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  1. #1
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    The London Accord or Fundraising to secure graphics and capacity at CTS

    Hereby I propose The London Accord, or means of both insuring the continuance of CTS which we all love, secondly protecting to make sure we are not in a situation where in the future the system suffers an outage as happened to the shock of all of us users in June, and thirdly and lastly, acting to restore expanded reporting such as the individual performance in graphic or bar chart form as existed before then. We call it ‘The London Accord’ in remembrance of the efforts of “non-commercial service created and supported by chess enthusiasts from our chess club in Berlin”, or Schachgemeinschaft Hermsdorf, in securing continued sever capacity in London.

    This seems like a good time to bring this up, and I have thought about this steadily since early July, but needed time and energy to write it up after sustained reflection. This site has seen prodigious growth and needs to be preserved and protected. Just thirteen days ago, we had 6,820,357 problems solved, then six days ago, 6,976,688 then the 7.0m jubilee, and now today at 7,100,548, we are now easily annualizing 600,000 problems a month, or adding a million every seven weeks. In June, we had 1,000 users registered as “active” or having RD’s <100.0. Today we have 1,481. Of those, the top 20% of those users or 296 have solved 47% of all problems.

    While not all users are by any means wealthy, it is evident that hundreds of persons depend upon CTS for their training, and while every effort must be made for this to continue as a free site, many users also are more than willing to also pay annual subscriptions at playchess.com, or internet chessclub.com, and so I propose we open discussion as a group as to fundraising or contributing at CTS. I hope that no one is offended. But if twenty percent of those 1,500 active users each contributed $10.00 or 8.00 Euro’s, we could raise $3,000 or 2,399 Euro’s. Some might give nothing, but others might gladly donate more.

    Of the hundreds of active CTS users, much talent exists to contribute skills, resources, and ideas in the furtherance of this site. Let there be a forum of discussion to accomplish this. Surely if the graphics has been cut back while the user base continues to expand, and problems solved mushrooms in size, it is plain to see that the system must be taxed, or if not taxed, must insure this does not happen again, while expanding or restoring all the graphics that we all love. If some of us spend one to two hours a day practicing here, but less on playchess or ICC, how can it be no one would contribute, when this is so dearly valued—as indicated by hours spent on site? Let the discussion begin please and thank you to all the brilliant and hard working users at CTS. dk
    Last edited by dkTransform; 16-10-2006 at 05:52 PM.

  2. #2
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    Dave,

    The site certainly has value for me, and I would like to help out. I have one concern. Chess Tactics Server is not-for-profit, but can we get any assurances it won't become for-profit in the future? There's nothing wrong with making money doing what you enjoy, but compared to purely altruistic motives I would be willing to donate different amounts.

    I'm only paranoid, because I've seen that happen a couple times. An example:

    http://www.edcollins.com/chess/fics-icc.htm
    The Endgame Tactician - http://likesforests.blogspot.com/

  3. #3
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    rapid growth equates to new challenges, and new preparedness

    i had read this article maybe a year or two ago, and am particularly greatfull for the link, and all along the way, honestly wasnt sure what FICS was, although many of you make frequent mention of it.

    the goal is not to make this commercial. the goal is not to charge. the goal is to see about a donation structure which is honest, since this is such a rich clean site, with many, many brilliant diverse minds, and i see it growing to 10,000 active users at 50,000,000 problems solved within maybe two and one half to three years. users have done up 45 to 50% since june, which is a double every seven months. there is no point in a microanalysis of the growth rate; im sure we have some MBA's that can parse this. but the growth rate and the challenges and opportunities provided are notable.

    while none of us bloggers are trying to spread gospil, i cannot help but think that we are each of us contributing. we tell folks, who tell other folks. it grows. i alone have had over three hundred views since starting in july.

    no doubt somebody somewhere will be upset, but well worth discussing, IMHO

    dk

  4. #4
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    Though I'm not a lawyer, I seriously doubt that there could be any way to "donate money to CTS", since there is no registered company of that name which has a board of managers, a bank account, pays taxes for such donations, etc.

