REQUEST: Here's how you can help support Quarter to Three (and get a CUSTOM TAG doing it!)

You told an extended ‘Jaws’ story in your Patreon video, which was apparently laser-targeted at me.

So, backed.

I bought a copy of Panzer Blitz at a garage sale in the early eighties. I had played it at high school with a classmate and wanted to look at the maps and counters for myself. The guy at the garage sale told me “give me another five bucks and you can have this other game, too.” That game was Starship Troopers, of course. Keep on keeping on, Tom, and a little more for the collection basket.

Starship Troopers is is coincidentally on the shelf right above my PC. Not un-punched.

Even more coincidentally, I just startered listening to the audio-book only a couple of days ago.

I didn’t know there was a Starship Troopers board game. Looks like it dates from the 70s so I was probably still playing Candyland, and just from the glances at the rules Tom provided looks complicated as hell, but I’d still love to find out more. See what I did there?

Figured I’d add something to the patreon fund (took a while to get that site working). But got it working at last. Didn’t notice that top post until now, so I suppose having a non-obtrusive link on the front page might be an idea.

Remember there was a discussion on ad-blockers a while back and glad to hear you’re using a proper company for it but I guess they still have to rely on the big ad networks to organize the display of ads (by loading scripts from several sites, images, etc…). So for me its easier just to use Patreon than allowing so much ‘extra’ content on the site + it loads faster :)

It is a shame that the ad networks have only themselves to blame for the situation they are in, unfortunately the people who are suffering aren’t the major ad netwurks, like google are still earning billions, but small sites and newspapers are without a working revenue stream, simply because they (the ad networks and some of the major sites that could have influenced the behaviour) allowed the situation to grow out of control and it went from advertising to malvertizing in just a few years.

Again, my thanks to all you guys. Just that you’re willing to sign up for a monthly commitment means a lot to me, regardless of what you can afford. It’s one thing to put something in a tip jar as a sign of gratitude. That’s great and I don’t mean to minimize that. But it’s something else entirely to say, “I’m making a monthly commitment so that you’ll keep doing what you’re doing”. Pre-gratitude, I guess. Thank you all.

And, wumpus, as I told you, I am staggered by your generosity. Like, looking-into-the-sun staggered. And, yeah, that’s more than this site makes from advertising, so you’ve definitely made good on that threat. :) But let me address the Discourse thing in a separate post because I have a few thoughts I want to clarify. Stand by.

Ah, you’re absolutely right. I’d forgotten about that whole thing with Tapatalk not having ads. That is different from an adblocker in terms of intent, but the result is the same. Traffic that doesn’t call up an ad. And by the way, in case it seemed like I was implying otherwise, there’s nothing unique to Qt3 in terms of losing 80% of ad revenue. Our ad guy says that’s pretty much the internet these days. And as instant0 points out, the internet pretty much brought it on themselves. Well, maybe. There is a bit of a vicious circle going. Sites are trying to recover the lost revenue by serving more ads to the fewer people who don’t use adblockers. This leads to aggressive advertising, which leads to adblocking, which leads to aggressive advertising, which leads to adblocking. It’s a fact of the evolving revenue model. The people who don’t use adblockers are being wrung dry to make up for the people who do, which just makes them more likely to use adblockers.

Yes, thanks for this reminder! I need to figure out how to make it visible without making it annoying. For instance:

Fixed. Thanks, Professor Sepulcher!

When it’s smaller amounts, Paypal will take a bigger cut as a fee. Patreon is a blanket 4%. But ultimately, it’s whatever is most convenient for you.

They don’t have any mechanism for one-time pledges. Patreon is built on patronage commitments instead of one-time donations. However, anyone can pledge and then delete his pledge after getting billed on the first of the month. Like rent, Patreon charges on the first of every month.

It took me a moment to parse what you were saying. I briefly thought you were either a Star Citizen believer (hi, Ryan Kelly, we love you!) or you were wishing me ill health. But, yes, I get what you’re saying now! Thank you.

I know just enough from P&R to be appreciate this comment! :)

I’ll look into those, but it might be more trouble than it’s worth. And I would feel weird about having a whole mess of donation nags, even if the goal is convenience. Right now, I’d rather just stick with PayPal and Patreon. By the way, we also get a cut of anyone who buys stuff on using our link on the front page, but that’s a bird-dog fee that no one minds because it doesn’t cost them anything.

Good lord, would you just move out of the boonies already? And not for the purposes of any donation stuff, but because your life sounds like an ongoing nightmare of poor internet connectivity.

