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WinCustomize has a New Rainmeter Gallery

Release announcements and important news from the developers.
sgtevmckay

WinCustomize has a New Rainmeter Gallery

Post by sgtevmckay »

Very exciting news

WinCustomize has opened a new gallery for Rainmeter skins.
This is exciting news for many of you that are WinCustomize members and have been waiting.
For new subscribers to WinCustomize, this can be a very exciting time.
You can simply upload your skins as outlined by WinCustomize.
Basic WinCustomize accounts can be started for free.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly;
We feel it is our responsibility to inform the Rainmeter community what this means.

The Good:
WinCustomize has been at the forefront of the customization community for many years.
WinCustomize is a large encompassing community of customizers. Not only do they represent Stardock and its products, WinCustomize also represents other "free" and "for profit" customization software in a forum community.
WinCustomize's goal is to help folks that are highly interested in all levels System's Customization.
Anyone can become a member of the WinCustomize community.
There is no upload limit, the gallery is moderated carefully as all skins are reviewed, and the gallery is skins only.

The Bad:
WinCustomize has free and subscriber accounts

The Ugly:
Under the "Free Account" there is (currently) a lifetime download limit of 500MB. This covers all downloads, not just Rainmeter skins. This is closely monitored. The only way to bypass this limit is to pay $19.99 a year or purchase a StarDock product.
That being said; The staff at WinCustomize may promote your membership at any time. This may be based on your submissions and help to the WinCustomize community. This promotion is strictly at the discretion of WinCustomize staff.
The limit may restrict some folks from being able to download and use your skin, if your skin is not made available in another venue such as DeviantART or Customize.org.

It is not our intention to dissuade folks from using this new gallery and the WinCustomize community, but rather that we feel it is our duty that you understand the full impact of what WinCustomize offers to our community members.

As we tread new waters in expanding the Rainmeter community, we welcome the opportunity that WinCustomize has extended to our community, and we hope that this will enhance and grow our community as well as the customization community overall.
Lantec
Posts: 7
Joined: June 25th, 2010, 12:27 am

Re: WinCustomize has a New Rainmeter Gallery

Post by Lantec »

sgtevmckay wrote: The only way to bypass this limit is to pay $19.99 a year or purchase a StarDock product.
That being said; The staff at WinCustomize may promote your membership at any time. This may be based on your submissions and help to the WinCustomize community. This promotion is strictly at the discretion of WinCustomize staff.
The limit may restrict some folks from being able to download and use your skin, if your skin is not made available in another venue such as DeviantART or Customize.org.
I just want to clarify this one section......I need to mention that promoted people have unlimited downloads and that anyone (customer, subscriber or just visitor) can be promoted based on skinning community involvement......not just WC involvement. An example would be the recent promotion of Reppiks to Master. He is rarely on WC but he is instrumental to the Skinartistry website.

It's likely we will fast track some of the RM authors/skinners based on their past involvement with this community and the DA group. We will work with Sarge & Karmat to help identify those individuals.
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jsmorley
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Re: WinCustomize has a New Rainmeter Gallery

Post by jsmorley »

Doesn't address the issue that if authors post skins on WC, regular users will soon hit the cap and be required to pay to download further. Rewarding authors who are active is one thing, but my concern is that Rainmeter is as popular as it is due to the free and open exchange of skins and the free and open community. Putting skins behind a pay wall (and make no mistake, for a regular Rainmeter "user" who does not create or distribute skins, it IS a pay wall) is completely at odds with everything we have ever stood for. I have no issue with "takers". Many of them often later become our best "givers". Money is not and should not be a factor with Rainmeter.

I welcome an alternative place to host skins. WinCustomize is a great site, well run, and will indeed expose Rainmeter to some folks who might not have otherwise stumbled on it. I'm not suggesting that folks shouldn't subscribe there. WC has to keep the lights on, and that's fair. I only suggest that any author hosting there also put their skins on devArt or Customize.org so we don't make full participation in our wonderful community something you have to pay for. Unless this cap is changed to some kind of monthly limit to reduce overt leeching while supporting our free and open community, I will respond very negatively to anyone posting ONLY on WC.

