Contore: The Online Membership Experience Re-imagined

Forget talking about a good game for a second (because most people are just talk). Suppose that we got everyone to the point where we all agreed that action is needed. EPTA needs to do something to change the status quo and improve our lives, maybe our country. The problem is, what can a small group like us traditionalists really do?

While you could over-think the answer to what constitutes activism besides the talking, it could be simpler than you think:

We just need to do what we do already, nothing more. Our day-to-day needs are sufficient enough to change the world. The caveat is how we go about fulfilling our daily needs. That decides if they’re a force for good, or a force for more of the same.

The Dilemma

It was always our intention to provide EPTA membership with an exclusive online experience. The original concept drafted was a program called Palette, intended to be like any like social media space for those so inclined. Nothing more. But not everyone is inclined. Most people don’t go to social media to be the conversation starter. So how would Palette kickstart its own momentum with such well-established competition? It would’ve likely remained dormant compared to mainstream choices like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Those companies might support an evil vision completely opposed to us, but unlike the future Palette, they also successfully supply an every-day need: social fulfillment. You can’t have that on brand-new niche platform. The few that would’ve signed up wouldn’t have known each other, and casual traditionalists wouldn’t have signed up at all. And the reason they wouldn’t is because instead of supplying an every-day need, Palette would’ve been asking something more of its users. While doing more for the cause isn’t bad, it’s not good if the premise was a social media site supposed to be working for you, not the other way around. That’s the opposite of networking. It defeats the purpose altogether.

Member privileges are meant to be a thank you for supporting our Association. Because it seems impossible for us to create another social network for the sake of networking, we had to hit the drawing board again. The new plan had to behave like a privilege, not leave members feeling tantalized with a design that punishes them for not continually going the extra mile.

The Solution

How to make a privilege in easy reach for all members? The nature of the question helped us find the answer: just like our activism, all we need to provide is what people do already. In other words, we need to create a utility. A true product, if we expected to count all traditionalists in on this one. If we had enough success, people might even come to EPTA just for access to that utility, too. This philosophy was definitely more promising than Palette.

The internet is a great first place for both utilities and networking. It’s easily available to everybody in the United States, it’s well trafficked, and it’s needed for common chores. Considering the dispersed, disorganized nature of the traditionalist community we’re inheriting, the internet seems like the easiest tool to start out providing membership utilities for.

An internet utility immediately became something much easier to identify. The question now seems intuitive: provide alternatives to necessary services that everyone uses when they turn on their computer. Address the abuses which traditionalists routinely suffer at the hands of radicalized tech companies. How could we do this? The first thing that came to mind was Google and (historically) AOL. The ubiquitous services do these guys provide that we can instead? The advantage of controlling our own platforms, like EPTA’s example of controlling our institutions, is obvious. How many long-sought-after needs could we fulfill? Imagine having an all-in-one software suite with integrated email, a search engine and a web browser. Instead of censoring political content, it would censor porn. How many of struggling men pay for this add-on service alone? Instead of regulating discourse, we could regulate a moral atmosphere so everyone can participate. Instead of hiding secrets about corporate corruption, we could hide sacrileges and the obscene. The internet doesn’t need to be the Wild West; imagine making it a civilized thing, docile enough to be a communicating tool as trusted as a telephone? The possibilities are would only be limited by our imaginations and our resources.

Imagine that we added an integrated social media feed to our software suite, too. We could design a profile that focuses more on your life than getting clicks in the feed. We could make posts disappear over time, just like the human brain forgets in time, so that spur-of-the-moment thoughts don’t stay on the internet forever. We could add a calendar, synced with the Church calendar, Association events, and your own plans.

The concept we now have for Contore includes all of the above into a smooth, easy-to-use suite that you download to your computer. We’re designing it to be the one-stop location for all your most basic internet needs. By providing you with the tools and an online experience without liberal corruption, we can truly show you our appreciation for your decision to be a member with EPTA. We allow you to side-step data-mining, globalist corporations like Google. And in return, your patronage and web traffic helps the premier traditionalist nonprofit community grow its own independence and increase in virtue. Unlike our competition, we’re not in it for the money.

The Inspiration

“Palette” no longer made sense as a brand name for such a limitless project. Palette was for painting your own picture, while our program means to act like a virtual home, and internet colony of traditionalists working and socializing together, in whatever capacity they choose. A perfection of the incomplete internet we have today.

So that’s where we we drew our inspiration from.

A Hanseatic warship plowing the Northern waters between trading posts

The Hanseatic League is an historical example of the kind of organization EPTA desires to become for its members: a non-governmental entity strong enough to deal with states themselves, defend its own, and advocate for their needs in a hostile environment. There are differences, but the analogy is a potent one.

The Hanseatic League was made up of various cities near the coastal territory surrounding the North Sea. Primarily a trading organization, their business was protecting important seagoing trade routes between member cities. Their merchants crossed the waters with bright red and white flags, expanding a prosperous trading empire with their Germanic neighbors.

But some of the merchants’ stops were in foreign cities, outside of the League. Though they never became members, these cities also had goods to sell, and they sought after the League because it had become a force to be reckoned with itself. It was common for the Hanseatic merchants that came to establish what were known as Kontors, or little merchant-towns, right next to the non-member city they were trading with. The merchants would remain in their town with others like themselves, doing business with the locals and leveraging advantageous legal statuses.

This is where Contore gets its name. An Anglicized version of the Middle Low German Kontor, our membership suite aims to serve like-minded traditionalist individuals in their dealings with the greater World Wide Web. Contore allows you to be apart from the whole, but to participate in it with unique privileges granted on your platform, guaranteeing that local data-mining, advertisements, unethical censorship, and liberal idealism are things of the past.

Our suite’s icon is an artistic rendition of the classic sailing ship, a common symbol among various Hanseatic League seals and iconography. An enduring symbol of travel and commerce, it helps Contore communicate our goals of service and communication with the broader world online, both traditionalists and beyond.

But none of this can be done without you. Contore, like Palette, remains a concept in slow development. Our success depends on your generous donations. EPTA and its projects are non-profit endeavors meant to make the world a better place. It doesn’t sustain itself, it doesn’t make money. It’s a labor of love – and there’s currently more labor than people, too. Starting a social media platform is an enormous undertaking that usually has a five or six-digit price tag. Our teams knows we can do it without the capital investment that for-profit companies need, but we need your financial help to accomplish our budget plan. Please donate today. If you have programming or other experience, please consider volunteering your time to help forge something unique.

Contore: The Online Membership Experience Re-imagined
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