"You must be new around here."
Guilty as charged. But the financial model is usually one of my first areas of meta-interest when I start looking (or relooking) at a website. What are the motivations? "Follow the money," said the detective. But in the worst cases, unsustainable financial models usually disappear.
It always seems to me that the money matters and that systems (including websites and companies) adjust their various behaviors to reflect where the money is coming from and how it is flowing through the system. LessWrong clearly has ongoing costs for servers and support (and I hope the helpful person in the Intercom chat room was duly compensated for the time). I also read about the big karma project in the last quarter of 2019. Nothing there about the development and evaluation costs, but it sure sounded like a lot of work was done. Somewhere in the FAQ it said that LessWrong doesn't make money, which is fine, but it did mention donations. (My observations indicate that big donors usually like to call the shots and small donors generally don't get to (which bothers me (but that might be simple projection since I'm strictly a small donor)).)
My own preference would be cost recovery, but mostly based on benefits received. Would you believe "Basically anything that people are willing to pay for should be allowed to happen?" My fantasy funding mechanism usually flies under the handle of CSB (for Charity Share Brokerage), but before speculating farther I'd like to understand more about how things work now on LessWrong. (Even more than this financial question, my primary confusion right now is how to detect the current flow of activity. But maybe I should be most focused on figuring out which parts of the old activity are most worth reading? That side seems overwhelming.)
Better clarify that I don't think that everything should be reduced to monetary values, but money is a helpful metric. Even sustainable. I actually think economics is mostly bogus because time is not equal to money, even approximately. The proper relationship is time >> money. (But ekronomics is another one of my favorite cans for worms.)