RMS Home | Guide Writing | Test Server | New Servers | Latest Reviews

Author Topic: When "donations" are anything but  (Read 3744 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline crysiscore3

When "donations" are anything but
« on: Dec 31, 2011, 09:22 pm »
I've been seeing a lot of posts recently that seem to be confused as to just exactly what a donation is.
So I'm going to respond in full to common defenses I see from Admins trying to explain how their pay to play systems are really a form of charity.

Defense #1
It was a donation! They have no responsibility to do anything!

To be clear, a donation is money given without receiving anything quantifiable in return.
If a server offers weapons, armor and various other equipments(even if these items are questable), it ceases to be a true "donation".
Cute hat rewards are about as much as you can offer and claim to still be on donations and not sales.

Most sites go so far as to set up a currency exchange. Often times being so lazy as to say $1 = 1 credit.
This currency is then usable only within a closed market.
A currency exchange is not a donation.
It's more analogous to a gift card.

Defense #2
But it's only legal for them to accept donations, they can't sell anything!

False. It's illegal for them to run a pServer even if it's %100 free and doesn't accept any form of donation. Gravity owns the rights to the game including distribution. Only by paying for a license is distribution legal.
The reason they say it's a donation has nothing to do with legality. It's mostly so they can avoid Paypal fees and also so they can wave their hands in the air and say "It was a donation. I can't be held accountable!"
So when a GM makes the "It was a donation" cop out, do not let them get away with, unless they had a genuinely reward free donation system. But then the few servers that are actually run like that don't seem to have corrupt, fail admins  ??? The mind boggles.

Defense #3
But if we fail to offer nice items not enough people will donate to cover server costs

Thank you for acknowledging that you can't operate off of charity and instead have to use sales. Saying "My charity can't work, so I'll set up a business and call it a charity" is simply not honest.

Defense #4
Do you know how much time I put into this? It's not about the money! I'd make more working at McDonalds

The fact that you're poorly compensated for your time doesn't change the fact that you're selling things, not taking donations.
I think one of the primary complaints and points of contention is the incorrect classifications and false martyrdoms.
I wonder how many poeple would really be bothered by the following %100 honest statement:

Quote
I spend a lot of time on this server. Time I could be spending doing something else. I don't expect a Rolex watch and new 24" rims. But is it so much to ask that the food I'm eating and electricity I'm using while I script for you be covered?

Why no, imaginary Admin, it's not. I'm actually perfectly fine with this. I think most people are and I think most donations don't even cover that on top of server costs.
However, it doesn't change the fact that you've set up a market, not a charity. And that leaves you with a responsibility to your customers, even if you are in fact a poorly paid shop owner.


Now in case you feel I'm beating up too much on server admins, please read the first part of this discussion where I make the case for why there's nothing wrong with dedicated admins offering pay to play servers.
Thinking of making your own RO PServer?
Read this first.

Advertisement

Offline Tande

Re: When "donations" are anything but
« Reply #1 on: Dec 31, 2011, 09:45 pm »
The reason they say it's a donation has nothing to do with legality. It's mostly so they can avoid Paypal fees and also so they can wave their hands in the air and say "It was a donation. I can't be held accountable!"

Wrong.  Paypal still takes a cut of donations unless you are a certified charity with them.  The reason why people have it as donations is so people can't do easy "charge backs".  The only form of paypal paying that does NOT have a cut taken from it is gifting.

Hell of a lot of opinions.  As an Admin of a server who accepts donation, and REWARDS players for doing so with items, maps, whathaveyou...Well, yes, I admit its based on a reward system to get more people to donate.  But running a server isn't free, and neither is the time that I spend on it.  But even when we were getting no donations, I still paid for my server's bills.  Even if we weren't getting money in, I'd pay for the server myself.  And to assume that I use the money unwisely is a terrible opinion.  Don't judge me or any other server admin as if we were criminals until you see it for yourself.

I can see what you're trying to point out - how to note what would be a sketchy server vs one that would be worthwhile playing on without the trouble of it closing down the next day you donate to it...but that is a sketchy problem itself.  Really, if you don't trust it, don't do it.
« Last Edit: Dec 31, 2011, 09:57 pm by Tande »
http://www.agharta.info  Agharta Dev - for your mapping and scripting needs

http://www.project-deimos.com  Project Deimos - an upcoming roleplaying server.

