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"Moratorium on non-supporting member posting." Topic

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3,087 hits since 19 Jul 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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brucka20 Jul 2017 11:42 a.m. PST

Whereas I appreciate it has been pleasantly quiet around here by blocking the unwashed masses, I must say the paucity of responses to posts may not auger well for the advertisers during this period; particularly during a major US convention.

Anecdotally, my visits were few and far between – mostly to see when I might post- so did not really review news or check out posts that might link me to new product or sales.I did feel a little put out by being lumped with trolls and malcontents; many of the non-supporting members do generate a lot of interest in different companies and projects with their posts and knowledge.
If non paying 'members' are only welcome at certain times of the year because some cannot behave (I realize this is a rare occurrence) then I, and perhaps others, will drift away and go to well moderated sites that don't require payment to ensure manners.
I also realize another solution would be to become a Supporting Member again, but in my case, the existence of, and bad behavior on, the Current Affairs board [or whatever it's current iteration is called] that seems to ooze out of there and stink up the other boards, was the deciding factor in not supporting anymore – that an the whole Deleted by Moderator blow-up a few years back.

Not sure why this issue of lack of self-control is prevalent here than on other gaming boards I visit? Would be open to correction- this is only my observation.

Cacique Caribe20 Jul 2017 12:34 p.m. PST

Brucka: "If non paying 'members' are only welcome at certain times of the year because some cannot behave (I realize this is a rare occurrence) then I, and perhaps others, will drift away and go to well moderated sites that don't require payment to ensure manners."

It's your prerogative to stay or go, of course, and I respect anyone's choice on the matter, just as I hope others would respect mine.

That said, if I owned a business and had to make a sudden unscheduled departure before I had a chance to fully train someone in all the ins and outs, I would probably go and take care of my health or wellbeing first. I wouldn't be much good to anyone if I allowed myself to become overworked or overstressed beyond recovery.

Bottom line is that the pause was only an inconvenience for the non-paying members that were affected, not a life or death issue. Bill could have easily shut down the site completely, just like most sellers do when they go on convention or vacation, but that would have been a bigger issue for the advertisers.

Also, there's nothing to indicate that leaving the shop with partially trained staff will become a regular thing.

I can't speak for Bill of course, I can only surmise what I would do if faced with the same difficult situation. It also helps to see this as a mostly full glass scenario, since the 2-week restriction means that non-paying members still had 50 accessible weeks available to them this past year at no cost (96%, right?).

Just my opinion, of course.


Umpapa20 Jul 2017 12:49 p.m. PST

I was supporting memeber for several years.

I was surprised by blocking me from posting here for two weeks.

My feelings (actually not only mine but several people I talked on social media) were such solution was quite rude.

General conclusion was: offending many (most?) customers/guests is neither good idea nor good manners.

Just my 2 cents.

Cacique Caribe20 Jul 2017 1:13 p.m. PST


Granted. Sudden unscheduled departures do leave people with a sense of abandonment and the feeling of being underappreciated. That I can understand.


brucka20 Jul 2017 1:27 p.m. PST

So. Yes, not important in the grand scheme of things. My traffic decreased, other's may have too. Did the advertisers know this beforehand, or is that not a big concern for them?
My question revolves around why these behavior issues seem to be an ongoing issue.

Dentatus Fezian20 Jul 2017 3:16 p.m. PST

Is posting on a hobby site really that important? Is the temporary restraint worth the indignation?

I've been both a Supporting and Non-supporting member, and Bill's solution struck me as reasonable. There are plenty of other hobby sites/forums. If my comments were really that critical, I'd post there.

Or I'd go paint figs or run a game or tweak house rules or read a book or plan a scenario or read that new rule set or, or, or…

Bottom line is this place is an opportunity,not a 'right'. Bill doesn't "owe" us anything.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP20 Jul 2017 3:16 p.m. PST

Interestingly – according to the daily page hit statistics, turning off posting rights for non-supporting members didn't have any noticeable effect on the number of page hits.

Bozkashi Jones20 Jul 2017 3:18 p.m. PST

A division has been created where no division existed before.

