Harvest Century September 22nd

Please step up and support BikePortland today

Posted by on August 28th, 2015 at 1:15 pm

Michael and Jonathan

Michael (L) and Jonathan.

I need to interrupt our regularly scheduled programming with a quick note about finances.

I’ll be blunt: BikePortland as we know it today cannot continue to thrive unless more readers step up more often with financial support.

2015 is a huge year for us. Not only does it mark a full decade of our existence, it’s also a make-or-break year for our future. As many of you loyal BikePortlanders who’ve been reading since the start know, this site has grown and changed a lot in the past ten years. At first it was just a side thing, then I decided to take a huge risk and pour all of my professional and personal energy into it. Did that risk pay off? Is BikePortland a success? Yes and no.

In many ways BikePortland is an unqualified success. But in one very important way, it’s not. Let me put it this way: The business side of things has not grown and matured at the same rate as the product side of things. With my focus solely on the creation of great stories and building a community media outlet we can all be proud of, I have neglected the financial side of things.

To keep this dream alive my family and I have made financial sacrifices that I can no longer continue to make. Sorry if that sounds doom-and-gloom but reality is sometimes like that.

The great news is that we have a plan. That plan includes you. We’re not ready to reveal all of it just yet, but in the coming weeks rest assured that the way you read, interact, and support BikePortland will change.

To help us see that plan through and embark on these changes we need your support now more than ever.

If you think what we do here matters; if you think Portland is a better place because of our in-depth coverage of important issues; if you think BikePortland should ride into the next 10 years with the same fresh legs and optimistic ambition we started with 10 years ago, then please consider making a financial contribution today.

You can make a contribution online with a credit card via our secure form or send us a check. All the details are on our Support Page.

Thanks for helping us do what we do… And stay tuned for the announcement of our big 10th Birthday Party!

Please support BikePortland.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

136 Comments
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    Adam Herstein August 28, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    Donated! Thanks, Jonathan, for your continuing support and reporting of bike issues here. This site is vital to our community and Portland as a whole would be worse off without it. If there’s any other way for me to donate my time, I’d be happy to help!

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    daisy August 28, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    I donated! Sorry I can help out more right now. Bike Portland has been a huge part of my transition to being a year-round bike commuter. I’ve learned a lot from the posts and comments. And it’s been so helpful in helping me get an understanding of local and state politics and how political issues impact what I’m experiencing every day on the roads. Thanks, and good luck!

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    Have you considered something like Patreon so people could subscribe, and thus get a more regular donation incoming vs. the occasional one-time donation?

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 28, 2015 at 1:41 pm

      Hi Nathan,

      Thanks for that suggestion. I’ve considered many options over the years… What I’ve settled on is a more custom and integrated set-up that will allow people to sign up to become a subscriber (a.k.a. BikePortlander!) right on the site. And yes, the whole program will revolve around a monthly subscription price. I’m working with a developer to iron out the kinks and we’re getting close. I’ll share more about how it will work once the launch is closer.

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        Adam H. August 28, 2015 at 1:48 pm

        What benefits will subscribers get over non-subscribing members?

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          Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 28, 2015 at 1:57 pm

          sorry to be coy Adam but I’d rather wait until a more official announcement before sharing more of the details. Thanks for understanding.

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            Adam H. August 28, 2015 at 2:01 pm

            No worries! I’m just eager to hear about your future plans! Whatever they are, free hats should be involved. 🙂

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            Aaron September 1, 2015 at 3:18 pm

            I’m excited. I’m a dedicated, adblocking internet mooch but yours is one of the few content outlets I’ll pay for!

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      q`Tzal August 28, 2015 at 1:43 pm

      Or if you are going to do this NPR style you could have one of those hokey donation thermometers; visible between the end of the article and the comments.

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    Adam H. August 28, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    Also, Jonathan, have you considered “hiring” volunteer mods for the comments section to ease the load off you and Michael?

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 28, 2015 at 2:00 pm

      I have considered that… But it’s not as easy as you might think. The biggest reason I haven’t delegated the comment moderation is because I take it very seriously and it’s not something I trust anyone else to do. Besides Michael that is, and I need to make sure Michael’s time is optimized for reporting and writing.

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        Done right, community moderation works well. I understand taking it seriously and being wary of trusting others to do it, but if you’re spending more time moderating comments than doing your other tasks, that’s something you could easily get help with. I’ve been involved in various websites with community moderation features and it saves a lot of time for the paid staff or appointed “moderators”. There’s a lot more to community moderation approaches these days than just assigning somebody keys to the kingdom. A reputation system which allows people incremental access to moderation tools is a way to provide accountability and responsibility to the community. For example, if 5 users vote to delete a post, and those users have a good reputation, that post probably should be deleted. If a post has a lot of links and is held for moderation because it might be spam, and 5 users review it and say it’s actually OK, it’s probably OK.

        I’d take a look at https://communitybuilding.stackexchange.com/, it has a lot of thoughtful questions about how to manage online communities. I would also suggest looking at something more nuanced than basic WordPress comments. http://www.discourse.org/ is a good open source discussion platform built on modern technology with good community moderation features, and might be worth checking out.

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          B. Carfree August 28, 2015 at 6:37 pm

          I would be concerned that if BP went the community moderation route you suggest, then it would quickly close off the range of opinions represented even more than it currently has. Someone who raises negative points about whatever is the popular thing of the day may find her comments taken down and would then likely cease to participate.

