This thread is the start of an important discussion which I hope will help to secure the future of this site and the community that it supports.
As recently as the 1st April, I made this statement:
For the time being, I'm prepared to keep funding this site as long as there's enough interest to justify it.
It was true at the time. However, in the intervening weeks I have set certain events in motion in real life that could change all that. If things play out the way I expect/hope, then I'm sorry to report that I will no longer have the time or money available to continue running UnrealSP.Org. I may, in effect, have to "disappear".
Nothing is certain at this stage, and I won't know for sure whether I really do have to vanish until late 2010 at the earliest, but I'm mentioning this now so that we have plenty of time to discuss options and arrange a handover of the site... If I were to wait until I knew for sure before making a final decision, then it could be too late to make the necessary arrangements, so I'll keep things simple: I'll be aiming to step down my role here by the end of this year whether, in the end, I am forced to or not.
Unfortunately I can't say any more at this stage as it's personal, but I can assure you that the reasons behind my thinking are good, not bad. It's just an unfortunate side effect that my contribution to UnrealSP.Org will have to come to an end, although, judging by my declining motivation in recent months / years, that may not be an entirely bad thing.
So, over to you. This obviously needs some discussion; is there anybody here who, either individually or as a group, has the time and resources available to continue running the site? If several people are involved, who should take the lead?
And, of course, how should the site be funded? At present, I pay about £10 a month to keep UnrealSP.Org running; I'm sure there are better deals available, but I've been happy to pay at that sort of rate in order to have access to a reasonably reliable hosting package with a good set of features that requires minimum technical support on my part. If paying for the site alone sounds like too much of a financial burden for any one individual here, would advertising revenue or peer funding by Paypal be an option?
Hopefully we can find a way for the site to continue without my involvement. After nearly ten years, I would be very sorry to see it close down. However, I would also encourage anyone who is considering volunteering to think very carefully about what is an ongoing, potentially long-term commitment of time and money.
Let me know your thoughts.