Last year, I took a dork vacation by visiting Bruce Geryk for a few days. He had a copy of Starship Troopers. An actual physical hold-it-in-my-hands copy. That’s what brought back all the memories and made me realize that was my first contact with boardgaming that wasn’t something like Life or Monopoly or whatever. Unfortunately, from going through Bruce’s copy and perusing the PDF manual, Starship Troopers doesn’t look like anything I’d ever want to actually play. As I’ve said elsewhere, we didn’t invent boardgames that don’t suck until ten years ago.

Quoted a movie that Starship Troopers purists probably hate? :) But as a Veerhoven apologist, I approve. I watched Starship Troopers and all the sequels – did you know there’s even a cartoon sequel? – last year. They’re all godawful except for Veerhoven’s original, which holds up as his most sly political commentary after Robocop.


How come it’s only asking for a single contribution and not a monthly contribution? The other Patreon’s I’ve looked at spell out that it’s a monthly contribution. One guy even wants a weekly contribution.

I think the Patreon page said that it was a monthly thing when you enter it… At least that is how I read it as.

Off Topic regarding Starship Troopers!

What? There’s a cartoon sequel?

I would like to know more.

The third one wasn’t that bad, and there was a cute lady in the second one if I remember correctly. But yea, the first one was nice, and it holds up quite well in the special fx department, just as RoboCop does.

There’s various ways you can set Patreon to recur. The most basic would be a straightforward monthly recurrence like Tom’s got set up. That’s the model the couple of podcasts I’m supporting use as well. But you can do it more often or on a per-output basis. So like, I used to support Avery McDaldno’s Patreon before Avery got out of the roleplaying scene, and that would charge me when Avery put out a game or other piece of roleplaying material, up to X times per month.

I took mine to a swap meet a couple of months ago. I didn’t price it to sell because it is such pristine condition but I definitely put the price in a collector’s range. Everyone that looked at it (it was looked at more than most other things I had) was intimidated when I showed them the actual bits.

I have a VG Central America that is un-punched as well. It could be used to scare people away from board games period.

Stop fidgeting around so we can pelt you with these rocks!

This sucks to admit, but very little of the money I make from Qt3 comes from me being a writer. If I just wrote reviews and whatever else I do on the front page, I would have long ago had to throw in the towel. I’m no Jim Sterling or Ben Croshaw or Jerry Holkins. There simply isn’t enough traffic on the front page to make Qt3 an efficient use of my time. I’m grateful for what traffic there is, and I’m doing way better than the average random dude with a WordPress blog. But very little of this site’s income is from people reading my reviews of some indie games, or a boardgame, or some horror movie I just watched, even with occasional bumps in traffic for non-controversial reviews of AAA stuff like Doom or Fallout, and even with the even more occasional spikes in traffic from people showing up to heckle a Halo or Stellaris review. There would probably be even less traffic if it weren’t for Nick Diamon doing a great job consistently putting up interesting news bits so that when people come back the next day, they’re likely to see something that wasn’t there before. I’m embarrassed for how little Nick makes given what he does and how well he does it.

Instead, the majority of traffic on this site is because it’s a message board. People show up regularly, they load multiple pages, they stick around, they flip through conversations, they come back later in the day, they load more pages, they come back at night before bed. That is the reason this site has survived. I don’t make money because I write for Qt3. I make money because Qt3 is a community.

And I’m proud of that. I’m proud of what you guys have done. I don’t deserve credit for this. The metaphor of Qt3 as my living room is kind of misguided, because the living room itself matters far less than the people in it. So ultimately, I want what’s best for those people. I want it to be convenient for them. I want a minimum of hurdles in their way. And I appreciate that you’re so intent on that as well.

Therefore, if the situation was indeed “a mud of forum ads”, I would agree that we should turn those ads off. That’s one of the reasons we haven’t used Google ads for years. They were causing too many problems, or at least the perception of problems. Furthermore, that’s why we haven’t run an ad after the first post in every thread. Don’t think I haven’t been tempted! By serving up three ads instead of two, I would make roughly 50% more money if I stuck an ad there. To be honest, if the Patreon campaign didn’t take off – thanks disproportionately to a particular dude! :) – I was considering putting up that third ad.

My point is that I would never want ads on the forum to substantially damage the community’s experience. That has been my goal all along, well in advance of making money from the site. You and I are both agreed there, even if we disagree about how intrusive the ads are. I can’t tell you how much that means to me. Some of us might sound exasperated with how vocally you champion Discourse over vBulletin, but we all appreciate the impetus behind it.

QUOTE=wumpus;3986761]You’d arguably get better community support if you grow the forums (with, say, modern forum software) and get those new users to sign up for premium stuff and sponsorships. Bigger audiences – more money. And nothing says respect for your audience, like… well… anything but vBulletin… and a nice, modern, fast experience.[/quote]

Okay, first of all, bigger audiences only make more money if we’re serving them ads! I’m not convinced premium stuff and sponsorships are a viable way to make money. Actually, I’m not even sure what those are, so you might be right.

