Learn more about our humble beginnings on the v1 version!

BobaBoard's 2022 Retrospective: "it's been a hard year" Edition

Published on: 03/13/23

Welcome to the second ever BobaBoard end-of-year retrospective, the "it's been a hard year" edition! This update arrives after a longer than ideal communications silence (sorry), so let's start with an (optional) recap.

The (optional) recap

Click here to catch up with the when and how of BobaBoard.


When the Tumblr porn ban is announced, Ms. Boba swears vengeance on centralized online social spaces, and starts jamming her head full of the knowledge needed to "effectively fuck shit up". From entrepreneurship to marketing, from customer conversations to random knowledge about obscure online communities, just imagine her standing below a waterfall studying everything she could put her hands on.


Hit with the realization that no change is possible from the inside of a big, soulless corporation, Ms. Boba rage quits her Silicon Valley software engineering job to invest her savings into building BobaBoard: her own small-scale, extremely niche social network/forum (with hot yaois and a focus on privacy)!


After being convinced that people find real value in her silly social network ideas, Ms. Boba announces Realms: an expansion to the original BobaBoard vision to allow anyone to build their own small corner of the web. With a ragtag team of fandom volunteers now assembled, the journey to the future officially starts.

Super secret insider tip!

As you might have surmised from the "hard year" part of the "it's been a hard year" edition, last year was tough to get through. So, partly because of painful personal losses, and partly because Mr. 2022's wild ride did not let up until the very end (I'm sure you've all enjoyed the implausible and lazily-written season finale, "Elon Musk owns Twitter now"), we gave ourselves the gift of kindness, and chose to approach this retrospective with understanding, thoughtfulness, and some of our classic BobaBoard-brand humor.

A screenshot of last year's retrospective (a power point presentation).

"We're not doing this again this year," Ms. Boba says. Half the audience bursts into tears, half erupt into cheers. The memes won't hurt them again. They're finally free.

With the premise established, let's go then straight(er) to the questions you're all here to have answered:

  1. What was the BobaBoard team up to in 2022?
  2. What will the BobaBoard team be up to in 2023?
  3. Which FujoBoard topped the April 1st sales charts?
  4. And, last but not least, what can you do to help?

A glaring difficulty when looking back to a terrible, terrible year is how to wrangle with the intentions we had set at its beginning. Having weathered an unforeseeable storm, it becomes pointless to slap a pass/fail mark on each goal earmarked for 2022—a year we had very much hoped would not be terrible—and is instead more productive to look holistically at the seeds we planted for 2023—a year we're certain will go swimmingly.

So, while last year we reflected on our "Wins & Losses", this year we're ignoring all that went wrong to focus on celebrating our main achievements instead. Because when a year decides to have it out for you, anything that gets done is an achievement in and of itself.

And, Boobies, did we get a lot done.

A screenshot of last year's stated goals.

The 2022 focus areas. Looking back, we're not only proud of the progress we made on each of them, but also which areas we chose to focus on in the face of a 2022-shaped curveball.

A Realm is a single, independent community within BobaBoard. Similar to a Discord server (or a web forum), Realm administrators set up the policies and shape of the space, and oversee the community members within.

Super secret insider tip!

In short, last year we've mangaged to almost, but not quite, entirely launch Realms.

In less short, last year we:

  1. Hit the important milestone of making multiple Realms possible
  2. Launched our first second Realm: the "Fandom Coders" Realm (more on that later)
  3. Shoved the new Realm into temporary hiatus, ready to be unhibernated at some point in 2023
A screenshot of the Fandom Coders Realm, and the boards contained within.

We only created a handful of boards, but we did decide our collective name: TTYs, amicably pronounced as "tiddies" (albeit just by us).

Pulling back after such an important milestone—one that marked our first succesful volunteers sprint— was not a choice we took lightly, but it was consistent with our decision to prioritize care and respect for the well-being of those that make this work possible, as well as putting long-term substainability over short-term wins.

Theoretically, this means that in 2022 we both launched AND unlaunched Realms. Practically, this means we can now launch Realms whenever we want, and are ready for the big 2023 question: what do we want to have in place before we do?

