Am I using your emotions to make you donate to me?

Am I using your emotions to make you donate to me?

In my last blog post I was writing about how bad I felt about my personal situation. How broke I am and that I haven’t been like that in years (since 2013). I also hinted about “killing myself”, although was not literally, just to emphasize that I felt like falling into a deep black hole. The post was my way of expressing my anger, and I’ve been doing this since 2006. Actually my blog was what helped me not literally kill myself in high school when I was so depressed, because I was able to let my anger out by writing about it publicly. So, my blog is my personal space where I write about whatever I want, whenever I want. And it helps me. So anyways, I published this blog and two very contradictory responses took place.

First was a massive donation from Taras, of 2.000 Euros, that helps us enormously. I can now be relaxed for the next few months and work on TROM II. He also sent this message: “Thank you for your amazing work. Don’t give up!”. I also got this kind of message from another friend:

I have collapsed psychologically reading Tio’s thoughts and all these problems. I feel you both, all this fucked situation…i have learned awesome things from you both and have helped on so many…i wish could have more shit-money to do my best but i can’t… I have spent more than 43 years of my life working for this fucked trade system and need 6 more months to retire and still can’t help you financially. Please guys…DON’T GIVE UP…stay together…the more important in such hard times is to have each other. I really feel my words are so…useless… But DON’T GIVE UP!! We need to become “friends” with the “Beast”, with the horror that it instills…to live “within it without it”… I believe there are always ways…just think about it. Thank you both for all your awesome work. i’m very glad to hear your determination and the passion to keep going that hard but so valuable “road”. Always the few but pioneers were helping this society to move forward. I wish sometime in the future your choices to guide you for a visit in Greece. Would be so nice to meet each other. Please give my best regards and my sympathy to Tio.

They power me a lot to keep on doing what I’m doing, but also make me sad that I make them sad and put a burden on them. I always struggled with that: when a few people donate money, then I am in a very shitty situation and make a blog post about it, the same people (at times new ones) donate a huge ton of money….I feel like not wanting to say I am broke because I make others sad and maybe I make them feel “obliged” to help financially.

So anyways, this is the second reaction on a Facebook post about the blog (someone told me about it since I don’t dare to go on fb anymore because it is such a shithole):

Jizuz dude! One thing is for certain it is hard to support a hypocrite. You say “i tio am good guy because i am trade free” then you say “they bad because they sell you stuff” then you say “hope sasha sells a billion books”. Hahahaha. This is painful to read. Not cuz i pity you because it is like i have to trade my comfort to gain access to trom goods. Like we have to hear you cry and cry about being broke in order to get your “tradefree” services. Bro everyone is in the same boat. Most are struggling financially emotionally mentally and we dont have mommy n daddy to help us and we dont have a following who donate. So save ur self pity tears. If you love the work and are good at it and want to help others than do it and be humble and stop using this as income. This kind of story you write (you wrote many MANY times before) is so annoying when there are actual people suffering and starving in this world. Also u say “i tio watch thousands of docos and write long childish stories about complex subjects and make some stuffs so i shouldnt have to work but you all are not as curious as i so u go to work and give your earnings to me…!!! Whah, whah, whah, yah yah yah…”

To which I replied:

Suzzie Cutter I do not use FB but someone told me about your comment so I had to reply when I saw the nonsense, because you are confused. I never sold anything TROM related and never will. Except a TROM USB card in 2012 where I didn’t put any profit on it and it was for like 1 month to make it more available for people. So keep that in mind.

Second, Sasha will provide her book (not a TROM material) for free online (trade free that is), but the hard copy will always cost money unless we print the books ourselves and pay to send to people, which is ridiculous. So she will be forced to sell the hard print anyways. Sure, she can put a 0 profit, but then us being financially fucked she won’t do that. Maybe it will end up helping us so we won’t ask for donations for TROM again. Yes, people selling stuff is “bad”, but also I fully understand some have no choice. I always talk about how this environment makes people the way they are, and never accuse people themselves. Not even the billionaires.

You can project whatever you want about me (Tio), that I “complain” and such, but I am just telling people how the situation is exactly, so they understand it. Because if I go fully broke, then I cannot even pay for TROM. My mommy and my daddy 🙂 are helping us now, is true, and that’s something I would do for my kids too, sorry you have no mommy or daddy or a “following”, but maybe if you do what I do at TROM, you can have the latter.

You take my complaint, a personal blog post, as if I came to your door and started to cry and asked you for help. People have shitty lives, and some have websites where they complain about them. And you read these stories it seems, and then you get annoyed by them. For sure there are people starving and having cancer and all that. This is not an excuse for ignoring situations like mine, or not “complaining” about my shitty situation just because there is a kid now in Africa dying of starvation. If anything, I am one of those who screams about that kid in Africa, and a lot of other problems.