Deleted by Moderator

Divisive and unnecessary.

And odd.

Dentatus Fezian20 Jul 2017 3:22 p.m. PST

Non supporters can't post in the Marketplace, right? A clear distinction and reasonable restriction IMO.

Bozkashi Jones20 Jul 2017 3:25 p.m. PST

And odder

Cacique Caribe20 Jul 2017 3:39 p.m. PST

Dentatus: "Or I'd go paint figs or run a game or tweak house rules or read a book or plan a scenario or read that new rule set or, or, or…"

Lol, that's what I do every time I get DHd! :)


brucka20 Jul 2017 3:56 p.m. PST

Well. If 'hits' didn't change then probably a non issue particularly to advertisers. There was, it appeared, a deficit in responses to posts. Perhaps I'm wrong there too?
As I said, it's not that important to me and have no issue with the decision beyond the SLIGHT umbrage/inconvenience over the lack of notice so probably don't need advice on how I should perceive the restriction. If people that aren't supporting members can't post, it is my opinion only, that this diminishes the richness of the site. Now we might see more Historicon posts?

Cacique Caribe20 Jul 2017 4:05 p.m. PST


Interesting numbers here:

TMP link


Early morning writer Inactive Member20 Jul 2017 4:42 p.m. PST

Well, I didn't mind too much – except I couldn't properly 'celebrate' Blue Moon's recent Boxer release posted here (remedied!). But, clearly, whatever the membership numbers are, of any stripe, there has been a remarkable reduction in constructively historical discussions over recent years. Seems there is a much smaller number of us still here. I know a bunch of folks personally who bailed entirely because of how they got treated here and these were remarkably inoffensive folk. So, a reduction of visitors, if a select few are missing, isn't necessarily a bad thing. I continue to be stunned by how certain people feel they can act on the internet. Common civility promotes this hobby, lack of it diminishes the hobby, this site, and all of us generally. Disagree with one another as much as we like, but be civil (and hopefully mildly humorously so) in doing so.

Yeah, but they're wargamers…

John Leahy20 Jul 2017 4:42 p.m. PST

Hi, non supporters can pot in the marketplace. They simply cannot start a new topic there.

TSD10120 Jul 2017 5:01 p.m. PST

The attitudes displayed by some of the supporting members was eye opening as was that of some of the actual sponsors. It makes me seriously reconsider this community, and has me believing some of those people are almost as bad as those from a well known troll community are.

But sure, if you want less traffic to this site and less eyeballs per dollar spent by advertisers, keep it up.

Robert Burke20 Jul 2017 5:41 p.m. PST

If this ever happens again, people who are trying to sell things might want to include their email address in their posting. There was a couple of times in the past 2 weeks I wanted to respond to a posting but couldn't because I'm not a supporting member.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian20 Jul 2017 6:06 p.m. PST

But sure, if you want less traffic to this site and less eyeballs per dollar spent by advertisers, keep it up.

As had already been pointed out, traffic did not decline.

Also, Supporting Memberships went up. grin

PrivateSnafu20 Jul 2017 9:34 p.m. PST

All the rage seemed to be absent for the last 2 weeks, go figure.

Bozkashi Jones20 Jul 2017 10:37 p.m. PST

Private Snafu, I don't see much rage – I see members of a wargaming community explaining how this made them feel.

Vigilant20 Jul 2017 10:55 p.m. PST

Private Snafu presumably didn't read the thread about the new Doctor Who, or the comments on the UK Government's advice on how to react to terrorist attacks abroad. I kept checking the site as I always do, but was frustrated to be prevented from answering requests for help. The 1st week was particularly boring with little posted other than smug comments from Supporting Members about how quiet it was. It is easy for people who were able to post to say that this was not a problem, but for those of us who were excluded for no reason other than not paying a subscription it was insulting.

donkey1 Inactive Member21 Jul 2017 1:21 a.m. PST

I have been locked out for the last few weeks but chose to wait rather than become a supporting member.

