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 know there are many places out there for stop motion but I find it to be a hunting, pruning, and cultivating problem of a personal link collection. I spend hours hunting through Google searches to hit just the right terminology to get only get a massive list to prune though to have to cultivate and maintain a list of umpteen different places to go to get decent information. I believe we are getting to the point were there are many new islands in a sea of noise were much of it is still rather basic information or a newer generation independently rediscovering key things or the general quality is still low. I am not saying the information is not out there and there is not places of worth to visit and hang out at, but it is a hard sea to navigate with out some guidance in general.

Not to put you on the spot Anthony or anything but I guess a corner stone of this discussion is what is the part you want to play in any next steps?

1. Are you wanting to take a step back and just be part of a community or continue to foster this community?

2. If you are wanting to be a part of the community but not being a part of the technical or financial administration what would be your wishes and criteria of changing the guard so to say?

3. If you are not wanting or ready to relinquish the day to day operations what are your acceptable limits of time, money, and effort to keep things rolling as they are or something similar?

4. Do you have any thoughts or visions of what else SMA.com would become if it is not to be what it is now? A cultivate list of links and resources to other more "modern" outlets of social media catering to stop motion? General syndicated news of stop mo events and the like? Some combination of the like or something totally different?

This list of questions is in no means exhaustive and is just to be as a starting point. It is hard to suggest ideas for the next steps of SMA when we do not know what could maybe align with were you are possibly steadfastly leaning to. This is doubly so when our gut knee jerk reactions is to offer out financial support when that option is already off the table.

Anthony Scott said:

Good points and thank you for your offer to help but I simply do not agree that a $350.00 increase is warranted. I could accept donations or run ugly pop up adds but I've kept this site clean. I don't make any money from doing this and the cost of running this site just continues to go up while activity declines.

There are plenty of places online for people to meet up and discuss Stop Motion, post their videos and photos. I created this site years ago because there weren't many choices. Now there are umpteen! This entire site could be relocated to a Facebook Group for example and it would basically function the same way. The message board categories would not exist however and I can see how that is a downside.

One final thing, I did not mean to infer that Stop Motion is irrelevant, far from it, there so many places online to discuss the subject. Because of that, this site may be losing its relavance.

I plan to keep the domain. I am considering doing something different with it. Not sure just yet. I've got almost a year to decide so keep throwing out ideas, if you've got 'em.


Shea Street said:

I know there are many places out there for stop motion but I find it to be a hunting, pruning, and cultivating problem of a personal link collection. I spend hours hunting through Google searches to hit just the right terminology to get only get a massive list to prune though to have to cultivate and maintain a list of umpteen different places to go to get decent information. I believe we are getting to the point were there are many new islands in a sea of noise were much of it is still rather basic information or a newer generation independently rediscovering key things or the general quality is still low. I am not saying the information is not out there and there is not places of worth to visit and hang out at, but it is a hard sea to navigate with out some guidance in general.

Not to put you on the spot Anthony or anything but I guess a corner stone of this discussion is what is the part you want to play in any next steps?

1. Are you wanting to take a step back and just be part of a community or continue to foster this community?

2. If you are wanting to be a part of the community but not being a part of the technical or financial administration what would be your wishes and criteria of changing the guard so to say?

3. If you are not wanting or ready to relinquish the day to day operations what are your acceptable limits of time, money, and effort to keep things rolling as they are or something similar?

4. Do you have any thoughts or visions of what else SMA.com would become if it is not to be what it is now? A cultivate list of links and resources to other more "modern" outlets of social media catering to stop motion? General syndicated news of stop mo events and the like? Some combination of the like or something totally different?

This list of questions is in no means exhaustive and is just to be as a starting point. It is hard to suggest ideas for the next steps of SMA when we do not know what could maybe align with were you are possibly steadfastly leaning to. This is doubly so when our gut knee jerk reactions is to offer out financial support when that option is already off the table.