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            Valid concern, but not impossible to solve. The first step is to have clear community guidelines so people know what’s tolerated and what isn’t. People shouldn’t be voting to delete something “because I disagree”, they should be voting to delete something “because it’s inappropriate”. Making people choose a reason for deleting for a list (e.g. spam, offensive, off topic, etc.) helps you figure out if people are removing things for the right reason.

            Many websites with successful large communities – and I’m talking orders of magnitude larger than Bike Portland – do quite well with only a handful of official “moderators”, and letting the average user do the rest of the work.

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              Bill Walters August 29, 2015 at 10:46 am

              +1 on having clear, prominently posted commenting guidelines — preferably including one that prohibits relentlessly pushing a factually discredited position. (That’s what so often spoils the value of the comments for me, anyway.)

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              Mossby Pomegranate August 29, 2015 at 10:38 pm

              Unfortunately that goes on here all the time. Simply having a differing political view gets you permanently moderated into oblivion.

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        wsbob August 28, 2015 at 6:31 pm

        I don’t visit many forums for comparisons to this one, but one I do visit periodically and have mentioned here in past, is bikeforums. Far as I know, the moderators for that site are volunteers, and by their names, it appears some of them have been with that forum for a long time. General tone of discussion based on what I see in Classic and Vintage, and Activism and Safety categories seems to tend be fairly civil and good, but can get wild; and when it gets too wild, the mods step in.

        Other items offered by the example of bikeforums, is a better type of ad format and a site format that can utilize it well. Specifically, the site format uses the entire area of the widescreen monitor rather than wasting part of it with the big green border of bikeportland’s format (maybe I’ve got the computer’s settings for this site, set incorrectly?). Besides wasting space, the green border color is not so good.

        The ad format to the other site, is a large horizontal space above all the forum categories…one of those that custom presents ads related to what the viewer has been shopping for online.

        You could do a paywall too, after individual readers have enjoyed ‘x’ number of guest views. More news sites seem to be doing this.

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          soren August 28, 2015 at 9:27 pm

          i would really appreciate it if bikeportland offered google wallet or some other non-paypal payment service.

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            wsbob August 30, 2015 at 12:04 am

            Mechanisms, systems, etc for contribution are out there, and will be useful if there is enough reader support to get a sufficient amount of contribution. I guess that content and marketing have much to do with how broad and of what volume the base of support can be.

            There’s a certain annoyance accompanying their periodic contribution campaigns, but local public television and classical music stations seem to manage to raise operational and capital investment funds as needed. And to do it, they rely on lots of volunteers, and hard work, good people with good, positive attitudes. Their on-air hosts are pleasant in making their pitch for the moolah.

            There are choices and consequences to how an organization chooses to or feels it must present itself.

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        Jeff Bernards August 31, 2015 at 4:00 am

        As a business student graduate, my teacher said a major key to success is being able to delegate authority, trusting those around you. It has worked for me.
        good luck

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    Lester Burnham August 28, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    You and Michael look very happy together. I plan on donating!

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 28, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      Thanks Lester!

      And I appreciate that you continue to read and comment even though I don’t let some of your comments through. I assume you understand my reasons for deleting them? If not, I’m always happy to explain.

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    Alison Graves August 28, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Donated. Your coverage of and commitment to a broad range of issues is first rate. Thanks for creating such a trusted and important source of information — and inspiration! Mission accomplished.

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    SilkySlim August 28, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Donated!

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    Christi Utz August 28, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    Okay, I’ve donated. Since I read the articles it seems fair.

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    Rob Burton August 28, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    Glad to donate. I find myself here often for information about Portland’s cycling community.

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    KC August 28, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Done. Thanks for all you both do!

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    Middle of the Road guy August 28, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    Can’t we just tax cars more since the cyclists are obviously paying their fair share?

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    Dweendaddy August 28, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    BikePortland gear might help, as well, on a few levels.
    First, you will make a little money off the sales.
    Second, people will fell connected.
    Third, it is advertising when people wear it.
    Some of the bike advocacy groups have done this, though I do not know how much money it brings in.
    T shirts
    Hats
    Bags
    These might be an easy way to start. I bet you have some talented designer readers who could help with cool graphics and design ideas.

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      GirlOnTwoWheels August 31, 2015 at 12:39 pm

      Patches that can be attached to bike bags

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    RH August 28, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    How about a raffle. Every dollar you contribute gets your name on a list, etc… The winner get a bike, custom bike tour of Portland, etc….You could make a simple excel sheet and use some simple formulas to pick a winner.

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    Alexandra August 28, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    This is one of my favorite blogs, and I am more than happy to donate. Glad to see others are doing the same!

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    Seth Alford August 28, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    What’s the recommended monthly donation amount? Have you set prices for the subscription service?

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    dan August 28, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    Donated! Not much to ask given that I’ve been reading for 10 years. Looking forward to see what you roll out for the subscription program.

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    Anne Hawley August 28, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    I made a small donation, and I’m hoping for the chance to set up a recurring one (which lets me be more generous more easily). As I said when this subject came up before on BP, I’ll happily scrap my HuluPlus subscription and transfer that money here, where I get much better information and engagement.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 28, 2015 at 3:50 pm

      That’s very nice of you Anne. HuluPlus! wow. ;-). I can’t wait to share more about our subscription program. Stay tuned.

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    Aaron August 28, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    Jonathan,

    I’m open to the idea of donating; however, I’d like to know why there’s a financial issue for the site. I see you have quite a few banner ads, and there are sponsored posts. It’s a pretty specialized site, so I can’t imagine bandwidth costs are very high. Do you use the site to make a living?

