Thursday, April 6, 2023

Future-Proofing the Past?


Over a year ago I had problems with the hosting service for that caused the site to be overwritten with a an even older backup copy. This led me to move the site to a new host, and in the process many parts of the site were broken.

To complicate matters, I've had health issues that brought much of my work to a screeching halt.  I'm doing a lot better now, but that combined with the recent losses of some notable people in the medieval cooking community has given me a lot to think about.

I started over 20 years ago, and it has grown into what I hope is a useful resource for exploring and spreading information about medieval European cuisine.  While I am still very interested in the subject and have been recently getting back into the research, I must admit to myself that I can no longer devote enough time and energy to keeping the site current.

It's time for a change.  So ... what to do?

My goals in this are as follows:

1. Set up the site with a small, independent stream of income that is sufficient to pay for the web hosting.  The amount needed is currently surprisingly small - about $100 per year.  Affiliate links to sites like Amazon for recommended books can cover some of it, but there would need to be some other source.  Possibly some kind of donation link.  I very much would like to see all of the finances be open to public view.
2. Make changes to the site to make it easier for others in the medieval cooking community to contribute.  More recipes created by site users, user-supplied links to medieval food paintings, recommended books, sources for hard to find spices, etc.  While a lot of this could be handled by a handful of volunteers, it might be worth setting up something more like a wiki.  Maybe also something like a forum?  ... Dunno.
3. Set up some kind of group of volunteers to manage the technical aspects of the site and decide on future changes.  I'm partial to Consensus decision making.

All of the above may lead to legal, financial, and ethical questions that would need to be answered.  I am not a lawyer, financial analyst, or philosopher.  Nor do I have the money to hire them.

None of this is set in stone.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

- Doc