Building up the BobaBoard organization was a core 2022 goal, and we literally put our money where our mouth is: to guide us in this task, we hired Sumana Harihareswara, an "open source project management" consultant and fannish person herself (she serves as a chair for the Otherwise Award). Under her knowledgeable and patient supervision, the tech volunteers team found its rhythm and customs, knocked down a series of themed sprints, held collective bug-filing sessions, and laid down our first blueprints on how to lead collective design discussions, both for the UX and coding aspects of the project.

A screenshot of last year's retrospective, in particular the slide about building a better organization.

I'm happy to report we've made significant progress in all our 2022 focus areas, with one exception: we don't yet have a clear process to assign evil codenames (and also Ms. Boba is still too much of a bottleneck).

In accordance with the spirit of this "it's been a hard year" edition, however, we don't want to spend too much time going into the nitty-gritty details ourselves. Instead, we've reached out to the team to make them do our job put their voices front and center.

Here's what they had to say:

  • I've become a lot more confident in my ability to program and show my work as I program. My understanding of webdev has grown exponentially since I began, and I've even learned good organizational skills for my own projects.

  • I have learned SO MUCH working intensively on Bobaboard this year. Getting to get my hands all over a complex codebase with Ms Boba's guidance has been an invaluable experience. If I started listing all the specific skills I've picked up, we'd be here all day.

  • BobaBoard has been one of the best volunteering experiences I've had, inside or outside of fandom. The community really cares about building spaces for fans to be themselves without judgment or fear.

  • We've come a long way this year in building volunteer space that centers generosity. Generosity of knowledge, generosity of understanding for each other, generosity of both praise and commiseration.

A parody of Jackson Galaxy's famous book about enriching your cat's environment, but about volunteers instead.

I'm supposed to say something about this, but I honestly have neither excuses nor apologies. It was too cursed an opportunity to pass.

When faced with grandiose tasks like building a social network and a surrounding organization, even the hardest of workers need a secret weapon: procrastination community. Thus, in early 2022, we created "Fandom Coders", a space where "fannish tech professionals and coding hobbyists alike can share and discuss their coding projects, find help getting started or unblocked, and learn new skills and concepts."

A meme reciting: psychiatrist hate her. Procrastinates, it's still productive. Local ADHD person exposes shocking task management secret.

Fandom Coders, AKA it's not Procrastinating™ if it makes strategic sense. (pictured: eminent Fandom Coders co-conspirator Enigmalea, who created our Discord server to avoid working on her more imminent tasks)

If you're wondering whether Fandom Coders is a secret evil ploy to nurture the next generation of BobaBoard volunteers, the answer is yes, and so much more! Not only has Fandom Coders directly resulted in contributions to BobaBoard, but also to AO3 and other, more mainstream open source projects. It's even responsible for finally teaching Ms. Boba to use Git like a proper maintainer would, helping us open source (but alas, not yet document) the whole BobaBoard codebase at the end of 2022.

But aside from these practical concerns, Fandom Coders is born from the recognition that a glaring issue of the modern web has been the disempowerement of its netizens. There are plenty of initiatives to help people who want to enter the tech industry, but few aimed at those who just want to build their fandom websites, despite the fact that fans have always been at the forefront of free, independent expression on the web. In this respect, Fandom Coders is a small step in the direction of filling this gap.

But once again, life has been too hard for us to explain our work ourselves. Here then is some select feedback from our Fandom Coders "end of year testimonials" survey:

  • I have learned a lot and gotten over some of my fears about my lack of experience/knowledge with coding, mainly due to the support and non-judgmental attitude of Fandom Coders members who are willing (and even excited!) to help me with the basics that I previously was shamed out of understanding.

  • I know how to use git now! I know how to sync my files to github and mirror my site to any host that pulls from it! I know how to use a Static Site Generator!

  • I did a lot of projects this year, and contributed to my first open source project that wasn't started by me. I definitely wouldn't have done that without Fandom Coders.

  • I moved my coding setup for my website from just folders full of .html and .css files edited in a text editor and am now using github and vscode, which is a major improvement that I probably would not have attempted to try on my own.

If we had to sum up the 2023 roadmap in three words, they'd be: more, more, MORE.

A gif of Audrey II from little shop of horror demanding blood.

Please imagine it's said in a "Audrey II demanding blood" voice. Because that's how it's said.