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      bethh August 28, 2015 at 3:42 pm

      Aaron, he said above that he decided to pour all of his professional energy into this site, I read that to mean it’s his sole paying job.

      Donated! It’s a tiny bit awkward to ask for money and also hint that you’re going to set up some sort of subscription model – I might have donated more if this is a one-time (or once-annual) donation, but I held back in case there’s shortly going to be a fee associated with the site somehow. But I’m happy to help kick in, this is one of my primary sources for Portland news.

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        Aaron August 28, 2015 at 3:45 pm

        Woops. Missed that. Thanks.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 28, 2015 at 3:48 pm

      Aaron asked:

      I’d like to know why there’s a financial issue for the site

      Because we have not made enough money every year to be a stable business for the past 7 years or so. That type of deficit adds up and puts a big strain on things.

      I see you have quite a few banner ads and there are sponsored posts.

      Yes we do! And we’re very grateful for our advertisers. The issue is that the web advertising universe is in constant flux and relying on banners is very risky business. It can literally be feast or famine. Sponsored posts are something I’ve been seeking more of in order to build in a bit more stability… But even that approach has limitations. I want to have 100% freedom over our editorial choices… However I am willing to sacrifice some of that freedom to make the business work. That doesn’t mean I am going to start running annoying infomercials or anything.. that just means I am looking for great partnerships that work for everyone… Like our Lloyd District series with Hassalo on Eighth, our Ride Alongs with Portland Design Works (and Metromile before that), our partnerships with 21st Avenue Bicycles, Cycle Oregon, and so on.

      I can’t imagine bandwidth costs are very high

      Aaron. We are running a business. It’s more than bandwidth. Michael Andersen is a seriously talented reporter and we pay him a competitive rate (and are very lucky that he wants to work here). We also pay to rent an office downtown, we have a robust dedicated server bill that reflects the fact that we have a massive database of posts and comments with a lot of potential security risks. I pay a web developer to make sure everything looks good and stays up to date. We are also investing in some major new features and the upcoming subscriber program I’ve mentioned. And so on and so forth.

      Do you use the site to make a living?

      Umm yes. From about 2008 up until a few months ago BikePortland was my family’s sole source of income. I have three kids ages 4, 10 and 12 and my family counts on me to “bring home the bacon” as they say. Because things have gotten so tight, my wife Juli has gone back to work part time. That’s not ideal, but she’s doing it because she believes in me and this site and wants it work out. But she’s also been waiting for it to “work out” (meaning be much more stable) for many many years and she’s understandably at the end of the line.

      Any other questions?

      I’ve hesitated being completely candid about all this stuff for years because I think it erodes the faith and strength in our brand if I’m saying, “hey! we’re broke and about to turn out the lights”. But I think the time has come for a bit more transparency and truth-telling.

      And one other thing.. Spend a few minutes on Google researching people trying to make a living running a topical blog focused on one topic in one city. Then try to find one that has survived for 10 years. It’s not easy and it’s not a cash cow to say the least. This is something I love and I’m very lucky to even have the chance to try and make this dream come true. That’s what I’m doing and I’m hopeful – that with your help — we can make it through this bump in the road and be even stronger in the end. Thanks.

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        Pete August 28, 2015 at 4:01 pm

        Speaking of the banner ads, does it help if readers make it a habit to “click through” on the ads to check out your sponsors’ web sites? If I’m not mistaken, you’re compensated for unique traffic driven to those sites, yes? (I know it’s not much, but collectively anything would help, right?).

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          Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 28, 2015 at 4:39 pm

          Clicking on the ads you see here is great because it gives our partners more exposure and business. But don’t feel like you need to do it because we get paid per click. I don’t believe in that type of nonsense. Advertisers who are only worried about click-through rates usually aren’t the type of people I work with. It’s my responsibility to create amazing content and deliver advertisers’ banners in the most prominent way possible next to our readers eyeballs… But I am not responsible for whether people decide to click on a certain ad… so I don’t enter into cost-per-click arrangements.

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            Pete August 28, 2015 at 6:58 pm

            Understood, but your banner ads do seem pretty targeted at stuff I’m interested in. It’s not like TV where all you get are car ads… 🙂

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              bjorn August 28, 2015 at 7:59 pm

              Regardless of if you click, if you use an ad blocking service like adblock plus it is obviously important to whitelist bikeportland since their ads are unobtrusive and help pay for the site. I use an adblocker mostly to get rid of popups and other very in your face ads but I whitelist well run sites.

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                GK August 30, 2015 at 5:13 pm

                I don’t whitelist bikeportland and my adblocker can’t block ads on this site. These ads are static…and it doesn’t look like this is a standard impression nor, ppc model for ad buying.

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        Lisa August 29, 2015 at 9:11 am

        IDK, Jonathan. I see a lot of unnecessary snark in your reply. You’re asking people for money, for pete’s sake. Of course there will be questions. Did you think there wouldn’t be?

        Would it be possible for you to go out and get a supplementary job? As an experiential benefit, it might help you as a reporter to be able to relate better to the people who typically aren’t served so well by your blog: folks who have to hustle from one minimum wage job to another while caring for their kids and getting around by bike.

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          9watts August 29, 2015 at 9:14 am

          snark?
          I missed it.

