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Name: David Allen
Gender: Male
Hometown: Washington, DC
Home country: USA
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 63,313

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Pay what you want. Pay how you want. Becoming a DU Star Member is now much easier.

Late last year when we moved into our new software, we also changed the way people could become paid subscribers. For the first ten years of this website's existence we called it a donation and you could pay whatever you wanted. Starting in December of last year we stopped taking "donations" and instead asked members to purchase a subscription at a fixed price. We had a number of reasons for making that change, but to us the most important was that Democratic Underground was not (and had never been) a non-profit charitable organization, and the "donations" we received were not tax deductible. The "donations" received did not go to any charitable purpose other than to pay our expenses and our own salaries. So over time we had come to feel that using the word "donation" was perhaps not completely appropriate.

So, for the last nine months, we have been giving members the opportunity to purchase Star Memberships at a fixed price. And it has worked more-or-less how we expected it to work. We knew fewer people would purchase these memberships because (for some) a fixed price represented a greater expense. In terms of Democratic Underground's bottom line, it was basically a wash: Our income from member subscriptions went down, while our income from advertising went up. But there has been one enormous problem with the new approach: There are many people in this community who clearly want to become Star Members but who feel they cannot afford it. The DU Administrators have spent months discussing this issue, and have considered dozens of possible ideas to make memberships more affordable including tiered subscriptions or subsidized subscriptions or special senior rates or whatever. But every time we had a new idea, we kept coming back to the idea of just letting everyone pay whatever you want to pay.

So, the new price to become a Democratic Underground Star Member is: Whatever you want to pay.

The DU Administrators have read all of your concerns and complaints about our fixed-price subscriptions, and this new "pay-what-you-want" approach should address those concerns. Ability to pay should no longer be an obstacle to becoming a DU Star Member. You can sign up for a recurring monthly subscription, a recurring annual subscription, or a one-time online payment. Or you can even print out a form and send us a few bucks through the U.S. Postal Service. You pay whatever and however you want to pay.

The DU Administrators feel very positive about this change, but we are admittedly a little bit concerned about what it may mean for our bottom line. If this new pay-what-you-want subscription system leads to a significant drop in our overall revenue, then we will be looking for ways to cover the deficit. The most likely thing would be to bring back the quarterly fund drives like we used to do. Hopefully it will not come to that.

So, if you are not currently a DU Star Member, we hope that you will take this opportunity to become one. We want every DU member who wants to become a Star Member to have the opportunity to become one. Just click this link to get started:


If you do become a Star Member, your status as a member will last for one full year from the day you pay for the subscription. So whether you are paying monthly or yearly or by check, you will always know that your member status lasts for one year after your most recent payment. (This is how member status worked back under our old donation system.)


There are obviously many of you who purchased Star Memberships over the last eight months for the fixed-price. If so, thank you! You may be wondering what will happen to your subscription... You will continue as a Star Member at the rate you already signed up for, recurring at the time period you agreed to. Payments will continue to be charged. In addition, your status as a member will last for (at least) one year after your most recent payment. If you would like to cancel your recurring payment, you can log into PayPal and cancel it. If you would like to change your recurring payment, the easiest thing to do would be to long into PayPal and cancel it, and then sign up for a new subscription on Democratic Underground. If you would like a full or partial refund of payments you have already made to DU, please send an email with the details of your request -- we will do our best to honor any/all such requests, provided we have the funds to do so.

How Augmented Reality Vision Will Screw Up Your Love Life (Video)


In this near-future universe, people are dependent on the constant interactivity and connectivity provided by Sight Systems, a visual interface that looks a lot like Google's Project Glass, minus the glasses. Patrick, the film's protagonist, can turn any activity, like slicing veggies for dinner, into a game, collecting points and badges, while social media updates from friends bubble up in his peripheral vision. The white walls of his minimalist apartment are completely blank because they serve as a backdrop to the hyper-personalized multimedia interface playing before his pupils. As the story unfolds, the film reveals how technology and "gamification" have shaped a world in which humans don't relate to their surroundings, intentionally left colorless and empty, because they've become so engrossed in the digital membrane separating them from the rest of the world. And when it comes to romance, this is a problem. When Patrick goes out to dinner on a first date, he can't seem to see past the mesmerizing interface of his "Wingman" dating app. Sight is a fantastic example of a growing genre of "design fiction" filmmaking, creating a slick, futuristic world that nonetheless seems all too real. Sight was directed by Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo as their graduation project at Bezalel Academy of Arts. The film stars Ori Golad as Patrick and Deborah Aroshas as Daphne.

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