The Stickler Weekly Ideas

Recently in one of my weekly blog posts I mentioned how few people contribute on a regular basis. I received a number of emails apologising on behalf of those who enjoy the weekly challenge but aren’t inclined to give, and some even offered up ideas on different models that could help me receive more income. I must make it clear that I don’t do it for money, and there’s no complusion to give – I enjoy keeping my hand in and offering a world-class cryptic crossword to make up for the standard that has become the norm in Australian papers. There is also a faction that wish to establish an Australian cryptic style that is completely off-beam and contrary to what’s needed to help the growth of cryptics in Australia. I believe I’m the only person who is standing in the way of this faction, and, as a result, I must keep flying the cryptic flag. Having said all that, it is nice to feel appreciated whether it be in the form of contributions, blog posts or emails.

One financial model suggestion from a regular poster revolved around solvers effectively raising a prescribed amount each week to enable the publication of the next Stickler Weekly. That is, I would set a price, and if that price is given through contributions by the next publishing date the Stickler Weekly gets published. If not, it’s held over to the next publishing date where the same condition applies. Each time a Stickler Weekly gets published, the amount resets, and the process continues. It doesn’t matter how much is given, it’s just whether the goal has been reached at publishing time. How do you all feel about this idea? It has flaws (like what about contributions already given and those who contribute once a year etc) and technically might be complicated for me to implement, but it’s an idea.

A model that stemmed from this one is similiar (credit to my wife for this): If you add up all the contributions since I started the Stickler Weekly (including almost $2000 raised for the Cancer Council’s Seven Bridges Walk last year), the average contribution per Stickler Weekly is $40. Using that as a starting point, and drawing a chronological line at the start of the year, the goal would be to gradually lift the average contribution per crossword according to a schedule that would end up at a reasonable average price probably in line with that of the first model. If the average hasn’t been lifted by the planned date, the Stickler Weekly would stop until it does. This model, too, has its problems, as it could be that I’m asking too much of solvers and those faithful contributors will suffer as the result of inaction from others. It could be that the Stickler Weekly simply isn’t sustainable.

These are just ideas – I’d like SOMETHING to happen, but for the moment the Stickler Weekly will continue. Please let me know what you think either publicly through the website or privately through email. If you have another idea, feel free to let me know.

The Stickler

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16 Responses to The Stickler Weekly Ideas

  1. Pingback: The Stickler Weekly 175 | Australian Crosswords

  2. Richard Sternes says:

    Would be lost without our weekly “sharing of ideas” David.
    Will give this thought & respond.
    As a starting point though, you would know my six monthly contribution (26 weeks X $??)
    Would be helpful to know if this is even remotely appropriate.
    May be it’s time to talk $$$ & actually set a Price?

  3. Peter Lisberg says:

    I do try to contribute regularly, but sometimes I have no idea as to when the last contribution was. Would it be possible to set up a direct payment system of say $4 per month ($1 per cryptic), then it would just happen. I don’t know the cost involved from Paypal in such an undertaking. I feel many people would be prepared to pay this, but are unsure as to how much to contribute on an ad hoc basis.

  4. Colin & Nancy Probets says:

    I believe that Peter’s suggestion paying on a regular basis ($1 or $2 a week) is good.
    You know the number of people downloading the crossword (less a number who wouldn’t pay) and the minimum amount you would like to receive each week, so can work out an equitable amount.
    You would need to set up a payment system (at a cost) that allows financial members access the crosswords, and non financial members look but not touch.
    We used to buy the weekend paper every week to access your crossword,( and NOT the actual paper) so are willing to pay an equivalent price.

  5. Jenny says:

    What about an annual subscription? Similar to magazine subscriptions?

  6. Steve Ball says:

    I like the first idea. 😉 I think it would be fun to see how far short of a Stickler the fund is and then consider how badly I need my fix to make it happen.

    You could apportion money given recently over the next few months, weeks whatever.

    And where can I take issue with this “faction”? 😉

  7. Richard Sternes says:

    First – couple of observations David.
    1. PLEASE stand steadfast against dumbing-down. Plenty of that EVERYWHERE else.
    2. $40.00 PER WEEK??? It’s un-Austrayan!!!
    Wouldn’t even get a Tradie to the door ONCE.
    3. Some of what I’ve seen seems to be very complicated (& perhaps costly).

    I’m not entirely clear about the goal (i.e. The Plan), however I’m
    assuming as a part-time activity you would want at least to be covering costs + Margin.
    Whatever – needs to be kept SIMPLE as possible – otherwise financial gain
    will be extinguished by administrative pain. ……..Jenny (above ) is onto it.

    SUBSCRIPTION MODEL – Honour System (as I do – by Cheque)
    Six-monthly ($52.00) – tracked by Birthday (then +six months) @ $2.00 per week.
    ………..Fessing-up here, still not sure if that is an appropriate figure.
    Begins with number of down-loads, worked up from there.
    If EVERYONE did this Model would it achieve The Target i.e. fulfil The Plan?

  8. Richard Sternes says:

    Support David or else this stimulating, highest quality
    & Very rewarding weekly activity is likely to be lost

  9. Steve C says:

    I’d be happy to pay $1 a week or $15 a quarter for my “Weekly” fix. I’m sure the grid could be password protected and only opened by subscribers. Surely there’s enough users out there to make it worthwhile,
    I hope so,

  10. Richard Sternes says:

    David – seems it will be a pricing issue as I thought it may
    & that is for you to say. It’s your work & your creativity after all.
    If you set (say) $1.00 per week minimum, others who wish can always pay more.
    Payment process is then the other major issue & I haven’t moved away
    from simplicity of “Cheque is in the Mail” – each birthday + 6mths.

