hey ao3 can you like give the extra $38k you made from this month’s funds drive to charity
You know it legally is a charity, right?
If x charity aims for £10, but gets £15, would you expect then to give back the extra five or give it then to another charity? No. Any extra costs go into the “rainy day” fund; sometimes servers crash or break, sometimes false reports are made that require the legal team, sometimes you need to hire coders or what not to implement new features or fix bugs or deal with broken code …
The money they aimed for is the bare minimum, which goes towards things like basic server costs and domain names and legal advice and so forth, but they don’t just “pocket” the rest (as people claim). It’s not a business. It has no advertisements. It needs some “rainy day” cash to function.
You can’t ask a charity to give money to another charity.
It needs what it gets to function and improve.
kiena-tesedale replied to this post
They don’t “pocket” excess money. They have a
publicly accessible budget – waaaay more info than most charities, in
fact. In it, you can clearly see where each dollar goes. (Also, you are
vastly underestimating either how much traffic AO3 gets or how much
In my experience, people who don’t work in web design and hosting just have no concept of how heavy a load something like AO3 would have. Not only is the traffic absolutely buck wild, but the quantity of data that archive needs to store is fuckoff crazy.
I’m talking “more than the library of congress” crazy. The only reason
it doesn’t require Netflix levels of data serving is that it’s text
based rather than video.
AO3 is in the top 300 websites in the world, and the top 100 in the US. It is the number 2 literature website.
Number 2 in the entire world. JSTOR is 20.
It sees about 6 million people a day.
About 250k an hour. Each of those people is loading multiple pages, many are running
searches that execute on literally hundreds of potential variables per
search. The demands involved are astronomical.
JSTOR, btw, makes 85 million dollars a year.
It’s 18 ranks below AO3′s traffic, and takes in 650 times the amount of money.
But let’s say you think that’s an unfair comparison. Would you say that the Project Gutenberg Literature Archival Group- another text based archive that handles literature operating outside traditional copyright requirements- is more similar?
Because it sees all of 4% of the traffic that AO3 handles.
Care to guess its budget?
Double that of AO3.
AO3 is doing shit on the kind of shoestring budget that I fully, 100% cannot comprehend. And that’s just the archival service.
The 130k also pays for the OTW’s legal team, which they use to defend the right of fandom to fucking exist.
absolutely batshit fucked up that people are fighting to have the OTW
defunded and AO3 shut down. They are the only organized group that
actually stands directly between fandom- all the art and the fics and
the vids and the music and the chats and the memes and everything we
love about interactive, transformative work- and an incalculable amount of lawsuits.
“In my experience, people who don’t work in web design and hosting just have no concept of how heavy a load something like AO3 would have. Not only is the traffic absolutely buck wild, but the quantity of data that archive needs to store is fuckoff crazy. I’m talking “more than the library of congress” crazy. The only reason it doesn’t require Netflix levels of data serving is that it’s text based rather than video.”
I co-founded a startup a few years ago (rhinobird.tv) that was for creating a collaborative video platform (live video streaming + multi-device HTML5 video conversion + P2P networking + AWS hosting among other things) and our yearly costs during initial development were right up there (just with our tiny team and handful of useability testers). We didn’t even have users at that point.
Hosting is expensive. Design and development are expensive. Adding a new, or expanding an existing features is expensive.
Like AO3′s tagging?
That seems simple, but it’s not. Each time that feature is tweaked or expanded, it requires changes to the database, which could involve completely restructuring it, or moving to a different kind of database architecture. It involves changes to the search engine because there are different kinds of search methodologies that interact differently with different kinds of databases, and languages used.
Meanwhile, the technology and methodologies behind systems architecture, hosting, databases, and search are constantly evolving.
Which means that if your whole Thing is about providing:
- Hosting that can withstand hundreds of thousands of requests per hour;
- A database that can work with unstructured and semi-structured and highly-structured data which may have one-to-one relationships with other data, or may be non-relational and multi-dimensional.
- A database that can handle the importation of data from other databases (e.g. FF.net, Tumblr, etc) whose schema, controlled vocabularies, taxonomy, and metadata can widely differ.
- A database and backend that can normalize all of that data coming in (so you know, the Thing actually works).
- A robust search that has to be intelligent enough to include and exclude across a variety of boolean or natural language options and understand the difference between tags and content (and presumably other categories within the taxonomy).
- AND DO ALL OF THIS QUICKLY.
Then you’ll need people who must continuously improve their skills and knowledge to implement these evolving technologies and methodologies or else the thing you’ve built will die on the vine.
That is neither cheap nor easy.
Not even getting into the costs of maintenance and security. Or the front end development whose features can be broken by browser updates. Like that Rich Text Editor? Try supporting that feature cross-platform, browser and device agnostic.
If people want to question the cost of Things On The Internet, then direct thy gaze at JSTOR which profits from paywalls to research that is not always privately funded (e.g. public university funded studies). But again, JSTOR provides a service, and that service is not cheap to expand and maintain.
But really, it’s not about costs and never was. Bitching about costs is a straw-man. It’s a cover for authoritarian censorship. It was the same old bullshit even before the LJ strike-through, and it’s the same bullshit now.
I’m actually very happy Ao3 takes in large amounts in donations. Imagine if they instead ran ads and trackers -_-