Hello, everyone! As you may or may not have seen recently, my inability to keep things as updated as I’d like caused some confusion and even a little panic (sheesh) – but if nothing else, it did serve as a bit of a wake-up call as the project expands. As personal obligations demand my time, I still want to ensure that TOPS and its content are available to the people who need it most. I also have plans I’d like to follow through on in the coming months. There are a number of challenges I briefly touched on in the reddit post above, but I thought I might take a moment to go into more detail and talk about my plans to improve the situation.
Getting Donations of Time – I have reached out to a handful of people I trust – some that I know personally, and some that I’ve met (and vetted) throughout the course of this project. A couple have graciously agreed to help with some of the more time-consuming tasks with the project – updating data on the charts and (actually) responding when readers like you email or PM me, etc. I feel a little embarrassed by the catalyst, but it is exciting to officially form “That One Privacy Team” since it means the project and its needs have grown. I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce a couple of new people who have agreed to assist me – we’ll call them That One Privacy Fox and That One Privacy Koala. These new assistants and some I’ll hopefully be getting the help of soon are located around the world, so while there might be a little bit of a delay from one of us, between us all we can hopefully answer quickly – (and even if a response comes a little later from another time zone, it’s certainly better than me not getting to it for a month!)
I also wanted to start asking for more help from the community in general. Aside from monetary donations – if you wish to contribute to the site, and can maybe share your time, technical knowledge, or ability to translate content into other languages, please email us (firstname.lastname@example.org). Let me know more about what you might wish to do to help. I’d be willing to discuss it with you, though I do have a screening process of sorts in mind. I feel a lot of support from the community, and one thing I regret a bit is not tapping into that desire to contribute more if there are those that are willing.
Making it Easier to Donate – I’ll be honest, getting rid of PayPal and Patreon was difficult. I quickly found that paying for hosting and tools without that offset can at times be a serious burden. Admittedly, terminating my relationship with both were by choice, and nothing was forcing me to end my relationship with either. But if you know me, it was more the principle of the situation driving those decisions – and I stand by them despite the hardship they created. (Though I had some trouble with it the last time I looked), I’ll be making another attempt to find a more privacy friendly service that could help restore that aid. Many of you have been generous to the project and many more ask how they can donate in an easier way than the current limited crypto options. As a side note, I want to thank you so much FOR your generosity. Especially early on, the project likely couldn’t have gotten where it is today without it!
Publish new VPN Reviews, and refresh older ones – To prevent the VPN Reviews from getting too stale and to keep this popular feature of the site alive, I want to use some of the help I requested above to perform VPN reviews. There are some potential pitfalls with this, but I believe I have a plan to counteract them. There was never any secret to the way I conducted VPN Reviews, and this was intentional. I link to my methodology from every review I do, and that formula is supposed to be reproducible – not just by me. As mentioned above, if you wish to contribute your time and writing ability, feel free to reach out if that’s something you think you can do. I care mainly about impartiality and ability to perform a review using the established methodology. I want to stress that not just anyone is going to get the green light – the unbiased, thorough nature of the reviews is something that needs to be preserved.
Again I want to thank everyone in this community for their support and continuing contributions of many kinds. Despite some growing pains, I’m looking forward to these next steps and I’m excited to breathe some new life into TOPS in the coming months – with your help!