READ ME -- Forum Migration, Donations and Bulk Buy Information, Feb 2012

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Dedicated elf
Jun 20, 2009
Canberra, ACT, Australia
Important Announcement for AusChristmasLghting (ACL) Members.

READ ME -- Forum Migration, Donations and Bulk Buy Information, Feb 2012

Since my return to active management of the Forum three items have required attention and they in some ways related to one another.
1. Server Performance and Availability

The forum was originally started on a standard (though high end) workstation PC that was connected to my personal ISP service, this didn’t survive all that long and was replaced with a true Enterprise Class server with dual XEON processes, sufficient memory for the task and enterprise class Raid5 storage.
During my absence in 2010 the forum growth and more specifically Chat started to regularly exceed the CPU capacity of the server. The increase in visitors and the 4,000 to 5,000 page views per day has started to saturate the upstream bandwidth of the internet connection.

Investigations have been onging to find an external Service Provider for the website that can specifically handle the capacity requirements of the Chat software as well as provide a speedy experience for the forum and wiki.
Testing has been ongoing and a Service Provider has been found.

It is planned that ACL will migrate the evening of Wednesday 22nd February; with an outage window commencing at 9pm till the migration is finished.
This will provide a considerably improved experience for ACL Members.


2. Financial support/contributions for the benefit of the Forum and it's ongoing costs.

This Forum including Wiki and Chat has always been for me a gift to the Christmas Light Enthusiasts and I have never wanted to accept money, this being especially true with the low overheads that have been in place.

Due to the ongoing issues in point 1 above many members have asked to be able to donate money to assist in the ongoing running costs of due to expansion required.
I had resisted this till some level of financial reality set in, providing for ongoing growth was going to cost money at some point that was just not available from me personally.

A LOT of discussion has occurred in Chat and between senior members of the Forum around do we implement supporting memberships, straight donations, membership groups, optional or mandatory for certain participation, membership benefits and the plusses and minuses of each.

The following has been put in place that is fully optional and in no way impacts on full participation in the forum. It is hoped to also provide a tangible benefit back to all members donating to the ongoing support of the forum.

  • A Donation system has been put in place, accessible from

  • Donations are Optional and not required for any participation in the Forum in any way.

  • All donations will be via PayPal and an independent PayPal account has been created purely to keep donations, this is to ensure financial reporting can be transparent.

  • A Forum MemberGroup has been established called "Generous Elf" in keeping with the general group names in use. Donating Members may choose to be added to this group automatically when donating via or they can remain anonymous by sending money directly to
    Membership of the Generous Elf group will be for a period of 12 months from the date of last donation.
    We are continuing to investigate how to provide tangible benefits to all the Generous Elves out there.
3. Bulk Buy Rules.The Bulk Buy (group buy) rules are being overhauled. Most of the work is to further clarify some of the existing rules.

The new rules will be published in full very soon as a separate announcement but I did want to mention a significant variation that will be put into place.

The existing 3% Managers fee is being replaced by a 8% Levy with 5% being allocated to Forum running costs and 3% being available as contingency money to the Bulk Buy Manager to cover unexpected variations in costs after the Bulk Buy closes.

Generous Elf members may redeem a FIVE percent discount on the Bulk Buy Levy by requesting it with the Bulk Buy Manager.
Similar to fuel discount voucher schemes.

Bulk Buy rules do not apply to individuals who wish to sell equipment they are no longer going to use.

As members may not reply to announcements a separate discussion thread has been created here, for feedback and comment.

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