Ratburger: The Next Hundred

One of the principles of Ratburger.org since its inception is Radical Transparency—everything about the site, from its source code, updates, and access statistics—shall be accessible to anybody who is interested.  There are a few statistics which, due to the design of WordPress, are not generally accessible, which may be of interest.  Excluding administrators and accounts they use for testing various features on the site, we now have 77 members, the vast majority of whom are active and regularly visit the site, comment, and post.  Since the site went live (in stealth mode) on 2017-12-10, there have been 506 posts and 5,589 comments on them.  The software that runs the site, publicly disclosed on GitHub for anybody interested in setting  up a competing site, or one appealing to a different audience, has had 86 publicly-posted builds since Git management began on 2017-12-18.

With today’s release of browser-pull dynamic updates of notifications, I consider the site “feature complete” as I envisioned it at the launch last December.  With all of the local modifications, as documented in the Updates Group (available for anybody to read), it provides a discussion forum, interest groups, podcasts (we don’t produce them, but provide links to those to which our members regularly listen), private messages, a weekly free conference call, and on-line chat.  And all of this is completely free and devoid of advertisements and other intrusive distractions.

Did I mention that it’s free and there are no ads?

Now is the time to take longer strides.  I believe it is possible, before May 10th, 2018, six months after the launch of Ratburger.org, to expand our user community from its present 77 members to at least 200.  The software and hosting infrastructure can easily accommodate this, and such growth will not burden the site’s administrators if the new members are as responsible and interesting as our present audience.  And this will be not just a milestone, but a phase transition.  Legacy sites like to cite their number of members, but the most superficial investigation will reveal that those numbers include members with long-expired subscriptions, those totally inactive, and some banned for deplorable thought-crimes.  When you actually look at those who actively post and comment on such sites, you come up with an actively-participating audience of between 200 and 250 people.  So if we can get to 200, and most of them are as active on the site as our current membership, we’ll have a fulgurant conversation where people keep coming back every few minutes to see what’s happened since their last comment or like.

So how do we get to there from here?  It couldn’t be simpler.  I’ll bet that everybody on this site knows two or three people who are as engaged in the contemporary discussion as they, and would be intrigued by a place where they can discuss whatever they find compelling with a worldwide audience.  Tell your friends and, for that matter, your well-intentioned adversaries, to check out the site and, if they want to join in, to join.

Did I mention that it’s free and that there are no ads?

Now, unlike legacy sites, I’m not making this pitch to cover the bills.  The business model of this site is simple: you use it, and I pay for it.  The more you use, the more I pay.  So why am I promoting it and encouraging people to join?  I participated in the creation of this site because I believed there was a need for a place for civil, rational conversation on the Web without the filters, cant, and banning so many have encountered elsewhere.  In the 1990s, I imagined such a site which I called “The faculty club” (this was before the emergence of the toxic slaver monoculture in acdemia).  I’m willing to pay for that; the cost is modest compared to what I pay to host my main site, which is entirely my own work and admits no user interaction.  We can easily double or triple the traffic at this site without increasing my hosting bill, so I’m fine with doing that.

So, talk to your friends and associates, encourage them to visit the site and, if they like what they see, join and contribute.  Our sign-up procedure, necessary to protect against the constant assault of spammers, may be frustrating for users on legacy E-mail services, but if they have trouble, an E-mail to admin@ratburger.org will remedy that.

Thank you all for being early adopters of the site, and thanks in advance for welcoming others as we make this the most interesting and free locus of discussion on the Web.

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Author: John Walker

Founder of Ratburger.org, Autodesk, Inc., and Marinchip Systems. Author of The Hacker's Diet. Creator of www.fourmilab.ch.

13 thoughts on “Ratburger: The Next Hundred”

  1. If I quote part of a Kipling poem (a verse, for example) on another site, I always leave a link to the whole poem in the comment. If I have posted that poem at Ratburger in its entirety, the link goes to Ratburger rather than the Kipling Society or the Poetry Lovers Page.

