Summat for nowt! (Something for nothing)

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Re: Summat for nowt! (Something for nothing)

Post by graymac on Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:13 pm

And Mr Berlusconi is an expert . . . . . . . Very Happy

Sounds like you have a very tolerant system in Italy. Of course, none of us anywhere in Europe can be confident we won't get hit for plenty more tax soon. We are being crucified by our government in Ireland.

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Re: Summat for nowt! (Something for nothing)

Post by phileakins on Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:24 pm

graymac wrote: We are being crucified by our government in Ireland.

I think you've made my point Gray.

Anyway - I'm off to bed now as I'm taking 'Wadebridge 1860s' to the Langley exhibition in the morning (114 miles). Anyone going, say hello in passing - I'll be the one dozing.

Phil

PS this is a real model railway - not a virtual one! Very Happy

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Re: Summat for nowt! (Something for nothing)

Post by graymac on Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:34 pm

Brilliant! How about some pics? Just to get some impression of the model.

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Re: Summat for nowt! (Something for nothing)

Post by liquid_ on Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:25 pm

So, are there any conclusions of this 7 page discussion until now? To have finished the donations thread, everyone I guess does not mind them, including me. Taxing issues are of course left to donee.
Anyway, I'd suggest to review capabilities of SourceForge.net site. Please read e.g. this http://sourceforge.net/p/forge/documentation/Docs%20Home/. There you have even forum functionality. This is the best solution for the very program and should be used by OpenBVE program developers, however. This is mandatory for the program to have Open Source license though to be developed under this site.
If we're talking about BVE data (trains, routes) they live and will be living their own lives as presently and leave them as such.

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Re: Summat for nowt! (Something for nothing)

Post by Dexter on Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:33 pm

I will provide my conclusions tomorrow morning. Watch this space if you are interested.

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Re: Summat for nowt! (Something for nothing)

Post by graymac on Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:43 pm

Still time to expand the poll, a lot of people won't have visited it yet. There's not enough data to make any conclusions, but its tending to show slightly more acceptance of some sort of subsidy for providers than it does antipathy to the whole idea. Dexter's rolled out a donate facility already. Mobile's opposed to it and won't be introducing it in any form. I'm waiting a little longer, but with the intention of introducing a donation plan with reward. Lots of content providers haven't joined the discussion and may yet do so.

So, no conclusions carved in stone, yet.

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Re: Summat for nowt! (Something for nothing)

Post by liquid_ on Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:14 pm

That's alright. Let's make beforehand a clear boundary between areas of our interest. For now, I think there are three ones:
  1. The program itself
  2. The content which I mean trains, routes etc.
  3. The community support, i.e web site, forum maintenance, support, documentation etc.

Let's then concentrate whose responsibility covers which areas and how we are to make any suggestions on contribution and probable financing of efforts. Let's also remark that any of these fields may require different tools and staff.

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Re: Summat for nowt! (Something for nothing)

Post by mrknowitall on Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:17 pm

Game -free
Developers sites now - needs funding
Forum - free

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Re: Summat for nowt! (Something for nothing)

Post by phileakins on Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:41 am

graymac wrote:Brilliant! How about some pics? Just to get some impression of the model.

Here you go.

Phil

Attachments
pastedGraphic.pdf You don't have permission to download attachments.(299 Kb) Downloaded 17 times

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Re: Summat for nowt! (Something for nothing)

Post by Dexter on Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:20 am

mrknowitall wrote:Game -free
Developers sites now - needs funding
Forum - free

True. I actually had one generous offer for forum funding, but I played fair and told the eventual donator the service fees are 0 for this forum, including the portals. Therefore, no service fees are to be donated (we can only extend the storage space for attachments for money). Or probably if someone wishes to pay me for building the site up... Smile Just kidding, of course, I never asked anyone to give me anything for that, I am just glad we have this place working and serving its purpose. AND it is nice to see people appreciating this fact and offering help.
---

I promised to post my conclusions yesterday, so here goes. We have heard many opinions – both from developers themselves AND from users, who visit our sites to see what is new. I can easily imagine that not everyone can afford to pay everything and realizing this, I don’t think it is really fair to pay for every work released. Moreover, if any of the addons is turned into payware, it might sooner or later turn into one person paying for it and sending it over to others. This on the other hand, would not be fair towards developers.
Speaking for myself only now, the most suitable way to go I find voluntary donations. As both polls show, many people would eventually be willing to pay for addons (check for poll results) and since I don’t want to force anyone, I have decided to give everyone an opportunity to prove what is in those polls. I would not exactly call the donations “payment for hosting services” or whatever – think about is as about showing appreciation if you think the work is of good quality. Again, speaking for myself only, the donations will be used for website costs anyway. To make things clear – I do not expect bags of dollars, but every little helps in keeping the focus, quality of work and the site alive.
As mentioned before, I quite dislike the idea of all stuff concentrated in one place. Here’s why: it might be confusing for people, who are well used to single sites of developers, if the server fails, there would be need to quickly find another solution and quickly upload all the stuff again and last but not the least, it would take away some parts of the developer’s personality. Please note that each of us has put a lot of effort to get his site where it is now. I can think of Graymac, who has recently tuned his site to a very good shape, Ben and Adam – these guys have done some really amazing job with their website etc. It took so many effort and everything that I don’t think any of them would want to give their site up just like that (correct me if I’m wrong here, guys).
Therefore, my conclusion is – I have already started a donation program. As for now, the only “reward” for the donator is having his name on the “wall of fame” on my site, but I might think about other forms of appreciation to make the donating program more attractive. For now, only time will show if those polls results were based on users speaking truth (note the amount of votes in “depends on how much”, “totally yes”, “paid premium addons”, “voluntary, I would donate”), or just talking one thing and doing another.