In the 2022 Achievements™ section, we framed our work in that year as "planting seeds". Shifting the metaphor to modern lingo, if 2022 was the year we fucked around, 2023 will be the year we find out (affectionate). Will our lovingly-crafted software be able to serve the needs of new pockets of fandom? Will the lessons we've learned about building community continue offering a solid base as we scale up our reach? Will our chaotic approach to innovation continue to entertain and delight the masses, and maybe even end up paying our bills?

Without further ado, here are the areas we'll be focusing most of our efforts on in 2023.

Spoiler alert: broadly, these fit the same themes as last year.

In 2022, we launched and unlaunched Realms, a decision made to leave Ms. Boba space to attend to personal issues without needing to oversee an emerging community. Although temporary, the release of this first "second Realm" showed that the BobaBoard software can already be used to concurrently serve multiple communities. Before we restart our push for broader adoption, however, there's another aspect we want to focus on: outlining the cultural tenets of our main BobaBoard Galaxy, and finding the right community managers to host a second wave of Realms within it.

A Galaxy is a collection of independent Realms hosted on the same server. In practice, you can think of a Galaxy as the "top level domain" of a web address (e.g. bobaboard.com), and a Realm as a specific community under that domain (e.g. hannigram.bobaboard.com, fandom-coders.bobaboard.com).

Galaxy owners (in this first experimental case, Ms. Boba) control the onboarding of Realms within their BobaBoard instance, and the common set of policies each of them must abide by.

Super secret insider tip!

Taking the time to explicitly consider culture is fundamental to our mission. With the late-2022 upheaval in social network spaces, it's tempting to rush the process, opening up to thousands of users as soon as it's technologically feasible, maybe to acquire a longer monetary runway for your way-too-expensive-for-the-scale-you-seek social network, or because of an altruistic desire to save people from the wiles of yet another billionaire. Doing so, however, can be incredibly counterproductive: not only does it risk upending the balance of a space too quickly, leaving prospective users no time to organically assimilate into the culture, but it can overwhelm those overseeing it, shining a spotlight on pre-existing weak points (like woefully inadequate Terms of Service, missing legal requirements, an unmaintainable and brittle codebase, or a junior policy team) with insufficient resources to effectively address them.

A screenshot of end of evangelion depicting Elon Musk as Rei Ayanami during the third impact, and a random fangirl just trying to thirstpost being caught in the middle of it.

You've heard of "get in the fucking robot, Shinji", now get ready for "release the fucking social network, Ms. Boba".

While no fandom environment has ever been free from heated drama and people crossing the lines of reasonable disagreement—no, not even during "the golden age"!—it's possible to create spaces that feel more nurturing and enriching than what we currently have. In our view, this won't be born through hyper-restrictive content policies, but by giving dedicated fans powerful tools to shape the boundaries and culture of their own small-scale communities. With this in mind, 2023 will see us refine our Realm onboarding processes, and seek allies to help us build the digital spaces we want to see in the world. Then, with their involvement, we'll refine the necessary structures for successful community-building and moderation, and define how (and when) to open Realms for additional users.

Not only do we have ambitious plans and high standards for the software we build, but uncompromising principles for the way we treat our collaborators and organize our work. We're proud of the environment we created for tech volunteers in 2022, and we're committed to scaling the same encouraging environment for a larger number of collaborators in 2023. This is not a simple task: managing a sprint of six volunteers requires a different level of skill than managing twelve or (we'd be so lucky!) twenty. As we improve our practices and gain development experience, we hope to invite additional collaborators along on our journey to build out the parts of the software we can't yet prioritize with our current resources.

While BobaBoard could not exist at all without our team of tech volunteers, no project can reach the greatness we aspire to without investing in other expertise. Thus, 2023 will see us prioritize the formation of additional teams, starting with a group of dedicated writers. (Update March 2024: We are no longer accepting volunteer applications through the survey that was linked here. Please sign-up for our volunteering newsletter to hear about upcoming opportunities to volunteer.) This will be its own challenge—for one, because Ms. Boba's tech leadership will be way less helpful here. But whether it's keeping our supporters up-to-date in a more timely fashion (sorrysorrysorry), improving our developer documentation, or delineating our philosophy and processes where other contributors can comment and build upon them, we're looking forward to the hard work of nurturing our first parallel volunteer team of non-developers, built with the same consideration and respect we offer to our technical collaborators.

