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⯇ December 2022
January 一月 2023
February 2023 ⯈
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November 22, 2022 - Moving forward and requiring your input - A letter to all Jappleng members - Jappleng Forums
Forum Discussions about Japan and East Asia
November 22, 2022 - Moving forward and requiring your input - A letter to all Jappleng members - Jappleng Forums
Forum Discussions about Japan and East Asia
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November 22, 2022 - Moving forward and requiring your input - A letter to all Jappleng members
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OG Jappleng
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Snowball November 22, 2022 - Moving forward and requiring your input - A letter to all Jappleng members
//Ogjappleng
Posted 67 days ago... Menu Button

Hello everyone!

I divided this thread into categories so you can skip what you don't care or you can be real awesome and read the whole thing, it's a letter from the heart.

 


Time flying by

Jappleng has certainly seen a lot of changes over the years. A lot of remakes and improvements and it took an inordinate amount of time to do. Unfortunately this means that when I first started this project at the end of 2005, I was not expecting to still be working on it by 2023. Time flew by without even realizing it.

Perhaps you may wonder why there isn't a crazy amount of content on the site or why is the site buggy and I can answer that. Jappleng offered different types of content over the years such as Jappleng News which featured a lot of news from Japan, the forums which were once frequented by tens of thousands of people (before I ran out of time for this project), the entertainment section which was all about anime and Japanese TV. 


The Struggle

I have struggled very hard to keep interest in completing the “new Jappleng”. It was first announced in 2017 or 2018 and I was really active on discord sharing things and to some degree it was much more motivating to be surrounded by hundreds of supportive people than to not be on discord. Having lost my login credentials and e-mail address associated with it thanks to Microsoft forcing an update on my computer rendering it broken immediately afterwards…. I'm no longer surrounded by these people nor am I surrounded by anyone with interest in Japanese culture of any kind but I did try to marathon my way into completing the site and surprising existing fans/members of the project…

Unfortunately it took longer than expected. Jappleng had so many things to complete, real life got in the way, a lot was getting done while much more wasn't. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months and having left Discord in March-ish of 2020 is now November 2022. Yikes! Of course this is embarassing. I've had many sleepless nights over this.


The Future

Now Jappleng is in a peculiar situation. I'm spending most of my days working hard and a tiny bit of time watching anime and playing games. I'm practically a married hermit. It's enjoyable but Jappleng hasn't been part of this life because there is no end-goal for the project. There needs to be an end goal rather than just staying free with no ads and not backed by any type of company at least if we want to see Jappleng exist in the future. Kindly note that for years I've been spending over $150 / mo. for this project not including my time which has been over 35,000 hours in total as a full stack developer (you can google how much those make). A lot of sacrifices has been made to keep this project online even when I was so poor and in-between jobs where I was making a meger $1/hr living in a tiny black mold room with roaches.

Mentally it's been exhausting but my goal was to keep this project free and free from ads for as long as I could. But I'm now 37 years old. This project is 17 years old, meaning I started this project when I was 20! 

What to do?

I see only two paths for Jappleng moving forward because my mental state can't do it alone anymore. The daily anxiety, depression and stress is too much.

 

Non-Profit Path

The first path is to find enough people and convert Jappleng into a non-profit organization dedicated in the cause. This is very appealing to me but finding 3-4 people to volunteer for “the cause” locally may be a bit troublesome. Jappleng would have a clear mission, we would have staff (paid and volunteer) and honestly it sounds a lot of fun.

Upside Downside
Funding is easier to obtain Initial startup cost is very expensive (legal)
I wouldn't be alone working on this project anymore Site rules would have to be more strict, certain things would no longer be allowed
There could be a charity side to it benefiting certain people There are a lot of legal and financial requirements to not get in legal trouble
Easy-to-grow Cannot have a store-front / import shop for profitable reasons

 

For-Profit Path

This path is in a sense easier to tread and I wouldn't need to find staff immediately. I could monetize the site with ads, microtransactions and perhaps an optional subscription model that would provide additional perks to the project. There are grants I could also qualify for from the Japanese government to help with hiring writers to contribute new lessons. 