But more to the point, let me make a confession that I’m not sure I’ve made before. This might have come up in past conversations, but I don’t recall.

I’m not terribly interested in growing the community, at least not in the sense you mean.

I’m happy for us to have new people, and it’s really exciting to me when someone sends an intro email to get an account turned on. I wish I could show you guys those emails. They range from little one-line “uh, hi, I don’t know what to say” mumbles to extensive enthusiastic bios. Some of them are from retirees who are heavily into MMOs and some of them are from high school kids (I always tell them the forum is for people 18 and over, so come on in, but avoid mentioning your age for a couple years). Some of them are from people who say they found the forum because of a particular article (about once a year, someone comes here because of Angie Gallant’s pigeon diaries thing) and others are from people who just followed a link and found themselves at Qt3 with no idea what it is. I regularly get people who want to join the tournament stuff run by Dave Perkins and others (although a lot of them have left for something called Slack (?)). Some of them say something like “I used to read your stuff all the time but I had no idea you had a forum” and some of them are all, “WTF, who I am is none of your business!” (those people eventually get shuffled into the mix, but I don’t go out of my way to activate their accounts when I get the email).

But I’m really not looking to substantially change the size of this community, because I think that would change the community. We’ve definitely lost traffic over the years. The rise of social media is a big part of it. We lost folks when they went over to Scott Jennings’ site (which was an unpleasant process, but ultimately a net positive for everyone involved). But I like where we’re at and I think it’s a crucial part of our identity. My goal isn’t to make Quarter to Three bigger, it’s to make it as good as it can be for the people already here. And while I realize that communities that don’t grow are communities that die off, that doesn’t mean we should compromise our identity as a living room with a handful of folks who know each other. If that principle was going to cause Quarter to Three to die off, it would have happened by now.

So – as I’ve said before – I’m not averse to changing forum software. But I don’t feel vBulletin is as big an obstacle as you suggest. I’m open to hearing otherwise from people, and we can definitely start that discussion again at any time. You know better than to suggest I’m not switching software because I don’t respect the community. Dude. Also, if and when we do change software, I have a couple of hard rules. One of them is that we won’t have likes. You and I have hashed out that disagreement, and I think we both understand each other even though we disagree. But if someone wants to reboot the discussion (preferably in one of the pre-existing threads), I’m all for consistently checking where we stand.

God, I hate Disqus with the first of a thousand suns. Next to convenience for users, the biggest reason I’d switch to different forum software is to integrate the forum discussion with the front page and be rid of Disqus forever.


Gah, sorry if that’s not clear! Let me see if there’s some way to make it more clear that it’s a monthly commitment. The last thing I want is to trick someone into a regular payment.


If you visit your own page it should say “Supporting xx.xx$ a month”.

It’s says per month for me.

Oh god, I was one of those kids in 2007. I came wandering in after the death of CGM, drawn to the forum by your Requiem for a Zine article & looking for a gaming rock to cling to after being set adrift. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I know I read the forums rules after signing up & sent my email in a panic hoping you wouldn’t read it for a month till it was irrelevant.

I’m sure everyone here is happy that I got an education between now and then. And really, Quarter to Three was a huge part of my development, especially my writing. For that I am eternally indebted to the community here.

what Pod said above about the mobile theme not having ads is true. I’ve just white listed QT3 on my mobile phone and it’s not showing ads.

Heh, I was close enough to that, too, Austin. As I recall, I actually started haunting around my first year in college, though I didn’t get around to signing up till year 2 or 3, telling Tom I was majoring in Journalism and hoped to work in games journalism (ah, for those heady days!). I suspect I haven’t managed to mature all that much in the intervening years, relaxed professional expectations aside ;)

FWIW, I know Disqus is finicky and laggy and gross in a lot of ways, but I do value the fact that it tells me when people respond to something I’ve said on other Disqus-using sites that I visit far less regularly than Qt3’s front page. Even years later. If it was switched to something that integrates with the forum, I’d probably get more or less the same benefit for my Qt3 posts (because the thread would get bumped) but I’d be much less likely to notice that someone said something to me on, say, Shut Up and Sit Down’s review comments or AV Club article comments, etc.

Yeah, I like that as well, and I know Dingus does, too. It’s cool when someone comments on a podcast or story from a few years ago and it lets us know. It’s nice that the conversation can be resurfaced so readily. I mostly don’t like Disqus because it gets bogged down by some sort of server nonsense and it’s a separate discussion from this forum.


You know, it wouldn’t bother me in the least to see more ads on QT3 forums. A banner at the top, one on the bottom and one on each side would be just fine. In this day and age of high res monitors there’s a ridiculous amount of free space. So long as there’s no animation and no auto-sound I’d be just fine with that.