Your turn.


Last edited by Dexter on Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:52 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Summat for nowt! (Something for nothing)

Post by graymac on Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:58 am

Bloody 'ell, Dezza! That were a long 'un. Very Happy

Thanks to all the members who have stuck with this thread, I'll add just three paragraphs more.

This debate (and it isn't over yet) has been conducted in a very sensible and reasonable way, which I don't think would have happened 18 months ago.
True, the community has been through some difficult times and even the continued existence of the sim itself has been questioned. But it survives and although we are a minority group in terms of the global trainsim market, with commercial products dominating, we are keen and the work is good.

Being a freeware based activity it is an unavoidable fact of life that many of those involved would be unable to enjoy the benefits if they had to buy the program and add-ons. Which is another good reason to keep it running. Another, not unrelated fact, is that developers need a lot of time to produce work, and 'time-rich' often equates to 'cash-poor'. So it follows that it can be a struggle to maintain good facilities for the benefit of the users. And this burden presently falls squarely on the developer. At a time when economic stresses are putting pressures on us all.

This discussion, which has been well supported and conducted with great dignity by all participants, would not have been possible in the climate prevailing 18 months ago. Today, common sense prevails. There seems to be an acceptance that donations of some sort can be sought and provided without changing the overall ethos of a free sim. Common sense, realism and pragmatism are the order of the day, which is a good omen for the continuance and welfare of the game.

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Re: Summat for nowt! (Something for nothing)

Post by JimH on Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:12 pm

Purely from a user's perspective, I personally have no qualms about donating to a particular developer to help him maintain his site. Since first using BVE in all its forms, I've appreciated and applauded the hard and prolonged work of those who've created their respective routes for the benefit of others and I think if a donation would help towards the upkeep and further developments of routes/add-ons, which I can freely use, then so be it.

My concern might be however, how much would be expected of me by way of donation and if the amount donated by myself and other users exceeded that of what it costs to run the site/hosting etc., then what happens to the excess? I agree that donating the rest to charity might be a worthy cause but some may not agree with that course of action and consider that by doing so misses the point of the exercise.

One other consideration, and this has already been raised, is where do we stand on the tax situation as far as donations are concerned. For me to donate, I would need to know that I'm not condoning something that the Inland Revenue might take issue with. If it is decided to go down the donation road, then this needs to be clarified, especially if add-ons are being offered with the donation. That might be considered by the tax authorities as an incentive for financial gain, irrespective of the developer's intentions.

I know that this debate has some distance to go and nothing has been settled but the points I raise might be worth considering.

Jim

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Re: Summat for nowt! (Something for nothing)

Post by Dexter on Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:02 pm

They ARE valid points, Jim. Givin the over-donation to the charity is one way to go, other way is to store what's extra and use it in the next period when fees are to be paid. Check out my website, you can find all fees and charges in the "donate" section. In fact, offering a possibility to donate voluntarily and for nothing in return is to avoid anyone thinking it couls actually be business...

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Re: Summat for nowt! (Something for nothing)

Post by Quork on Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:22 pm

To stray a user conclusion in, I'll post my final thoughts:

Where taxes are related, anyone should check with their own laws, institutions etc. what to do. Sadly the EU is still too much nation-driven to have a common tax law, so there's dozens of different regulations for the single devs, let alone those outside Europe. Thus discussing this point here further than reminding the topic exists is idle talk effectively.

As to "excess" donations: As I wrote before, development costs do not end on the hosting service bill's bottom line. There's ticket costs for texture raids, possibly literature costs etc. And if even those costs should be exceeded I'd be more than happy to have Dex buy his wife an orchid or Gray enjoy an evening in the pub.

I'll out myself, btw, as one of the "certainly **** not!" voters. In my eyes, paid premium content contradicts the freeware idea and is especially unfair towards the devs of OpenBVE itself. There is nothing wrong with obligatory donation ("reward system") on the other hand in my eyes, however devs giving everything for free and restricting themselves to voluntary donations only definitely have the highest priority on my still quite limited donations budget.

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Re: Summat for nowt! (Something for nothing)

Post by mrknowitall on Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:45 pm

Brilliant news For UK developers.

Been on the phone to HMRc and for someone to gift their money to a web site as a gift then the persons receiving that money do not pay tax. this is because the person who has gifted the money has paid tax, and the person receiving it does not actually come into contact with the money.

Donation systems are 100% legal.