At the end of 2022, Ms. Boba accomplished a very scary but mature step in her Adulting™ journey: she took a hard look at her finances and calculated how much time she has left in her patented "Who Needs Savings to Retire™" financial plan. Long story short, while her livelihood is still secure for 2023, if she doesn't gather enough funding to at least cover her living expenses, 2024 is going to really, really start hurting.

What "having to get back in the capitalism game" looks like in practice is impossible to fully plan for until it crystalizes into more immediate possibilities. But whether it's through finding the right types of financial grants, or focusing efforts to gather more recurring donations, 2023 is the year we work hard to fix this problem at the source, with the support of the same community we're here to serve. Because in Ms. Boba's own extremely mature words, "If I have to seriously ponder what my ethical position on freelancing for Tumblr is, I'm going to throw a fit."

A screenshot of Tumblr app's marketing, identifying it as a fandom platform.

(Ms. Boba voice) "On one hand, New Tumblr's "Home of Fandom" skit is yet another milquetoast example of the "marketing to fandom" trend in Venture Capital; on the other hand, I've never been more overqualified for a job."

Regardless of what Ms. Boba's financial status looks like at the end of 2023, the BobaBoard project will continue on with the best possible strategy according to its circumstances. Indeed, as 2022 showed us, we must tailor our approach to whatever life throws at us, as flexibility, creativity, and resilience are more important than sticking to a predefined roadmap. For a project of this complexity to truly shine, it needs at least one full-time person at its helm—one that is able to wear as many hats as possible. Ms Boba will keep that momentum going. At the same time, we'll keep using what funding we have to source high quality work and expertise—artistic, technological, and beyond—from within fandom.

Curious about how we spent our monetary resources in 2022, and which areas of spending we foresee for 2023? Click here for a sample!

Commission more artists (real, human ones)

Since the very beginning, BobaBoard has focused on supporting fandom artists by commissioning them for promotional material. Other than admiring their excellent work throughout the site, you can buy merchandising made with their help on our store: part of the profits goes directly to them!

Hire fandom professionals

Our commitment to "keeping the fandom economy going" doesn't stop to artists. Whenever we have to hire, we're happier if we can source talent within fandom itself. In 2022 we used some of our funds to hire a developer to help Ms. Boba make progress, and in 2023, funds permitting, we plan to hire even more collaborators.

Ms. Boba's secret training

It's impossible to build (sustainable) social software without a dedicated raccoon hustler able to juggle a comical amount of hats. Despite Ms. Boba's undeniable hubris, there's one skill that keeps her with her feet on the ground: knowing when she's out of her depth. Whether it's getting coached on how to lead succesful open source projects, buying an eclectic assortment of books, or getting herself completely out of the picture while someone else does the work she's unqualified for, money helps make sure that gaps are filled with actual expertise.

Ms. Boba's living expenses

Because, alas, not even big tech money lasts forever.

Super secret insider tip!

As 2022 showed us, stretch goals can be just as impactful as main ones, especially when the need to procrastinate arises. But jokes aside, our 2023 "extended tasks" once again extend beyond the scope of social networking to look more broadly at empowering fannish people to take charge of their own online lives and spaces.

In 2022, we created the first online community dedicated to connecting "fandom coders" with each other. In 2023, as we continue to spend time, energy, and resources on nurturing this space, we plan to move beyond community building and invest money and time into concrete educational material and initiatives tailored to fannish people who code or who wish to learn to do so.

While this investment might appear tangential to our broader goals, we see it as a fundamental stepping stone towards the future we want to build: fannish people have been at the forefront of building community on the internet since the very beginning, often pushing the limits of the software that housed them beyond the dreams of its original creators—even when that same software they loved rarely loved them back. Investing in technical education for fannish people means investing in a future led by those who create innovative tools not out of a desire for money, but out of a love of sharing; it means giving people who have been historically underrepresented in tech spaces a seat at the table, not by asking them to cover up their fannish selves to join some sanitized diversity initiative, but by welcoming them as they are—their keen interest in sex pollen, tentacles, or mpreg not only notwithstanding, but encouraged. Investing in tech education for fans means explicitly tapping into the same powerful pipeline that turns so many of them into professional writers and artists, giving them concrete power to build tools and spaces that we'll all love to use and inhabit.

