Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Donation button added

When earlier this week I said that I think that a Paypal donation button on this blog would not work because nobody would use it, pretty much every commenter disagreed. After pondering comments like "might be fun to watch" and "Think of it as an experiment", I realized that at least it was worth a try. Taking into account comments of "In any case, it should be 100% clear where the money goes to" and "A donate button would be fine as long as you made sure to make it even more clear (? Somehow?) than it is now that you don't owe people anything, even if they donate, that it is totally optional and they get nothing but the satisfaction of helping you out", I'm writing this post to introduce the new donation button, which you will find at the upper right of the page.

As the button itself says, it is there to donate money, which by definition means a "gift given without return consideration". You are not obliged to donate anything, nor does accepting your donation oblige me to anything. Think of it as a tip, something you give for past services received, to express your consideration for my writing.

I will not pass on your donations to charity, because that would be rather complicated if they come in a trickling stream over a longer period. As far as possible I will use the money directly or indirectly for the blog, for example to pay for the domain registration, but most likely to pay for games. I checked that for example Steam accepts Paypal, so your donation could serve to buy games for me which I could blog about. Currently I can't use your donation to pay for my World of Warcraft subscription, Paypal is only accepted for that in the USA, not in Europe. I am *not* a starving writer who needs your donation to pay for food and rent, the donations are really just for leisure expenses.

Your donations will remain anonymous. However you can expect occasional blog posts of how the donation experiment is going in general, reporting whether I get any donations at all, or maybe the average amount donated. Given that Paypal keeps $0.50 from each donation, the minimum donation amount is $1.

Thank you very much for your donation, I appreciate the gesture regardless of the amount.
Not going straight for the iPhone? Good, I'd rather hear your insights on MMOs than Bejeweled :)

I'll donate once I get home from work!
I don't know if Paypal functions like this in Europe, but many years ago (in the States) I requested a physical debit card (Mastercard debit if memory serves) linked to my Paypal account which works exactly like a debit card linked to your standard checking and/or savings account, complete with ATM PIN. If you can do that, you've got a loophole where you can use Paypal to pay for Warcraft.
Did I miss a memo? Did they move April fools day? This seems so out of character with all of your previous posts about compensation.
Good for you, Tobold! Definitely will be interested to hear how it goes and I hope you make a decent bit of money out of it. Considering how much time and effort you put into your blog and how much entertainment and interest it gives people, you deserve something back.

I never really understand the aversion people seem to have to things like donations and advertising on blogs. If it's unobtrusive why would they care?

People talk about the "purity" of blogging in particular and how if someone really loves it, they shouldn't want to profit from it. That's a little bit like saying actors and authors shouldn't make a living doing what they do and people should only be rewarded if they do something they hate.
I'm so pleased that you put this up, Tobold.

This blog is one of the few websites I visit on a daily basis.

It is a major source of information, discussion, and entertainment for me.

Tobold's thoughtful opinions on WoW, DRM, Facebook games, from a European perspective is not something I can easily get somewhere else and is of great value to me.

I know that Tobold cares very dearly for the blog and his readership and puts alot into it, and since I don't mind paying for things that have value to me, a donation is long overdue.

Cheers friend, and keep up the good work.
Now that I'm a paying customer, I expect my opinions to be heard.

Please respond.
In before zomgz you're a sellout and leik you are totally leik being paid for st00fs!11!
"Who cares? I pay you to write about WoW stuff not about donations and experiments...."

Not like you didn't have commenters who felt entitled before. I'm sure there are plenty of other blogs who will have a field-day over this. But good luck.
"That's a little bit like saying actors and authors shouldn't make a living doing what they do and people should only be rewarded if they do something they hate."

A principle I have generally believed in since the 1970s, although "Shouldn't make a living" is taking it a tad too far. Nothing to do with any kind of socialist or communitarian beliefs, either. Just pure pragmatism.

If someone is sufficiently driven or motivated that they will do something whether or not they are paid then there's no need to pay them. We'll get all the art and entertainment we can possibly consume regardless of whether we as consumers pay for it or not because the people who create are driven to do so and have no choice.

Richard Briers' advice to young actors is, apparently, "If you really, really want to act - don't." His point is that desire is irrelevant, only need counts. If you need to act, or write, or play music you will, regardless of the rewards or the consequences. And there are more than enough people who need to do these things to supply the needs or desires of the rest of us to consume what they create.

On the other hand, there are many things that civil society requires to be done in order that it functions adequately, but that few if any feel either a desire or a need to do. Those things need either a bribe or a threat to get them done.

As for Donations - knock yourself out, Tobold! It's a button. Big deal.
We'll get all the art and entertainment we can possibly consume regardless of whether we as consumers pay for it or not because the people who create are driven to do so and have no choice.

That is very pragmatic, but not very nice. Did you consider the consequences of such an approach? So many people complained about Bobby Kotick's remark that he "wants to take the fun out of making games", but if you look at it Kotick is saying exactly the same thing as you do, only from the point of view of the producer, not the consumer.
What do you need the donations for, exactly? Isn't the blog hosted for free? Can you no longer afford internet access or a subscription to WoW?
@blachawk - I don't think it's a matter of "needing" the funds. To me, this is like a street performer. Does the guy playing guitar in the subway "need" your money? Maybe, but maybe not. However, he is performing and you have the option of giving him some change if you like what he's doing. He may never get a record deal, and Tolbold may never get a job writing this blog but you can still give somebody a little something if what they produce is worth it to you. I'm not sure that "need" has anything to do with a donation button.
Bhagpuss, that socialist view sounds uhh..half decent on paper I suppose, but you clearly didn't consider the ramifications.

Given a hypothetical situation where suddenly actors/writers/etc(it seems like you have a bias against the entertainment industry) were to stop being paid, these forms of entertainment would cease to exist.

How do you define what "art and entertainment" entails. Is the camera guy an artist? The director? The hundreds, thousands involved on movie sets? The publishing companies for authors? The agents?

Perhaps your ideal sounds nice for you, it has no real-world bearing or pragmatism to it. It also fails to take into account that, for example the movie industry is built around movies, actors, production companies making millions of dollars. Without this incentive to create, the "movies" that the actors "are driven to create" would be absolutely worthless.

Arguing that certain jobs, but not others, basically the ones I decide arent to my liking shouldnt be compensated for, is like saying only certain people can call the police for help. Inherently wrong.
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