As for your last paragraph…the childish part is you in this story. You got nothing from that blog post or from the work we do at TROM. If you didn’t get it, my point was that if anyone wants to be curious about this society and this world, the problems, the solutions there are, then they can’t even do that and take it seriously, because they are forced to work. It is not about me, it is about everyone including yourself. You missed that entirely.What is your motivation to moan here on a random fb post about this personal problem of mine? Nothing relevant to do to maybe, so that in the future get financial support for? Is fb too easy for everyone nowadays to comment and think that they are doing anything? At least next time comment on my blog post not on a fb automated page that no one is managing.

Then Suzzie continued:

Do you have food to eat? Yes. Do you have a bed to sleep in? Yes.Do you have ability to go to doctors? Yes.Are you disabled? No.Are you at risk of loosing any of these things? No.Do you have a safe clean environment to live in? Yes.So why so dramatic? Why play on peoples emotions to get donations? You mention starving kids in africa at times but most of your complaints are about your life and how “bad” you have it and how money “helps” you not be stressed.

People fall for this bc they know the world sucks and think by donating to you they make a difference but thats a scam. I say hypocrite bc you say “dont donate to others bc they sell materials if the publish a book” then say “but its ok if we do it” an bc you use sad pity stories to get donations. Just make the content or not. Dont make people feel sorry for you and give you money then preach about “trade free blah blah”

Is like “hey who wants dinner?” “ i will feed you without any conditions” then the people eat and its “but i cooked for you” “i washed the dishes” “i cut the ingredients” and so on. “I need money bc all of that cost me time and effort” and “now im so stressed and want to kill myself bc i gave no money for myself bc i cooked for you all” now all the people who ate the food feel guilty and “donate” to you for the “free dinner”

And my last reply to that:

Suzzie Cutter you really want to drag me into a facebook conversation aren’t you? The best of the internet…. If you want to discuss in length and are really interested in a discussion and not trolling, feel free to comment on my blog post.

To reply to your nonsense

:”Do you have food to eat?” I had only for next 3 months. Would my family let me go hungry after these 3 months? For sure, no. But it would put all of us in a very shitty situation with a lot of stress. Food + Stress is not something I want for any of us. They work in the cleaning industry here where we live, is not like they are rich at all. They stay with rent too and are underpaid and have illegal contracts basically. I do not want to become a burden for them.

“Do you have a bed to sleep in?” – Only because my family can provide one for now. But they too need to move away from here very soon, so then what do I do?”Do you have ability to go to doctors?” Fortunately yes. Here in Spain I do. As long as I can stay here in Spain .”Are you disabled?” Not as far as I know. Are you? “Are you at risk of loosing any of these things?” Yes “Do you have a safe clean environment to live in?” No.

“So why so dramatic? Why play on peoples emotions to get donations?” It is only dramatic because you make it as such. I simply explained my shitty personal situation on my personal blog and shared it here because I am the main one keeping TROM alive, so if I am broke, TROM will also have to suffer. We need to pay for server, for a very good internet connection, hardware for backups, etc.. You just decided to comment on a situation you know nothing about. I guess that’s facebook overall so I am not surprised.I never asked anyone for money in my life. How many people can say that? I only have open donations for whoever can and want to donate. But I never knock on anyone’s door to ask for money. Actually I had to do the opposite with people like Aaron and Roma who donated so much money. I had to tell them to stop and that I will refund their money if they ever donate, since they have to take care of themselves.

“People fall for this bc they know the world sucks and think by donating to you they make a difference but thats a scam. ” – What is the scam here? When anyone donates I keep doing what I promised to do: TROM. As simple as that. I don’t promise anything else. I give no perks and no special treatment.

“””I say hypocrite bc you say “dont donate to others bc they sell materials if the publish a book” then say “but its ok if we do it” an bc you use sad pity stories to get donations.””” You friend are so confused is no wonder I found about you on fb… I never said to anyone to donate or not to anyone. And we sell no books. Are you really that confused?

It’s like I make food and give it for free to anyone, publicly. Come and eat, I ask you nothing. I don’t even have a sign to donate in your face. It is up to anyone to donate. Like Wikipedia. And if I am in a very bad financial situation that doesn’t allow me to continue to make free food for everyone, I’ll say that publicly and not come to your door Suzzie and ask for donations. And if anyone helps, ok. If not, ok. I keep on doing what I can.Funny how in your mind is “too much” for me to complain about my shitty personal financial situation that affects the entire TROM project, but not too much for you to complain about my complaint, in every donation-related post. Can you see the hypocrisy there?

Suzzie also started to make all kinds of sarcastic comments on posts where we thank the people who donated. Those were trolling comments so I decided to delete them from facebook because I do not have the time to deal with people who have too much time to troll.

