Here ya Go, Lew..
Hi, Folks -
RMN and its publisher Raye 'Rayelan' Allan Smith have been through a lot this past year. By now you may have forgotten many of the details, and newer Readers may not know about them at all.
Last September, Raye was already having great difficulty in the form of an unwanted house guest, someone Raye had provided a home for temporarily but then who forgot to leave.
During that house guest's tenure, Raye experienced a wealth of difficulties, including strangely high utility bills, and bills that didn't arrive for some reason, but eventually shut-off notices _did_ arrive.
About this time a year ago, Google abruptly 'dumped' RMN as an ad publisher, shutting off some amount of incoming money that Raye could have used to help pay those bills. Google cited as the reason for this a post in our Archive from 2006, about the possible harm one might experience from a brown recluse spider bite. The post included photos of some pretty serious damage. Google declared that this ran afoul of their "no gore" guideline, leaving us to wonder if they had been looking for an excuse to dump RMN.
Just a few weeks later, a hacker, taking advantage of the 'Shell Shock' software vulnerability that the 'Net had just been alerted to, managed to get "under the hood" of the RMN server. Before we even knew he was there, one evening posts simply began disappearing, rapidly. The hacker managed to delete all of the current posts in the Reading Room and the CGI Room, and almost all of the posts in the RMN Archive (about 300,000+ posts in all). The timing was devastating. Till recently our ISP had been doing regular backups - but he had stopped for reasons of poor service on the part of the separate company performing and maintaining those backups. Consequently there were no backups from which to restore the deleted posts.
And that led to this: RMN began to disappear from search engines; and our site traffic began to decline, reducing the money coming in from remaining remote ad suppliers - we're at 1/2 to 2/3 of our previous traffic level, still.
Eventually, though not easily, Raye and that unwanted house guest parted ways, with Raye moving into a new rental house that turned out to be overrun with mice. And, there are still at least a few bills that had piled up during this odyssey that she's still working to pay off.
Newer Readers may be thinking, "Who? Who is this Raye person...?" because Raye hasn't been much in evidence here in the Reading Room while all this has been going on. To say she's been "distracted" would put it very, very mildly indeed. It would be nearer the facts to say she's been "under siege" in more ways than one. But the point is this: Rayelan is the reason any of us, Readers and Agents alike, is here. Without her, there'd be no RMN; and what nowadays are "common topics of discussion on Internet" would not have been introduced to Internet, way back when Rumor Mill News first appeared on Internet.
Yet: here we are, still. Though all our 'history' vanished, the steady stream of current posts by Agents and e-mails from Readers has continued, in many ways as though nothing had happened, indication perhaps of a certain resilience to RMN and the loyal dedication of the RMN Agents and long-term Readers.
Rayelan's original vision of the place, that the information should be free for all to read, has continued. In earliest days, Raye paid all expenses out of her own pocket, till changing circumstances in her own living (death of her husband, caring for her aging mother and then her mother's passing also, etc.) made it no longer possible for her to do. The fact that the information is free to read doesn't mean it costs nothing to provide, of course, so RMN became "Reader-supported" on a donation basis.
It's generally true that we need $1000 in the FundRazr widget by about the 9th of each month, or $1500 by the 15th, to cover important bills that come due around those dates. The short month of September is no exception - except, we got a late start this month, and it's already the 8th.
Please help us - help Rayelan and RMN - to keep the lights on, at this most interesting time in the unfoldment of possible changes-for-the-better in the world of human affairs, by contributing if you're able and would find it fitting.