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          Scott Mizee August 30, 2015 at 6:02 am

          You are making a poor attempt at humor, right Lisa? I don’t get offended very easily, but… Wow…

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        GK August 30, 2015 at 5:18 pm

        Thanks for being candid on your finances in this response. It’s hard when you’re the breadmaker in the family. Just a suggestion, but maybe cutting costs to help with budgeting might help. For instance…getting rid of your office downtown might help you with finances? Is it a necessary cost to your business?

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          Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 31, 2015 at 9:49 am

          thanks for the suggestion GK, but having an office is really essential IMO. If we want to be taken seriously by our sources and partners, having an office downtown to meet them is very important. Our office also gives us the chance to have events like Wonk Nights and Happy Hours (coming soon).

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      dan August 28, 2015 at 4:35 pm

      The downside is that being a “pretty specialized site” also limits your advertising revenue, whether you get paid per impression or per click.

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    Robert Burchett August 28, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    I’m curious–did your revenue increase when I clicked on that e-bike ad?

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      Robert Burchett August 28, 2015 at 9:01 pm

      Oops, I see that was answered above (no)

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        Alan 1.0 August 28, 2015 at 9:58 pm

        Well, “no” on the pay-per-click, but advertisers certainly watch the HTTP referer to their site and they know which sites are sending them traffic, so they’ll pay accordingly.

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    Brian August 28, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Done, and link added to the NWTA facebook page. I, too, am looking forward to helping more with the subscription option. Thanks for all of the mountain bike coverage over the years, Jonathan.

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    JJ Ark August 28, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    So the climate for web advertising is not what it used to be.

    Take a look at a site like, say KGW or CNN.com and you will find that THEY accept scam ads now to keep the lights on. “New Rule in Arizona” type stuff.

    We are lucky that Jonathan doesn’t accept that type of advertising, instead, delivering us ads that are worth our time to look at.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 28, 2015 at 4:37 pm

      Thanks for noticing that JJ Ark.

      It’s true. I could make more money by putting a bunch of obnoxious ads everywhere but I don’t do that because I have too much respect for you.

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      Pete August 28, 2015 at 6:59 pm

      I did hear about some really cool new laws that will lower my auto insurance!! 😉

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    AndyC of Linnton August 28, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    Only had a tiny drop in the ol’ Paypal account, but glad to send it over. Looking forward to donating more in the future.
    What you’ve built here is pretty amazing. As others have said, I cannot now imagine a Portland without this blog. Also tell that Anderson character that I miss the “Only on the Bus” feature from Portland Afoot. Perhaps it could go on the back page of the Mercury?
    Have a good weekend, can’t wait for the 10th anniversary party!

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    Dwaine Dibbly August 28, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    I was thinking, yeah, I guess I’ll donate, eventually. Then I thought about what it would be like this place wasn’t around, if the community didn’t have this “town square”. I drop by nearly every day (even if I don’t leave any replies) and I’d certainly feel the loss. Donation made. I’m sorry it isn’t more, but things are tight.

    I’d love to have a BikePortland t-shirt! Please consider offering some merch. Maybe there are people here who would donate time, etc, to help with designs, etc?

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      Pete August 28, 2015 at 7:00 pm

      “Then I thought about what it would be like this place wasn’t around…”

      I, for one, would get a lot more done at work. 😉

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    skibyak August 28, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    I’ve donated before and I’ll donate again right now. But its great that you are going to a automated monthly opt-in plan. I’m in on that too. I hardly ever miss a day of BikePortland.

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    SE August 28, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    I quit posting and mostly reading because of the spotty moderation.
    when a nice, no nonsense post is assembled and submitted and it goes into “awaiting moderation” status and then disappears, something is rotten.
    My guess is that it’s an overactive mod , evening some perceived slight.
    That’s how I see it. You may disagree, but I see various remarks about disappearing posts in lots of threads.

    You guys need to sharpen up if you want to make a self supporting vehicle out of BikePortland.org … IMHO

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      bjorn August 28, 2015 at 8:02 pm

      I’ve never had anything blocked that wasn’t fueled by a bit of alcohol and possibly anger. If anything I thank Jonathan for saving me from myself and repost later after giving it some more thought. I can’t think of any other site that does a better job of moderating comments.

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      Alan 1.0 August 28, 2015 at 8:55 pm

      …when a nice, no nonsense post is assembled and submitted and it goes into “awaiting moderation” status and then disappears, something is rotten.

      Yeah, that same “moderation monster” bit me last week, too. Several people have mentioned it and Jonathan has acknowledged there’s a bug. The rotten part is in some script or buffer, not in the moderator, so I don’t take it personally but I agree it is aggravating to have a thoughtful reply disappear without a trace, especially since they often seem to be longer messages with more time and effort in them.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 31, 2015 at 9:42 am

      Thanks for sharing this SE. There are a number of things than can happen to a comment after it gets posted. Some are bugs, some or errors we need to fix, some we do purposely as part of our moderation procedure.

      Whenever there’s an issue, please let us know either via email, in a comment, or on twitter and I will try and get it sorted out. I have a wordpress expert on our team who looks into these types of issues.

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    Mark August 28, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    Swag? Man, I love buying tshirts, beanies, baby onesies….

    Stickers?

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      MaxD August 31, 2015 at 9:52 am

      water bottles?

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    Christopher Sanderson August 28, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    I love the idea of subscribing too, and I would gladly sign up. Jonathan, I come to this site everyday to read up on what is going on bicycling here in Oregon. The content you and Michael publish is excellent, intriguing, and informative. I know that I am more engaged in transit issues here in Portland because of this blog, so I am very grateful that you continue to do this. Thanks for your work, and I hope that it can be more profitable for you and Michael in the future.