But it is not the first time I’ve heard someone complaining about the fact that I appeal to people’s emotions to get money from them. For the past 10 or so years I’ve heard this 3-4 times. Which is really not much at all, but still it is something I wanted to address because it bothers me to think that I may do that.

I come from an environment where “begging” is a “job”. Romanian people go to England or other tribes to beg in the streets and they make a living out of this. They appeal to people’s emotions in an aggressive way and have a lot of learned tactics to get as much money from you as possible. It is an industry revolving around this. If you see a beggar in UK, it is very likely he/she is not there by themselves, they came there via an “organization” that “hires” them. Hard to believe, right? Here’s one documentary about it.

I also come from a family who got so much in debt it almost destroyed us at one point. All I’ve heard as a kid was: debt, debt, debt. Banks calling my parents to harass them; them crying; them trying to get another loan to pay some debt; asking friends and family for money constantly, and such. Luckily they managed to go to Spain, work like slaves, and pay all of their debt.

On top of this, my friends and people I knew, were scamming the world online with lies and lies, and making tons of money. Romania, and especially the town I am from, is well known worldwide for these scams.

So I hated this environment of scamming and begging and debt and asking people for money. I HATED it! So even when I had 0 money I never asked anyone for anything. Not even my parents. I am one of those kids who never really asked for anything from my parents (except when I was very little probably, like all kids). But I never said: “Mom, can you give me 100 Euros to buy a pair of jeans?”. Never. Because I knew they do not have money. So if they gave me money or stuff, it was their decision. And they did. They always helped.

So I hate when people ask for money because of that environment I grew up in. But I understand many of these people are desperate and need help. I just don’t want to engage in that. I don’t feel like anyone owns me anything or have to take care of me. That’s why I worked on TROM documentary without telling anyone, and only after it was done I had to ask my parents for 50 Euros to buy + hosting. I had no other choice. And I worked on many other projects without asking anyone for anything.


But you always ask for donations!!!!

Donations are very different. It is an open door to anyone who wants to help. Instead of knocking on your door to ask for help, I open the door to my house and let anyone come in and help. This too can be abused, I know. In two main ways:

  1. You give perks to those who donate. I’ve seen this many times. But this is not a donation. It is a trade: you give me money, I give you this. Such people are ruining the meaning of donations. So I never ever did this, despite soooo many people trying to convince me to do that. But I want to keep donations as donations. And I want to treat everyone the same.
  2. You are aggressive about it. You are loud about donations, put buttons in people’s faces, make it invasive for everyone. I’ve heard some people complain about Wikipedia that when they ask for donations they add a big banner on every page about that. You can close it, of course, but I’ve seen people hating that. Wikipedia also sends these more personal kind of messages when it comes to donations, saying that they are in a very bad financial situation and urgently need your help. I understand why people get annoyed by these, and I know there are projects out there who use these as tactics to get more money from people. However, I trust Wikipedia and what they are doing, and I trust that they really need that help. I am more put off by this society that makes a project like Wikipedia ask for donations from individuals. Why isn’t this society allowing for such amazing projects to survive and thrive?

    So, I tried to not engaged in these either. But is hard not to. When you are in a very bad financial situation and you are afraid your projects can die if you don’t get financial support, you feel like telling to those who want to listen, about the situation. Like…this is normal… What should I do? Shut’up and silently close several of these projects or not keep them updated? Is that better?

    As for the donate buttons and such, go to any of our projects’ websites and you will see there is nothing intrusive there. No popups or anything like that, despite (again) so many suggesting to us to be more “in your face” with the donation buttons to get more support. But I do not want that. I do not want to bother people. And when I post about needing financial support on social networks, that’s 1 post out of hundreds of others that have nothing to do with “donations”. Look at what we post on our social network.

All in all, I hate asking for money or complaining about my personal financial situation. If I were to make a blog post every time I feel down and I am in a financial collapse mode, I would have made one every other week. But I resist that as much as possible. People around me know that I avoided a few times to say anything simply because I know a few friends would see that and feel “forced” in a way to send me some money, and I HATE this so much I want to eject myself out of this planet. But in the end since I know I do not do these things with any intention other than describing a bad personal situation, then why should I care? Should I be like “Poor people who see my complaint and be sad about it…or pissed off….I feel so bad about them”!? I mean that’s ridiculous. I am in a bad situation and then I should feel bad writing about it on my personal blog and share it at times on TROM’s social networks!? How dare I to upset a few with my personal problems!? :))

I can’t be like that. So if I am in a bad financial situation I’ll say that and I expect nothing from anyone. I never plan that I will write a blog post and get some donations because of by “dramatic” story. I’ve made so many honest projects so far, do you think I am like a charlatan trying to appeal to people’s emotions to donate me money!? I would not want to live around people who do such things. And even if I were to do that, then the result is still a help for TROM and a continuation of this project, so why should you care? If I say TROM needs money to keep on TROMing, and you decide to donate money and TROM keeps on TROMing, why is it important how I asked for money, or if I spent it on prostitutes or whatever!?

