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 Post subject: We need your donations. Campaign 2011
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:13 pm 
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As stated in the following email that you, as a member of the forum, got, you learned about our new donation campaign:

Mr.Mouse wrote:
Hi Game Reseachers and fans,

We need your donations. If you feel you should help out, use PayPal and <check picture for emailaddress> as the email address to donate to. Why? Here's the thing:

As you may be aware, the Xentax Foundation is a non-profit organization.
Recently we are generating a disturbing increase in traffic with new forum members, hosted projects and files for download. To highlight, the traffic doubled from 30 Gb per month in December 2009 to nearly 60 Gb a month in December 2010. The latest outlook for January after one week is nearly 80 Gb! This is exceeding our traffic limits (we had to adjust the limit and invest in more traffic a couple of months back already). Furthermore, we are experiencing an exponential growth of the Game Research Forum.

To be able to keep this site up, we will need extra funding, it is as simple as that. If not, we will have to look for ways to cut down the site. That's also a logical conclusion.

So we call on the kindness of the community to support the site. Xentax started the Game Research forum in 2003, and in all this time we have not started a single donation campaign to keep the site online. Instead, the core members supported it with their own bucks and other means. However, if we want to keep up our ideal and uphold our Foundations' goal, we're afraid donations are going to be vital to ensure continuation at this level.

Thanks for any support you can offer and happy researching!

To discuss visit here: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=5728

Do look us up on Facebook as well. http://www.facebook.com/pages/XeNTaX/143458469022795


Mike Zuurman
(Mr.Mouse)


Seriously, we are growing. And with growth come investments in internet traffic, storage capacity and speed. With investment comes the requirement of having sufficient funding. In this is where the donations must come in.

You can voice any comment or critisism, but at the end of the day, bills - our bills - will have to be paid.

You can make the ads go away by registering



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 Post subject: Re: We need your donations. Campaign 2011
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:59 pm 
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donat3d =)

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 Post subject: Re: We need your donations. Campaign 2011
PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 1:10 am 
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Thank you! :)


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 Post subject: Re: We need your donations. Campaign 2011
PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 3:07 am 
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Is switching host a possibility?
How much is the current monthly bandwidth & the cost?
Interested in the numbers to see how much exactly you need to stay up in your current state before I donate :P

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 Post subject: Re: We need your donations. Campaign 2011
PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 3:57 am 
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Is there a particular reason file hosting isn't being done through third party sites such as rapidshare/megaupload/hotfile/photobucket as appropriate? I realize this opens a potential point of failure for a number of reasons. Perhaps using XeNTax servers as an archive would ease some of the burden: allow files to be uploaded as usual in order to maintain a reliable source, but encourage offsite hosting for day to day heavy lifting. If a file goes missing, someone could search the archive and re-host it.

Also,
Quote:
Interested in the numbers to see how much exactly you need to stay up in your current state before I donate

This. I don't mind chipping in, since this site has been very useful to me, but not if the situation seems untenable.


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 Post subject: Re: We need your donations. Campaign 2011
PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 4:51 am 
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I wish I had some money to donate... :(

How long do you plan on this campaign lasting, and do you have a target figure in mind?

As far as third-party file hosting is concerned, obviously I'm not Mr.Mouse or Craptain, and so can't comment definitively on the matter, but I'd suspect that the reason all files are hosted on-site is that they aren't immediately aware of any third-party site which would offer us the options we need for hosting.

Now for a technical note, a little (more) bottom padding on the donation banner now appearing on every page would be nice. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: We need your donations. Campaign 2011
PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:34 am 
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Dinoguy1000 wrote:
I wish I had some money to donate... :(

As far as third-party file hosting is concerned, obviously I'm not Mr.Mouse or Craptain, and so can't comment definitively on the matter, but I'd suspect that the reason all files are hosted on-site is that they aren't immediately aware of any third-party site which would offer us the options we need for hosting.


When I made that comment, it hadn't occurred to me how much content actually IS being hosted through third parties already. So.... yeah. :\


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 Post subject: Re: We need your donations. Campaign 2011
PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:51 am 
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Indeed, if you browse through the forum, you'll notice that a lot of people already use those 'free' hosting sites, and in fact, forum attachments are only allowed to be 256Kb in size, so bigger files will have to be presented at third party sites. However, tools and other type of software is stored by us, to ensure it is save and not resulting in 404s whenever some third party decides to remove files.

We're currently looking into the needed figure here, but as we are in an exponential phase we will have to keep track on events to see what traffic is currently needed to cover it.

An important aspect is that we've got a good relationship with our current host, and we've always been able to settle things in good faith and understanding. We're positive we can come to a satisfactory agreement with them. But, as said here, if there is a better deal elsewhere to be had (less costs, same or better hosting) then we'd have to consider moving the site there.


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 Post subject: Re: We need your donations. Campaign 2011
PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 3:05 pm 
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Can you just give us some base numbers to get a rough idea of how much money I should donate?
What do you normally expect your hosting to be?
How much extra traffic have you received as of late?
How much has it cost you so far to buy extra bandwidth for this month?

That sort of detail is important. Hopefully your hoster can cut you a deal, your site is one of the few dedicated to game file format research and it would be a shame to see it cut back or worse yet disappear. I've been a long time lurker and whenever a new game releases this is the first place I go to see if the formats are posted.

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 Post subject: Re: We need your donations. Campaign 2011
PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:26 pm 
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Hi2All :-)
I seen cool thing - non-commercial site arjlover.net distributing a lot of huge video films by simple ways - direct links from many own servers through balancing php script, ed2k-links and torrent - can you do like this ?
I think its own traffic very small :-)


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 Post subject: Re: We need your donations. Campaign 2011
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:03 am 
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I personally have little I could possibly donate as I too have bills of my own to pay and I already work 2 jobs to manage those. But I have thought of the problem this discusses.

