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Friday, September 26, 2008

Fellow Raytractors, I need some feedback...

In discussions with some of our other members via email and watching the comments, I get the feeling that many of you are beginning to feel the same way I do. We are outgrowing Blogger. We have requests for Forums, and a better way to read/write posts without burying others. Since I was the one that originally created this blog, though the idea came from a discussion on Lance's blog between Lance, The Skeptical Sorcerer, and myself, I kind of appointed myself the lead maintainer. Therefore, I have been looking into other options for us. I would like to get us off of Blogger and on to a hosting service where we can have those options as well as have more control over the back end. That way, IF we ever needed to block someone from posting we could, or else we could do it like Pharyngula does with having a separate place for the ... abusive ones.

In looking at shared hosting services, I have come across 4 that would work. They would include the tools that we would need, as well as our own domain name. I narrowed it down to 2 which are really seems to fit us best cost wise and tool-wise (webhostingpad.com or hostmonster.com). The problem is the cost. I'm a college student, so I'm not that wealthy (My goal it to make as much as an English teacher does, someday :)). I don't want top place adds up, and I am willing to do the maintenance on the back end, but the initial set up cost is the problem. I would like to do a 3 year hosting deal, as that is the most cost effective upfront.

I hate begging for money, but I feel I must. For a 3 Year hosting plan, including our own domain, we would be looking at ~$150-200 (All currencies listed are USD). I am willing to pay for some of that, But my big question would be if some of our members would be willing to help pay for that also. PLEASE DON'T feel obligated to, I understand that some of you may have even less than me, but if you could, that would help me a lot. (I feel like NPR begging for money). We have roughly 50 members and at $3 apiece we could make it. I will look into having some Google-type ads to help support it in the future. I have created a poll to the right and want your feedback before I create a way to donate (probably Paypal).

Finally, If we do end up doing this, I feel that we have outgrown the Raytractors thing. While that will still be part of our mission, and likely a huge part of what we do, I want your feedback on a new name, I will try to keep this same address pointing there though. I was thinking something like creotractors or fundytractors, but I'm open to all suggestions, I just see quite a bit of non-ray focused discussion as well.

Update: Thanks for all the support, both in comments and email. based on the feedback I've gotten so far, I have set up a donate button. Please donate what you feel comfortable with, and there is no minimum (or maximum just in case Warren Buffet is secretly a Raytractor). Keep thinking of names or else if you want to keep the name Raytractors.


  1. I say go for it and I like the idea of a name change as well.

  2. I agree. Also, I voted "yes but can't help" before I understood that help meant money and not technical savvy. So I'd be glad to chip in.

  3. You know I'm all for this and I'm glad to financially support it as well.

    I like the name change idea, too.

  4. Hmmmmmmmm.....
    A whole new dimension. Luv it.

    I do find some of those discusion thread thingies to be LOUD and Noisey, if you know what I mean.
    Don't know what your concept is....layout, much more difficult to moderate.

    But I like the progressive attitude.

    No matter. I'm good for twenty bucks on Pay Pal.

  5. I am down to support, as well. I don't have paypal, but can figure something out.

    I am probably the only one who wants to keep the name, though. I like the name, it rolls off the tongue and is a pretty cool designation for a group of people "Who are they?" "The Raytractors." It's kinda ominous and impressive without connecting to Ray. I like the idea of expanding, too.

    Anyway, there's also an Atheist Nexus group for those who haven't joined.

  6. Would this be a good time to mention that I'm a professional computer programmer with extensive knowledge and experience with web and database development?

  7. Shag,

    I don't mind Raytractors name but it is rather restrictive if we want to branch out. The, in my opinion, being retractors is a bit put- offish.

    I'm OK if we retain it, but it would be great to get a few suggestions just in case someone finds a name that epitomizes our collective goals.

    There will be the first to test the waters and we'll all piggy back on each other's ideas. I'm thinking that as a group there is a good probability that we might come up with something really rad.