In the last two years I have probably downloaded a thousand skins, first to learn Rainmeter, then to help someone here struggling with editing a skin, to test one out so I could give the author a pat on the back, or just to see if there was some cool new idea I could use. I would have hit the "pay or leave" cap in a matter of weeks. I promise you I would not have paid to access skins that the authors meant to be freely shared, for an open source application. My experience with Rainmeter would have been a completely different and less positive thing.
HG_Eliminator
Posts: 2
Joined: January 13th, 2011, 9:53 am

Re: WinCustomize has a New Rainmeter Gallery

Post by HG_Eliminator »

First I would like to say hello to everyone and introduce myself. I am HG_Eliminator, also known as PhenomTT, LiteStep development team "est 1997", I am also currently a Moderator at Wincustomize and skinner at many sites across the desktop customization community.

I would like to say I am glad to see WC extend an invitation to the Rainmeter community here. I have just added another site to my skinning book marks. :thumbup: One can never have to many avenues of skins to choose from.
I personally started my desktop customization journey with LiteStep development back in the later part of 97, moved to Customize.org, wandered from there over to Razorart till it closed it's doors, then moved to WC full time and have been there for what 9+ years now? Of all the skinning sites I have been at, only WC has brought so many new sites/skinnable app's in to my radar to check out and try. Just like I recently found out Rainmeter has had a rebirth... ;)



I have some Concerns and thoughts I would like to convey.


While I agree that posting a skin should be allowed to as many sites as that author wishes to upload them to, but I do not feel it should be not demanded of them. Are you suggesting that I as a member at WC if deciding to restart skinning Rainmeter after all these years, I should be required to upload my creations to other sites or be frowned upon? I firmly believe in the artists having the only choice in their works distribution, and those decisions should be based on good will, not under duress. The more sites you get your work uploaded to the better exposure you will get as an artist, but it is up to the individual artist how much Exposure they want , and where they want that exposure to be from.

I will add that most skins you find on WC are on other sites like DA so it's not like we are limiting their availability to the masses, but they will have to wade thru tons of lady gaga winamp skins, dog pictures, etc.. to find them.

As for the cap, with around 3 mil unique visits each month, *not to mention our members of over one million regular visitors, that runs up a ton of bills. * last i remember the tally was aprox $10,000 a month in server and bandwidth costs, tho it has probably climbed much higher since then.* Originally the choice's were, Pack up and go home, place so many ad's that members would have to wade thru page after page of baloney to find a skin, or charge an annual fee to those who wish to utilize a streamlined Desktop Customization site unfettered by ad's and artsy stuff. Even with Paid memberships the budget is tight as a snare drum's skin. The choice on placing Cap's was one of pure survival. WC is also staffed by Volunteers. Our reward is helping perpetuate "skinning", A passion of which many of us feel a parental love for, since many of us were around at skinnings inception.

We do encourage Submitters to post links to their other skinning sites in their skins comments. * See my gallery at DA* or what ever have you. We strongly support all types of desktop customization and their perspective sites.

One last thing, Promotions are not only based on content contributions, Our newest Moderator to be promoted has never skinned, his contribution to the community has been in the forums, helping folks with problems, hanging out and joking around, just generally being an active and productive part of the community. Many of our members have been promoted without ever pushing a pixel.

Greetings,
HG_Eliminator
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jsmorley
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Re: WinCustomize has a New Rainmeter Gallery

Post by jsmorley »

Welcome HG_Eliminator!

As I said in my post, I don't begrudge WinCustomize the need and right to support their site. It's a good site and no doubt expensive to run. We also make it a practice not to tell authors that they "must" do anything. It's not within our power, nor something we believe in.

