Hi all, 

I just received notice that the cost to run this website on the Ning platform will more than double next year from $239.90 to $588/year. There is no way I am going to pay that. This site is paid up until July 2017. After that, I may decide to do something completely different with this web address, however, I am open to your creative ideas. Not interested in donations to keep the site open. I don't want to reward Ning's price hike decision.

Things on the internet have changed a lot since 1999 when this site first opened. Now there are seemingly dozens of stop motion groups on Facebook. Do a search, it's kind of amazing. This site is pretty quiet and may be losing its relevance. Might be time for something completely different. 

If you want to read all about the price change drama, go here.

thanks,

Anthony

Note: as of 09/10, 3 alternatives have been proposed. Read thru all the posts or simply vote for your favorite option, or create your own, by taking the Poll located on the Sidebar.

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I am still pretty new to the site, having joined less than two years ago.  This site to me represents a the most knowledgeable and experienced group of stop motion animators gathering on the internet.  I just did a master's degree in stop motion and I can say that I have learned as much from this site and the people on it as I did there.  This is an important group.  This is the only place I know where someone who has animated on Nightmare, Gumby, Bump, Kubo, Paranorman, etc. would take the time to talk to someone that they don't know.  I have worked hard to make contacts outside this group, but without the feedback and encouragement of the members of this site it would have been very hard to get to that point.

Personally, I don't think facebook is the place to go.  I feel bad for having just started a facebook group for stop motion.  Mostly it was to attract the people who aren't part of this group and get them started so they would feel up to joining this site in the future.

Some ideas: I would like to see more of work being done as it seems some of the discussions are getting a bit theoretical and less based on practical concerns.  It would be nice to have deeper feedback that drives at getting everyone to the top of their personal game. I'd like to find out where people are doing their personal films so we could meet up and collaborate.  Could this group extend to conferences or meet ups?  Could we start reaching out to studios and have interviews that go a little deeper than the average life story? 

Would this site possibly be able to join in with another like stop motion magazine or animate clay?  Or would you like to keep it unaffiliated with commerce?

Sorry for the brain dump.  There must be a way to get more people actively involved.  This is a great site and I really hope it can continue.

Hi Anthony, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply that you were burned out on SMA.com, more like frustrated with what's happening in front of, and behind the scenes, I guess. My bad, I can see how my wording could have been much better, lol.

Where would *you* like to see this site go, in terms of direction, activity, participation, etc? What would put the pep in your step, so to speak? Maybe a change of scenery to a new host and forum format would give things a fresh feel. Perhaps a social media presence pointing back to the "Mother Page" would increase traffic here.  

*EDIT* I'm slow on the keyboard, having 2 posts go up while I was "thinking", lol. The Clubhouse has fund drives for the membership to donate to the costs of running the site, so that's an option you could look at for here, for sure. 

Not sure if I mentioned this before or not in a similar thread, but while the various fb groups are good for a quick bite, this site is the meat and potatoes you want to sit down to when it's time to eat. 

Thanks Dennis. That's cool, just needed to clarify in case anyone thought I was done…I am not done, however, I don't have a clear new vision for the site yet. The price hike just happened. I got caught up with the furor over on the Ning Creators page. Many angry disappointed people. I feel this site works well as is. The Message Board is still the heart of the site and I agree a Facebook page would not be the same. Moving the site….again…seems like a huge pain in the ass. So unless it is a really good change, it's best to stay here as long as possible until a new vision is crystal clear. Again the site is here until July 2017 so a lot can happen between now and then.

Dennis Heinzeroth said:

Hi Anthony, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply that you were burned out on SMA.com, more like frustrated with what's happening in front of, and behind the scenes, I guess. My bad, I can see how my wording could have been much better, lol.

Where would *you* like to see this site go, in terms of direction, activity, participation, etc? What would put the pep in your step, so to speak? Maybe a change of scenery to a new host and forum format would give things a fresh feel. Perhaps a social media presence pointing back to the "Mother Page" would increase traffic here.  

Not sure if I mentioned this before or not in a similar thread, but while the various fb groups are good for a quick bite, this site is the meat and potatoes you want to sit down to when it's time to eat. 

