[Sust-mar] The future of sust-mar - what do you want? Feedback requested

Peter Watson pwatson at ns.sympatico.ca
Mon Sep 22 00:36:23 EDT 2014

Greetings to all sust-mar subscribers,

Last week I put out this message asking for member contributions towards sust-mar's $276.85 annual web hosting fees for another year:


And .... we had a total of three responses to this for a total of $45. We want to sincerely thank those three responders, but it's not even close to what is needed to sustain sust-mar. Co-moderator Paul and I discussed this, and we've decided to ask you, the membership, some honest questions. We need your feedback before again asking for more of your hard earned cash.

It boils down to this: Do we collectively need or want sust-mar anymore? Is it still relevant? Cost effective? We're left with the feeling that if so few read or care enough then we might consider pulling the plug. Sust-mar was a 1990's communication initiative by Paul, and has served the green conscious community in Atlantic Canada well for many years. But this type of forum was really designed for the 1990's internet, and there are lots of other communication mediums out there now. It is costing a fair bit to keep sust-mar running in its present format. 

Traffic has been slowly declining over the last couple years, my donations plea today was just the second message this September (though there have been three climate march posts since). Many months have fewer than 10 messages, many of them employment opportunities available on other sites. There's no such thing as a queue anymore. It has felt to me that it is becoming less used and probably less relevant, especially with the under 30 crowd. Whether that's because I don't pump a lot of enthusiasm or promotion into it anymore, or it's just a medium whose time has passed in this new age of high tech websites, facebook, smartphones and texting, I can't say.

Two years ago, it took a dire followup fundraising plea to get folks to pay attention. We did eventually raise enough funds for that year, and one very generous person stepped up and pledged enough to cover a second year. But continuing on with more pleas to keep sust-mar afloat, while so many other organizations doing great work are themselves so cash strapped, is not something I really want to do anymore.

So please give us your feedback on whether you or your organization still value sust-mar. Whether it makes sense to you to continue it, or not, or perhaps morph it into a new 2014 relevant format. If we continue, would anyone out there be willing to take over the reigns? Send responses to sust-mar-owner at list.web.net . I'll compile them, send them out on the list, and we can see where the concensus eventually lands. Be honest, there'll be no hard feelings whichever way it goes!

If the concensus is to retire sust-mar, that's ok, and thanks for the great run! And please save your donations for another great environmental organization that could really use it. :) This is actually the simplest option to me personally. 

If concensus is to continue in its present format, the original message will still stand and we will still need funds. We would welcome your fundraising initiatives if you have the time and feel strongly enough, but haven't the time to initiate bake or yard sales ourselves. :) Also, after many years as the primary moderator/listowner/fundraiser, I would like to hand over the day to day operations to someone with time and fresh enthusiasm. Anyone interested?

The concensus could also be that sust-mar needs upgrading or changing into another format, ie morphing into another creature more relevant to 2014. One thought we've tossed around in the past is migrating to become a facebook group. But that comes with many cons along with some advantages like no annual fees. If this is the choice, my personal time is limited and I'm not a computer/web tech for anything beyond managing a facebook switchover (which I could do). Again, does anybody feel strongly enough about sust-mar that they'd like to to step forward and lead it into a new era?

We will not deposit any cheques or e-transfers already sent, and wont ask for more, until we have clear direction.

Many thanks for your membership, and we await your input on sust-mar's future! :)


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