So here are my thoughts on the matter

Would I mind paying $25 USD per annum – no, for the right service it is not a lot of money

So am I ready to pay – not yet and these are the reasons why.

(1) I don't use it that much – this is largely because I find it technically clunky, out of date and difficult to use

(2) There isn't much incentive for me to become a supporting member – what would I get that those that don't pay don't.

(3) I don't feel that it has enough users – so when I mostly come seeking information I don't find I get a great deal of help – or varied input. Usually just a small core of active and helpful people.

So what's the answer – sorry I don't have a silver bullet, but

a) Could make it subscriber only. Some have cited that over the last few weeks the number of subscribers has increased, but is that by a significant amount. Some have said that the rage has gone over the last couple of weeks but equally others have said that it has been dead "you could hear a pin drop". And some have said that the traffic hasn't decreased – which contradicts what overs have been saying and if true is quite worrying because it would mean that TMP is not attracting many active users beyond its select club of supporting members.

I think a service can only go subscriber only if it is well established, well known, well regarded so that people have a desire to join. I don't think TMP is even close to that so I think that going subscriber only will do more harm then good.

b)Improve the platform. TMP is in urgent need of a tech refresh to drag it kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. It is probably one of the ugliest forums, with the least features that I regularly use. It could do with becoming much more attractive, more feature rich, bigger use of media – needs to establish it as the number one place to go. The problem is that means more time to run and moderate, more expensive to host but it should attract more advertising revenue.

Just my thoughts.


Jabba Miles21 Jul 2017 3:55 a.m. PST

As a non supporting member I can understand Bill's reasoning for what he did I just think he could have announced it / explained it better. I am aware of problems this site has had, still has, with behaviour, spammers etc, from hearsay here and elsewhere on the net but I still felt a bit put out at being a "member" but not trusted enough to be an adult.

The sections I view have been stupidly quiet recently so at least I haven't had to spend as much time on TMP and could get on with other things like work :)

On the downside some of the comments seen from "Supporting" members have been disappointing to say the least, plus I can't remember the topics I was going to try and post answers on but wasn't allowed to, so if I had an answer or bit of advice someone was after, sorry.


Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2017 4:27 a.m. PST

I don't really want to get into an argument but…

TMP well established ? Well it must be coming up on its third decade. Or possibly already more than 20 years?

TMP well known ? Gets in excess of 250000 hits per day, so moderately well known wink I don't know any historical gamers who don't know of TMP. Less so for game-loyal SF gamers.

TMP well regarded ? Some say yes, some say no. grin

Legion 421 Jul 2017 5:06 a.m. PST

Frankly I hope that now things have returned to "normal". I truly hope there will continue to be more civility, adult behavior, less vitriol, divisiveness, agreeing to disagree if need be, etc.
We still will have to be aware of "Froll"/troll,etc. incidents. But I was happy with the past 2 weeks or so, as I watched from the outside. Where generally, AFAIK, there was only one thread started by a supporting member. That seemed to be looking to insight an "incident".

Let's try to stay away from that sort of thing. peace

KSmyth21 Jul 2017 5:07 a.m. PST

I understand why Bill did what he did. I guess if I have a complaint it's that there was no notice. As in, I'm going to be gone these dates, here's what I'm going to do, and what you can do about it. It was just, one morning Bill was gone and I couldn't post.

It also feels bad to be lumped in with various miscreants, but there you go.


Early morning writer Inactive Member21 Jul 2017 5:53 a.m. PST

I think Editor posted since his return there are only about 200 or so active members, about 25 or so joined in absence. Membership income is, I'm certain, an insignificant trickle compared to advertising revenue. So, to keep advertisers happy, there is a profound need to keep the site accessible to non-paying members. And I say that suspecting that the Message Boards aren't, at least for many, a part of why they visit TMP. They can view a lot of other areas and still be exposed to advertisement and other information.

I do agree that the site would benefit tremendously from a wholesale makeover. Perhaps the best approach is to design a new site that is modern in its functionality and then, somehow, 'port backwards' to access old information but primarily move forward with a new and improved site. A lot easier than trying to port everything while rebuilding it.

