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Call for Support

As you know, Lightstalkers has grown—we started with a dozen members in 2004, and now there are 59,537. We also have a vast audience of readers who don’t register, but come to the site to read your posts, check your location, view your galleries. This “dark mass” of users and viewers is far bigger than the visible membership, and they’re a vital part of the scene as well.

At this point, we’ve hit a threshold. Lightstalkers has become much more complex than your typical Web site, providing everything from networking and broadcasting to private communication tools, and up to the minute tracking info for thousands of perpetually mobile operators. It needs more CPU, more RAM, and more disk space. We’ve punched through financial barriers by using open-source software and a small but relentless team of volunteers, but we’re at the limit. Like any overloaded computer, Lightstalkers strains, chokes, and crashes; hence the short-outs and downtime you’ve been experiencing lately.

Along the way, we’ve tossed a lot of conventional wisdom about how a network like this can, or should, be operated. For many, it was counter-intuitive to suggest that we could host an open-door global community without membership restrictions or moderators, and even more odd that we would do it for free. Mostly, it’s worked out pretty well. Unlike a typical corporate operation, we don’t spend a lot of time drawing plans, or having meetings—we just get out and do it. We don’t tell people what to do or say in this space we created, and we never got hung up on thinking about how to turn a profit from our members. We operate on the basic concept that good things happen when good people are connected to each other.

Unfortunately, the site can not survive on good vibes alone. We need fuel.

A lot of people have suggested that we charge membership fees to support the site, but we’ve resisted doing that. Above all, we want to keep this resource open, independent, and unrestricted, and we know that keeping this communication channel live is increasingly valuable to a lot of people, around the world.

Which leaves you. For the first time, we’re asking for member donations to keep the site operational. The simplest, best way you can help is with a financial contribution to November Eleven, our parent non-profit organization.

There are several ways for you to contribute;whatever you do, we'll appreciate it.

Other ways to help:
We know that not everyone has cash to give. If you’d like to help in another way, think about these alternatives:

  • We run on Ruby on Rails—if you’re an experienced Rails developer, you can join the team.
  • Grant funding would be nice, if you have experience researching or writing applications for service organizations like ours.
  • We're open to corporate sponsorship. If you have an introduction to make, contact us at support@novembereleven.org
  • If you only have five minutes you can still help. explaining how Lightstalkers has been valuable to you. We hear from many of our members that the site has been instrumental in everything from organizing travel logistics to hooking up assignments, and working relationships, to finding housing, or getting real-time, no-bullshit technical intel. For others, the site may serve an educational purpose, or act as a raw, unfiltered news network. We can learn from your input, and also use it to show donors how much of a difference this site can make.

More about sponsorship→

Site sponsorship
The sponsor logos you see on most pages are acknowledgments to our corporate sponsors.

To find out about becoming a sponsor, just send email to support@novembereleven.org.

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