Happy 2020 from Tech-artists.org!

Happy 2020 to all you tech-artists out there!

Like Max and Maya, rolling from 2019 to 2020 is a truly mandatory upgrade – but (unlike Max and Maya) – it’s an upgrade that adds features you really need!

2019 was our community’s first year as a legally incorporated nonprofit, and a big thank you to all of the individuals whos support made this a reality. We’ve kept the website up and running, our Slack channel is abuzz with people making jokes about timezones and sometimes sharing technical tips, career advice, or just offering a sympathetic shoulder to cry on. Thanks to our legal status we were able to throw a truly monstrous bash at GDC 2019, and we’re hoping to be able to top it this year.

Above all we did a great job growing the community this year:

  • The website hosted about 5.7 million page views this year, with over seven thousand users
  • Our slack channel now has more than half a million messages and over a thousand users
  • New local techart meetups have been spotted around the globe
  • Our GDC rountable continues draw a standing-room-only crowd
  • Our Github group is up to 16 repos

We’ve also been approached by a couple of other industry groups who want advice on how to grow their own communities. So, overall our first full year of legitimacy was a big hit.

As the community grows we’re looking for new ways to keep that momentum going. Here are our big plans for 2020:

Hosted chat

We’re starting an experiment with hosting our own chat service.

Our Slack channel has been a huge success, but one thing that we currently can’t afford is a paid Slack account. Slack charges per-user-per-month, and with over a thousand people in the Slack we won’t be able to afford it even at the discounted rate they offer to 501c3 nonprofits. Right now, our chats vanish into the ether after a couple of weeks – although we’ve generated more than half a million messages since we started the Slack, only the most recent 10,000 – only 5% of them! – are available for search. We’ve already had to write a couple of bots to purge old files to keep the chat humming. Hosting our own chat servers will mean we can manage the data for ourselves, so that brilliant suggestion in last week’s MaxScript chat will still be there when you need it months from now.

We’re going to try out a couple of different chat services. Right now we’ve got a beta Zulip server, and once we’ve got some experience with that we’ll probably try a test of Mattermost. We love Slack, but we’d also love to get our old chats back. In the meantime – remember to try /discourse post in the Slack to cross-post a good discussion from the chat to the website so it’s not lost forever!

Becoming Tax Deductible

For most of us the ability to deduct a few dollars off the tech art tipjar isn’t a make or break benefit. However, if we get ourselves registered as a tax-deductible charity (what the IRS calls 501c3) status) we’ll be able to leverage some of the many programs out there that support nonprofits.

In particular we’d love to be able to get access to TechSoup, an organization that gives nonprofits discount access to software and services. In the short run, we hope this will help us keep our hosting costs down, but over the long haul it will put is in a position to start supporting students with educational opportunities.

Registering for 501c3 status will cost us about $750, so it will be our biggest expense in the coming year. Luckily it’s a one-time fee.

A New Logo

We’ve come a long way since our origins on spare PC in Rob Galanakis’ closet (2020 will be our twelfth year). It feels like a good time to revisit our logo and branding to reflect all the cool things that have happened since the old days (Fun fact: tech-artists.org is just one year younger than Maya Python). So, we’ll be kicking off a new logo contest in the new year to get some ideas on how to represent our community online and on the streets.

Of course – all this good stuff doesn’t come cheap. If you want to add another good deed to your 2019 accomplishments, consider hitting the TAO tipjar as way to ring out the old year.

Happy 2020 to all you TA’s out there. You’ve been busy solving problems for other people, and we hope we’ve helped you solve a few of yours. Here’s to new challenges for the coming year!

The Tech-artists.org board

Rob Butterworth

Mary Denman

Jeff Hanna

Matt Oztalay

Adam Pletcher

Steve Theodore

Bob White


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