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I'm just a "pitied rhino" apparently and I've only made one post 21 years ago, when I first signed up for this forum. Honestly, I completely forgot about this forum, but I did get the email today about the fundraiser and I have one pitiful question for Deb. Admittedly I don't have any experience running a forum, but I've created Google Groups before and I'm wondering why is this forum is using something that costs $99/month? Are there features that are being used that justify what seems to be a rather high cost (in my view)? Have you investigated other, cheaper or free alternatives?

I'm not trying to be negative or a troublemaker, so feel free to shoot me down if this is a ridiculous question and I have no idea what I am talking about.


Sure, I can talk about why this is on a paid service.

When the Split Enz & CH stuff started online, one guy in the USA was running a lot of the stuff. He had signed up for free everything... free mailing list, eventually free discussion forum software, etc.

Frenz was originally a splinter group, leaving that community because there were some really toxic people there. My mission was to create a friendly, welcoming place.

I started in 1996 with some free systems, but I quickly noticed that they were rarely updated. Sometimes buggy. Not always secure. I wanted to invest in something that would have good features, be updated over time, and really last.

Well, it has!

I moved from a free HTML-based message thread script to this company gosh, so long ago. 1998? I don't remember what it cost, but it was affordable. Peter helped out by donating fun things each year. We ran auctions to cover the cost.

My "competitor" shut all of his stuff down. I don't remember the whole story. Too long ago. But he passed it to nobody. Which is interesting since I was just in another conversation this week in a Slack group I'm in about work conferences and communities. And we got to talking about how a "community-run group" can disappear overnight with the wrong organizers, or no organizers.

So went "Tongue In The Mail," the other group. I just found a year 2000 thread here where people couldn't find the mailing list. The organizer was moving to whatever free service he could find, and not everybody followed. From what I remember.

Eventually the auctions took too much time, and I stopped asking the fan club for things. The last box he sent me is in my storage room. I just saw it. I think I received it 14 years ago.

This forum software had really great features ahead of its time (many years ago). I was able to split things up by your age, which was good because some people were demanding that this forum allow them to talk about off-topic things, including some topics not for kids. The moderators had a lot of nice features to handle things. The interface was pretty simple. They made good updates to this thing over time.

Ever notice that there's no spam here? Zero people trying to sell you something or posting porn? It has a lot of nice registration and moderation features that I customized a LONG time ago. I still process every reg manually, and it's easy to pick out who isn't here for the music. But that used to be a big problem on discussion forums. Open reg, lots of spam, lots of porn, abusive anonymous people.

They must be a small company. The same people have been answering my emails and support tickets for what feels like decades. According to their About Us page, they've never had investors, which is great. It feels good to support them.

And then once you're here and you have thousands of subscribers and so many posts and comments, it not easy to move to another system. This place made people happy, and evidently still does, at least in some small ways. Or maybe for the nostalgia, but that has value too.

So could this be free? Sure. We could shut this site down, lose the archives, and pick up again on Discord or a Google Group. My question was: is everybody ready to lose the archives. And it sounds like that's a no, at least for now.

In less than one day, I have raised nearly $3000 USD. I expected to raise about $350 over the course of weeks. That would run this for a few months, and then I'd be back here talking about shutting it down. But people turned out, and don't want to see this go yet.

I'm lucky it's only $99/month. MANY years ago, the company that provides this service changed their prices to $1000 per MONTH. And kept me at this old price. If they had pushed me to that new price, we would have been shut down or moved long ago.

So, here we are! We might face the forum's mortality again, but not today. And it could be free, but we'd lose 25 years of archives.

Hi All,

Long time no post! Which may seem odd since I once earned the status ADDICTED!

Anyway I am now a long time lurker and some of you may know I also post a lot of Finn related material on twitter under the user account  @SomeFinnSpecial-the Finn-ternet.

When I saw Deb's post about closing down the forum and the idea of a go fund me, I tweeted it on twitter and a some frenz have shown some interest and  support. I will also donate what I can afford, when I get paid. So good to see the fundraiser is doing quite well.

The forum is a valuable and friendly place for frenz to talk all things Finn, long may it continue for posters and lurkers alike.

According to my profile I have been here  (mostly lurking) since 2002. Frenzforum has been a constant in my Internet live. Learned so much, heard so many nice stories. It is always great to slowly see songs of an upcoming album being discussed, changing form. The collective anticipation... So happy that this place will stay on the Internet!  

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