Want a sneak peak at some of the education projects we're planning for 2023? Just click here to hear all about them!

Web Development learning path for fandom people

While we support all kinds of coding endeavors, we're obviously biased towards web development. During 2022, we took the first step in this area by defining our understanding of who we'll be building our learning material for.

In 2023, we'll keep building upon this initial work to create concrete learning resources.

Decentralized technologies study group

2022 happenstances have brought the importance of decentralized technologies (like ActivityPub, the backbone of Mastodon) to the forefront of public attention. While it is painfully obvious that the solutions we seek pass through a better, more widespread understanding of these technologies, the learning material currently out there is, well, extremely lacking.

In 2023, we'll be investing in creating a study group targeted towards fannish people that covers these important technologies, giving them the tools to build upon existing solutions and expand them to fit the goals of fans all over the web.

Twitch learn-alongs

At the end of 2022, Ms. Boba started running "learn-along" coding streams on Twitch, which have included topics like self-hosting and software testing.

These streams will continue (and intensify) in 2023, offering a glimpse into the development process for BobaBoard and beyond, helping onboard new collaborators, and giving people a fun and easy entrypoint into the world of coding. You can be notified of these streams by following her on Twitch.

Super secret insider tip!

They say there's no "i" in team—and there isn't one in "fandom" either. But although fans have sometimes been forced to make do on their own (maybe tasked with the arduous job of getting their rarepair off the ground), just about everything is more fun when done with a passionate, tight-knit group of friends.

A gif of Dr Hakim from it takes 2, talking about collaboration.

Sometimes it's not easy to set aside our differences as fans. Still, we believe fannish people can come together across ideological boundaries, no matter whether they envision their blorbos as tops, bottoms, or—sacré bleu!—neither.

Collaboration, however, does not come for free. So, after spending 2022 gathering ideologically aligned, tech-oriented fannish folks in the same space, 2023 will be the year we empower them to come together as a community to kick some ass work on tools and ideas we can all benefit from.

A chance to do this will come from within Fandom Coders itself: while it was born in the shadow of BobaBoard's 2022 stretch goals, in 2023 we'll work to see it grow past that and acquire a life of its own. How do we foster a sense of ownership within the community? How do we help people start their own projects and find like-minded collaborators? How do we channel the energy of our members in ways that enrich and empower them? We don't have the answers... yet.

Some progress in this area will come from pursuing projects that bring together the varied skill sets of our members while offering beginners a space to nurture the skills they want to hone. These might look like a collectively-maintained TypeScript library to scrape data from AO3, experimenting on embedding alt text directly into images (a project a brave Dreamwidth volunteer is currently experimenting with), or envisioning a shared editor for fandom projects. In a different direction, progress might come from organizing special "volunteering days", onboarding newcomers to existing fandom projects. The sky (and availaibility of our members and collaborators) is the limit.

The problems that plague online fans go beyond the lack of collective social spaces. So, while those remain the focus of our main project, we're also interested in exploring how more personal solutions might fit into the future we're envisioning. Yes, we're talking about blogs (but not only)!

2022 saw Ms. Boba already starting discussions and prototyping tools in this space (see her not-so-evil Blogosphere domination plan or her work-in-progress Experimental Blog). She also dragged a bunch of Fandom Coders into experimenting with various frameworks for modern web development, in a thinly-veiled plan to discern which ones will best balance ease of use with the power to fulfill their needs.

The pepe silvia meme

She did warn you she's the personification of the Pepe Silvia meme.

2023 will see this work continue in the shadows of our bigger tasks. But while it might keep brewing in the background, you'll likely hear more about it...

...well, in the next retrospective, at least.

Even the "it's been a hard year" edition can have little a fun, as a treat.

If you missed last year's "wow, I can't believe this is a product I can buy" April 1st joke, today is the perfect day to treat yourself to FujoBoard: our one and only yaoi cheese paddle. Aside from the updated, modern design that's sure to fit in any grown-up fujin's home, we've also broadened the target audience to include seven variations that capture the contemporary fandom zeitgeist: yaoi, yuri, seme/uke, het, gen, A/B/O, and lemon.

