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Author Topic: ADMIN: Should we have a Subscribers Only Area?  (Read 14994 times)
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« Topic Start: June 20, 2011, 06:34:41 pm »

[Note: This was originally posted in the New Board Progress Reports thread. I thought it was an interesting enough idea to break off into its own thread for discussion -- Randall]

Randall, I'm a newly registered member obviously but I've spent some serious time here reading. The only other forum I'm dedicated to is Aeclectic Tarot where I've been a paid subscriber for years. Because the 'good stuff' is only available to paid members. Smiley It is around $25.00US a year and considering I spend at least an hour a day there that's pretty cheap entertainment. Some years if the dollar is strong it is as little as $17.00US.

The point of my post (and I do have one) is I don't see that any of the forums here are subscriber only.
Would that be an option? Can you/we think of anything here now or that could be added that would encourage members to willingly help shoulder the load for a stronger faster forum?
« Last Edit: June 20, 2011, 09:38:39 pm by RandallS, Reason: Turned into its own thread » Logged

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« Reply #1: June 20, 2011, 07:23:32 pm »

The point of my post (and I do have one) is I don't see that any of the forums here are subscriber only.
Would that be an option? Can you/we think of anything here now or that could be added that would encourage members to willingly help shoulder the load for a stronger faster forum?

While I'm not intrinsically against the idea, I really can't think of any "good stuff" we could put behind a subscriber-only pay wall. I don't know if that's because we don't have anything like that or if it is because my mind just doesn't think that way. I'm certainly open to suggestions.  However, we have a small group of donor members who have managed to pay the server bills every month and other odds expenses like the new vBulletin license and the Vaultwiki license when needed. Of course, switching to vbulletin might mean we might eventually need a better server as vB is certainly more server intensive than SMF -- but I don't expect that to be an immediate need given we have a Linode 1536 VPS.
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« Reply #2: June 20, 2011, 09:12:54 pm »

While I'm not intrinsically against the idea, I really can't think of any "good stuff" we could put behind a subscriber-only pay wall. I don't know if that's because we don't have anything like that or if it is because my mind just doesn't think that way. I'm certainly open to suggestions.  

Not having to see advertising is the major reason I donate here, but I'm also a subscriber on Aeclectic, because I like the forums where subscription gets me access. (Which, over there, includes the spirituality one.)

I think the trick here would be finding things that are of substantial interest, but don't, say, gut the rest of the site.

One thing Aeclectic does is that subscribers can access a forum where there are (monthly? I don't pay a lot of attention to it) give-aways. What I think happens is they got a good handful of donations, and then each month's winner gets to pick one item from the current list of options (which is 6 or 8 items long, so there's some choice.) I think it's easier to run that than something where you have to dig up a different item each month. (Though it does need someone who doesn't mind regular mail runs to run it, of course.)

A lot of the other things I can think about (beyond larger quotas for things like PMs) are things I wouldn't want to limit to subscribers/donators (because it'd limit some great content...) but I'm sure there's other ideas. (My other regular donation is Minnesota Public Radio, because I want them to continue doing awesome stuff, and of course they do donation gifts, though I'm now a continuing member, so I only get them if I think about ordering something.)
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« Reply #3: June 20, 2011, 09:41:20 pm »



I've broken this discussion off into a new thread as it's an idea we have never thought of, but should probably at least be thoroughly considered.
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« Reply #4: June 20, 2011, 09:55:51 pm »

I've broken this discussion off into a new thread as it's an idea we have never thought of, but should probably at least be thoroughly considered.

I personally don't see much need for such an area. *shrugs*
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« Reply #5: June 20, 2011, 10:05:59 pm »

I've broken this discussion off into a new thread as it's an idea we have never thought of, but should probably at least be thoroughly considered.

My first instinct is to say no. We had a donor's folder and that didn't do anything but gather dust. We've had CC, and that turned out to be a mistake. I think this might be the same sort of thing.

I hate having to remember where I am and who I'm talking to and wondering whether someone can see the post.

So I'm a no.
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« Reply #6: June 20, 2011, 10:06:38 pm »

I've broken this discussion off into a new thread as it's an idea we have never thought of, but should probably at least be thoroughly considered.

I don't see what we would need it for, to be perfectly honest
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« Reply #7: June 20, 2011, 10:26:42 pm »

The point of my post (and I do have one) is I don't see that any of the forums here are subscriber only.
Would that be an option? Can you/we think of anything here now or that could be added that would encourage members to willingly help shoulder the load for a stronger faster forum?

This idea bothers me, to be honest. 

I think a subscription area would exclude people who are vital members of the community who don't have a lot of spare cash.  I'm sure there are long-time members who donate when they can, but aren't always able.  (At the moment, even $25 would be a major investment for me, so maybe I'm just feeling a little hyper-sensitive.)

On the other hand, I realize that the hosts are hardly rolling in $$$ themselves and bills have to be paid.  And they'd have my understanding and support if they chose to go this route, I just wanted to add my perspective.

(And on the OTHER other hand, I really like the idea of giveaways and the like to encourage more people to donate as needed.  Even when I don't have cash, I'd be more than happy to donate a piece of art or something for a giveaway/raffle kind of thing.  Don't know what the legalities there would be, though.)
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« Reply #8: June 20, 2011, 10:34:38 pm »

My first instinct is to say no. We had a donor's folder and that didn't do anything but gather dust. We've had CC, and that turned out to be a mistake. I think this might be the same sort of thing.