We're using more bandwidth now than you have ever used in the past. Now I will not say I'm incredibly useful myself in comparison to other members here who are far more experienced in reverse engineering, but it seems quite apparent to me that there is a large increase in new members who are posting in the 3D Model Format Research section simply to ask for 3D models from _____ or other trivial questions that could easily be answered through a simple Google search.

A large majority of these new members seem to be registering and posting in the 3D model section soley to ask for models from _____. They aren't asking specific questions on formats or anything as the section is intended to be used but rather they just ask for pre-converted models and where they can get them to download. Or so this is how it appears to me as of late.



So to me the problem appears to be that many people are registering here with the wrong idea of what the purpose of the site is, and it seems that many of them have a general attitude of wanting to receive without providing anything in return.

Now this isn't the case with everyone but it seems very common as of late. So I think a possible solution may be to simply hide the forum topics from view to non-registered/logged in users. In effect this would prevent us from showing up in Google as much and in turn it may significantly reduce the amount of people who misunderstand the reasons for Xentax's existence. And then direct them to find other places to ask their questions where they would fit better than they do here.

I understand there are definite downsides to this but it is one way I can think of to reduce not only the spam but also the bandwidth used and in turn the money bandwidth requires.

There's also the option of closing registrations but this would harm the site even more I'm sure. After all you never know when the next reverse engineering guru will show up and want to contribute.


Just stating my thoughts.


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 Post subject: Re: We need your donations. Campaign 2011
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:03 am 
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You are spot on. Our analyses shows that only as little as about 30% of all registered members ever posted anything. That must mean - as downloads are only for registered users - that 70% just come in to download and not contribute themselves. However, I must state that there are and have been many people that have frequented our forum for years, with 0 posts, but tried to learn as much as they could. We have a number of primary goals, and one of them is to be able to share knowledge. We would like to have information as open as possible. To close down a site by preventing registration is therefore not an option. To hide forums is also not an option. But SHARING does mean something. It means two-ways communication, instead of just taking from the Xentax community. So perhaps we are back with the option to make stuff only available for download for people with more then, say, 10 or 20 posts.


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 Post subject: Re: We need your donations. Campaign 2011
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:18 am 
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Although I don't think anyone on my forums on my website, and thanks for hosting my site, have really uploaded any files directly onto my forums, I have recently changed the abilities of people with a low amount of posts. No longer can someone with 0 posts download anything. But as I said, I can't really recall any files being attached to my forums, and most people leave links to free hosting sites. Also, I have made sure that all files I make available are hosted off-site, to save you bandwidth. I feel bad and wish I could donate for the cause, but I am basically jobless right now, and I am not really making any money from my projects that I charge for. Right now, I'm more afraid of losing my house, than losing the website.

I did recently make a Cafe Press store to sell T-shirts, I doubt I will make one penny, it was made more as a joke than anything else, but if I get any money, I will try to share any profits I make. Here is the store: http://www.cafepress.com/XboxHackingPortal :D

Here's an example T-Shirt (talks about the SvR2011 patch that was worthless):
Image

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 Post subject: Re: We need your donations. Campaign 2011
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 6:11 pm 
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i agree that understanding the philosophy of XeNTaX is important, and that instead of funding expansion with members who will contribute nothing (70% is quite large :eek: ) we could use this opportunity to fulfill its purpose a little more.

the registration process could expand on the "reason for joining" to list some of the common reasons for joining, with a small paragraph on alternatives, or suggestions to what they should try first..

Example:

Quote:
> I wish to download a file
Have you checked the Tools Blog? You can often download files from the blog without registering!

> I wish to learn about file formats
Excellent! You should first download our Definitive Guide to Exploring File Formats!


by redirecting these visitors, the tools blog and wiki might see a rise in usage from members uploading their tools or updating the wiki with format information. however, page views or public "thanks" might be needed to understand their usefulness a little more.

public comments encourage spam
post-count requirement before they can download also encourages spam

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 Post subject: Re: We need your donations. Campaign 2011
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:18 pm 
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THIS IS MADNESS!!! Madness huh? THIS IS XENTAAAX!!!!!!!

Seriously, this is madness, I mean - requesting for donations this way. This forums has "only" about 6 900 members, most of them are inactive, and registered only to download the topic attachment or just to have account here, but doesn't visit this forums everyday.

Even if every registered user visit this forums everyday, it won't take so much traffic as you described. I know that xentax also hosts some files, but they are rather small files and can't take such amount of traffic.

I think that if traffic increases so rapidly, as you described, it's not because of forums and increasing number of members, but rather someone's leeching your files and is trying to halt the server that xentax's running on. If you want to decrease traffic, you should use some anti-leech download script, and control all download - that would limit number of downloads per IP/Member per day/week/month. Files (probably) takes most of the traffic, so it would definately help you keep Xentax running without any donations.

Implementing such PHP script is easy, I wrote a one by myself, which I'm using on my website. It logs every single download, so I can also generate from that a download statistics and ban all IPs that are leeching.

Also, most of the donators would donate only once and only a small amount, so it won't help you much if leeching would continue increasing.

I hope that this criticism doesn't offend you or anybody somehow, I'm just trying to suggest how to keep this site alive without donations (while I'm in bad mood).

--------------------------------------------------------------
This really reminds me the wikipedia's "smart" move - requesting for donations in way that if people don't donate, wikipedia will shut down. They got over 15 million dolars this year, every year they increase "requested" amount of money, and what new we get for that? simply nothing.


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