Read the cover on the book: DON'T PANIC. The Vogons are not here (yet).
There was going to be an ordinary ed log here in a day or two but things got hairy right about a few hours ago. I've been in touch with people, including Nate, as we try to sort things out. There is not much to say because things are so fluid at the moment but I will make this statement:
I think I speak for the community in saying that we (individually and collectively) are anywhere between surprised and mind-bogglingly, head-bangingly furious that a request for offers went up off-site, addressed to the general public before the community knew. This has been done. We do not have to be happy about it. Some of us may think that it was disrespectful and not mindful of our demonstrated commitment to Everything2 but that genie will not be going back into the bottle so we'll just take that fait accompli into account.
We, whoever we may turn out to be, will do what it takes to preserve the character and independence of the site and the community.
It will take a while to figure out who "we" are, what we have, and what we need so, everyone with resources and serious intentions, get involved. Everyone else, please stand by and support us. That is all for the time being. Haqiqat has posted a very good summary of events above. More will follow.
07DEC2011 1647Z KLAF BCAST
NEGOTIATIONS IN PROGRESS STOP HALT PANIC STOP DO NOT SELL SHARES OR JUMP OUT WINDOWS STOP
Despite our earlier protests about the mode of the announcement, I would like to make clear that we do not think that BSI is out to make money off this deal or pull the plug before we can arrange a move. I doubt that there is money to be made anyway. An outside buyer would likely be unpalatable to a large portion of the userbase--and a mass exodus would not increase the site's value. Several people have been in touch with CmdrTaco and it looks like they're more interested in finding a home for us than offloading us for two bucks and a mocha frappuccino. Which is what we would expect given how BSI has absorbed the cost and supported us over the years.
What we have been looking to solve first is the following basics:
* Ownership: Whether there will be a corporate (LLC) management led by one of our own people ponying up the cash to cover the cost of the deal, or whether some non-profit 501(c) entity would be better suited.
* Hardware outlay: What sort of equipment we need. In the short term we can probably survive on a dozen cores and a fistful of RAM, neither of which is hard to come by.
* Operating costs: Where to put the equipment if we buy equipment; where to rent space from (cloud or not) if we do not. For the former we have a proposal on the table that even our paltry revenues can cover.
While the discussion has progressed, we've also been going off on tangents about possible features, discussing the potential for the site to earn enough money to do more than cover its costs, and such less urgent things. This affair is not being conducted by some insider cabal, by the way, but by an ad hoc collective of interested parties that includes potential donors or investors (all noders in good standing), most senior staff, and non-staff with special know-how or just a burning desire to see it done right. Someone asked who the stakeholders were. The answer to that question, I replied, would take as long as the debate over what E2 is. Every noder is a stakeholder, we just needed to look around and see that enough currents of opinion were represented.
Knowing the people involved, I was never pessimistic about this and I don't think that anyone should be. The Chicken Lickens can just hold their beak and let the doers do things. In fact, BSI divesting itself of E2 is an opportunity for a new ownership to take the site to a lot of new places that needed only a slight amount of extra capital. The vision never went away. Once the server infrastructure is in place and our ability to operate the site as we know it now at a decent service level, we're so good at surviving on a shoestring budget that virtually all money invested will actually be an investment, not just operating costs.
Talks continue. Please stand by.
Next update, 16 Dec
Negotiations between BSI and interested parties have been initiated with no conclusion as of yet. We continue to explore the option of maintaining our ties to the academic world of Michigan, too. Some server-grade hardware has been made available by donors but acquiring the Big Iron that will let the site perform properly will probably have to wait until there's a handshake on the deal. There may be no more news or progress until after the holidays so there is a chance that this could drag on into 2012. Efforts continue to improve the servers' performance.
Getting there, 21 Dec
Sufficient progress has been made that I'm pretty confident in saying that you can expect business as usual for the foreseeable future. I will stop short of stating that the site's continuity is assured but that's mostly because I don't believe in firm statements until cheques have been written and signatures have fallen. With the holidays coming up, there will be no more news until after the first of the month.
If someone is waiting for an "official" statement on that bit of drama that coincided with BSI's announcement and involved a couple of users' departure, I'll defer it until next month along with everything else that was going to go into this month's ed log.