Isn't that the image of everything we stand against...?
Well i thought it would be a kind of funny alternate reality mug, but perhaps it was in poor taste. i withdraw the idea. i didn't really see it as against spirit of the site -- it wasn't about giving treating people differently based on how much they give and giving the impression that the more you donate the better you are -- that's the real thing we want to always avoid. It was just an idea for a special private thank you that would make financial sense only for large donors.
Regarding donating-by-buying items like cafepress mugs, etc. -- this is an idea that has always been attractive, but has real drawbacks. One major one is that if people buy a $20 DC mug feeling like they are contributing financially to the site, and DC gets $1 of this and cafepress gets $19, its not much help
So the only way it works is if this kind of donation-by-purchase is done on a huge markup item, like a $200 mug. The cafepress shop was initially set up for that purpose, but in effect we never used it for that and instead used it to give away mugs for special events rather than having people buy things directly.
As for donations between members and taking a portion of that for the site -- when the donationcredits systsm first went live -- some portion of donations always went to the site and the rest into the users account to do with as they please.
But what was found is that people so rarely get involved in giving their donations to specific people, that the far better and simpler solution is to just say that anyone who is willing to specifically donate to a specific user on the site, should just be allowed to do that purely, and no need to try to take some portion of those donations. People who are involved enough in the site to be making donations to specific people will already donate to the site if they feel like it.