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Added value to the subscription service

By MSBob in Meta
Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 02:58:15 PM EST
Tags: Kuro5hin.org (all tags)

With the imminent separation of Kuro5hin and OSDN it looks like K5 will regain a lot of control over the type of service it offers. Unfortunately it also means that K5 is most likely going to be strapped for cash.

When faced with the option of renewing my K5 subscription I was faced with a dilema. To renew or not to renew? Well, on the surface it seems like a cheap enough option for just about anybody who lives in a developed country. However, the PayPal service has pretty unfavourable rates for foreign currencies together with the Canadian buck being where it is I came to the conclusion that my subscription may not be worth the cost.

I know that K5 subscriptions should be thought of as a donation to K5 rather than a real subscription, still though I think more of us would be inclined to cough up our precious (and expensive) greenbucks if we felt that we were getting something we value for our money. People have been suggesting that an @kuro5hin e-mail address should be provided for subscribers. Well, that's a good idea but I don't think an extra e-mail address will convince many people that they want to subscribe. So what's the answer then?

An anonymizing service. It is becoming obvious that more and more 'free' anonymizing services are getting in trouble while others are being run by intelligence agencies. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that there is likely to be a surge in demand for this kind of service. I believe that such a service is not difficult to set up if you're already hosting your own website. Additionally K5 will be able to leverage the existing user base to get some accounts initially. I know I'd much rather put up with a subscription fee for my anonymizing service and have it managed by someone who values freedom than having it gratis and courtesy of the CIA. I don't know what the reasonable subscription fee would be but personally I would be willing to cough up as much as $10 a month if the service proves reliable. For some reason I also feel that offering an anonymizer is something that is very much in the spirit of K5.

The remaining question is of course how many subscribes can K5 hope for? hopefully more than the 110 or so that are currently subscribing. Let's be optimistic and imagine that an anonymizer will triple that number. That is quite a signigicant financial gain for what is hopefully of little cost to the website admins.


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


Good idea?
o Yep 5%
o Of course 5%
o Naturally 5%
o Absolutely 20%
o Aye 30%
o Sure 20%
o Totally 15%

Votes: 20
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
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Added value to the subscription service | 20 comments (20 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
As far as value added goes (3.00 / 5) (#1)
by Elendale on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 02:39:19 AM EST

I'd like another email addy. I don't have nearly a permanent enough one as is. Of course, it would have to be done right- with rigorous spam blockage, maybe even shell access? Of course, it wouldn't help me.
No, the reason i haven't signed up yet is because i don't have five bucks.
No, not that i don't have five bucks spare- but that i don't have five bucks. I hate college, by the way.


When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.

...Amusing (4.53 / 15) (#2)
by J'raxis on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 02:52:01 AM EST

Why do I find the concept of having to register to use an anonymizing service ironic?

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]

Nah (4.46 / 15) (#3)
by rusty on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 03:02:44 AM EST

Two objections:

  1. Running an anonymizer service is esentially a whole new business, separate from running a web community, and not one I'm particularly interested in.
  2. Having been on the receiving end of the most common use of anonymizers, I have little interest in actively supporting them.

Not the real rusty
Most common use of anonymizers... (none / 0) (#17)
by mlinksva on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 01:49:46 AM EST

...is what? I would've thought browsing porn, but you wouldn't be on the receiving end of that. Free email abuse?
imagoodbitizen adobe unisys badcitizens
[ Parent ]
Baad Idea (3.80 / 10) (#4)
by John Milton on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 03:36:50 AM EST

Yeah, let's set up kuro5hin around nervous porn addicts and shady activities that will most likely result in legal action. I think just the moral implications of running an anonymizing service would bother me. It's the same thing with freenet. Do you really want to feel responsible when someone uses it to get kiddy porn.

Me personally, I'd like an email addy. I also wouldn't mind some webspace or the ability to store images and display them in my diary. The way to go is more personalization.

"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Photos (none / 0) (#7)
by FredBloggs on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 07:19:55 AM EST

"Do you really want to feel responsible when someone uses it to get kiddy porn."

What photographs people look at doesnt concern me. Surely if there IS child porn on a given network, theres a >0% chance that the people creating such images may be found and prosecuted. Whereas you`ll have no chance if theres no pictures there. Going after end users...well, we`ve seen how effective that is at stopping people from taking drugs.

[ Parent ]
Bandwidth/Services (4.00 / 6) (#5)
by Neuromancer on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 04:39:33 AM EST

Bandwidth and the type of access required to host a proxy would probably cost more per month than the funraising would provide.

mixmaster remailer (2.00 / 2) (#6)
by kipple on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 07:09:29 AM EST

cheap, requires little bandwidth/low-profile hardware, looks cool.
--- There are two kind of sysadmins: Paranoids and Losers (adapted from D. Bach)
Anonymisers and web proxies (2.00 / 2) (#8)
by Sanityman on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 07:28:48 AM EST

Pragmatically, I'd love it if a site I trusted were to do this - if for no other reason than

  • I'm on the wrong end of a perticularly scatter-gun netnanny right now, and
  • Safeweb has ceased its free service, so T-boy is no more for the forseeable future.

    I'm particularly sad about the second point - Triangle Boy was a decisive solution to web browsing restrictions. As for supporting pr0n-consumers/harassment: I don't want anonymous email or FTP. Read-only is fine, I'm just trying to circumvent blockage on the only broadband connection I have access to.

    I'd love to see initiatives like Tboy succeed as it makes web-blocking impossible, and for Iranian/Chinese/Saudi citizens/US Citizens in a public library this provides access to free exchange of ideas they wouldn't otherwise have access to. Now SafeWeb seems hors de combat it'd be great to see someone else pick up the torch.

