When it became apparent in October 2018 that Google+ would be discontinued in April 2019, we thought long and hard about how we would deal with this situation. At that time, our community consisted of a free proboard forum and - for the watchfaces - a g+ group. Above all, this solution was one- for free. And the liability risk for us moderators was about zero.
We decided to try to save all data and open our own forum. It was a difficult undertaking and until the end it was not clear whether we would succeed. There were hardly any suitable tools for export and no instructions whatsoever. The tool that Google made available was only available a month(!) before it was finally closed - and it turned out to be largely unusable, not even the e-mail addresses of the users were made available by google.
A handful of people have worked many nights, spread across several continents, with no one guaranteeing success. By the way, most of the g+ groups were abandoned back then…
We were very relieved when - literally at the last minute - we actually managed to secure the data and turn it into a working forum. But not only many hundreds of hours of work were necessary, also some costs were incurred. Some was financed from our donation account. Much was financed from our own pockets. But we always felt it was the right decision. However, it was clear that from now on we would need money to run the forum. However, one of the big advantages was that from now on we didn’t have any more problems with Google’s censorship. This has actually been an ongoing problem for g+ groups.
2019 was a good year. Many appreciated the effort we had put into giving the community a new home. Donations came in regularly, small and large, and it looked like we could keep the forum alive that way. Unfortunately, the new home quickly became normal and the willingness to donate decreased. After a while almost no more donations came. Therefore, with a heavy heart, we decided to place advertising. We didn’t want to do this. We had to do it to keep the forum. This solved our financial problems.
The downside of the medal is that we are again in a certain dependence on google. Google makes the rules. Google decides which content contains “adult sexual content”. And even if Google weren’t the problem: As the site operator, we are liable for the content on this site. And personally. In case of doubt with our private assets. A single lawsuit can turn me into a destitute man. For these reasons, we are forced to respond to complaints. Whether we like it or not.
Now, with members loudly complaining about censorship, what the hell are we talking about? We’ve hidden a few thumbnails in Quick View. We didn’t even delete them! Is that censorship? I can off the top of my head name 15 states whose citizens would roll on the floor laughing at this definition of censorship.
The last 24 hours have got me thinking. Do I want to be yelled at for my work here? And yes, PM’s in all caps is the same as yelling at someone. I used to design a lot of watchfaces. I still like doing that. Unfortunately, I hardly find time for it anymore. One of the reasons for this is my work here in the forum, which currently consumes a large part of my free time. Most of the time I don’t care because it makes me happy. But on days like today, I wonder why I’m doing this to myself.