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OT: RE: financial problems with

From: Jacques Kilchoer <>
Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2001 11:44:16 -0700
Message-ID: <>

-----Original Message-----
From: []

>Alex, that is an excellent idea! I second that notion.

""? Does that University count Homere Simpson amongst its proud alumni?

Please excuse the long e-mail, but since the suggestion has been made to make this a "subscription" list, I will share some of the issues that I am grappling with (along with others) as part of a volunteer moderator at an internet message board, where we are currently debating a fee-based message board instead of free membership.

My personal opinion (though of course this would be Mr. Still and Mr. Bergman's decision) is that having a "subscription" list would be very hard to manage. If someone who has provided valuable responses (e.g. a Steve Adams) doesn't pay his fee, do you immediately unsubscribe him from the list? Do you prevent him from posting an answer? What's the grace period for non-payment of fees? Would there be a trial period, or would you have to pay before you can even see what the list is like? Paying before you can see the content would diminish new membership, and new membership is essential to the survival of a list such as this one. If you have a free introductory period, I could sign up with a different "free" e-mail (e.g. hotmail) every month and never pay. Only the "honest" people would pay, which would end up being the same as asking for voluntary donations.

Another issue - how many people would go try out another "free" list? Charging a fee may mean the demise of this list. I think that the list is worth a modest fee, but what percentage of the membership will think so?

What if a person has paid for membership, but is posting messages disruptive to the list (e.g. spam or insults.) Do you refund their fee when you remove them from the list? Do they have more rights as a "paying customer"?

How about the archives? Would you have to pay to see them? What about people that always ask questions, but never answer any? Would they be charged more? Would some of our "experts" become resentful since they are paying Mr. Bergman and giving out more information than they are receiving? I can very well imagine a person thinking "why should I give out free answers when Mr. Bergman 'profits' from my expertise?" (Of course I realize that there is very little, if any, 'profit' involved, but some people may not be convinced of that.)

These are all difficult questions that would be faced by the person maintaining the list. Without charging enough to make the list profitable, it might not be worth the headache. Received on Wed Aug 29 2001 - 13:44:16 CDT

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