Curious how our variants fared on the free market? Click here to satisfy that curiosity, in keeping with our tradition of monetary transparency.

The Himes
A hime FujoBoard
Modern design, timeless elegance.

In order of popularity:

VariantUnits sold
Seme/uke (reversible)2
The Chibis
A chibi FujoBoard
For the fujoshi on the go.

In order of popularity:

VariantUnits sold
Seme/uke (reversible)8
A old woman, holding up her FujoBoard.

FujoBoard: guaranteed to make you at least this happy.

In order of popularity:

VariantUnits sold
Seme/uke (reversible)10
Super secret insider tip!

FujoBoard has earned around $4,000 to date—most of which goes to cover taxes, materials, and labor. All efforts considered, the total earnings for this year (FujoBoard + RobinBoob + direct donations) come up to just above $6000. This is obviously very far from any type of substainability: most of it went to materials and expenses tied to FujoBoard's production, as well as other BobaBoard expenses like servers, contractors, consultants, artists, and—assuming money was left, because it's still too far from tax season* to put any actual effort into tallying up expenses—Ms. Boba's rent.

[*A/N: it was too far from tax when Ms Boba first started writing this update. Now she's just late with her taxes.]

So, although we haven't managed to unexpectedly earn a living wage through our April 1st shenanigans, we're incredibly proud of providing even more cursed entertainment without losing money on it. Remember though: if you want to help us make our efforts more sustainable, keep your eyes peeled further down for ways to support us.

Last year, we started a last-minute tradition of thanking our volunteers by showcasing their incredible taste in fictional characters. Now, we're not only continuing the tradition, but taking it to the next level: click here to witness our "Wall of Blorbos 2022", a tribute to the volunteers and supporters that helped and cheered us on during that turbulent year.

A screenshot featuring a series of faces of fictional characters. At the bottom, there is a cutout of Reigen Arataka.

Another goal for next year: actually keep track of eligible collaborators from the very start rather than scramble to dig into the memory banks at the last minute. In the meantime, if we accidentally missed your contribution, Reigen is there for you.

The contributions of these volunteers and supporters are varied, but nonetheless important: from coders, to advisors, to people (and raccoon) wranglers, each of them has been instrumental in our success. We couldn't have done it without them, and luckily we didn't have to!


Looking for the too long; didn't read; just tell me what to do? For Maximum Impact™, head to Ms Boba's Patreon, Ko-fi or experimental website and set up a recurring donation! Otherwise, read on.

Super secret insider tip!

Now that you know what we've been up to over 2022 and what we're planning for 2023, you may be bursting at the seams to support our hubris lofty goals. Well, thank you for that.

The trade offer meme, stating you'll get more of the above in exchange for your support.

If you like what you're seeing and want more of it, read further.

This section outlines three whole ways to help us, ranked in order of impact.

This ranking isn't meant to pit types of contributions against each other (their coexistence is fundamental to our continued success), but to contextualize them within our current needs and strategy, helping our supporters make informed choices—whatever those end up being.

During Ms. Boba's past life career, some of her wise, plural, tech-activist friends made an observation:

"People often feel guilty about lacking the time, focus, or energy to volunteer for their chosen cause, even if volunteering might not be the best way to help. Indeed, if finances allow, it's often more impactful to donate money that those familiar with the actuals needs of the project can strategically allocate, even just to buy the dedicated time and help of specific professionals instead."

While she found it an interesting perspective at the time, the BobaBoard journey showed us how true it rings from the other side: while we often see supporters express a similar guilt-ridden yearning for direct involvement, a lot of hard work would be required to help our volunteering team accomodate a larger influx of collaborators; similarly, while we've been able to rely on volunteers for some types of help, we've also found there's no substitute for a hired professional when needed.

In short, we want to stress: if one can afford to give it, monetary help is the most impactful type of help we can receive at this time, even if it's only a few bucks a month (or once in a while). Taking some time out of your day to set up a recurring donation or give a one-time contribution does make a significant, impactful difference.

Given that BobaBoard is not an official legal entity (yet), donations to The Cause™ are handled by directly donating to Ms. Boba. As such, they're not currently tax-deductible.

Super secret insider tip!