    Consider it my in kind contribution.

    8+

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  2. Agree 200% with one proviso.

    It would be good to have an easy way to contribute to defray the costs. A free site in my book ironically is worth paying for. If you agree hit like.

    9+

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  3. 10 Cents:
    Agree 200% with one proviso.

    It would be good to have an easy way to contribute to defray the costs. A free site in my book ironically is worth paying for. If you agree hit like.

    10 Cents:
    Agree 200% with one proviso.

    It would be good to have an easy way to contribute to defray the costs. A free site in my book ironically is worth paying for. If you agree hit like.

    I’d rather take advantage of John!  Love me some Rats!

    6+

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  4. 10 Cents:
    It would be good to have an easy way to contribute to defray the costs. A free site in my book ironically is worth paying for.

    Anybody who wants to contribute to the hosting charges of the site is welcome to send Bitcoin to:

    1JohnWCHQrJssKqyqUvN8EG541xcr4ojfs

    (Yes, this is a vanity address, which it took my 32-core server the better part of a week to discover.  It is validated on the blockchain, so you risk nothing in using it.)

    All funds sent to this address will be used exclusively to defray the costs of hosting.  Nothing will be used to feed the sharks.

    Well, almost nothing….

    …depends upon how hungry they are.

    5+

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  5. Trinity Waters:

    10 Cents:
    Agree 200% with one proviso.

    It would be good to have an easy way to contribute to defray the costs. A free site in my book ironically is worth paying for. If you agree hit like.

    10 Cents:
    Agree 200% with one proviso.

    It would be good to have an easy way to contribute to defray the costs. A free site in my book ironically is worth paying for. If you agree hit like.

    I’d rather take advantage of John!  Love me some Rats!

    I can’t trust you to be dishonest, Trin. You are just not the type.

    3+

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  6. John Walker:

    10 Cents:
    It would be good to have an easy way to contribute to defray the costs. A free site in my book ironically is worth paying for.

    Anybody who wants to contribute to the hosting charges of the site is welcome to send Bitcoin to:

    1JohnWCHQrJssKqyqUvN8EG541xcr4ojfs

    (Yes, this is a vanity address, which it took my 32-core server the better part of a week to discover.  It is validated on the blockchain, so you risk nothing in using it.)

    All funds sent to this address will be used exclusively to defray the costs of hosting.  Nothing will be used to feed the sharks.

    Well, almost nothing….

    …depends upon how hungry they are.

    How does one send bitcoin?

    2+

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  7. 10 Cents:
    How does one send bitcoin?

    1. Get some bitcoin.
    2. Put it on your phone or computer.
    3. Send it to the desired address.

    In many places there are now Bitcoin ATMs where you can buy and sell Bitcoin with your credit card.  You just enter the address (be sure it is correct [there is an internal consistency check]), and away it goes.  If you send it to me, you’ll get a confirmation and I’ll see the funds within minutes.  Unless you communicate with me out-of-band, I’ll have no way to know who sent the money.

    Bitcoin transfers cost a tiny fraction of payments by credit card, PayPal, or money transfers via SWIFT.  This is what disruption looks like.

    We’re all about disruption.

    6+

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  8. John, thanks for this site. It’s brought together a number of us who were wandering in the wilderness. That’s a good thing! The more collusion, the better.

    7+

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  9. 10 Cents:
    I like these numbers.

    Yesterday must have been fabulous.  With less than ten percent of the posts, it generated nearly half of the likes for the week.

    2+

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  10. MJBubba:

    10 Cents:
    I like these numbers.

    Yesterday must have been fabulous.  With less than ten percent of the posts, it generated nearly half of the likes for the week.

    I didn’t checked to see when I pulled this data. It might be that it was not comparing two full days. Also if there is more comments on that day there are more likes. There are three members who are 4-digit, over a 1000, likers. (One is almost there.)

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