2011-09-23 18:59:48SkS T-shirts
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
123.211.208.191
I'd put this subject on the back burner for the crazy last month but it's now to time to resurrect this idea. I'd started an SkS CafePress site for two reasons. First and most importantly, to use merchandise to get the climate message out. Imagine people walking around the streets with a powerful SkS infographic on their shirt. Second, as my demanding climate work was putting me into the poor house, to ease financial pressures. Now I'm working at GCI, the second option is irrelevant and I don't want any money from the CafePress sales. So I see there being 3 options:
  1. Divide profits amongst SkSers: on the positive side, I would love SkSers to get some money for their troubles. On the negative, this would be a logistical pain in the butt, would open us up to criticism from deniers for profiting and there might be legal issues re having to registeer as an organization.
  2. zero profit: set cafe press margin to zero so there is no income from sales.
  3. Donate profits to charity: this would turn any potential weakness (profiting) into a strength. Only problem, which charity?
The main thing is to get our images out there on people's shirts and mugs. It's a really powerful outreach opportunity and we already have lots of graphics we could use, plus artists to create more. Let's just work out the strategy so we can move onward and upward in having a greater impact!
2011-09-23 19:22:31
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.99.6

I think you're going to have to organize as some kind of business no matter what you do.

1: Profit-sharing: I suspect too little profit and too much shariing, other issues aside.

2: Set profit to 0: Depends on what the price is. It is also for a price to be too low: perceptions of quality matter.

3: Donate to charity: Why shouldn't the expenses of SkS be a charity? You must incur some dedicated expenses on behalf of SkS operations. Otherwise: How about Mann's legal defense fund?

2011-09-23 22:39:32
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

Use it to keep the SkS site going, eg. server costs etc.

I'm assuming it's not a lot of money??

2011-09-23 23:03:00Server costs are minimal
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
123.211.208.191

Small trickle of paypal donations cover hosting costs so SkS site is all sorted. That's the beauty of our running a web design business, made set up and maintenance costs minimal.

2011-09-23 23:27:35Non-profit being formed to support the Legal Defense of Climatologists
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.99.6

Good news on the Legal Defense Fund:

John Abraham and I are grateful for the generous response to our appeal for legal defense fund donations. We are happy to inform everyone that we have met, and exceeded the initial goal of $10,000. This appeal is a great start for a long-term plan to develop a permanent fund for defending scientists against these attacks. Consequently, we are working to develop a funding structure that allows donations to be made to a 501c3 non-profit entity.

2011-09-24 01:09:57
Steve Brown

brownsg@gmail...
91.220.25.25

All profits to the legal defence fund seems the obvious choice.  You could even do a range of "Support your local climate scientist!" t-shirts & mugs.

2011-09-24 01:57:38
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Agreed that profits to the legal defense fund makes sense.  Otherwise to the Union of Concerned Scientists or some other similar group doing good climate work.

2011-09-24 02:11:28
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.99.6

I would also vote for the legal defense fund.

2011-09-24 03:16:38comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
134.153.162.53

I have a different idea that I think would be a bit creative.

Skeptical science scholarship fund. We use money to create a scholarship or plural if we got enough that funds students interested in climate science at the undergraduate or graduate level etc...

Certainly this is an opportunity for advertisement as well... Eventhough it could add additional work through judging and so on (the merits of individuals and such) I think it would be a great opportunity to do something different and really impact some lives. As part of the scholarship the individual is required to do a couple posts on their research after etc... good way to integrate future authors too...

2011-09-24 03:38:57
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.99.6

Robert, that is a worthy cause, but I think there are other organizations that already fund scholarships: and I think they are in a better position to evaluate young scholars than we are.

Also, frankly, I think the need is greater for the legal fund: No institution I'm aware of has that as a major function. Wouldn't you feel encouraged to think that somebody cares enough about the work you're doing to protect you from legal hassle (just as the WUWTs and Moncktons and GOP senators are trying to convince you that your life will be legal misery if you study climate science)?

2011-09-24 09:37:09
adelady

amgnificent@gmail...
124.171.82.190

I think the legal fund is an excellent use for funds raised from science awareness activities.  But we shouldn't be too restrictive at the outset.   

