You don't have to post this Mark, I've just learned your name as I've read around a bit more, I know my posts are currently moderated and you closed the last fee thread for good reason.
As feedback, for whatever my singular opinion is worth. Fees should not be based on member numbers, a poll tax in effect. One of the few things the British people have ever rioted over.
They should be based on whether the group is commercial and charges/makes money and on the actual resource usage in practice. I currently belong to quite a few groups and a fee for each would be untenable.
I understand you need to expand your hardware and bandwidth, but those are both prorata and comparable to costs for supporting preexisting groups. So an overnight doubling of fees is hard to understand purely on a cost basis.
Of course you are having to work very hard currently but that load per worker/cost per group would still be the same if you increased staff to meet demand.
The timing, mid crisis, is particularly unfortunate and can't help but suggest a demand economy model rather than a costs plus profit model. No combination of words will change that perception by people effected by it. They may not articulate it but they know what they feel.
One is usury and the other is capatilism with at least the possibility of a social conscience.
It's easy for a fee collecting group unaffected by the change to relentlessly and smugly seriously belittle people she feels don't share her clever foresight.
I'm sure that when she isn't being loyal and defending you she's actually lovely.
I forget who but calling poor people, who can't pay a fee, deadwood is deeply offensive.
The people forced into short notice change are the actual victims here, mostly of yahoo but also of your mid crisis policy change.
It's not your fault yahoo gave such short notice but it's not Yahoo's fault you raised your fees. So people are not blaming you for Yahoo's actions as suggested.
I have personally recommended this platform to two of the groups I am in. One of the group owners has four or five small groups. So I have some ego and reputation staked in this sudden policy change.
I admire your attitude and willingness to halt and even reverse changes. You express yourself very well. Far more personable than myself. But Mark Zuckerberg is plausible so that only goes so far.
I've seen institution after institution start with high moral assertions about community and end up maximising profit and squeezing as much as they can get away with. eBay would be a good example.
I'm sure you will consider things carefully. I believe you should consider halting mid crisis price hikes for non moneymaking groups.
Whatever the outcome I hope groups.io can retain the good name it has built up and that no precious archive of knowledge is lost forever because of financial constraints.
Burning the library down is an ignoble act whether Alexandria, Nazis or anytime knowledge is preventably destroyed. Profit is an even poorer motive than ideology.
Just my perspective.
I do wish you well despite my civil critique.