    Respectfully submitted, /d

  8. I can probably slap down some $20 to for PayPal; I just have to get the money transferred; it'll take at least 8 days to do it, and I need a little bit of money to come in first.

  9. Kaitlyn,

    In answer to your question, "yes."

    I would love to hear your take on this. Please do!

  10. I think I could handle 3 bucks, or even more, but I've never actually used my Pay Pal account. I could transfer some next week.

    On an old subject, did anyone else notice Terry Burton's posts from the Where's Terry Burton thread are gone?

    Also, my little comment over at Ray's is still up. The son of a bitch just can't resist my charm.

  11. I'll kick in at least the bare minimum - but probably at least 3-4 times that.

  12. Dale, there are free PHP hosting services that do not include ads.

    An example might be http://byethost.com/.

    If we end up needing more bandwidth, we can move to more dedicated hosting.

    I also have some webspace we can use, but the domain might now be to your liking.

    There are also some hosting services that specialize in forum hosting for a fraction of the cost of what something like godaddy might cost.

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  14. Weemaryanne, you seem so familiar...

    Do you post on other web forums? Perhaps... liberal web forums?

  15. Kaitlyn,

    Thanks for the information and offer to help. I'll let you know. Right now I'm thinking shared hosting, IF we get big enough, then maybe dedicated, but right now, I think our bandwith needs are small enough not to need that. I won't be doing anything for at least a week or 2 (or even maybe 3) so we do have some time. The goal thogh is that IF I'm not here at some point, we aren't dependant on 1 person's hosting account. Otherwise, I'd just get a hosting servise through my local proviser, and set up my own server (Thor knows, I've got the hardware). If you have any feedback about other hosts, let me know. I don't want a free host, because I want any Ads to be ours, or of our choosing. I'd like Linux back-end with possable SSH access.

  16. I'll gladly host the raytractors for free on my server if you like.

  17. Adrian,

    Thanks for the offer, but like I said, I don't want to rely on an individual hosting us. If it was just my blog, sure. But in a group like this, I'd rather not.

    Thanks for the offer though. I really do appreciate it.

  18. MacGyver Jr said...

    "Thanks for the information and offer to help. I'll let you know. Right now I'm thinking...."

    I'm sure you'll get a lot of good ideas and I thank you for taking the lead on all this. It would look good on your resume if it was submitted te me. :>

  19. Kaitlyn, you're a programmer? Wow. But you're so much fun!

    Teasing. Sorry.

    No, I avoid political forums. Gotta watch the blood pressure, I'm not as young as I used to be. My profile photo is Bette Davis in a classic movie, "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" -- you may have seen it. Maybe that's what's familiar to you.

  20. I see that a number of us have the resources to actually host a site, in which case the only expense would be the domain name registration. One of us could install Xoops or Joomla on their host and we can configure it as we like. Once we are happy with it, we can then redirect it to the chosen domain name. This would definitely be a cheaper option.

  21. I have given it some more thought and I reckon that it makes more sense to go with the original idea and set up a separate account. The cost is minimal and if we can drive enough traffic, it should pay for itself anyway.

  22. If you need any help with the setup, I got web programming and database experience too. However, it makes me quite miserable so my posts may seem a little angrier while I'm working on it.

  23. I love the idea of upgrading the home of this motley crew! You can count me in on chip in too.

    Weemaryanne, I'm a programmer too, and I don't take kindly to you besmirchin' our name.

    The Skeptical Sorcerer, I dig the two funny Kiwi's from 'flight of the concord.' Just goes to show you that good things can come from New Zealand.

    ~Atomic Chimp

  24. HAhaha! They, along with Rhys Darby, have to represent NZ to make up for people like Ray.

  25. Hey, we're moving up in the world!

    I'm more than happy to chip in $20 to the cause and as for a name change, I was thinking something along the lines of:

    Theist Central.

    Of course, we'd have to explain to all the theists exactly what a theist is first... should annoy Ray though!

    Just kidding, I'm actually fond of the Raytractors brand; anyone thought about making some t-shirts?