If there's a bit of money, it'd be a worthwhile use of any surpluses to do other publicity - like handing out free/ cheap tshirts or mugs or posters at suitable events. 

If there's a heap of money, paying someone (even someone who's already working here for nothing at the moment) to do a couple of fulltime weeks or months on suitable PR or educational materials or funding models or whatever.  Suitable meaning activities or products/graphics/other stuff that SkS can maintain without needing further financing or burdensome time commitments.

 I certainly think that providing easy to use teaching materials is a better, and more relevant, activity for SkS than scholarships for individuals.    We're about giving easily digested information to a general audience with reliable linkage to more technical detail.   Any 'outreach' should stick to that broad path. 

2011-11-02 21:33:35Bumping this topic
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
58.170.57.120

Have been too busy (aka disorganised) to follow this up but Scott Mandia's recent post has put it back on my radar:

http://profmandia.wordpress.com/2011/11/02/mike-manns-thank-you-letter-to-supporters/

If everyone is cool with it, I'll contact Scott about the idea of SkS Cafepress sales going to the legal fund.

2011-11-02 22:18:00
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.120.220

Yes!

2011-11-03 00:46:29
Riccardo

riccardoreitano@tiscali...
2.33.129.49

needless to say, yes.

2011-11-03 02:26:10
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
198.53.65.169

Yes!

2011-11-03 04:46:34
logicman

logicman_alf@yahoo.co...
109.151.84.29

Defence fund, yes!

2011-11-03 05:11:28
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.185.188

If I can offer a contrary view, I would like to suggest that some of the money go towards making security at SkS better, perhaps through paying for some advice from a pro. I have personally contributed to the legal fund, so I'm by no means opposed to it. I just worry that a hack here could undo a lot of the good work that we have done and that an ounce or two of prevention might be worth paying for. 

John's probably too busy now to undertake this work himself. Besides he's too much of a nice guy to imagine how outsiders might gain access and to what extent they could twist whatever they might find here to discredit SkS.

2011-11-03 05:13:52
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.120.220

Andy,

I'm not sure if the site is up to industrial standards, but SkS was hacked a few years ago, so JC has been sensitized to that issue for some time.

Not that it hurts to ask.

2011-11-03 06:42:13
Steve Brown

brownsg@gmail...
94.174.78.42

I'm the IT security manager for a global retail operation with a significant online shopfront that suffers continual attack from hackers, scammers and fraudsters.  I'm happy to offer advice and assistance to John for free if required.  I think the defence fund should be the primary beneficiary.

2011-11-03 07:05:10
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.120.220

Steve,

Please drop JC a direct note, so he doesn't miss it.

2011-11-03 07:05:42
Andy S

skucea@telus...
66.183.185.188

Steve, that's great. I've raised my concerns previously with JC offline, which is probably where specifics should be discussed. I realize that I'm a bit of an alarmist when it comes to this stuff. If security here can be beefed up at little or no cost, then I'm very happy to have the defence fund as the beneficiary of any SkS profits.

2011-11-03 07:08:30
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.120.220

Andy,

One thing we've learned from Climategate is that one cannot be too alarmist wrt security.

2011-11-09 15:11:11SkS security
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
143.238.130.246

Good idea to email me as this thread did escape my attention. Have gotten Steve's email, will follow this up in email discussion...

2011-11-10 11:13:49
Paul D

chillcast@googlemail...
82.18.130.183

The 'safest' web sites are simple static ones (html/css), I have never had one hacked.
Can't say the same for Joomla and Wordpress though, I have seen both hacked, fortunately just annoying 'piss on a tree' type stuff (hackers leaving their mark, with a signature page).

2011-11-10 12:03:22HTML vs Joomla
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
130.102.158.12
Of course HTML is not an option at SkS. slightly off-topic but had a chat with someone at Grist about integrating our denier database with theirs, but was dismayed to learn their site IS a HTML site. Very old school and unwieldy to work with!

The strength and weakness of SkS is I don't use Joomla or other CMS's - this site is 100% hand coded, baby! That meant I was hacked in the early days but have since tightened up my code. Doug Bostrom characterized my code as "quirky".