You have probably noticed something funny going on with the SBA website recently – like the fact that there’s been no new content in months, articles and other content disappeared, and recent comments and forum posts are missing. You probably have been unable to log on to your account. Worst of all, Ted’s podcast, Doug’s videos, Jennifer’s sutta recordings, and the Practice Circle gatherings haven’t been able to be linked or promoted on the site. Yes, we’ve been hacked – not once, but several times over the past year. It has taken us months to repair and some features may still need fixing, so please be patient with us.
Our Technical Director, Dana Nourie, has put in hours of time trying to repair the security breaches, and Ted Meissner, who is also a techie by trade, has done maintenance work as well. Dana, Ted, I, and all of the people who provide content to the site are volunteers, fitting in our contributions to the SBA website among the responsibilities of our daily lives. When a major security breach happens on our website, it requires an immediate, unplanned and significant investment of Dana’s spare time to fix.
All of us SBA volunteers see our service to the organization as dana practice, the practice of mindful generosity. I know I am very grateful for the opportunity to lead our online practice community and record guided meditations and am gratified that others are benefiting from our efforts. However, maintaining a website with as many features as the SBA’s requires regular inspection and maintenance to keep it safe from hackers and functioning well, and we have not been able to give these tasks the attention they require.
The design of the SBA site has not changed significantly since it was first launched in 2011. It needs to be updated, not only to improve its look and take advantage of all the improvements in functionality that are available now, but to protect it from the kind of security breaches we’ve been experiencing.
Our website is more than just a convenience. Secular Buddhism is largely an online phenomenon, linking tens of thousands of people from all over America and all over the world in conversation and secular dharma practice. The ongoing strength of our community depends on the strength of our online presence.
Our fundraising efforts have been successful in paying for the various hosting and other services that are required to keep our offerings going; and we’ve even had some left over to help support the activities of organizations that share the SBA’s goals of spreading the dharma in an openhanded and inclusive way. But in order to have the kind of support that would enable us to upgrade our site and provide ongoing security maintenance, we need more help.
If we could increase our fundraising by a couple hundred dollars a month, we could afford a hosting and maintenance service that would keep our security and other plug-ins up to date, and could respond quickly if trouble occurs. For a few hundred more, we could redesign the site to bring it up to date and provide a better experience for our users.
If you value our online Secular Buddhist community, and the podcasts, articles, forums, video and audio content, and online meeting offerings you find here, we’d like to solicit your help. On the top of this and every page on the SBA website, you’ll see a Donate button, which will give you an opportunity to make a one-time or ongoing donation via Pay Pal. Your contribution is tax deductible.
As you can tell from the figures above, even a small gift can play a significant role in keeping the SBA community online. If you have the means and desire to help others through Secular Buddhism, we welcome your participation.
With deepest gratitude,
Practice Director and Treasurer
The Secular Buddhist Association
UPDATE 4/23/19: As regular visitors will recognize, we’re gradually adopting a new look and design for the site. Ted is doing this work himself, so it will take a while to finish and check out all the links and features. Our need for your support remains in order to avoid the security problems that caused us to go down, and to provide the best experience possible for our users. We welcome your support!