I'm pretty sure, based on simple mathematical extrapolations of readily available data points, that TMP can afford to do this.

Oh, and, while, yes, this is Bill's site, he really needs to rethink the general approach because it is really, and more importantly, a business and as such should no longer be considered a 'personal' property. And a key reason for doing this is to give him the ability to transition the site into someone else's hands when he's ready to retire and sell it on to keep it going. (Something to think about Mr. Bill, none of us get younger with age.)

PrivateSnafu21 Jul 2017 6:10 a.m. PST

I said "seemed", I did not read every thread. I'm sorry if you are offended by this, I did not mean for it to be upsetting. It's an anecdotal observation. If anything, without saying more, I was commenting on the irony.

goragrad21 Jul 2017 8:43 a.m. PST

Personally I made I made it a point to visit a couple of times a day during the moratorium primarily to check the Marketplace. Just didn't spend nearly as much time as usual.

As one presumes advertising is a major component of the revenue stream, was rather off put by the attitude of some Supporting Members. Page hits are the metric for selling advertising and that metric doesn't care whether the hit was made by a Supporting or non-Supporting Member.

On that note just visiting the site makes one a supporting member.

Trajanus21 Jul 2017 9:06 a.m. PST

On that note just visiting the site makes one a supporting member.

Hadn't thought of it that way but yeah I guess it does!

Bozkashi Jones21 Jul 2017 10:00 a.m. PST

Private Snafu, I suspect it was the inclusion of the "go figure" that made your post seem a little belligerent.

And I will make it clear; Bill's site, Bill's rules. I respect that, and I respect those who feel it was the right decision; they may well be right. I had never been on TMP talk until the moratorium so was blissfully unaware of the trolling.

Anyway, back to wargaming and sharing ideas – the dog tore apart a soft toy and serendipitously I have found that wadding/stuffing makes FAR better smoke than cotton wool…

Let's get back to playing with toy soldiers (or ships, in my case)

My best wishes,


brucka21 Jul 2017 10:51 a.m. PST

To echo the last points, and to somewhat nuance the oft quoted "Bill's site, Bill's rules", this is not a personal blog. This is an open forum (with rules common to most forums) and not a personal website with primarily musings from Bill – why ask for our input on how to run site and features/options – general and supporting by the way -if this were just a personal website? [Not that I agree with that practice- but here you can quote "Bill's site.."]. So if an open forum, why the need to block it from time to time for bad behavior when this is not necessary on most other open forum sites? I'm trying to get to the "neither fish nor fowl" nature of this particular miniatures forum? Why do some people feel they have license to behave the way they do here and why are there periodic kurfuffles and explosions?

skinkmasterreturns21 Jul 2017 12:20 p.m. PST

So what. I came to the site every so often and read what others were posting,sometimes something of interest,sometimes not. I have no need to complain about something that I use,but am not paying for.

Skeptic21 Jul 2017 12:41 p.m. PST

Aren't the assistant editors well enough trained yet to be able to intervene when somebody breaks the TMP rules or, more specifically, yet less obviously, trolls?

Not being able to post was a hassle in terms of being unable to contribute to some interesting discussions as well as being unable to contact a few sellers in the marketplace.

Oh well, I spent more time elsewhere and saved some money!

Grimmnar Supporting Member of TMP22 Jul 2017 5:27 p.m. PST

Wasn't able to post about the passing of two legends this past Sunday.
Wasn't happy about that.
Still not happy I haven't seen anything still. :-(

I ask the above as well, when will the assistant editors be trained?

Bill's house and Bill's rules, you have to ask. Why are so many rules and so many punishments being handed out? Never seen this on any forum in the 20 yrs I been online messing with forums.

To me it was a silly thing to do and an even sillier reason why it had to be done.

So many threads I couldn't add my two cents in. I know two cents isn't worth much these days especially to others. But to me my two cents is valuable.


Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian23 Jul 2017 4:21 a.m. PST

I think Editor posted since his return there are only about 200 or so active members, about 25 or so joined in absence. Membership income is, I'm certain, an insignificant trickle compared to advertising revenue.