FACT

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Re: Summat for nowt! (Something for nothing)

Post by liquid_ on Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:55 pm

As I can see based on above discussion, we have agreed that this site maintenance be subject to donation system. Could we decide something about the software development?

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Re: Summat for nowt! (Something for nothing)

Post by spara on Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:14 pm

mrknowitall wrote:Brilliant news For UK developers.

Been on the phone to HMRc and for someone to gift their money to a web site as a gift then the persons receiving that money do not pay tax. this is because the person who has gifted the money has paid tax, and the person receiving it does not actually come into contact with the money.

Donation systems are 100% legal.

FACT

It's not that simple. It depends whether HMRC judge the donation to be a mark of personal esteem (yes, that is the working they use!) or not. It is unlikely that if someone offered a product, only available for download when a donation has been paid, a genuine mark of personal esteem. It may not be taxable but should be declared.

Tax law is a very difficult area, and not one where there is a simple answer. One UK citizen on this forum may well be able to declare it as non-taxable, another may not, depending on what their tax code and arrangements are.

If developers are producing paid work or requesting donations in return for work (i.e. anything other than donations to run a site) then I recommend that they contact an accountant to make sure everything is above board.

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Re: Summat for nowt! (Something for nothing)

Post by Quork on Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:18 pm

liquid_ wrote:As I can see based on above discussion, we have agreed that this site maintenance be subject to donation system. Could we decide something about the software development?
If I understand Dex right, this site is not subject to donations as it is hosted on a free forum host.

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Re: Summat for nowt! (Something for nothing)

Post by Dexter on Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:07 am

OK, let me clear that up for everyone - this forum is free of charge. The only thing it needs for its running is my time and time of our moderating team whenever a moderating action needs to be carried out. So, there is no real need to donate the forum with money. Of course, if you wish to do so anyway (I don't know, maybe you just want to show appreciation or something!), we won't fight against it and we can set something up for you to do so. But we are not loosing money on this site.
It's the single developers who would be most grateful for donations for their, often paid sites.

Hope this helps. Smile


Last edited by Dexter on Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:51 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Summat for nowt! (Something for nothing)

Post by liquid_ on Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:44 pm

To be clearer, http://bveworldwide.unlimitedboard.com is the center of our discussion. Am I right?
Whatever it could be, let me share with you another idea which came up to me recently. This would be a kind of small business but it may look to some of us more transparent, fair and attractive. If we are considering a site which main purpose is to connect OpenBVE lovers and enable publishing developers' work let site costs be paid at some level by developers themselves. Here is how I imagine that:
Whenever someone would like to publish one's add-ons it would require to pay a small fee (monthly for the period of availability or one time) to place on the site one's content for download. If the developer decides some his/her content should be payable he/she shall pay to site owner first say 10% or maybe more of the price. This amount should moderate price level and eliminate the content available for example at $1000. Then the site owner would be paid say 1% of each payable content loaded down by a user. Of course, the donation system would be acceptable as well. However, this should be less embarrassing in terms of taxing as it would be just business.
One of the advantages of that system would be to make easier for from time to time developers - who either do not own a website for that purpose or are not affiliated to one - publishing the work.


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Re: Summat for nowt! (Something for nothing)

Post by Dexter on Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:51 pm

liquid_ wrote:
To be clearer, http://bveworldwide.unlimitedboard.com is the center of our discussion. Am I right?


No. Please read my previous post again and carefully.

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Re: Summat for nowt! (Something for nothing)

Post by graymac on Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:05 pm

@ liquid_ : From reading your post here http://bveworldwide.unlimitedboard.com/t697p105-summat-for-nowt-something-for-nothing#8584 it seems you have not been followin the topic and have gone completely off course. This isn't about the bveworldwide forum site, which has been, is, and will continue to be free. It is about individual developers' sites, and how to help finance their upkeep in their present form by some form of voluntary donation. NOT about "Oooh, look, do it this way" or any form of centralisation.
Feel free to study the previous eight pages of comment.


Last edited by Dexter on Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:06 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : THIS IS THE 8000TH POST!!!)

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Re: Summat for nowt! (Something for nothing)

Post by liquid_ on Wed Oct 31, 2012 1:28 pm

Excuse me for misunderstanding although my remarks concerned a site not the one and I concentrated on some of possible its business aspects. That's why I wrote:
liquid_ wrote:
Whatever it could be

The discussion was a bit emotional for us and it could confuse my mind Embarassed

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Re: Summat for nowt! (Something for nothing)

Post by Dexter on Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:24 am

Alright, after all that's been said, this discussion seems to be pretty much over. I have set up a voluntary donation scheme (Paypal in EUR, GP and USD + bank transfer possibility) and I noticed Pioneer trains had started their own donation system. We shall see what it brings then...

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Re: Summat for nowt! (Something for nothing)

Post by mrknowitall on Sat Nov 03, 2012 3:33 pm

The donations will keep for now. But if the monthly bill isn't met then I shall go to cd versions sold via ebay. According to my bank manager this is the only way to avoid the tax on items legally, plus this way it would be easier to manage downloads, but I'm hoping the donation systems keep the site running.

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Re: Summat for nowt! (Something for nothing)

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