    Steve’s Password Protection – sounds good. Hadn’t even heard of that.

  11. Arthur Maynard says:

    My Saturday Courier Mail costs over $2.50 per week. I used to buy it mainly for the Boxer (Stickler) crossword. So I have used that as my guide as to a suitable contribution. (I fell a little short this year). We use Stickler for my U3A advanced group. 26 weeks. They contribute $10 per person so that gives around $100 which I regard as “copyright” contribution. I contribute in January or February. Perhaps an annual contribution could be your birthday present to yourself.
    I understand many U3A groups access the crossword and make no contribution. That upsets me, and whenever I meet this, I suggest they consider a contribution as they all hold CAL licences for other works. I think CAL covered us when we took Sticklers from the newspaper, but it does not do so now, unless David has investigated and registered.
    I would hope that there are enough responses that David can provide a suggested contribution. The main issues here seem to be whether I am expected to contribute, how much is appropriate, and the best means of making the payments.

    I would prefer not to prevent access. I would like the solving community and the communication to grow, which means new people need access and experience with the crosswords. As a learner, I would have had some difficulties with last week’s Stickler, but found it okay. If this week was my first visit, I would probably say it is too hard. I might not come back, and that would be our loss as solvers.
    Greater exposure to challenging clues, and the courage to contribute to the blog will help people to develop their ability to solve. Contributions from people who have solved, will help those still struggling.

    What a mixture of thoughts this has turned out to be. But it is great to see there are responses and a willingness to suggest amounts and ways to manage the issue.

  12. Arthur Maynard says:

    I agree totally with Richard that Wednesday starts one of my favourites periods each week.

    I am pleased to see that there are responses to the issue.

    It seems the major issues are
    Who should contribute. – Everybody who uses the crossword. (Probably impractical)
    How Much and how to make and monitor the payment – there are a variety of suggestions
    Whether to block access

    It seems that we are used to getting our cryptics for free, without considering the process of creating and distribution.
    U3A groups generally hold a CAL licence. When we copy from the newspaper, we believe this covers our obligation and that some money would trickle to the source. This is no longer the case because we are directly accessing David’s material.
    Individually and as groups we should be providing some recompense to David for his authorship.
    Those responding to the blog obviously agree. I hope those who read will take it on board.

    How Much
    It is clear that we have a variety of concepts as to how much is reasonable.

    I purchased the Courier Mail ($2-2.50) every Saturday to access the Boxer (Stickler) cryptic. It is no longer there. I based my contribution on the cost of the newspaper because that was the only thing I was really interested in.
    In my U3A advanced group we copy a puzzle most weeks (26 to 30 weeks a year). Every contributes $10 annually for our use of copyright material. Around $100 pa.

    I understand that U3A groups generally do not contribute. In talking I gather that they consider CAL covers their use. Where possible I suggest they make an appropriate contribution to the author.

    I would like to see David assess a reasonable amount based on the feedback he receives, and his needs, put the figure out, and check for responses. You might use the current contribution rate as a guide to what people consider realistic, then add a little because the labourer is worthy of his hire.

    Paying and Monitoring.
    I prefer to pay in a lump sum. And generally choose January or February – the new year. Perhaps you can give yourself a birthday present of your annual subscription. Frankly it is too much trouble to track a nominal withdrawal on a regular basis, and it is too easy to overlook it if I am sailing close to the wind.

    Blocking Access
    I take every opportunity to share my love of Cryptics with anybody who shows the slightest interest. The cryptics in the daily newspapers are rubbish. As my U3A groups and friends develop we graduate to Sticklers. Blocking access would deny developing solvers the opportunity to improve their capabilities and their understanding of crosswords generally.

    As a learner with moderate skill, I would have coped reasonably well with last week’s crossword, with the clues, David’s hints and the blog. This week was a great crossword, but it required more than novice experience to solve the clues. A learner may decide it is too hard, and if that is the standard they will buy a New Idea or (heaven forbid) a book of cryptics.

    Good clues, a reasonable challenge, and the chance to learn from the blogs will assist novices to advance. We can facilitate that by supporting the Weekly financially, and by contributing to the blog when we or other solvers are struggling with solving.

    Wow that was wordy

  13. Richard Sternes says:

    Yes, But – Arthur
    Well reasoned responses with rationalisations of the positions you have taken.
    (Previous life in evidence there…..)

    Would suggest that ALL of the above will give David much to ponder
    & hopefully assist him to plan his way ahead.
    I too am glad that so many have taken the time to contribute their thoughts.

    & yes, COST. Saturday Courier Mail was where I started – $2.00 per week???

  14. Richard Sternes says:

    Something else worth considering –
    If you have a Facebook presence, however small (such as mine)
    consider adding a Reference to…………….
    Never know, Friends may have an interest that you did not know of…..

  15. Lea says:

    When I discovered your site, I was astounded that there was no charge to access the crossword. As others have mentioned, my starting point was The Boxer in the Courier Mail which I no longer purchase since it discontinued David’s excellent crossword. I learnt how to solve cryptic crosswords through the help of my husband and definitely don’t support any ‘dumbing down’.
    I would be happy to pay an annual subscription to allow access. Maybe there could be ‘guest’ access for say, 3, ‘freebies’.

    • Richard Sternes says:

      No wonder Courier Mail sales have plummeted of a cliff.
      All those pesky Boxer Rebels voting with their $$$…….