Thanks Adam, I appreciate your good ideas. :)

Adam Taylor said:

I am still pretty new to the site, having joined less than two years ago.  This site to me represents a the most knowledgeable and experienced group of stop motion animators gathering on the internet.  I just did a master's degree in stop motion and I can say that I have learned as much from this site and the people on it as I did there.  This is an important group.  This is the only place I know where someone who has animated on Nightmare, Gumby, Bump, Kubo, Paranorman, etc. would take the time to talk to someone that they don't know.  I have worked hard to make contacts outside this group, but without the feedback and encouragement of the members of this site it would have been very hard to get to that point.

Personally, I don't think facebook is the place to go.  I feel bad for having just started a facebook group for stop motion.  Mostly it was to attract the people who aren't part of this group and get them started so they would feel up to joining this site in the future.

Some ideas: I would like to see more of work being done as it seems some of the discussions are getting a bit theoretical and less based on practical concerns.  It would be nice to have deeper feedback that drives at getting everyone to the top of their personal game. I'd like to find out where people are doing their personal films so we could meet up and collaborate.  Could this group extend to conferences or meet ups?  Could we start reaching out to studios and have interviews that go a little deeper than the average life story? 

Would this site possibly be able to join in with another like stop motion magazine or animate clay?  Or would you like to keep it unaffiliated with commerce?

Sorry for the brain dump.  There must be a way to get more people actively involved.  This is a great site and I really hope it can continue.

My Humble Opinion - Move to a new company AND membership drive. A small donation could provide help and expertise to migrate and later fund drives to pay for hosting costs.

I know Garage Kits USA and Blender Artists both use vBulletin ($250) for their forums and that is were my knowledge of anything forum related ends.

This site has managed to create a sense of community and loyalty without asking for anything, largely through the generosity of its most experienced contributors. As one post said, the information here is better than you would find in a book, as it is constantly updated.

I agree with Steve about moving to a new host - don't give in to Ning! And the membership drive. $10 a year would be a bargain! You could ask for a small entry fee for the Stopmo Jam as well.

I rather like the technical and theoretical discussions - where else do they occur? But I agree with Adam that this site might be able to offer deeper feedback on people's work than the FB groups, and indeed it often does. Perhaps an Animation Clinic area for those wanting the unvarnished truth about their work?

 

I'd agree with Steve and Simon, if there is a better host, I do like the idea of moving to it, and telling Ning where to stick it.  

A membership fee - I'd like a free basic membership to continue for the benefit of beginners and the many impoverished artists and animators, but I'm able to contribute and I would.  So there could be a "premium" membership, although that might only offer the chance to feel good as an additional perk.  Or go for voluntary contributions and see what the response is.   Launch an annual kickstarter type fundraiser, and I'm in!

I'm brand new to the site, and don't know any of you (yet), but I've been gorging myself on some of the information contained, and am amazed and delighted at what a great community you have here, where real top of the tree experts are happy to mingle and advise us beginners. I'd certainly count myself in on any subscription model. As a newbie, I don't feel like my wants carry any weight, but I do find myself nodding my head when people say this place would lose a lot by going onto a facebook type model. the resources get lost in that newsfeed kind of approach. The messageboard style you have here is the perfect way of doing it.

I am coming to this from a screenwriting POV. As a member of a writer's group, we created a message board using https://www.phpbb.com/, which is free, and have a shared dropbox folder for placing files, etc. I'm assuming that the larger number of users on here would render that option impossible somehow, but I'm no expert, so thought I would just throw it out there.

Regardless, whatever format you guys choose, I'm in, and I'm more than happy to pay for the privilege of feeding off your brains! (muhahaha!)

Hi,

i joined very recently to this site but the sheer chance to have access to such a wealth of information and support from StopMotion artists all around the world is impressive and humbling. It would be a loss to have the site removed or moved to a social platform like FB, which cannot support the content and the format of a site with the specific of SMA. I subscribe to the idea of having the domain and site moved elsewhere on a shared system, or AWS or even pay for a subscription where we can manage the servers ourselves. I personally am a software developer with a lot of linux servers at active and i can help supporting the servers and help with migration and administration. I am sure that we can follow a similar pattern of the Open Source projects where we can elect a board of trustees  as a legal body that can manage the site and collect the fees required for the bare metal or VM instances and appoint administrators and devs. The idea of a small fee to pay the hosting costs would be good and, by all means, count me in for it if it is required.