However, Rainmeter's most important attribute is the community that has grown up around it. I have no interest in bifurcating this community into two parts, the "WinCusomize/Rainmeter" community, and everyone else. Since skins posted only on WC are behind a pay wall, my answer to your question:

"Are you suggesting that I as a member at WC if deciding to restart skinning Rainmeter after all these years, I should be required to upload my creations to other sites or be frowned upon?"

is yes...

If you start skinning Rainmeter and decide to limit your participation in our community to a pay site, that is your right. It won't be looked upon as being in the spirit of Rainmeter by me. Make no mistake, if WinCustomize was a free site, supported by ads or a system where a user could upgrade to a premium account and get some added value while still being able to participate if they decide not to, I would not only be fine with it, but would probably be beating the drums for folks to move there.

However, In my opinion you guys completely misunderstand our community. Our regular users, who only download tons of skins to learn Rainmeter, ask for help here on the forums, finally create something they are proud of, post an image here or a link to their skin on a site where everyone can grab it and in short participate in the fun that is Rainmeter are not "takers". They are the bread and butter of our community.

Having a system where "authors" or others designated by WC are rewarded with free access while our regular users are required to pay smells like WC just making an investment (there is a more harsh term I could use) in order, at the end, to attract the kind of regular users (the vast majority) I described above, give them a "taste" for a couple of months then tell them they have to pay to participate.

No thanks. If you want to keep your efforts behind a pay wall, that is your right. You will only be participating in a "WinCustomize/Rainmeter" community, and that is something I would regret. While I don't speak for Rainmeter or the entire community, I would only see it as splitting the community into two, and that I will resist.
sgtevmckay

Re: WinCustomize has a New Rainmeter Gallery

Post by sgtevmckay »

Greetings HG_Eliminator

I am fully aware of who you are, and the many contributions you have made to the ebb and flow of the customization community over the years. I will not go into who I was previously as it is of little consequence, and I am certain you would not remember.

There unfortunately seems to be a great deal of mis-communication and misunderstanding.
There is also a bit of defensive stance taking place....
This deeply disturbs me and is no way to build any type of relationship or future collaborative efforts.

I am putting my foot down RIGHT HERE!

We have never REQUIRED anything of any member of our community.
We have NEVER suggested that members MUST do anything.
I think more is being read into the statement than is actually there.
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar


Let me state this in as plain of English as possible.

WinCustomize has graciously created a gallery for Rainmeter Skins.
Anyone can become a member and basic membership is free.
The free membership has a lifetime download cap. This download cap is not only for Rainmeter skins, but of all area of downloads at WinCustomize.
There is every possibility that a free user of WinCustomize may hit their lifetime download ceiling.
The amount of time it takes to max out the download ceiling if wholly dependent on the subscriber.
The subscriber may elect to pay additional fees at any time to eliminate the ceiling.
At the election of the WinCustomize staff; Members may be promoted at any time. In this case the ceiling may also eliminated.

All that being said; If a skin builder writes and creates code and distributes exclusively through WinCustomize Galleries; there may be a great deal of people that may potentially, over time, be unable to acquire skins released at WinCustize.
Therefore we recommend that Rainmeter skin builders also release their skins in another venues such as DevianART and/or Customize.org.


I do not know what requirements the WinCustomize staff have for promoting a subscriber, nor am I going to to even attempt to list every reason, possibility, or WinCustomize rules and regulations here.
I have no idea what may cause an individual to get promoted.
nor is it my intent to discuss all the possibilities.
I am a member of the WinCustomize community, but have used my membership to run announcements and assistance where I can, time permitting.

WinCustomize is WinCustomize. The staff at WinCustomize will run their community as they see fit. I am not going to advise anyone one way or the other. Many of our users are WinCustomize Members already.

All that being said.
I was one of the folks that brought Rainmeter from the grave, got my hands dirty, and helped rebuild Rainmeter.
We did not just start a forum, we created a community.
The server space, the support, the programmers.....ALL are volunteer hours, all for a love of Rainmeter. ALL in an attempt to not only make Rainmeter better, but to build a better community.
We also understand that many of our users are not in a position to afford even to make small donations to the Rainmeter community, so many support each other.

