The purpose of this thread is pretty simple: to solicit feedback on what SL&ENT users would think about providing a paid subscription service to help out fund the website.

The most obvious question that some of you might have is, "why ask about this now?" Simply put, a lot has to do with the fact that (as mentioned in the Life and Stuff thread) I am in the midst of a job-hunt after some layoffs (there's much more to that story, but those details will be revealed much later after things clear up). With that being said, much like I do all the time by ruminating about what I want to accomplish in my life, the ideas and thoughts that have always come to mind are about finding ways not to just grow SL&ENT long-term, but also make it profitable and sustainable as its own entity. Currently, as things stand, ads aren't quite a viable solution (thanks Google, ya jerks) simply because we don't generate enough traffic to meet some of the insane thresholds that non-Google ad providers insist upon to be able to put ads on the website. And truth be told, I don't think ads are the end-all-be-all solution to generate money -- just ask any media publisher ever.

SL&ENT has always been a passion project, one that's been done in crazy off-hours and on long weekends where any semblance of other life activities tend to get thrown out of the window to keep it a viable project. It's also one that I am obviously committed to long-term, but without any sort of revenue generating mechanism, it's one that's always been a self-funded money-sink (with financial support of the other admins) as well. Eventhough we're small, it still costs a few hundred bucks a month to keep running and it only gets more expensive if we look to grow traffic. It's pretty easy to support while making a San Francisco's engineer salary, but when you are unexpectedly between jobs? Well, paying San Francisco rent becomes a bigger priority. Don't worry, SL&ENT isn't going anywhere despite all of this.

In an ideal world, I would love to work on SL&ENT full-time by growing the experience (both in feature set and user activity), but that's difficult to do without being completely financially secure (some day though, right everyone?).

After much brainstorming over a while now how we could support SL&ENT, the idea of Patreon or similar has always propped up. If you don't know what Patreon is, it's basically a tool that provides businesses a subscription model for users to be a part of and support the creators. Many popular podcasts, videocasts, and artists use Patreon for such.

My idea behind a subscription model has always been to provide some "niceties" that enhance the experience but are never ones that users would feel like they are gated in such a way where the core of the product is hindered by not having them. You can look to Discord Nitro ( and Reddit Gold to get an idea of what I am thinking of. Some of these features could also be enhancements that might actually require further monetary investment to actually make happen, which again, is tough to do if everything is self-funded.

Some ideas (not limited to nor concretely locked down) that could live behind a Subscription model:

- Live Threads (no refresh required)
- Animated/PNG avatars
- Paste/Upload images directly and hosted on SL&ENT (rather than having to use a service like imgur)
- Custom Emojis (upload your Premfaces as you wish)
- Custom Themes (make it primarily brown and magenta if you wish, I don't care, I won't see it)
- No Ads (if we ever get them back)
- No Sponsorship stuff (if we ever get them)
- Custom Statuses (ala what Slack does)
- Enhanced Thread Editor (I'm 50/50 on this, might not have that behind paid subscriptions)
- Bookmarking Threads/Posts
- Early Access

And a bunch of other stuff. Other things that users have requested that I do thing would be candidates to the "core" of the platform, e.g. saving drafts, multi-page quoting, SFW mode, desktop notifications, post highlighting if someone quotes you, @mentions, inline editing, Google sign-in/sign-up support, emoji support ala Slack, etc. would still be built out as part of the core product and not be behind a paywall.

After that long and winded post, please let us know what you think. Pricing wise, I'd reckon a baseline of $3 or $4/mo, but with the option for users to contribute more if they feel so generous. If the userbase truly hates the idea, then we won't ever consider going through with it. This is just to solicit feedback in as most of an open and transparent way possible to understand if it's even something viable we could do.