"Open access to the SEP is made possible by a world-wide funding initiative. Please read how you can help keep the encyclopedia free."
I confess I didn't read how I could help keep it free. I assume it is the same way I can keep Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, free, or my local channel of the Public Broadcasting System free: send them money.
I know most of you already think I am pretty dense, so exposing my quandary to you doesn't bother me. It is this:
If I send these people money, that means I am paying. If I am paying, then it isn't free anymore. At least not to me. So how have I helped keep it free by sending money to them?
Here I will also confess that I have never sent in any money to any of these folks over the past decade and it is still free to me. It is only not free to the
suckers supporters who send them money.
This is also the season where brother Wales over at Wikipedia reaps his annual income as well with the same message: "Help keep it free by sending me money." Or something to that effect.
I should probably also tell you that I don't give a damn if any of these "purist" sites run adverts in their sidebars; PBS already does run commerical messages, though they lie and say they don't. Of course, they also say if we send them money then they will run quality programming, and they don't. Not unless you consider constant fund-raising with reruns and 30 year old endless bombardments of Are You Being Served? quality programming.
Maybe you can tell me how, by sending these people money, I will be doing my part to keep it free? Free for ME, I mean.