Anthony Scott said:

Good points and thank you for your offer to help but I simply do not agree that a $350.00 increase is warranted. I could accept donations or run ugly pop up adds but I've kept this site clean. I don't make any money from doing this and the cost of running this site just continues to go up while activity declines.

There are plenty of places online for people to meet up and discuss Stop Motion, post their videos and photos. I created this site years ago because there weren't many choices. Now there are umpteen! This entire site could be relocated to a Facebook Group for example and it would basically function the same way. The message board categories would not exist however and I can see how that is a downside.

One final thing, I did not mean to infer that Stop Motion is irrelevant, far from it, there so many places online to discuss the subject. Because of that, this site may be losing its relavance.

Shea has made the point really well, that other sites like Facebook groups do not accumulate knowledge and experience like this one does with the message board categories. It's re-inventing the wheel all the time if topics can't be stored and revisited. I often go through the categories to see if there is an answer to an issue I have, and print out many of them.

But equally, things move on, and perhaps the steep price increase and lower traffic is a reflection of the way in which people have moved away from static websites/forums towards social media platforms. It is difficult to resist this, but it does not necessarily imply progress.

Perhaps the question should be: where best to capture and make available the accumulated knowledge and experience of the site and how to steer people (easily) towards it as a resource. If discussions are easier on Facebook, so be it.

An archive of most of the posts from 1999-2012 has already been created and exists here: http://www.vortex42studios.com/sma/ Perhaps the rest can be added eventually. It must be said that it is a ton of work for someone, in this case, Paul McConnochie.


Simon Tytherleigh said:

Shea has made the point really well, that other sites like Facebook groups do not accumulate knowledge and experience like this one does with the message board categories. It's re-inventing the wheel all the time if topics can't be stored and revisited. I often go through the categories to see if there is an answer to an issue I have, and print out many of them.

But equally, things move on, and perhaps the steep price increase and lower traffic is a reflection of the way in which people have moved away from static websites/forums towards social media platforms. It is difficult to resist this, but it does not necessarily imply progress.

Perhaps the question should be: where best to capture and make available the accumulated knowledge and experience of the site and how to steer people (easily) towards it as a resource. If discussions are easier on Facebook, so be it.

Hi Anthony.

Hell yes. That is a proper rip off.


For me the relevance of this (great) site is not to do with how much I use it or how much traffic it gets. It is certainly to do with the way you run it and the vast archive of specialized knowledge it has gathered throughout the years and the people behind it.

If the way to go is by charging a subscription I'd happily oblige even if I may stop here only once in a while.

As to where to move if this platform is just taking costumers for granted, wherever you move  people will follow. If we are not prepared to pay for the running of the site then yes. Perhaps it has had its day but only trying it out will answer that.

Looking at the Ning discussion, many of those unhappy customers have had problems trying to archive the contents so they can move it to another platform.  We've only just got the archive from previous versions of SMA back (Thanks Paul), and it looks like it could be lost again in less than a year's time.

An SMA Facebook page would be better than nothing, and wouldn't cost money.

Even if it goes, it has played an enormous historical role in the revival of stop motion animation.  I was working on a stop-motion production when I first discovered it in 1999, but very much in isolation.  Without the contact with fellow animators and sense of community I found here, I doubt I would have kept on with it so long.   How-to books pretty well didn't exist back then, but there are several now, and nearly all the authors were all on this message board.  They drew on the combined knowledge of members here, in addition to their own expertise, when writing their books.  I think the stopmotion groups on FB owe their existence  to the fact that SMA was here first, making those first contacts between animators scattered across the world.

Personally I dont think there is a true alternative to this site at the moment. The value is not only in discussing you questions or projects but also very much in being able to look up previous discussions and sift through information that has been accumulating over the years.

I am a member of numerous facebook groups on stop motion but on none of them is there any real sense of community. There is no in depth discussions on questions and due to it's format posts get pushed out of sight quickly.

Maybe the form of a forum like this is not the newest fad, and may feel outdated, but I still think it is the best solution. I would really hate to see this site go...

No solution to the immediate problems, I know, but just Some thoughts on the illusion that facebook is the solution to every problem.