Recurring Donations

As part of her 2023 commitment to "actually making money", Ms. Boba has created multiple channels that allow supporters to donate a recurring amount each month. If it (*wink wink*) fits your bill, this form of donation enables Ms. Boba to have a more predictable income stream, making it easier to allocate funds from month to month.

It's just a month of support michael, what could it cost?

Ms. Boba is currently experimenting with tiered reward levels, in no small part so that she could give them funny, meme-based names.

The Classic Donation Avenue (nice)

You asked, we provided: you can finally support the project through both Patreon and Ko-fi! Each of them offers different levels of support: a nice egg ($3/month), specialty coffee & boba ($8/month), almond butter toast ($15/month), and subsidized massage ($25/month).

Note that, while we hope these avenues will be available forever, we're also extremely aware of the potential risk of these companies realizing Ms. Boba is actually three fannish raccoons in a trenchcoat, a category sometimes at odds with their willingness to provide services.

The Adventurous Donation Avenues (even nicer)

If you're feeling brave (not really), Ms. Boba has been carefully handcrafting and testing independent donation avenues that avoid intermediaries between her and online payment processors. There's currently two such mechanisms:

  • $3/8/15/25 monthly (credit card + PayPal): Head over to Ms. Boba's experimental website to get access to the same tiers as on her Patreon and Ko-fi, with no extra intermediaries! This mechanism is backed by Stripe and PayPal's link-based subscription offerings, a method that (if proven successful, with your testing help) should be accessible enough for other independent creators to also adopt.

  • $5 per month/$50 per year (credit card only): Head over to Ms. Boba's not-so-secret newsletter, used by countless other supporters throughout previous years. This mechanism is backed by Ghost, an independent software for creators that Ms. Boba hopes to get rid of at some point because her strong (and rightful) opinions on software design are too much at odds with its choices. That said, subscriptions made through this mechanism will remain active for the foreseeable future, and will simply stop being possible once the experimental site above has proven itself.

One-Time Contributions

For some people, it can be difficult to set aside a certain amount each month. If you'd rather donate when you have money available, don't you worry: here at BobaBoard, there's nothing we love more than to give you some cool products in return for your hard-earned cash.

Any Amount ($1+)

Let's start with the easy one: if you want to give any amount without receiving a physical item for it, you can buy this cool, pay-what-you-want Boba-tan emojiset from our shop.

Boba-Branded Merchandise ($5+)

Our BobaBoard store has stickers, tapes, keychains, and all the wares your heart could possibly desire. As a bonus, part of the profits go to the artists that made the original art!

An Exclusive Ship Ownership Certificate ($10+)
The resident evil merchant meme, on top of RobinBoob's website.
Got some raaaaare ships on sale, stranger.

Since April 1st 2021, RobinBoob has been providing the fannish web with an important service: certified (sort of), exclusive (kinda) ownership of people's favorite pairings!

Of course, naysayers will insist that these JPEG certificates have no legal value, and that this whole gimmick is nothing more than a parody of certain apes-buying corners of the web. And yet, fans continue to buy them, undaunted, ensuring no one else but them will ever be able to own their ship.

An Awesome Yaoi (Cheese) Paddle ($20+)
A FujoBoard paddleA FujoBoard paddle
Once again, yes, you can buy these.

There is only one thing better than watching your favorite piece of media while sprawled out on the couch eating cheese: doing so from your very own FujoBoard. Handcrafted by Ms. Boba and her trusty laser engraver, each FujoBoard is specifically built to serve your unique fujin needs.

The Gondor Calls for Aid meme, but Ms Boba calls for aid instead.
Help me, fandom, you're my only ho—

Sometimes not even Ms. Boba's finely honed "figure it out" powers can substitute for paid expertise—at least, not with all that needs to be juggled. While we can't afford to hire as much as we wish to, when hiring is the best way forward, we're happier if our money stays within fandom!

If you run a business, consultancy, or are any type of professional we could maybe have a remote use for one day, we'd love to know ("friends & family" discount extremely appreciated, but absolutely not required).