Upside Downside
I could treat it as a job rather than chore Might still be alone with the exception of hiring occasional contractors (writers etc)
Site flexibility, it can be anything I or you want with no limits.  Personal liability is a real thing if I or someone else screws up
Can sell goods and services, have a import shop etc… Good profit Difficult to expand fanbase / grow site
No need to do anything legal/financial to get started, I just need to write it on paper that my company now owns Jappleng as a subsidiary A lot more of my time would be involved in this project instead of shaing it with staff at least at first.

 

For me, the non-profit path / foundation way is more appealing because I always adored making this project for free to use but the for-profit path is also appealing because I always wanted to run a Japanese themed business. I'd like to know what you guys think and whether or not I can have your support moving forward? Development on Jappleng and finding staff / volunteers (if it's non-profit) would have to resume next year in January. If it's for-profit it would be about that time as well.

Knowing this, if Jappleng does become a non-profit organization, then we can all come together and decide what Jappleng should really be about. The underlying tech is pretty much complete so adjustments can be pretty easy. Please reply with your thoughts on all of this, thank you for your time and sorry for the extra-long post!

 

Happy Thanksgiving if you're American or Japan (or any other country that celebrates it)!

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kooh kooh
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Posted 66 days ago... Menu Button

What would you do if it's non-profit like would the website be different?

ROKINAXTREME
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ROKINAXTREMEPinchy Claws Hat 2018
//ROKINAXTREME
Posted 66 days ago... Menu Button

The site is already non-profit, and I think that it's good right now!

OG Jappleng
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//Ogjappleng
Posted 60 days ago... Menu Button

Thank you both for responding to this thread!

@Kooh

I would have to find other people to help manage this project and whatever else we decide to do with Jappleng and then once we have a clear vision on what we want to do as a non-profit then proceed from there. For instance, perhaps Jappleng could be a place to learn Japanese and about Japan for free for all people just as it is today but be formally recognized in a legal matter. Perhaps we could push it furhter a little bit more and provide means for children to go study abroad or travel abroad who would otherwise never have that opportunity (ie: Someone from a very poor family or have some kind of disability). It would be a legal means for us to exist while continuing to provide what we do.

@Rokinaxtreme

The site may not be profit oriented but it is not backed by a non-profit organization. The difference is that Jappleng can only remain stagnant as it is today since I an soley responsible for its existence and all funding. It must become a legal entity whether it is a non-profit organization or a for-profit corporation. Otherwise I cannot ask for donations or support, nor do I have any liability protection in the event someone gets angry. Please understand that Jappleng costs around $150USD per month to remain online. I have voluntarily contributed this (sometimes more, sometimes less) since the start of this project. I'd like to at least share the financial burden somehow but to do so it needs to either become a non-profit or for-profit entity of some sort. If it's non-profit and needed help with a few month's funding I could technically go and do a fundraiser. The money wouldn't be mine, it would be Jappleng's. That alone would aleviate a lot of stress from me.

The most important reason

The biggest thing is being able to hire people to help with this project. I cannot do it all on my own. It took an eternity to build the website, each lesson takes several days to write as well. I can't moderate the site by myself and going on Twitter and other social networks to promote this project is out of character but even if I would, I'd have little time between everything. I have another project that is bigger than Jappleng which I still have to complete, it may take until March before it's in BETA. I'd like to also work on project Pinchy, project Inari (Yokai Trainers/Masters), among other things. I've got so many projects lined up for the future and will not be able to make Jappleng my main focus. Jappleng is almost what I had envisioned it in December 2005, most features were included, some sections were removed but overall it is what I had promised it to be. I want it to be more though, something people can keep coming back to and have the feeling of belonging. The Japanese/anime fandom unfortunately has its levels of discrimination but it's a lot better today than it was back then, back then if someone found out you watched anime you would get beat up. Today, it's not so much the case but still happens. Still, I want to keep moving forward with this project and the only two choices I see in front is to either make it non-profit or for-profit. Both have their advantages.

For now and this year at least, it will remain as it is without incorporation of any kind. I will attempt to work more on this project and to try and find local people to help and see where that goes.

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