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    Glenn August 28, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    The advertising model is a dead duck anyway. It has gotten waaay out of control. Big successful companies like Google, Facebook et al, who don’t actually sell anything per se, make 85-95% of their revenue from advertising. And this in turn is the motivation for all their privacy abuses and tracking nonsense. People are sick of it and installing ad-blocking software in record numbers. In fact I spent a big chunk of today installing ad blockers, script blockers, firewalls and host files. So, good luck reaching me with an ad. But unfortunately that applies to ALL ads. So a few bad apples spoiled the bunch for all advertisers. Or maybe they killed the goose that laid the golden eggs, by abusing the audience to the point of blocking them out entirely. Regardless I don’t think selling online ads will be profitable for much longer. In a lot of places/publications, ads will creep into the content/be the content. You won’t even know you’re reading an ad. It’s kind of like that already.

    Community sites like BP that want to retain some integrity now have to decide how to support themselves, and I think the answer is community support/crowdfunding/subscription. Something like BikePortland SHOULD be supported by the community, since it basically IS a community. BTW each of the ad blockers etc. etc. I installed today is supported by an (open source developer) community all of whom care about the same issue and worked on it for free. That’s when things are at their best anyway – people working toward something they care about and not just playing each other for suckers to get a dollar. It also tends to lead to a lot of democracy and autonomy at the community level, go figure. So rather than “oh darn we have to pay for content” I hope people are more like “Thank goodness we finally own the content.” Because paying gets you ownership. And free usually ends up costing most of all.

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    Matt August 28, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    I really really appreciate the site and visit it every day. BikePortland is inspirational and has reinforced and contributed to major lifestyle changes for me. I have contributed and am happy to do it again

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    Steven Soto August 28, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    Jon, thanks for everything that you do. I sincerely hope that this funding push helps keep the lights on a while longer. I’m in for a subscription as well. I look forward to seeing details.

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    CarsAreFunToo August 28, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    Dang, I wouldn’t have taken that five bucks if I knew y’all were hard up for cash.

    Actually, no. I would still have taken it.

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      PorterStout September 1, 2015 at 12:48 pm

      No doubt. You’ll need it. And a lot more.

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    Anne Hawley August 28, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    I would definitely buy a BikePortland tshirt. Seems like it would have some out of town cool, too. Bigger market than just us locals.

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    maccoinnich August 28, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    I just donated, gladly. Going forward I would love the option to donate a small amount of money on a regular basis. I hate to use the example of a site that eventually folded, but I used to give month every month to Andrew Sullivan’s blog ‘The Dish’. Although the content of the two sites couldn’t be more different, there are certainly similarities between the two. Both sites have a loyal readership that checks the site not just every day, but multiple times a day. The comments (or the emails, in the case of The Dish) are often as good as the original content.

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    9watts August 28, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    I can’t overstate what bikeportland means to me. Others have already made this point eloquently here in the comments.

    A small thought experiment: In a perfect world, (most of) the ads would go away and we who read and benefit from this site would contribute to keep the lights on and Jonathan’s kids fed. I get the feeling that there are a lot of folks who are regular readers (thousands?). If the budget is $200,000/yr (I just made that up I have no idea if that is a good number) and there were 4,000 regular readers who could be persuaded to pony up, that would only be $50/yr. I’d be pleased to subscribe at a higher level than that so others who might not have spare cash could also enjoy this.

    I look forward to the party too, and just contributed, again. I hope you/we raised thousands today!

    Thanks you two. You do amazing, valuable work, every day.

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    JoeL August 28, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    This is one of a handful of sites I check everyday. I appreciate the news and the community. I, too, vote for t-shirts. I would be happy to provide some advertising. Maybe a sticker for my helmet. In the mean time, donated. I pays my way in this world.

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      9watts August 28, 2015 at 10:31 pm

      If we’re tallying votes for and against merchandise, here’s a vote against all that. The world is already overfull of cheap clothing and branded objects. Please skip the goodies, cut to the chase, and send 100% of the money to Michael and Jonathan and their subcontractors.

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    Curt August 28, 2015 at 11:02 pm

    Happy to donate now, and I look forward to the subscription program. Honestly I feel like I get most of my Portland news right here (not just the bike-related news).

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    Vanessa August 29, 2015 at 5:48 am

    Thanks for asking. I have learned so much over the years from BikePortland, all for free. Very much appreciate all the reporting you do.

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    Clarence Eckerson Jr. August 29, 2015 at 7:39 am

    Of course I am giving. Although Streetfilms could also use the funding departing from my wallet, it’s very important we all support each other to show how fragile our budgets are and supporting quality journalism and bike work is.

    In NYC I give $20 a month to the Riders Alliance, but other than the really cold Winter months I may only take the subway a few times per month. Still it is important work they do and contributes to a better society. Thanks so much to all you guys do. I know it is hard.

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    JMH August 29, 2015 at 8:00 am

    I don’t even live in Portland and I’m considering a donation. I love the ride along features so much! I can’t tell you how wonderful those pieces are. This is a wonderful site.

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    barb lin August 29, 2015 at 9:02 am

    Donated! I check in regularly to see what the feel of the community is and increasingly this year to get breaking news. BP is my news source for new developments of all sorts around the city. Thank you!