At this moment, we're explicitly looking for the following positions, mostly focused on our dire need of lawyers that are as familiar with Omegaverse as they are with laws in California, USA (where applicable). In particular, we're looking for professionals to help with:

  • Terms of Service: You might have heard the horror stories of social networks launching with terribly unprofessional terms of service, and wondered why they didn't consult someone with real competence, like yourself (or someone you know). Well, here's the chance you've been waiting for!
  • Formalizing work contracts (including IP): We've hired artists for our art, we've produced merchandise with them, but we've mostly operated without formalized contractual agreements. If that makes you screech in horror (we understand), we'd love your help considering our options and writing contracts that are fair and reasonable not only for us, but for the artists and any other professionals that we hire.
  • Employment of contractors abroad: While we've been able to easily hire collaborators in countries that have good employment treaties with the United States, contractor laws in other countries are (to put it mildly) "scary and confusing". If you have experience in this area, we'd love to talk with you—even if it's just to learn that it's a terrible idea to try.

Obviously, there may be other legal areas we have blindspots in. If you've looked at social networks and rolled your eyes at the legal incompetence of those running them, come vent about it with us, and help us do better! Drop your business card in our "Business Card Drop-off: Professional Services Edition" form—though if you just want to give us some advice, or have no time for Ms. Boba's silly forms, our email is always open.

Remember: the form is for any type of professional. But if you're an artist instead, we have a special "Business Card Dropoff: Artists Edition" form made specifically for you.

Curious to hear how we view professional services vs. volunteering? Click here to learn more!

While we treat the people we pay with the same flexibility, gratitude, and respect that we offer our volunteers, we generally hold paid positions to a higher professional standard, and expect a (reasonably) higher level of commitment to the task.

Still, it's important to keep in mind that offering a discount on paid services is both a form of monetary contribution and time donated. The line can be much blurrier than one thinks!

Super secret insider tip!

While we've highlighted other forms of support as most beneficial, we want to be clear: volunteering time is an extremely appreciated and valuable form of donation. We're very grateful to the many people who have helped and continue to help us on this journey, and are committed to giving them a safe and supportive environment that fulfills their volunteering goal, whether gaining experience in areas of interest, or honing in on the tasks at hand and getting some solid work done.

All that said, we currently have a backlog of volunteering applications that we've struggled to effectively use. After the progress made last year in learning how to handle volunteers, we're now going back to considering candidates as we slowly ramp up our teams. As part of this process, we've also revamped our programming volunteers recruitment form to make it more approachable, more purposeful, and more convenient to complete. (Update March 2024: We are no longer accepting volunteer applications through the survey that was linked here. Please sign-up for our volunteering newsletter to hear about upcoming opportunities to volunteer.)

We're also starting to recruit for the other volunteering teams we'll be building up as the year progresses:

  • Writers team: To finally keep our supporters as up-to-date with BobaBoard's happenings as they deserve to be, we need one simple(ish) change: Ms. Boba must delegate writing these updates. But our need for writers doesn't stop there. From adapting blog posts for release on different socials, to writing release notes, to carefully crafting technical documentation that improves the lives of our developers (and keeps our software truly open and free), we have a variety of needs that only seasoned wordsmiths can fulfill. If you wish to join the team, please complete our new survey, specifically for writers. (Update March 2024: We are no longer accepting volunteer applications through the survey that was linked here. Please sign-up for our volunteering newsletter to hear about upcoming opportunities to volunteer.)
  • Community advisors team: To build a healthy ecosystem of fandom communities that we can truly be proud of, we're now recruiting a group of expert fannish advisors, specializing in community management, engagement, and communication, AKA (as we're affectionally calling it) "The Boba-Sitters Club". If you want to work together with other like-minded folks to grow new community managers, help refine our policies, and widen our understanding of how to build thriving online spaces, please complete our new community advisors recruitment survey! (Update March 2024: We are no longer accepting volunteer applications through the surveys that were linked here. Please sign-up for our volunteering newsletter to hear about upcoming opportunities to volunteer.)

If you've already filled volunteer forms in the past and just want to renew your interest, or if using our forms is getting in the way of offering your topical expertise, remember that you can always email us directly.

...and that's it for 2022! Thank you all for the support during this less-than-ideal-but-still-very-productive year, and let's make 2023 our best year yet!

Motivated to choose your avenue of support after reading this whole thing? Here, have a handy link back to that section. Thank you!

Super secret insider tip!