    The problem with web proxying is, as rusty pointed out, it's bandwidth-intensive, and bandwidth ain't cheap. It's probably the case that the only viable means of providing a proxying service is by subscription. In the meantime, the only way I can de-nanny is to get DSL at home, run a proxy there and hope my home IP doesn't get blocked...


    Disclaimer: Whatever organisation you had in mind, I'm not representing it.
    If you don't see the fnords, they can't eat you.
  • And when they break down Rusty's door? (3.75 / 4) (#9)
    by wji on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 08:46:24 AM EST

    Think about it, man. Whatever you might personally think of anonymity, the fact remains that anonymizers are highly vulnerable to all kinds of legal action - civil, and even criminal. Exposing K5 to that kind of risk would be stupid. Besides, what do you want K5 to be known as? An awesome news/discussion/weblog site, or a haven for kiddie porn downloaders?

    And yes, I know that there are perfectly good, legal, sensible reasons to want anonymity on the web. I also happen to know that a damn lot of people won't be using anonymizers for them. And so do the police.

    In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.

    anonymizers (1.00 / 1) (#10)
    by demi on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 01:18:44 PM EST

    Hey... is that term (anonymizers) your coinage? Just curious.

    [ Parent ]

    Thought it was common usage... [nt] (none / 0) (#15)
    by wji on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 05:15:43 PM EST

    [ Parent ]
    K5 needs more boobs. (4.00 / 4) (#11)
    by rebelcool on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 02:20:36 PM EST

    Yes thats right, boob pictures for subscribers. Perhaps we can even get members to donate pictures of their own. I for one, will be showing my nipples for the good of the cause, as I am lacking in breastliness.

    COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

    Like the old NippleServer? (none / 0) (#16)
    by jabber on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 08:31:18 PM EST

    Alas, poor Spinnwebe.. I knew him, Kuro5hin..

    Between the NippleServer, It's A Dysfunctional Life, and the Psychic Fern of DFC days.. *sigh*..

    [TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
    [ Parent ]

    Good inentions, but... (none / 0) (#19)
    by MicroBerto on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 10:55:17 PM EST

    A 5 dollar a month porno site? This is a good idea to get people like us to pay for sure, but you are definitely going to attract way more outsiders to that deal than K5 can handle with that kind of deal! Especially if generous people like me upload my decently sized collection :)

    - GAIM: MicroBerto
    Bertoline - My comic strip
    [ Parent ]
    An anonymizer is not a good idea... (3.25 / 4) (#12)
    by landryjf on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 03:34:34 PM EST

    While I agree with the point you raised about the Canadian Dollar (I am Canadian too), I think that an anonymizer is not something that would fit for Kuro5hin because:
    A) Anonymizer = bandwith x 2 (in & out) + computer(s) = a lot of expenses (the opposite effect of what we want)
    B) Risks of lawsuits, FBI visits, IP blacklisting ok K5, etc...
    C) It won't fit in the current K5 (K5 is a community & news site, not a computer security & privacy site)

    An email address (with a strong spam filter) is a good idea because any subscriber can use this address instead of their real one (with or without ROT-13).

    My $0.02 (Can)...


    P.S.: I think that Steeve Gibson's website (www.grc.com) may be a better place for a trusted anonymiser. Why don't you ask him?

    This isn't it; here's my suggestion (4.44 / 9) (#13)
    by Wondertoad on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 03:37:26 PM EST

    I feel strongly that there are value-adds that would cause people to subscribe, but this isn't one of them. It's a new business, which could and would exist outside of the K5 community. If it's not a profitable business outside of K5, it wouldn't be one INSIDE of it, either.

    My alternative: it would be interesting for the system to only allow subscribers to moderate incoming submissions. This would ensure that A) the subscription system rewards subscribers; B) the subscription system adds value to the site itself; C) the subscription system is encouraged by a model that is kinda-sorta "distributed" - people who bitch about story quality will be prodded by other subscribers to pay up, so they can have the right to bitch.

    The danger is that adding another variable - and such an important variable - to the moderation mix may have too strong an effect on the site itself. On the other hand, if in the long run K5 *needs* subscribers to survive, here is a model that will reinforce the actual needs of the site - and the money should ebb and flow with the popularity of the site.

    The other danger is that small-minded people might see this as anti-democratic, a sort of poll tax for a web site. But K5 is not a democracy when it comes to how it's paid for. One might say that subscription would be the price of entry for K5 citizenry, part of which is entitlement to moderation.

    post this instead (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by bsmfh on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 04:42:40 PM EST

    I think this would generate more discussion than the anonymizer idea. Rusty, your thoughts?

    [ Parent ]
    No (4.50 / 2) (#18)
    by damiam on Sun Dec 16, 2001 at 06:42:33 PM EST

    If K5 started an anonymity service, it'd get itself blocked by all the major censorware products. It wouldn't be good for K5 if no one could browse it from school, work, or any other public place.

    Not so interesting idea. (none / 0) (#20)
    by Masa on Thu Dec 20, 2001 at 05:55:45 AM EST

    My opinion is that an anonymizer service is really useful only for some of Kuro5hin readers. I don't need an anonymizer service and would not be interested in for paying one.

    If I pay for K5 then I'll expect to see my money to be used to keep up the quality and make better stories and comments and give paying users ability to affect the contents of K5. How to achieve this goal... well, I don't have an answer. One way would be to make it possible only for paying members to submit stories and write comments (with higher rating?).

    By the way... What guarantees the trushfullness of this anonymizer service? How is it proved that no log-files are been written or information collected or leaked about the surfing habits of users? (Please, note that I do not want to question the morale or motives of the authors of the K5, I'm just only a bit paranoid by nature).

    Added value to the subscription service | 20 comments (20 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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