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    Angel August 29, 2015 at 9:32 am

    I am interested in volunteering some of my time on a regular basis to work in marketing and related behind-the-scenes efforts to help make Bike Portland a more viable website. (I was interested in doing that before this post came out, and was trying to figure out how to bring it up!)

    Contact me!

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    Jessie August 29, 2015 at 10:07 am

    “So rather than “oh darn we have to pay for content” I hope people are more like “Thank goodness we finally own the content.” Because paying gets you ownership. And free usually ends up costing most of all.””

    Well said! I’d much rather pay for the true cost of good quality journalism, than have to wade thru more ads.

    Bike Portland has become my go-to news site. Not just for Bike news, but surprisingly often for Portland news.

    It’s a scandal that in providing such a community service, Jonathan barely makes a living doing this. Remember the story about the ants and the grasshopper? The ants worked all summer while the grasshopper “played” his music? When winter came the ants derided the grasshopper for “playing” when he should have been “working”? And left him out in the cold? Well, it was the grasshopper’s MUSIC that sustained the ants as they slogged thru their dreary labors! They should have brought the grasshopper in and fed & housed him all winter for his “service”.

    And so should we.

    DONATED!

    Signed, “She who has a VISA and knows how to use it!”

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    Jessie August 29, 2015 at 10:21 am

    And yes, I would love to buy a Bike Portland shirt. One of those ugly, yellow fluorescent bike shirts the cars can see a mile away so they don’t HIT me. And, for afters, I want a 100% cotton t-shirt (probably black, goes with everything) that I can wear (as yet another opportunity) to impress upon my friends that I, a little-old-lady, overweight & out-of-shape, is actually BIKING the mean streets of Portland. . . .because I know which streets to ride on and which to avoid because I read the bikeportland blog!!!!! Size large. And, may I say, on behalf of all the other L-O-L’s of Portland. . . . Love you!

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      Anne Hawley August 31, 2015 at 12:22 pm

      L-O-Ls of Portland! I love it. I’m in!

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    Dan August 29, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Yes to soft cotton t-shirts, wool socks, double darn caps, purist water bottles, stickers. And if click-through purchasing was set up for WBW, I would definitely click-through from here.

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    Emily G August 29, 2015 at 11:04 am

    Donated! After all, there would be no BikeLoudPDX without the BikePortland community. Thank you so much for creating this fantastic space.

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    Adron Hall August 29, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    I’d like to donate, and will shortly, but gotta say I’d REALLY like to just make a monthly donation ala a subscription. I’d even be happy to put up a sizable chunk, maybe a couple hundred a month as I easlily value you guys reporting far more than a mere couple hundred a month – alas I aint rich (yet). If I could I’d just fund the whole enterprise ad infinum and give you the team 100% journalistic freedom of all sorts. 🙂

    Anyway… just +1 for a subscription model of some sort. I’m going to find that donate button now.

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    Tom Shipley August 29, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    There is no free lunch. Pay for what you use. You are not a nonprofit and need and should be paid and provide a service .. Not donated to. Set up subscription fee. I will pay then

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  • Bryan Hance
    Bryan Hance August 29, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    Donated, and I’d support subscriptions as well. I like how Metafilter has been able to make this model work, with some super light advertising, and I hope you can get it ironed out as well.

    Keep up the good work.

    -bryan, bikeindex.org

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    A August 29, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    Metafilter charges $5 to sign up for a lifetime membership, membership gets you the option to post comments (and the option to turn off ads if you really want to), relies on user donations (you can get an I DONATED star in your profile if you have ever donated), and uses The Deck for ads http://decknetwork.net/

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    Barney August 29, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    There are a number of sites out there (some that I subscribe to) that allow full access to with a modest annual fee. You can lurk for free but to comment you need to be a paid member.

    These days I mostly lurk on BP. I used to comment more often but I got a lot of snark in response to my posts. Even though I ride thousands of miles per year and have been an avid lifelong cyclist, I have often felt as though I didn’t fit the demographic, that my opinion as a cyclist was not a valid one here. The political bent of the most active contributors seems to discourage any dissent among the contributors.

    I probably won’t subscribe (if you go that route) since it often seems too difficult to have a reasonable conversation on BP. There seems to be a little too much intolerance for people who have differing opinions to the “group-think” that exists among the contributers at Bike Portland. Although I think you are doing a pretty good job with the site, some cyclists views simply will not be accepted on this site, and it is not worth paying for an extended argument each time I make a post.

    If you choose to go with the pay wall, you may be able to effectively monetize the site, but you may well lose your status as the primary advocate for the PDX cycling community. It is a difficult choice, if you can’t make the site successful financially it may disappear, if you can make it a financial success you may lose your advocacy status. Life is full of these choices. Good luck and best wishes!

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      9watts August 29, 2015 at 9:44 pm

      Interesting. Since you and I spar here sometimes I reread a bunch of your comments just now. I hope you stick around and/or that Jonathan’s model for how to fund this doesn’t cause you to skip out on future conversations. I agree that diversity is vital, but so is civility and compassion. Sometimes you (and I) receive a drubbing here in the comments section, not because our opinion differs from the majority (though that also happens) but because we could have said it better, nicer, less stridently.

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        Barney August 30, 2015 at 2:04 pm

        I too went back to look at past comments. I noticed that for a while there was another Barney also posting here. That’s why I put my avatar up, to distinguish between us. Though some of my earlier posts in 2008 may have been without my smiling face!

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      Middle of the Road guy August 29, 2015 at 11:45 pm

      “The political bent of the most active contributors seems to discourage any dissent among the contributors.”

