LuminaNET has passed its two-year anniversary. With over 730 members from 72 countries, 28,000 unique visitors to the website, and tons of member-generated content (more stats here), we have grown to a vibrant global community. However, the grant we received to establish and run the network expired about a year ago and we find ourselves with a challenge as to how ... and whether ... to continue.
We thank the Assistant Secretary for International Affairs of the U.S. Department of Energy for their generous sponsorship to create and run LuminaNET up to this point. Thanks to their support, membership and content are currently free and the site is actively moderated.
Going forward, instituting a fee for members would not only be unduly complicated to administer, but would make the service unaffordable to many of those who benefit the most. Selling advertising would change the character of LuminaNET's current non-commercial atmosphere. Keeping this site going in my free time is not a sustainable alternative. Perhaps others are able to volunteer their time to perform certain functions (e.g., vetting member applications, identifying and ejecting spammers, reviewing all posts for compliance with our Guidelines, drafting and emailing weekly summaries of activity, troubleshooting platform issues, etc.), but I doubt the system could be run effectively on volunteer labor alone.
The alternative is either to find a new major sponsor or multiple organizations to sponsor at a more modest level. Appropriate sponsors will appreciate the member-driven nature of the network, and see the value in it not becoming a vehicle for promoting any one institution or program.
I welcome any and all suggestions for how to keep LuminaNET going.
LuminaNET Creator and Moderator