Offline aluze

Re: When "donations" are anything but
« Reply #2 on: Jan 01, 2012, 11:48 am »
Totally support this, Since when did it become a trend to have a 'cash shop' in 99% of every server?
It's just ignorant to make profit of some one els work i don't think its hard to download the server emulator from '?', and i'm pretty sure big servers make more money then they spend on their servers.
Hopefully Gravity will take these servers down but i doubt that will happen.

To server admins out there, If you don't want spend money on hosting your server, don't at all!

AluzeRo 10/10/5/2 - A classic Ro experience with no customs!
http://www.aluzero.com

Offline Strudel

Re: When "donations" are anything but
« Reply #3 on: Jan 01, 2012, 12:31 pm »
Not all do.
I have the donations logs of mine at least, Metro, and we're actually losing each month, and we still keep the server up for the pleasure of our players. And we have around 100+ active users online, and +130 during woe. So even with that many players it's not a given of making money fast.
Which is why I'm astonished players donate to newly created servers right away without the guarantee of it being up for much longer, due to cost nor knowing if the server was just created to rack in 1k $ and then close again..

Don't go into a server that started 2 days ago and donate on the 3rd, you never know what'll happen, go to servers that you know are trustworthy of being up long, servers with names like:
Essence, Lumina, Talon, Limit, Dreamer, Rebirth not all have great reputation but they've been up significantly longer and you know it won't close tomorrow or the day after tomorrow there's actual dedication behind them.

Why would gravity bother shutting them down? They've not cared a bit in the past 10 years, why bother now? They're probably even getting players back now because their servers are stable, have minium bugs, their patches and updates are consistent, they are active and even if not online they do keep the server maintained, and they've started f2p servers which everybody wanted.

Offline aluze

Re: When "donations" are anything but
« Reply #4 on: Jan 01, 2012, 03:11 pm »
Talking about big servers here, such as talonro, rebirthro etc.
Im not suprised that gravity doesnt care about private servers, hence why i said that i doubt that it will happen.
who knows what their next move might be.

Yes its sad to see eager donaters lose their money after their server shut down like letsro,
If you made the same mistake just chargeback your money
AluzeRo 10/10/5/2 - A classic Ro experience with no customs!
http://www.aluzero.com

Offline Chemical Crush

Re: When "donations" are anything but
« Reply #5 on: Jan 01, 2012, 03:14 pm »
Talking about big servers here, such as talonro, rebirthro etc.
Im not suprised that gravity doesnt care about private servers, hence why i said that i doubt that it will happen.
who knows what their next move might be.

Yes its sad to see eager donaters lose their money after their server shut down like letsro,
If you made the same mistake just chargeback your money

It is up to the donater(?) to donate money or not, its their money.  If they choose to spend it on a server that they don't trust, that's their fault.  No one is holding a gun to their head forcing them to donate. 

That's my view here.  You know you're donating to people who are capable of shutting the server down, so why do then then whine later when it shuts down?  I get you're mad, you made a 'donation' to the server in order to get cash shop items or w/e, but I mean in the long run it was the donater's own stupidity for donating to a non-legit server/cause.

Offline Strudel

Re: When "donations" are anything but
« Reply #6 on: Jan 01, 2012, 03:47 pm »
Yes its sad to see eager donaters lose their money after their server shut down like letsro,
If you made the same mistake just chargeback your money

I'm a co-admin of a server, and I play wisely with my money, I've donated once in my life and never again. Not for a game. So I haven't made a mistake or anything, I was just mentioning those things to those that might read it and to you, to take precautions before donating without a second thought.

Offline Yukino

  • Yuno Scholar
  • ****
  • Join Date: Dec 2009
  • Posts: 970
  • 82 Zeny
  • View Inventory
  • Send Money To Yukino
  • Gender: Female
  • Hear the melody that beats from my heart.
    • Scholarholic
  • Current Server: Playing League of Legends...
Re: When "donations" are anything but
« Reply #7 on: Jan 01, 2012, 05:11 pm »
You brought up some good points, Crysiscore3, but I have to disagree with a few.