      You got that right…it’s like most people here can’t even imagine there might be conservative cyclists.

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        Barney August 31, 2015 at 7:03 pm

        “You got that right…it’s like most people here can’t even imagine there might be conservative cyclists.” MOTRG.

        Well you would be wrong if you thought that. Perhaps that is part of the problem with BP and trying to have a civil conversation.

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      wsbob August 30, 2015 at 12:23 am

      “…There seems to be a little too much intolerance for people who have differing opinions to the “group-think” that exists among the contributers at Bike Portland. …” Barney

      Barney…very interesting statement. I think one of the toughest jobs of forum moderation must be how to support the expression of differing opinions, while at the same time minimizing the compulsion on the part of some people, to accompany their expression with meanness towards people they disagree with.

      An increase in moderation of comments in support of those that are more well thought out and evenly tempered, could encourage more substantial discussion about some of the serious issues bikeportland tries to bring to the awareness of a broader range of people in Portland and beyond.

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    MK August 29, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    Thanks for all of your hard work over the years, Jonathan. After moving to PDX in 2007, I credit my involvement in the cycling scene to your site as a constant resource for news, event info, and advocacy opportunities. I just donated and would happy to do so again in the future.

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    Glen Koorey August 30, 2015 at 12:23 am

    Donated! I don’t live in Portland (heck, I don’t even live in Nth America), but I have always enjoyed the cycling aspects of my visits to Portland. And more importantly I was always inspired by the amazing energy and diversity of coverage I found at the Bike Portland website to help make the Portland bike community what it is. It was (and continues to be) one of the key inspirations to me getting a similar website “Cycling in Christchurch” (http://cyclingchristchurch.co.nz/) operating in my own city. Unlike Jonathan, I don’t think it will ever end up being my dayjob, but I’m enjoying the contribution I’m making to cycling here too – asphalt and paint alone will only get you so far!

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    Mark August 30, 2015 at 9:29 am

    What about moving to a forum model of comments? Seems less hassle and people would log in.

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    pamalama August 30, 2015 at 9:45 am

    I am more than happy to contribute to BikePortland. As someone who’s profession is in transportation, your blog is vital to my work and keeps me connected to a community I care deeply about. My 4 main sources of news are OPB, BBC, Democracy Now, and Bike Portland. I hope you are able to keep up your excellent journalism and blog. Thank you, thank you, thank you….

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    JMH August 30, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    OK, I made a small contribution. I’ll happily subscribe if that becomes an option. I hadn’t thought of the lack of skanky click bait. I get so used to seeing that crap that my tunnel vision kicks in and I ignore the embedded ad content. Of course all the bike related ads are great! And, yeah, I should pay for the content that I like. There’s no such thing as a free ride. Having said that, I really want more ride along posts. Jonathan and Michael, Keep up the great work for many years to come.

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    Carlton Reid August 30, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    Donated! Jonathan and Michael do an amazing job. I read the site from the UK (even when I’m not visiting Portland).

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    ES August 30, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    Done! I so appreciate the great job that you do covering local news and events. Your blog is a daily read for me and I’m happy to support!

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    mh August 30, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    A(nother) check from my credit union should reach you on 9/3.

    If we get some credit in your new subscription system for our rescue payments, great. If not, I’m reimbursing for some of the information I’ve slurped up in the past many years for free.

    mh

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    Zimmerman August 30, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    Contribution made!

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    A Lynch August 31, 2015 at 7:00 am

    I will definitely send along a donation and look forward to hearing about the subscription model. I did the same last year for Streetsblog Chicago and I owe this site even more. It was Bike Portland that really introduced me to urban planning and helped me ‘learn the lingo’. This has paid off well with a urban planning graduate degree and transportation planner job where I was just appointed Bicycle/Ped Coordinator. I don’t want to imagine life without this blog.

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    SE August 31, 2015 at 7:57 am

    Alan 1.0
    …when a nice, no nonsense post is assembled and submitted and it goes into “awaiting moderation” status and then disappears, something is rotten.Yeah, that same “moderation monster” bit me last week, too. Several people have mentioned it and Jonathan has acknowledged there’s a bug. The rotten part is in some script or buffer, not in the moderator, so I don’t take it personally but I agree it is aggravating to have a thoughtful reply disappear without a trace, especially since they often seem to be longer messages with more time and effort in them.Recommended 6

    The BPO “moderator bug” has been happening for some time. If JM was concerned, it would have been addressed by now.

    I’ve been in IT a long time , and have seen many things blamed on a “computer glitch”. It’s the default excuse when someone doesn’t know or is concealing.

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      9watts August 31, 2015 at 8:02 am

      So glib.
      I too have had plenty (hundreds?) of my comments end up in moderation, though few have ultimately gone poof. But your suggestion that the continued problems with moderation errors (a) looks like a simple fix to you, and (b) is therefore due to Jonathan wanting to conceal his true motives strikes me as ridiculous. While I wish this glitch would get fixed as well, I think we should allow for other possible explanations in the meantime.

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    SE August 31, 2015 at 8:41 am

    9watts
    So glib. I too have had plenty (hundreds?) of my comments end up in moderation, though few have ultimately gone poof. But your suggestion that the continued problems with moderation errors (a) looks like a simple fix to you, and (b) is therefore due to Jonathan wanting to conceal his true motives strikes me as ridiculous. While I wish this glitch would get fixed as well, I think we should allow for other possible explanations in the meantime.Recommended 2

    Oh my, are you off base.