  26. hell yeah, i'm all in.

    See what I can do...

  27. Theist central... Nice. ;)

    Well... I have some skills in art and graphic design that could, presumably, come in handy (in addition to minimal web programming experience, but it looks we've already got enough of those rounded up). I'd love to lend a hand anyway I possibly can, gladly anticipating whatever future awaits Raytractors.

    I'll admit I'm not to keen on changing the name to creotractors or funditractors. I'm not a creo or a fundy, per se, (heck, I don't know what I am --the liberals call me conservative and the conservatives call me liberal) but I've basked in the freedom Raytractors currently exhibits long enough to suggest we not limit the group by excluding any particular mindset.

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  30. Well, I was drafting an email to Macgyver when I noticed Adrian's reply.

    I'm a professional web developer, so I have gigs upon gigs of server resources I will never use. I make a habit of hosting people's websites which promote something I do (or are charitable).

    So, I'll extend it like Adrian did: I can host the Raytractors for free. It would come with their own account over which they'd have full control (cPanel). The only cost, then, is a domain.

  31. I really appreciate the offers from everyone to host, and maybe I'm wrong in my thinking about this, but I've had it bite me in the ass in the past. I really don't want to rely on a individual group member to host the page as in the past I've (rarely, thankfully) seen and had that group and the group member seperate, either due to a falling out or other situation. All of a sudden, we were left struggling to find another host quickly, and get things back up and running. If it were a smaller group, or a personal page, I would jum all over it. Also, it would be much easier to hand the reins over to someone else (IMHO). However, with a group of contributors our size, I don't want to have (for the lack of a better term) a single point of failure. Maybe I'm being paranoid, but it's hard to predict that you will always agree with everything a group stands for, and with having a separate host, there won't be any sort of akward separations in the future. I know it's a little more of a cost, but I thought about it long and hard before resolving to this option (this is something I have been thinking about and planning for at least a month). And while the cost is somewhat greater than it could be otherwise, it's also worth the issues it avoids to me.

  32. Well, it's ultimately up to you as it's a trust issue, then. I've had experiences myself bite me in the ass where a person is in charge of the project and then they just lose interest or fall off the face of the Earth (the flat Earth, that is). Or they have a falling out with a member, they get mad, and they pull the plug.

    If you go with separate hosting, then we're all relying on you. What if you have a fall-out or something along those lines? What if something happens to you? Then you're the single point of failure. It comes down to you only trusting yourself.

    But, like I said, it's up to you. I'll support it either way.

  33. That's a good question. Like it us now, I won't be the only moderator. I plan on keeping the same mods and maybe add 1 more with tech experience. I've had that one bite me too. Redundancy ftw.

  34. I don't even trust myself as that single point of failure :)

  35. It's all good news on the expansion front.
    Everyone seems willing in terms of time and moolah.

    Re: The name change, I'm rather fond of Raytractors

    Even if in x years time Mr Comfort is no longer a current topic, I think it would be rather cool to hold on to the historic. Ray represents all that is bad in reason, logic and moral integrity.

    When people ask "why is this forum called Raytractors?" they could be pointed to the permananr library of all the worst of Ray, and they'll go "oh right. Shit what a toss-pot"

    Just like Melchesedic was an archetype of Jesus (come on you theologeans), Ray is an archetype, a symbol of what gets our pants in a knot. Our target will be other Rays.

    The name "Raytractors" does not indicate that we target Christianity per se. Although it mentions the man by name, I think it carries a generic feel that will give a broader appeal to readership and membership.
    Coz we don't dislike Christians, we dislike bigots and fundamentalists, censors and closed-minded Napoleons. We dislike people like Ray

  36. I'm very excited and pleased to see these changes.

    I'll kick in what I can via Paypal but it takes a few days to go through.

    Sorry I've been absent the last two days - huge amounts of homework.
    I'll be back to my regular schedule next week.

  37. Change the name to Christian Central and when a hapless fundy walks in we rip him a new asshole.

    "Welcome to my parlor said the spider to the fly...."