Cute hat rewards are still counted as "non-donations" in your sense if they are allowed to choose the type of headgear designs they want. Basically, to me, if you want to offer a compensation for players' donations, you would need to give out a donation prize/package that is the same for everyone. In other words, they cannot choose, just like the ones advertised on TV (if you donate to the animal something society, you get a free jacket and tote bag, a predefined set of rewards). That would take out the gift card analogy completely (since, with a gift card, you can SELECT the things you want to buy). I believe that's where you were/wanted to get at?
Or, players can donate for no reward, which is a rare enough situation as it is.

Sadly, flux has that currency exchange thing implemented... and some Administrators just leave that page alone XD.

Tande is perfectly correct. Paypal does take a cut out from donations regardless. Though, if you have an unverified account (for the Administrator), Paypal allows refunds of donations very easily.

I agree with your third point completely.

And, Chemical Crush is right with her points. Seriously, players can complain about how server Administrators use the donation money, but this is the internet after all. They are not obligated to pay, and if they are (lol what), just don't and leave the server lol. We have agency, the ability to choose for ourselves. Just because you make one wrong decision does not mean you should blame it completely on someone else. You're the one who decides to do whatever you want with your money. If the Administrator didn't post anything about a guarantee with what he/she does with the money, that's even worse, and you should be prepared for the worst scenario. If not, you should know that it's not a contract or anything, so the person can still resort to using the donation improperly opposed to what he/she said they would use the money for. Players can just ruin the Administrator's reputation here on RMS and elsewhere, but there's nothing more to be done. Once you get the items you want (if you "donate" for that purpose), that would be the main bargain completed. Having the server online "forever" is just a side purpose (in many of the cases for players). For many of the servers out there, there is no promise of having the server online forever, so any player should be prepared for any situation.
-You as in players XD.
Friends are special flowers that bloom from trust.

Free Designs by Me: Here!

Offline Triper

Re: When "donations" are anything but
« Reply #8 on: Jan 02, 2012, 12:56 am »
@legal issues: *based on what I know/read*[fix if it's wrong]

Technically if a server makes is own client from zero[or uses one of the ugly, incomplete and bad free ones available] and uses eathena or any fork of it for the server emulation part it's legal at 100%.

eathena[or any fork of it] is 100% legal since is just a free "copy/emulation" of a famous game under Open Source rules and they get no profit of doing it except by who wants to donate to them[we all know how the system works and how it shouldn't be but is but whatever, you wouldn't be in here if it would work that good too =p], the client is another thing and if a server or anybody uses a free one, they will have a 100% legal ro pserver but ofc isn't the same and everybody knows why and why nobody yet made one good enough =p[*hoping RO XNA or whatever was that or ROBrowser end being awesome on this part soon*]

Just imagine that it works like the Remix of songs or the <6 secs audio copyrighted being used free on tv on lots of countries, should be easy to get it that way. Half pack works fine, full is too much and gets you into trouble.


About donations, it's the only way that, using open source/stuff that are affected by GNU laws, the people using eathena get money without having law issues[even if nowadays people just copy/paste how stuff works and know 0 sh*t about this lol].

Offline crysiscore3

Re: When "donations" are anything but
« Reply #9 on: Jan 02, 2012, 07:30 am »
Yay! It's been civil so far :)
I had faith it would, though I admit I considered whether I should write it at all, for fear of it ending up in soap opera.
Glad I did now.

Btw... feel free to expand upon OP. There's a lot I didn't cover. I was providing some seeds to get the discussion of this topic going. It's pretty central the existence of many servers and the subject is almost taboo. What should players expect? How far should an admin go down the items for money road, etc.

Cute hat rewards are still counted as "non-donations" in your sense if they are allowed to choose the type of headgear designs they want.
This is true. I suppose I'm thinking more along the lines of nobody donates $300 for hats. And at the end of the day you don't need hats to do much of anything. I guess it's just frivolous enough that it seems like zero pressure.
I think most people who donate for hats would donate without them. It probably boosts it somewhat, but it still feels more like a "thank you" to me, than a "Okay now you can go into BG".