Anyways, I wanted to quickly rant about this a bit, since it is crazy to me how people invent their own stories about others and convince themselves of them. If Suzzie thinks that I intentionally appeal to people’s emotions to get donations for TROM, then in the worst case scenario I fight to keep TROM alive and relevant. But I’ll never do this. I am actually the exact opposite of this and if I am to be so broke that I end up on the streets, even then I don’t think I’ll go to Suzzie’s door, or anyone’s door, to ask for help. But if anyone wants to help, I’ll put a sing there somewhere that they can help if they want. 😉

My life revolves around TROM and its baby projects. I love them so much they keep me awake at night. We live in a world of charlatans and scammers, so I want these projects and myself to be a counter-example to this shithole. But for that I need a small army of people who can help TROM. And one of the help methods is to donate money since there is no other way I know right now, to keep me afloat in this ocean of trades to keep on working on these projects. If I had money I would donate to other projects too. And if I will ever have enough for me and Sasha, I would give the rest to similar projects. Mark my word.

I hate drama and emotional situations. I do not cry or scream. So whenever I’ll complain about my personal financial situation, it is more of a peer-reviewed paper of my situation than anything else. You have to take care of your emotions and not let yourself to sadden by my blog posts. And if you do, remember is not like I wanted that. And for sure, is not my intention to make you sad in order for you to donate money to me. If I had such values I wouldn’t have made all of the projects I made so far. These two attitudes are incompatible.

4 Replies to “Am I using your emotions to make you donate to me?”

  1. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. You trade/sell your various goods and services (such as feeling of purpose, community building, entertainment, hosting) in return for other goods and services or cash. Other models are sales with “offerta libera” (the seller picks any price including 0) or buddhist monks.

    1. I think you are either misunderstanding what I mean by trade or what I do. A few people take the trade idea too philosophically. We mean this and this . We mean the process of trade that is part of our society. The money making, profit making, stuff like that. It is quite clear if you don’t try to go to nuts with it. Open Source does not mean to have an Open Soul and Open Mind, it means a particular thing.

      I do not trade anything when it comes to the projects I am doing. Between me and the ones using them, there is no “give me this to get what I have done”. Never.

      1. Thank you for your answer. I respect your beliefs and what you do and I don’t want to argue on terminology: even if your activities failed to fit the definitions of non-profit or non-commercial in some jurisdiction, that wouldn’t change their value in my mind.

        It’s clear that around here many exchanges happen, however one wishes to call them: files move between servers and clients, cash changes hands, etc.; this article seemed to be about some commenter who was confused about this fact. If you care about such misunderstandings (you may also opt not to care), one possibility is to supplement your explanations of your philosophy with some concepts which may be more familiar to your readers. Despite reading your websites for almost one hour, I’m still rather confused myself, so I proposed some alternative images.

        From what I understood, your activities are not so much against “trade” as they’re against some combination of materialism, accumulation and state coercion. I’m not sure exactly which combination. So I thought you might also be interested in voluntarism, or pauperism, or even post-scarcity anarchism à la Bookchin. There’s also a rich history of mendicancy to draw from, like or others .

        1. These are not my beliefs, I am explaining some concepts and I explain them in detail. I just sourced to our main book. And it is easy to understand: if you sell stuff then you engage in trades. Simple. What is so complicated?

          If you want to use Facebook, you have to give them your data and attention (watch ads), else you cannot use it. And it is clearly a business model there with this data and attention trading. But when it comes to our projects there is no business plan. We ask no money or anything from people.

          Exchanges does not mean trade, means exchanges. Trade means a market. A business. That’s how we regard this “word” in today’s world. It is pointless to go to philosophical about such concepts. 😉

          The links and concepts you provide have nothing to do with what I’m talking about. I do not talk about ideology and religion or all kinds of “beliefs”, I talk about the simple fact of not trading. We live in a trade based society: jobs, prices, markets, data collection, advertising and so forth. I am talking about not doing these. Sounds very simple to me.

          If I help people move their furniture, but ONLY if they give me money, or they give me food or make me a favor, then that’s a trade-based service. I only help them move the furniture IF they give something to me. But, if I help people move their furniture and I ask nothing in return, then that’s a trade-free service. or in other words, a “normal” and sane help. We call these people volunteers, while we should just call them humans, and call the other traders, merchants or something like that.

          I suggest you read the book I linked above.

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