needs donations badly


EDITED TO ADD: Go to Paypal directly if it tries to make you donate a minimum amount or something like that. Go to Paypal directly, and make your donation to

We are (it is s slightly time-consuming process) getting rid of our presence in Second Life because that has been sucking money out of us at alarming rates. (I am saying this because we are no longer using money on that, just on the site, and yet we still need money.)

We have almost nothing right now money-wise. And we’re mostly maintained by two people on disability, so personally we have nothing to pay it with. We know times are bad right now but we really need the site not to go down. So can anyone with the means to donate, please donate? The way to donate is shown on the front page of (SEE EDIT AT TOP OF POST)

Our server costs are $55/month, which is dirt cheap for what we’re running on it (and we are only barely able to avoid hitting our maximum on that). Our domain costs are $150-180/year at GoDaddy. There are stray server costs of around $50-100 a year (but not predictable, so sometimes less sometimes more) that happen whenever things crash or get hacked and we have to pay the server people to reset the system. ZoneEdit, which handles most of our DNS, is about $60/year.

Then there are random, unpredictable costs, which we always try to keep to the bare minimum (but which if bad events coincide with each other can run up costs like $500, and sometimes Murphy’s law strikes). Sometimes there’s software we need to license. One time, all of the main webmaster’s several computers died and we had to find her a super-cheap computer at the local thrift store. One time, she had to stay up for several days working on the server (with no time or energy to cook) and after consulting with the rest of us, charged one pizza and one bottle of highly caffeinated soda to the account.

Some other information: is a project, not just a website, and it spans several websites, some subdomains and some actually different websites, that are all on our server. Among them are the Real Voices of Autism (a social networking site for autistic people), this blog, a message board, and a lot of (both historical and newer — is one of the oldest websites in the autistic community, being 12 years old) stuff on the site. We’re also switching the main site to Drupal, which will allow us to update it much more frequently than we currently can. (Which is why the main page has lagged behind a bit from many of the other things going on.) The webpage that we’re working on the dynamic Drupal-based site with, is, which will eventually become the main site once we get it running. That’s why the front page of the website shows very little updating.

That all means that we can’t just plop ourselves onto a shared hosting provider, like most of the “lower-cost” alternatives that people are always suggesting to us are. We need our own server, and it needs to be a high-bandwidth one. We still almost run into the memory limit on the cheapest server we could find. And even if someone could find us a cheaper server, it would mean that the main webmaster would have to stay up for days on end trying to reconfigure all of our sites to work properly on the new server.

(Which is a huge problem considering that the main webmaster is currently pretty incapacitated, totally unpaid, and nobody ever volunteers to do that kind of work. Not that we don’t want volunteers. We badly need volunteers who are able to handle the demands of an entire server running high-traffic websites. Because we’re only able to really handle it when things go right. We’re technically about four people, usually one or two people, running a very large project. We’re not a business, or an organization, or a corporation, and we don’t have that kind of resources. We need help in terms of money and we need help in terms of running the server, both of those are important.)

I’d also like to note that lots of people, including people with far more money than we have, use the websites on our server on a regular basis. It wouldn’t be a high-traffic website otherwise. It’d be nice if some of the people (even lurkers) who did have that money, could help us out here.

About Mel Baggs

Hufflepuff. Came from the redwoods, which tell me who I am and where I belong in the world. I relate to objects as if they are alive, but as things with identities and properties all of their own, not as something human-like. Culturally I'm from a California Okie background. Crochet or otherwise create constantly, write poetry and paint when I can. Proud member of the developmental disability self-advocacy movement. I care a lot more about being a human being than I care about what categories I fit into.

12 responses »

  1. Thanks for the summery. It is a lot you all are trying to do. I think a lot of people appreciate the site’s being there. I needed the reminder that those costs go on every month throughout the year.

  2. Oh crap, I cannot remember our paypal information at the moment…….

    Awesome kittylash photos btw……I really like the plush cushion she’s sitting on also. I don’t think Dennis would let me take close up shots of his kittylashes…..

    I’ll keep trying to remember the paypal stuff. If there is a different way to send money in case I really can’t remember…….please email me or something.

  3. Pingback: needs YOUR help! « Athena, Ivan, and The Integral

  4. Er…
    I’ve send the message to a french forum from whom i’m a member.
    I don’t know if i have to introduce myself…
    I’m a 20 years old swiss autistic (from the french part of Switzerland, excuse me, my english is not perfect) diagnosed since 2009 with Asperger’s syndrom (the autism spectrum is not much known in Switzerland and in France where the psychoanalytic approach remains the main approach! :( )

    A problem is that most of the people in the forum (the forum’s name is ASPERANSA) d’ont speak english, so can i have the special authorization to translate youre post into french ?

  5. I don’t know if this would be helpful or not, but there is a search engine called Goodsearch. Every time you search (searching is free), you can select a charity for funds to go to. Approximately 1 cent goes to the charity for each search, which admittedly isn’t a lot, but there are enough of us out there that if we could even get 1000 searches a month, that would be an extra $10 for each month.

    The information about getting listed with them as a charity is at www dot goodsearch dot com slash AddCharity dot aspx (sorry, I didn’t know if this would let me submit a URL, so I decided to write it out the long way).

  6. Hmmm… (I know you said hosting wouldn’t help. And I will go make a donation to help out, as I finally have the funds available. I’m just tossing out an idea.)

    We should be in a position to set up our own servers here sometime before summer, and will be definitely doing something for high bandwidth. In addition to which, my fiance is a computer engineer, and likes making things work properly – which means that, if you guys were able to transfer everything over, nobody would have to expend spoons dealing with stupid crap. The cost would then be limited to annual domain registration fees, and that’s it.

    It is just an idea, of course.

    And now I shall go donate to the cause.

    Oh, and re: GoodSearch – I think you might need to be a registered charity to benefit from that, but if you’re able to register, let me know and I’ll put the info on my web sites and blogs and whatnot.

  7. Is it possible to include a link on our own websites that would allow people to donate to I’ve seen similar on other sites but have no idea how it works.

    (I mean other than a link that says follow this link and find the donation button somewhere over thataway.)

  8. What kind of admin work do you need help with? I’m not sure if I have the skills you need or not, but I have some website administration and maintenance experience and would happily help your cause if you gave me instructions for what you need done. Feel free to e-mail me and let me know how I can be of service.

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