    All you could do to show your appreciation in a monetary way, it would seem, is to send money to some of the members of the mentioned chess club. Their E-Mail addressses can easily be found on the web, if you want to get in touch with them and make sure that the money gets into the right hands. But then, this is a matter of sheer personal enthusiasm, and I don't understand why it should be a community issue. Establishing a fixed structure of voluntary donations would - as likesforest indicates - be the first step in commercialising a pioneer free service in the spirit of FICS. Also, it does not seem as if they really had much work to do on the site anymore. It's basically that they've masterfully created a self-sustaining service.

    But maybe i don't understand the whole point of your proposal. Do you wish to pay the server bills of CTS or get it a better server with more space to support the rating graphs again? That would be a fine thing indeed, but even then I'd still prefer the site to stay pure as it is.

    cheers,
    collini

  5. #5
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    Several constructive thoughts have already been shared towards the London Accord (ii)

    Several constructive thoughts have already been shared towards the London Accord, and more are sure to follow and are welcome.

    If other persons are willing to come forward and pledge contributions, as I do here, in the amount of $50.00 by some certain date, say December 31, 2006, or January 31, 2007, provided some oversight can be given by a constructive group of persons in coordinated effort, and report as to need if any by those who run this site, I sincerely believe that others will step forward. If one person steps up, then others will follow, and yet others following them, then perhaps some energy or momentum can aggregate some critical mass and furthering the good efforts "supported by the chess enthusiasts from" the "club in Berlin".

    Who goes to dinner repeatedly without eventually wishing to bring your own dish or clean the dishes? Money does not grow on trees. Let others more skilled than me, who is only a generalist, say in finance, or non-profit structure, or who understands the cost and capacities of servers in information technology add their voices.

    This is important I feel and will eventually be needed. Surely to have already have created this site indicates significant resolve and robust creativity, but in no way is to say that it is all said and done, please.

  6. #6
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    I smell a scammy rat ...

    I'm wondering why the site itself makes no mention of a need for financial assistance for the purposes of maintence on its homepage

    Also I'm wondering why when looking at that site's message boards we have a verbatim copy of the dktransform posts from here and no cross posting on the subject from other sites

    http://chess.emrald.net/board.php

    Nice how that lawyer comes on for one post to subtlely caveat to the dktranform suggestion that we part with our money.

    By George! Let's take our inspiration from the "London Accord".

    Oh so twee!!

    It's like I'm hearing deja vu except that it's not the "Prague Agreement".

    If your beloved CTS is in such peril you don't you put your "campaign" on it's front page?
    .

  7. #7
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    Skaro -
    I don't understand why you absolutely had to ridicule my post just because it happened to be my first one on this forum. Maybe I do not know much about this place yet, but this behaviour of yours is normally regarded as abuse or spamming. Anyway, I agree with everything else of what you've said, if not with your offensive tone towards dk. The CTS site didn't ask for our money, and I would probably leave it if they did or if anybody was entitled to do this on their behalf, however "voluntary" the proposed setting. The allusion to necessary legal requirements in my post simply meant to point to the fact, already mentioned by likesforest, that you can hardly arrange such a fund without entering a slippery slope towards making CTS a commercial product. The site is fine as it is. It is also fine that it is non-commercial: without any fees (or annoying moral pressure to "donate" anything) and without any ads. A call for donations seems to be quite a misconcieved signal - suggesting that something is "wrong" with the non-profit nature of the site, instead of simply being content with it.
    There are other good chess training sites on the net, some of commercial nature. What makes CTS unique is primarily the extremely smart idea of rating problems and tacticians by one single, overarching system. Also, they've found a clever set of criteria of validity for the problems, and applied those criteria to a big range of such problems, which is evidently a work of love. Whoever came up with this and was able to implement it on the net will probably earn his money quite well on a normal job, and nothing tells me that he needs support by the above initiative, for which he obviously cares even less than you or me.

  8. #8
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    CTS was completely out for eight days in June

    To those who do not know it, CTS was completely out of service for a week+ in June. Also, some reporting features were removed completely thereafter. Someone was able to secure server usage in London, by the good graces of some person presumably. Complete outage, no warnings, and little explaination. Now trying shutting down playchess or ICC of FICS for a week.