My fear is simply this.
A fracture of the community I have fought so hard to build and maintain.
Many of us feel the same.

WinCustomize does not only present a new gallery, but a whole separate sphere of support through the WinCustomize Forums.
Links to our forums, help areas, and documentation via skins seems highly inadequate to many of us, myself included.
But; this is how WinCustomize operates its community, so we will subscribe to this edict.
Understand that it is my edict to expand not only Rainmeter, but the community at large. to ensure a comfortable and cohesive environment. and to expand on that environment in positive ways.

Many of us are incredibly passionate, and protective of Rainmeter, as it is not just software.....We are a community of Rainiers. Proud and stubborn, and we work to ensure the software, the Rainmeter community and Rainy's Legacy

I will be upfront here in saying that I have had terrible past experiences with StarDock products and staff.
I know that WinCustomize is a part of this group, but separated to run the forums and website as WinCustomize Staff see fit.
All that in mind. I agreed to take a chance and see what may come of merging closer with a large customization community.

It is my hope that more than just a Gallery at WinCustomize will come of this.
I am looking for collaborative efforts, expansion of Rainmeter, to have those with programming skills expand on Rainmeter software, plugins, and addons.

I am looking for a collaboration of minds effort.

I hope I have made my stance clear, and there is a bit better understanding

I do not want to see anymore pissing matches between our communities, or I will bend my will to making everyone miserable!!!

So to that end; LET"S START OVER

High WinCustomize Staff :welcome:
I am sgtevmckay (aka. The Sarge)
you can call me Sarge
I am one of the Administration her at the Rainmeter community

I welcome the Staff and Opportunity that Customization has recently granted to our Community.
It is my hope that as we move forward that this new relationship will expand the Rainmeter community and create for and environment of collaboration.

As you require anything, please let me know, and I will see what I can do

Regards
The Sarge
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jsmorley
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Location: Fort Hunt, Virginia, USA

Re: WinCustomize has a New Rainmeter Gallery

Post by jsmorley »

"My fear is simply this.
A fracture of the community I have fought so hard to build and maintain.
Many of us feel the same."

Seconded...
Lantec
Posts: 7
Joined: June 25th, 2010, 12:27 am

Re: WinCustomize has a New Rainmeter Gallery

Post by Lantec »

http://wiki.wincustomize.com/wiki/Rainmeter

We have created a Wiki section for Rainmeter accessible to ANYONE on WIncustomize.com
Here you can place anything you wish in relation to links, manuals, tutorials, etc.
HG_Eliminator
Posts: 2
Joined: January 13th, 2011, 9:53 am

Re: WinCustomize has a New Rainmeter Gallery

Post by HG_Eliminator »

My apologies if it seemed I was trying to start a pissing contest, my main inquiry was to ensure myself and others who may choose not to post "all" our creations off WC, that we would not be met with discord when interacting with other members of the rainmeter community here.

As well as hopefully alleviate some of the misconceptions of why we require a subscription, Believe me I wish there was a free solution, the big 3 all tried in vain to run free skin hosting sites, Custo.org. skinz.org, deskmod all tried to run free and went down in flames. WC was born out of those ashes.

Cheers

HG
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jsmorley
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Re: WinCustomize has a New Rainmeter Gallery

Post by jsmorley »

Real discord would not be allowed on our forums. It's not how we roll.

I would only request that if someone wants to interact with the Rainmeter community on these forums, that they interact with everyone. We are pleased and excited to "expand" the Rainmeter universe, but are not interested in "splitting" it into those who want to pay to participate and those who don't. If you want to promote or support your skin here, just consider making it available to all in some way. If you want to stay behind the pay wall on WC, so be it. Every author and user has the right to work with Rainmeter as they see fit, and I would only object if I sensed our forums being used to draw folks to a subscription site by promoting things that are only available that way.

Peace... ;-)