From my experience, we can host anywhere in the world now and i am sure we can find the platform we require and the software we need and the money to fund the system.

On another note, maybe raising awareness on our personal social pages about SMA, inviting those with FB accounts that shared their info there to share also in here, in a word let's try and bring some attention to SMA and i am pretty sure there will be a lot of people interested in what we already have.

Let's try to connect also with other projects like Blender for example, and throw in some compositing and CGI, which is used int today's stop motion animation because i have seen a lot of stuff done in blender that can apply to our stages and puppets and props.There are many wonderful things we can still do in stop motion. One of the most important ones is connect with artists amateur or pro's, across the globe, sharing our successes and failures and getting support and knowledge Let's try to improve and save before we cancel.

Regards,

JD

Hi David. Maybe that is the best solution. Get some money from Donations, enough to hire a computer person to set up an Old Timey phpbb site, much like the old website. We have almost a year to set it up on a new host server. Question is, can these messages be transferred over? Who here is a computer brainiac? Certainly not me, I'm just an animator. 

Seems that most here agree that we don't want to keep paying Ning $600.00+ each year to keep this format going when we could move it to a much more cost effective site. We would retain the most important part, the Message Board, but we would lose some of the features we have here.

You can test out the phpbb sample board here. It's very simple and basic but would do the job.


David Braga said:

I'm brand new to the site, and don't know any of you (yet), but I've been gorging myself on some of the information contained, and am amazed and delighted at what a great community you have here, where real top of the tree experts are happy to mingle and advise us beginners. I'd certainly count myself in on any subscription model. As a newbie, I don't feel like my wants carry any weight, but I do find myself nodding my head when people say this place would lose a lot by going onto a facebook type model. the resources get lost in that newsfeed kind of approach. The messageboard style you have here is the perfect way of doing it.

I am coming to this from a screenwriting POV. As a member of a writer's group, we created a message board using https://www.phpbb.com/, which is free, and have a shared dropbox folder for placing files, etc. I'm assuming that the larger number of users on here would render that option impossible somehow, but I'm no expert, so thought I would just throw it out there.

Regardless, whatever format you guys choose, I'm in, and I'm more than happy to pay for the privilege of feeding off your brains! (muhahaha!)

Good ideas, what do you think about phpbb?

https://www.phpbb.com/demo/



Iulian Demetrescu said:

Hi,

i joined very recently to this site but the sheer chance to have access to such a wealth of information and support from StopMotion artists all around the world is impressive and humbling. It would be a loss to have the site removed or moved to a social platform like FB, which cannot support the content and the format of a site with the specific of SMA. I subscribe to the idea of having the domain and site moved elsewhere on a shared system, or AWS or even pay for a subscription where we can manage the servers ourselves. I personally am a software developer with a lot of linux servers at active and i can help supporting the servers and help with migration and administration. I am sure that we can follow a similar pattern of the Open Source projects where we can elect a board of trustees  as a legal body that can manage the site and collect the fees required for the bare metal or VM instances and appoint administrators and devs. The idea of a small fee to pay the hosting costs would be good and, by all means, count me in for it if it is required.

From my experience, we can host anywhere in the world now and i am sure we can find the platform we require and the software we need and the money to fund the system.

On another note, maybe raising awareness on our personal social pages about SMA, inviting those with FB accounts that shared their info there to share also in here, in a word let's try and bring some attention to SMA and i am pretty sure there will be a lot of people interested in what we already have.

Let's try to connect also with other projects like Blender for example, and throw in some compositing and CGI, which is used int today's stop motion animation because i have seen a lot of stuff done in blender that can apply to our stages and puppets and props.There are many wonderful things we can still do in stop motion. One of the most important ones is connect with artists amateur or pro's, across the globe, sharing our successes and failures and getting support and knowledge Let's try to improve and save before we cancel.

Regards,

JD

I just set up a poll located on the Sidebar. Vote once for your favorite option. Remember, we can reside here until July 2017 so there is time to figure out the best option.

Thanks for all your creative input!

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