I think people may be taking "Subscriber Area" too literally. Think "ideas for more donor benefits". They need not involve a walled off area of the board. For example, Jenett had an interesting one with the giveaway. That could be done without walling off part of the board -- an idea I'm not immediately fond of either. It's too much like spirituality is only for people with lots of spare cash for me. (However, I might be willing to consider a walled off "spell begging" forum where who want to demand to have spells designed for them have to pay.)

Also, even if we did wall off part of the board, it could be a transparent wall like the "Full Member" wall we had for our first 18 months to 2 years on SMF. Everyone could read the Full Member areas, but only those who had made 10 posts and applied for full membership successfully could post in them. While I don't think I'd be interested in a completely private area for subscribers, I would have less immediate objection to something like this. I'm not saying it would be an idea we should jump on, just that I'd have far less objection to it.
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« Reply #9: June 20, 2011, 10:53:37 pm »

I think people may be taking "Subscriber Area" too literally. Think "ideas for more donor benefits". They need not involve a walled off area of the board. For example, Jenett had an interesting one with the giveaway. That could be done without walling off part of the board -- an idea I'm not immediately fond of either. It's too much like spirituality is only for people with lots of spare cash for me. (However, I might be willing to consider a walled off "spell begging" forum where who want to demand to have spells designed for them have to pay.)

Also, even if we did wall off part of the board, it could be a transparent wall like the "Full Member" wall we had for our first 18 months to 2 years on SMF. Everyone could read the Full Member areas, but only those who had made 10 posts and applied for full membership successfully could post in them. While I don't think I'd be interested in a completely private area for subscribers, I would have less immediate objection to something like this. I'm not saying it would be an idea we should jump on, just that I'd have far less objection to it.

Yes to both. Smiley
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« Reply #10: June 21, 2011, 01:59:30 pm »


I think a subscription area would exclude people who are vital members of the community who don't have a lot of spare cash.  I'm sure there are long-time members who donate when they can, but aren't always able.  (At the moment, even $25 would be a major investment for me, so maybe I'm just feeling a little hyper-sensitive.)
======================================
(And on the OTHER other hand, I really like the idea of giveaways and the like to encourage more people to donate as needed.  Even when I don't have cash, I'd be more than happy to donate a piece of art or something for a giveaway/raffle kind of thing.  Don't know what the legalities there would be, though.)

From my long lifetime of observations Smiley it wouldn't matter if it were 10 cents or 10,000 dollars, ALWAYS there are those who can't afford something and those who can afford anything. I'm self employed and  a pretty thin string alternates with WOW what a great month, but every day there are financial choices where I choose the priority. Some days it might be a $2.00 latte, others it might be $2.00 in the poor box.

I brought the idea up with hesitation because I'm not familiar enough with pagan interests and forums to know what people would be willing to pay for. I've walked a solitary path for a long time, Perhaps nothing? Perhaps the 2.00 donation a month is just right? Also is there other pagan forums on the web so the general member base is widely diluted? With the AT Tarot forum it is the biggest busiest on the web, and routinely has 700-1000 members on it at any one time. But a lot of what they have there for was added over a  period of years.

In their monthly give away thread which is subscriber only, includes a full subscription, it also includes subscriber donations like padded tarot cases, personally printed decks, and books. The cost of mailing them is borne by the member who donates them. So the question would be if a give away that only includes those members who have donated their $2.00 for the month would increase those donations by enough to let the forum fly free? What do members here make or have someone else would think worth entering for?
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« Reply #11: June 21, 2011, 05:26:13 pm »

In their monthly give away thread which is subscriber only, includes a full subscription, it also includes subscriber donations like padded tarot cases, personally printed decks, and books. The cost of mailing them is borne by the member who donates them. So the question would be if a give away that only includes those members who have donated their $2.00 for the month would increase those donations by enough to let the forum fly free? What do members here make or have someone else would think worth entering for?

I do like the giveaway idea, but I'm not too fond of the idea that the person creating the donation should also pay for mailing the item. For example, I'd be happy to devote some of my time to create a polymer clay model, since I have the material around anyway, but also paying for the postage stamps would put some strain on me (after all, we don't all live in the same country, and I don't really want to know what a small package to the US costs...).
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« Reply #12: June 21, 2011, 06:06:40 pm »

For example, I'd be happy to devote some of my time to create a polymer clay model, since I have the material around anyway, but also paying for the postage stamps would put some strain on me (after all, we don't all live in the same country, and I don't really want to know what a small package to the US costs...).

This is my main problem with the giveaway idea (which I otherwise really like). I have, for example, a number of books we could giveaway. But if someone outside the US won one, it would cost more to mail the book to them than the book is probably worth. This is for mailing to Europe or Japan. The costs to Australia, New Zealand, Russia, and the like are even more.  Mailing 2 or 3 books outside the US each month (at least to the more expensive countries) could cost as much as the server does for a month. We'd have to get a lot more donations just to cover postage.
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« Reply #13: June 21, 2011, 10:37:28 pm »

This is my main problem with the giveaway idea (which I otherwise really like). I have, for example, a number of books we could giveaway. But if someone outside the US won one, it would cost more to mail the book to them than the book is probably worth. This is for mailing to Europe or Japan. The costs to Australia, New Zealand, Russia, and the like are even more.  Mailing 2 or 3 books outside the US each month (at least to the more expensive countries) could cost as much as the server does for a month. We'd have to get a lot more donations just to cover postage.

If you put it in place, maybe you could state up front that tangible items like books would be limited to US and Canadian donors.

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« Reply #14: June 22, 2011, 03:02:12 am »

If you put it in place, maybe you could state up front that tangible items like books would be limited to US and Canadian donors.

Sperran

But what could the non-US citizens choose, then?
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