O.K. Last rambling on the subject from me.

This site has I don't know how many thousands of subscribers. It would only take 100 subscribers paying $6 annually to clear the 2017 - 2018 bill. If more than 60 people subscribe,  SMA ends up with a profit. I don't see that as a problem.

I really don't think the bill is hard to solve but it has brought up a harder question to answer; Whether the site is worth keeping in its existing form. Personally I think it is but I don't maintain it. I simply use it.

Sorry Anthony we are not giving a list of options other than stay the course. I understand your frustration with the cost. I belong to an instructional site and luckily they grandfathered my account into the original price other wise I would leave the site as it has tripled in price in three years. A small price increase is understandable but to jump so much so quick is poor customer relations. "Thanks for helping us get our foot in the door now pay more so we can have better things." is not a good company motto.

I looked yesterday at Facebook and didn't find a thing that I wanted to be a part of.

A running list of options would be helpful I am sure.

1. Pay and continue as is

2. Archive everything and save as a resource and forum goes inactive.

3. Migrate to another provider? phpBB, vBulletin,

4. Piggyback to another forum and Mr. Scott is just a moderator?

Hi Dennis, Please don't mistake me, I never said I was burned out on it. I think it's an amazing site and community. I have been running it for almost 20 years and very proud of what this site has contributed to Stop Motion Animation. I am mainly reacting to the massive price hike. I don't want to tangent, but it seems that wages and salaries do not seem to keep up with the rising cost of virtually everything today. Asking for an additional $350 per year is going to force many of these smaller, not for profit sites on the Ning platform to shut down. I don't know why they haven't chosen to gradually raise the price. I hate their backward decision making.



Dennis Heinzeroth said:

I'll echo everyone else, it would be a sad day to lose this site. 

I had a look at some of the comments on the NING creator's network and that disturbs me more. A LOT of unhappy customers and the complaints they already had *before* the price hike was announced. I'd be worried that NING will just up and vanish, leaving nothing behind and no way to archive or transfer this wonderful site.

There must be a more user friendly hosting site with a better cost/service ratio. 

I've been gearing up to start producing my own stop-mo shorts. Getting necessary equipment/materials/supplies and working on story ideas and designs. I'd really hate to see this site go because it is such a valuable resource. I'm a member on a few of the facebook pages, but this place has a legitimate worth to it, like it's at another level of consciousness on a higher plane. 

Of course, if you're burned out on it, you're burned out. Not much anyone can for that, it's just a fact of life. 

Dennis

I've been approached 3 times to write a book about Stop Motion. Each time I felt there was not much new to add. So many books and resources are available now compared to when I was a kid. This site is just as good if not better than any book because it is constantly updated, feedback is exchanged and friendships are made.

StopmoNick said:

Looking at the Ning discussion, many of those unhappy customers have had problems trying to archive the contents so they can move it to another platform.  We've only just got the archive from previous versions of SMA back (Thanks Paul), and it looks like it could be lost again in less than a year's time.

An SMA Facebook page would be better than nothing, and wouldn't cost money.

Even if it goes, it has played an enormous historical role in the revival of stop motion animation.  I was working on a stop-motion production when I first discovered it in 1999, but very much in isolation.  Without the contact with fellow animators and sense of community I found here, I doubt I would have kept on with it so long.   How-to books pretty well didn't exist back then, but there are several now, and nearly all the authors were all on this message board.  They drew on the combined knowledge of members here, in addition to their own expertise, when writing their books.  I think the stopmotion groups on FB owe their existence  to the fact that SMA was here first, making those first contacts between animators scattered across the world.

I just reread all of the comments so far. Thanks for your thoughts. The site is not dead yet! Perhaps I need to rethink the donation option. By far that has been the most popular idea. 

So what about a yearly drive to raise the necessary funds? Keep in mind they may continue to go up. What if I put up a Go Fund Me page or something like that every year with a monetary target and a deadline? If the goal is reached, then the site survives another year. Discuss!

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