I created LAShTAL.COM a little over two decades ago and have spent many hours every day since its inception working on content and moderation, assisted technically over the years by two remarkable individuals, Ian Rons and eol.
I neither sought nor expected much in the way of appreciation but I was always rewarded by the knowledge that many seemed to see much of value in the site, whether that be in its edited content or as part of a non-partisan community.
I spent time today working on the development of a commercial site, devoted to the sale of items from my personal archive with the specific and sole aim of raising funds for the on-going costs of hosting and developing the site, not to mention the pipe-dream of establishing a legal fund. I paused, briefly, though, when it occurred to me that I receive about a dozen emails addressed to @lashtal.com">email@example.com every day. Of these, perhaps ten are requests for technical support or information regarding Crowley. One tends to be an 'I love your site and find it really useful and I wish I could make a donation, but you know how things are.' The final email, the one-in-twelve has always been along the lines of: 'You are a slavish admirer of OTO', or 'You and your Typhonian lovers are ruining Thelema' or something along those lines.
But it occurred to me that the 'one-in-twelve' has grown nastier over recent weeks.
Today's for example:
From: val kam
Text: crowley was a fucked clown knew shit about magick
guess what neither do you
Now, that got me thinking... There are slightly over 7,000 members of LAShTAL.COM, making around 1,000 unique visits a day. That's 7,000 members, of whom just 8 feel it worthy of making a regular donation.
That's 1,000 unique visits generating bugger all even in eBay bids. And I'm considering selling from my own archives just to keep the site online.
More to follow in days to come, but, given the announcement I'm planning, I didn't want members to fill my email In Box with more whingeing about how lousy my management and moderation of the site has become...
Owner and Editor
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
While this comment may be unwanted at this particular time, I will make it anyway.
I have found you to be fair and even handed at all times. You have provided a venue for self expression that is not to be found elsewhere of this quality. What do they want? Some can never be pleased and so they may go pound salt in their asses.
You have undertaken no easy task here and as I've said before, yours is a steady hand on the rudder. And I now find myself speechless.
Love is the law, love under will.
Owner and Editor
It must be very dispiriting to receive emails such as you reproduce above.
The funding of LAShTAL is something which has exercised me for a while now. I've been a member of this site for many years now. It's been a very pleasurable and interesting period of time, and I have an extremely high opinion of this site.
It boggles my mind, frankly, that there are so few people helping to support this site financially. Don't people value this resource? Do not, for God's sake, wait until the site goes to wall before realising what has been lost. A regular donation of £5.00 per month is - to say the least - not a great deal to most people. It's a couple of pints of beer.
If you want this site to survive, then please make a donation. If you don't want it to survive, then do nothing; it'll go to the wall.
You've made an invaluable contribution to the thelemic world, Paul. Hopefully this is not the end.
Sad to hear Paul. Does not surprise me though the extent of ill informed people out there, who feel the need to abuse the webmaster of a AC society. Fundamentalist Christians and Conspiracy theorists demonise AC daily, suppose that message just highlights the extent of the tedious and fruitless hours spent shifting through nonsense, in order to manage the site. Not unappreciated may I add. Seems like advertising may be the only solution in order to hold back the finical tide as I would not want you selling your own archive to fund the site. We, the daily users should be fronting the drive to help maintain the site. Not expecting the burden to fall on your shoulders because its your creation, when so many gain benefit from the expanse of knowledge contained within.
Maybe a tiered one-off donation system for access to the more exclusive segments of the forum/site should be considered if people do not want to donate regularly.
Anyways, I am sure that you have already thought long and hard about the next step and encourage all users to either make a one off donation now, or even set up a subscription for the site. If you really give a fuck people, you would donate in some form. Wether is be a sale of some books towards the upkeep of the site, posting articles, making regular blog entries, contributing to the galleries etc. Thats if you cannot genuinely not afford a cash donation. Most of us can and should! Anything in order to expand the current site resources. Thats my opinion.
Good luck Paul, whatever decision you arrive at.
As a relative newcomer of less than 3 months to Lashtal I was nonetheless appalled and saddened to read of such a degree of hostility and outright nastiness being displayed and that this apparently is not an isolated example of unpleasantness. If it is any consolation, Paul might reflect that he must be doing something right otherwise the site would not be evoking this level of attack. Also it can only give a certain amount of satisfaction to know that these perpetrators’ karma will catch up with them one day but that will not be too much comfort on a personal level, of course, which is in the end what these attacks come down to, and as usual they show typical cowardice in that the senders will dare not identify themselves or debate any relevant points which they think they might have in a proper manner.
The suggestion of a levy of £5 per member per month seems initially sensible, however the facts of life do not always tally with the imposition of such a flat measure, as the history of the Poll Tax will clearly illustrate. It would be quite unfair to expect a millionaire (for the sake of argument) to have to contribute the same amount as someone else on the dole. While perhaps more people than not wouldn’t have difficulty in paying each month what is reckoned to be midway between the price of a pint and a packet of 20 fags (going by that universal currency ready reckoner of tobacco and alcohol), the difficulty with any such fixed arrangement involving a binding regular commitment is that there is no way of predicting in advance what alterations there may be to someone’s overheads. And again, some would feel it more than others.
A tithe system might be fairer – Motta with his Society OTO used to suggest 10% of the member’s net income, which may be acceptable for committed members of an Order trading on it being the prime vehicle for the dissemination of Thelema to the world, but probably not so to anyone else who might have other commitments. But even 1% from every Lashtalian contributor, if taken on the basis of the UK average earnings, would then still amount to double what has been proposed, at around £10 per month.
Also, some people may have difficulties or be reluctant to use the proposed donation system on Lashtal using PayPal. Having been stung in a fraud a while ago I am myself rather loath to give any financial details online or over the phone more than necessary, but as I declared before was (am) quite prepared to make a donation/s by cheque, however there seems to be no mechanism by which piecemeal donations to Lashtal using this antiquated means of payment can be made?
Yes, there will be no point in tears afterwards & there will then be plenty of time to repent at leisure should this brilliant and fine resource come to an end, and although I’m sure Paul would not say so personally himself it is not only unfair but monstrous to expect him to finance this site off his own back - in addition to his massive input of time and energy already over the years - by having to sell off his own possessions in order to keep it going. The next time that a regular user of the site buys some expensive rare Crowley item or artefact, or even a de luxe version of a book for their own personal profit and satisfaction instead of putting at least an equal funding into Lashtal, I trust they will feel appropriately guilty & be filled with opprobrium (and yes I know there is no grace, no guilt, but I’m sure you know what I mean – this is after all a matter of conscience and priorities, here).
Thanks for the positive comments, PMs and emails. This thread is now locked.
Owner and Editor