out at less than $3.50 per hour, and the work is done by programmers who earn in excess of $80 per hour.
New Members: Anyone can sign up as a member, but there is an approval method run by us before thay can post.

The question that is in your mind, however, is why don’t we merge these sites?

The domain name was purchased by the manufacturers of Cape George, and transferred with the intent that a forum site was created. The volume of traffic on the BCC/FC site is in the magnitude of 22:1, thus BCC/FC users would detract from the focus of the site.

Another overwhelming reason is the hit rate on the BCC/FC site. If we are forced to move this site to another domain name (Which is a possibility, as Sumio intends to keep the Sam L. Morse company) we will get lost for a long period of time by the major search engines. When we took over the SLM website a few years ago there were approximately 1,800 hits per month. Currently there are over 18,000 hits, and a transfer of documents and data close to 5 gigabytes per month.

Are there any alternatives to facing these costs? Yes; there are two things you can do:

  1. Introduce advertising (which I really don’t want to do) and all costs would be more than adequatly covered. The site would then become a profit center for Coledata, Inc.
  2. Transfer the site to one of the free services, as it was originally. You will then need to appoint a moderator or administrator, and will also have to live with advertising.


Hi all,

I agree with Nica regarding freeloaders. Every freeloader/dreamer is a potential buyer and a good website and forum can only help keep interest alive in the BCC/FC, particularily since we no longer have a manufacturer creating any kind of marketing buzz.

Why don’t we ask all BCC/FC owners to contribute $50 and see where it goes. If not enough people contribute we can adjust our thinking accordingly. If there are significant contributions we can enhance the web site experience.

S/V Susie Q