Part of it's just the scale. If you donate $5-10 for a hat and only get to wear it for 2 days before the server goes kablooie, meh. I mean, you probably liked the server to start with and spent time there.

Though I've never donated hundreds of dollars anywhere, I have friends who have. One donated darn near to a grand because he wanted to play every single class. He was so geared his high priest was in the top 20 on PvP, lol.
And then when stuff like Blackout's seasonal drama happens, it's just not cool -_-

Quote from: Yukino
For many of the servers out there, there is no promise of having the server online forever, so any player should be prepared for any situation.
And I think everyone understands that. I guess one of things I'm thinking of are servers that just literally go offline one day out of the blue. How often do you see numerous people pop up and say that they(combined) donated more than the server bill could have been within the last few weeks?
I think it's fair to say that when you've had donations that cover next month's bill, next month's bill should be paid, period. And if you're tired and want to close the server, fine. Give everyone a month's notice. Don't even bother logging on. Who's going to bot/dupe/etc on a terminal server? And even if they do who cares  :P

I guess I've just seen servers closed down the right way and the wrong way. Something I've seen too many times is a flood of new donation items and the server being ripped offline within two months... right after a ton of "donations" stream in.
« Last Edit: Jan 03, 2012, 10:27 am by crysiscore3 »
Thinking of making your own RO PServer?
Read this first.

Offline Yukino

  • Yuno Scholar
  • ****
  • Join Date: Dec 2009
  • Posts: 970
  • 82 Zeny
  • View Inventory
  • Send Money To Yukino
  • Gender: Female
  • Hear the melody that beats from my heart.
    • Scholarholic
  • Current Server: Playing League of Legends...
Re: When "donations" are anything but
« Reply #10 on: Jan 02, 2012, 11:48 am »
-Pats-
Yeah, I understand where you are coming from (since I've seen a lot of complaints here on RMS about such servers and other things). Been in a few situations like this myself, and for some of them, have to deal with them as a representative GM (even though I was just a Support or an Event GM).

I think owners just need to take consideration of their players' feelings, and be much more sincere if they think the server reaches a dead point after trying very hard to maintain it. Some servers can show off how much donations are left, transactions used, etc (may be a good idea, though it would not promote a lot of donations in the end). I guess if Administrators become too busy to maintain the server, they can either inform the players ahead of time (did that) or find someone to replace them (though most of the time, the servers become worse off and some reputations get ruined and so on).

I just hope that not every player thinks badly of donations and donators. Some have good intentions while others just degrade the people who do not deserve to be placed at the same level with them. Hopefully, you'll experience better servers soon <3.
Friends are special flowers that bloom from trust.

Free Designs by Me: Here!

Offline crysiscore3

Re: When "donations" are anything but
« Reply #11 on: Jan 03, 2012, 10:28 am »
:) I've played on more good servers than bad, luckily.

Quote from: Tande
Paypal still takes a cut of donations unless you are a certified charity with them.
This is my fault for lack of adjective. I'm aware that there are still fees, but they are lower than if you had it set to sales. I should have said "some fees" instead of "fees".

Quote from: Tande
But running a server isn't free, and neither is the time that I spend on it.  But even when we were getting no donations, I still paid for my server's bills.  Even if we weren't getting money in, I'd pay for the server myself.  And to assume that I use the money unwisely is a terrible opinion.  Don't judge me or any other server admin as if we were criminals until you see it for yourself.
I'm not. First of all, I covered the time and money points in my post  :P
And I'm not sure how I assumed you use the money unwisely. I specifically said that I don't think most servers clear a whole lot more than their bills and even the ones that do only clear it modestly. And then there was part one of this series which I linked at the end of the post detailing why I have no problem with admins running a pay-to-play server.

I will never see it myself. I weighed heavily over whether or not to open a server. I have excel sheets and huge text files full of notes from outlines and plans :p
Truthfully, in order to make a great server, it's just too much work. I have great respect for good admins. Probably more than most people. I haven't done it myself, but I'm aware of how much work goes into it.
Thinking of making your own RO PServer?
Read this first.