    Skaro it is unfortunate that you are so angry and disparaging in tone. Is there maybe something else that bothers you? Sorry about that. Do you use or understand this site?

    I try to post this at my blog and at chessEmrald.net but hope that chessChat is where comments that can be so well edited are posted, but again, nothing to blow a gasket over?

    My desire is an unselfish one to further this site. If you do not like my approach, then maybe other persons can suggest better ways? Maybe indeed no help is wanted or needed? But to fight about it? My goodness! Surely in dialogue things can be realized and a certain truth or circumstance placed into better resolution, and not the worse for wear.

    So we have two new questions:

    Is there any harm in seeing whether the site is secure, and if not secure, what can be done to make it more secure beyond the good efforts of a small handfull of persons.

    And if funds can help, what is the best way to get them.

    Lots of folks would give $15.00 for beers with the boys but somehow $10.00 for tactics is a horrid suggestion?

  9. #9
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    Build it and they will come

    I have written the founders and operators of ChessTactical Server in Germany, simply asking whether they prefer that I continue or stop my efforts, that is to say, ask whether they welcome this London Accord effort or not.

    You know, when Jeff Bezos drove to Seattle across the USA in a small hatchback car, he had an idea to start something on the internet. Albeit, he wanted to start something commercial, which is NOT the goal here, but he was searching for something that did not as yet exist, but which filled a need. He came up with a list of four products that he thought that he could sell, and analyze them. He conceived Amazon in reverse.

    But folks could have well asked: “who needs a bookstore on the internet”? And if you live here as I do, you know you can always find some yahoo who hate or despise him, but in fact, to those who know him, Bezos is truly a great guy. Even humble door men who work at the front of hotels say this. Now try being a billionaire and having that reputation down on the street? Amazon has a gigantic accounts receivable center immediately next door to my place of employment, and all the high level programmers that I have met, in fact many who figured largely at Amazon founding infrastructure but who are no longer there, they speak well of him…

    Now fast forward. A simple, but elegant web hosted free tactical trainer. Some guy comes along to raise capital, not demand it, but a few will say, of what need of this have we? Or who asked you? Or no one brought this up, and isn’t this a bit presumptuous? Or what are you scheming?

    In process psychology, or group process psychology, there is a saying that
    the resolution of a disturbance lies within the disturbance itself.
    No does anyone imagine that I had not thought about this for five months? Does anyone who knows me think I had not cooked this inside me for MONTHS, and only brought it up when in a meditative or intuitive way KNEW that I had to bring this up? Does anyone here who knows me imagine that I didn’t foresee that somebody somewhere would be irritated or indignant? Build it and they will come--a free website for tactical training. Wonderful. Simply ask: after an outage, is it secure, and, if not, can anything be done by willing users to support it?
    Last edited by dkTransform; 20-10-2006 at 06:23 AM.

  10. #10
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    I regret having to disagree with you so strongly, David, as I am fully aware that you only act out of good will.
    But by all means, you do have to realize just how inappropriate it is if you continue to publish those financial considerations on your own authority on the message board of CTS. Please limit the discussion to this site, or to your own blog. Thanks.

  11. #11
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    I estimate CTS costs $125 USD/yr in web costs above and beyond what they already needed to spend on webspace for their risk assessment firm. They also spent many hours planning, development, and administering this site--perhaps worth $8,000 total.

    This is a great effort. I want to support the owners in some small way as they've done much to help me.

    I'm willing to donate $20. If they register themselves as a non-profit, I can additionally provide their webspace ($125 value) for free.

    By the way, to restore the graphs I think they need to limit how often they run them to once per day or so, rather than every time you click on your profile. Otherwise it eats up too many server resources and gets expensive very quickly.
    The Endgame Tactician - http://likesforests.blogspot.com/

  12. #12
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    CTS is down again

    This is the extent of what I can say, at this time, given the previous response (or lack of response!). Anyone care to step up? My hands are tied now, and my lips are sealed...

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