Wow, way off! Not even close to what I posted.

Russ P Inactive Member24 Jul 2017 4:12 a.m. PST

I think Editor posted since his return there are only about 200 or so active members, about 25 or so joined in absence. Membership income is, I'm certain, an insignificant trickle compared to advertising revenue.

On this thread, Bill said that there were 2,176 members, just under half of whom are supporting members, and that there are more than 100 sponsoring members:

If there are 1,000 supporting members, and if they all pay 12 months at a time, that's $25,000. USD per annum. If there are 110 sponsoring members, that's $6,022.50 USD per annum. Those figures are very rough, but they do suggest that the majority of the income is from supporting members, rather than advertisers.

Mobius25 Jul 2017 2:37 p.m. PST

I just checked for the first time in a week to see what is going on with the posting restriction. I logged off when I could no longer post and as each thread had single digit number of replies I wasn't missing much.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian26 Jul 2017 3:58 p.m. PST

Those figures are very rough, but they do suggest that the majority of the income is from supporting members, rather than advertisers.

Not every advertiser takes advantage of having a free Sponsoring Membership.

Some advertisers have several Sponsoring Memberships.

Some advertisers choose to have both a Sponsoring Membership and a Supporting (or even Basic) "personal" membership.

Ravensworth03 Aug 2017 4:08 p.m. PST

I'm sorry but with 2,176 members and 6087 return visits a day I just do not believe the 250,000 hits a day. That would equate to 234,000 new hits per day or more or less.

There just are not that many miniatures Gamers out there. Over the course of one year that would add up to 85,410,000 new visits by people who have never visited the site before.

I don't buy it.

Ottoathome Inactive Member03 Aug 2017 6:14 p.m. PST

Agree with Ravensworth

christot Inactive Member04 Aug 2017 11:46 a.m. PST

I see a lot of supporting members spamming TMP with ads for their latest products, some good, some bad.
I don't see any posts from those Non-supporting and supporting members whose opinions I valued, who had a broad depth of knowledge, and who have either been banned on some spurious whim or whom have decided to simply move elsewhere because they could no longer be bothered with the vagaries of this website.

Ottoathome Inactive Member08 Aug 2017 7:46 p.m. PST

Dear Christot

I agree.

Texas Jack10 Aug 2017 12:39 a.m. PST

Maybe I am not as attentive as I could be, but I don΄t see any instances of supporting members posting ads, except of course in the marketplace. I see advertisers posting them, but that is what you would expect as they are, indeed, advertisers.
And besides, is posting information about new products really such a bad thing? It is one of the reasons I come here.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Aug 2017 4:27 a.m. PST

I'm sorry but with 2,176 members and 6087 return visits a day I just do not believe the 250,000 hits a day. That would equate to 234,000 new hits per day or more or less.

Visits and hits are different things. You can't just subtract them. A visit may have multiple hits.

For example, you came to this page, went to the post page, then returned to this page, seeing your post. Three hits. If you didn't link directly to this thread, then you probably hit the board page after the front page. Five hits.

So, with over 12K visits (6K initial and 6K return), you're looking at about 20 hits per visit. Of course, initial and return visits don't aggregate like that. If I visit three times during the day, I account for one initial and two return visits, so that is a ROM. ~20 hits per visit is a ROM for the minimum. So, let's assume I visit six times a day (quite a lot), that gives ~7K total visits, so about 35 hits per visit. Let's assume your read (2 hits) to post (5 hits) ratio is 9:1, then you end up needing to see, on average, 11 threads per visit. That's just not a lot. Voting on the daily polls would get you more than halfway there.

In my experience, most visit patterns are multi-modal across the population. That is, the average doesn't really represent a lot of people's behaviour. There are usually several clusters of different behavior, often with gaps in the distribution profile. If that is the case, the average serves as a low performance bound indicator. So, given the different clusters, is it reasonable to believe most of the behaviours have people reading at least a dozen or so threads per visit.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.