    Just kiddin.

  38. From my point of view you are good to go... And please, a new name?


  39. Oh yes, and I am a database and information systems consultant... :-) So I can offer help too, of a technical nature... And I will donate soon.

  40. I think the name "Raytractors" gives Ray too much power. Especially since he isn't even trying any more. His latest posts are saying the same things as his old ones.....

  41. I'm all for it. I can't help much except with content and a wee bit of money, perhaps, but I'm all for it.

  42. Stew said...

    "Our target will be other Rays."

    I'm sure we indeed could make a fair bit of sport off the plethora of Ray-esque bloggers out there. But after thinking about it here for a couple days I seriously cannot think of one particular individual on the familiar intertubz that matches Ray inanity for inanity. Who do you have in mind?

    Speaking of "other Rays" has anyone heard anything from Tony Miano? I know he disabled comments on his site (afraid of us moving there, if you ask me) but has anyone bothered to email him? I've had a delightful convo with him for the last several days, but that looks to have ended... :(

  43. I was wondering; how many tracts will I receive for my love offering? Does it depend on the amount I donate?

  44. I have a new name for the new site:

    "What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff — I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy."

    The next line would say:
    Fighting Ignorance since 2008
    (We didn't think it would take this long)

  45. I'm all for changing the name to Christian Central. Sort of catches the delightfuly insidious nature of this place.

    I'm also pretty jumped up about t-shirts. A funner way to contribute $ to the cause, yes?

  46. LOL Dale, LOVE your Catcher in the Rye quote!!

    (When I tyoed this it came out Catheter in the Ray. I'm glad I caught that.)

  47. Nice one NM... and, yes, I looked up what I catheter is. My bad.

  48. nonmagic:

    Catheter in the Ray seems like a Freudian slip. Do you have some kind fetish you'd like to share with the group?

  49. Rufus, I soooo owe you. You're gonna pay, too, just wait 'n see !!

  50. NM:

    I've been visiting LOLcats daily in order to build up my resistance. I can take it.

  51. I'll toss in a few bucks, if I can figure out how to get your link to accept my card.

    How about we change the name to something like "Don't Be Raytarded!"

  52. This comment has been removed by the author.

  53. At the risk of sending you more money than you need, $20 on the way.

    I'm a web developer with 8+ years of experience, however, my time is fairly limited. I can provide seom technical support of it's needed, but I hesitate offering more (sadly).

    If I had my druthers, I'd hope for a name change - something devoid of references to our favorite fundy, but still pretty inclusive and suggestive of healthy skepticism.

    But - those are only ideas. I'll probably stick around for a while regardless of the name :)

    EDIT: deleted the original to correct a few thangs

  54. It's nearly payday ....

    I'll donate then

  55. Just donated $20 American. Let's get this show on the digital road.

  56. I'm in. Donating money turned out to be a little more difficult than I thought, but I work on it.
    I like the name 'raytractors' but that's probably only because I'm not intelligent enough to find something better.
    I have faith in you, there...

  57. I'll transfer some funds to my Pal Pal account later this week, then donate. I'd prefer that a new name somehow use the word "rational", even though it may seem to be a ripoff of the RRS. The reason I'm not a Christian, or a believer of any kind, is because of rationality. The Rational Approach, maybe?

  58. Or maybe The Scientific Method? But I also like The Rhythm Method.

  59. I just made my $20 donation.

    One suggestion, I don't like blogs with black backgrounds - they tend to be tough to read, you know, bifocals & all that -

    Just sayin-

  60. Hey MacGuyver Jr-

    Whats the count so far, or have you shamelessly pissed it all away on on-line gambling and whores?

  61. Ben - he spent most of it on gzmbling and whores, the rest he wasted.

    My contribution to the whore fund is sent.

  62. I'll give a number after the end of this week. We WILL have enough to get the hosting I was hoping for. I also want to see if we will have enough for a small thank-you to all who contributed. I want to get the name figured out next...

    No hookers and blow...


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