    I did NOT say it was a simple fix. I did say that if JM was concerned , it would have been addressed by now.
    I did NOT name or mention any JM motives.

    I have had disagreements with MA, and do not trust.

    I DO suggest that you actually read a comment before making silly responses.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 31, 2015 at 9:58 am

      SE.

      First, please don’t be mean to other commenters. You too 9watts. Please don’t make the back-and-forths personal. Stay focused on issues and respect others’ viewpoints.

      And secondly SE, I can assure you that I welcome opposing viewpoints. If you knew me better and we had a chance to talk you would realize that bringing in different perspectives is one of my most important decision-making principals. I love when people disagree with the conventional wisdom and try very hard to not have a bubble or echo-chamber atmosphere here.

      Unfortunately, what often happens is that people who disagree with the majority opinion also tend to have more pointed and mean comments.. which means I have to either delete them or edit them.

      Because technology is imperfect and I don’t have a million dollar IT budget, things do slip through the cracks and I absolutely am not 100% perfect all the time.

      If you have specific cases where you feel I’ve been unfair or gotten something wrong, please email me – jonathan@bikeportland. org and I will address it and make it right.

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        Barney August 31, 2015 at 7:19 pm

        I think what often start as disagreements quickly escalate to arguments when they should simply be conversations. That is the nature of anonymous forums as demonstrated on this blog. That might be toned down somewhat by requiring a verified ID to participate on this blog.

        It will still be difficult to eliminate some of the conflict which occurs due to the biases that people who live in this bubble (PDX) hold, as demonstrated by Middle of the Road Guy.

        “You got that right…it’s like most people here can’t even imagine there might be conservative cyclists.”

        Great. It’s a big world, get out much?

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          Zimmerman August 31, 2015 at 8:41 pm

          I’m in 100% agreement with you. I’d fully support the verified use of real names.

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    Spiffy August 31, 2015 at 9:42 am

    didn’t there used to be a list of contributors so that you got a little bit of fame for your donation?

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    Aixe Djelal August 31, 2015 at 10:23 am

    Donated. Thanks for all you do – this has a terrific news source for years. I am looking forward to hearing about your plans for making the blog work better financially.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu August 31, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Donated last year, donated again just now, and would be interested in a monthly recurring subscription plan.

    BikePortland is an invaluable online meeting room, sounding board, idea generator, feedback loop for Portland. It really deserves our support because we need its work.

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    MeghanH August 31, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    Donated. Thanks for all your work and diligent reporting.

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    gl. August 31, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    I donated monthly for years until that option disappeared. Happy to contribute when it does, but any time I ask about it I never hear back.

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    Nonprofit? August 31, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Have you considered becoming a non-profit? Pros: tax deductible donations, grants, etc. Cons: public tax returns, board control, can’t sell business, etc.
    You could choose your board and still draw a salary.

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    9watts September 1, 2015 at 12:05 am

    so… how much did we just raise?

    Seems like you’ve got a pretty supportive community.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 3, 2015 at 4:11 pm

      We’re really excited by the response! So far we’ve raised over $12,000 from about 300 people. That’s fantastic. It validates the value of our work and gives me the confidence to move to the next phase… which is launching our subscription program and doing a design refresh of the site. Everyone that’s donated in the past week will get a free month. We are also launching a monthly newsletter and a few other things I’ll wait and post about separately. Oh, and mark your calendars for our big 10th Birthday Party on October 2nd!

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        9watts September 3, 2015 at 4:55 pm

        I don’t know which of those two numbers is more impressive. Thanks for the update.

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    George H. September 1, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    You are expecting that your single-issue blog for a relatively small metropolitan area should pay for a downtown office, an additional FTE, and your family’s sole source of income. Something is wrong with that business model. I’ll save my charity for actual charitable causes.

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      shannon September 1, 2015 at 5:41 pm

      Paying to support something that you think offers value to yourself and your community is hardly charity.

      I will leave the feasibility of BP’s biz model for others to debate, but within it I see a move to professionalize the site and deepen the quality of writing. I appreciate both of these moves (and have donated to emphasize my appreciation.)

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 3, 2015 at 4:06 pm

      Yes I am George H. And I’m even more committed to doing it after reading your comment. Thanks.

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        Alex Reed September 3, 2015 at 4:43 pm

        Seriously! Don’t let the doubters get you down, Jonathan!

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    Beth September 1, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Several online magazines have recently moved to a format where only paid subscribers can leave comments. I could support that sort of business model if it leaves access to the articles free in a read-only format.

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      q`Tzal September 1, 2015 at 5:53 pm

      A comment section “Swear Jar” but instead it is a $0.25/violation charge for rejected/modded posts BUT someone has to supply a better explanation than “error”.

      I can keep posting,
      JM can keep moderating,
      BikePortland.org gets compensated.

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      Psyfalcon September 2, 2015 at 10:12 am

      We’ve had good comments from Minnesota, NYC, etc. Especially on the urban MTB things where we have less experience with it. No one is going to leave those comments if they have to pay.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 3, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      Beth,

      Hi beth. Thanks for the feedback. I believe strongly in making comments as open, welcoming, and accessible as possible… so I would never monetize them in that way. And you’ll be happy to know that I don’t plan to limit access to our front page in any way.

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    snowden September 3, 2015 at 9:45 am

    Donated. I’m definitely willing to pay a monthly subscription. BP is an incredible resource for the bike community and has been an agent for change. Keep up the excellent work!

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