Ultimately, while no one wants this, the point may be reached when FREE cannot be continued: the choice then becomes pay or lose... as I've mentioned before, in this situation, there is no good option, only a choice of bad or worse...
Note: members are members of Groups.io, having a relationship with it separate from, but combining, their membership of groups. Groups.io 'knows', and 'acts on', both that X is a member of group Y, and that group Y has X as a member, as required.
My thoughts on 'message to users' for (and so 'members view' of) Samuel's proposal (as I understand, and would intend it implemented - in bullet point form - would need revision before sending out):
- Groups.io costs money - someone has to pay. The current model, of free memberships, with payment by (some) group owners is unsustainable.
- There is a consequent need for members to contribute, so we (groups.io) invite you to take out a 'Contributing Member' subscription ($? p.a.), to help ensure the continuance, growth and developement of Groups.io. We hope you feel it worth it....
- 'Contributing Members' will benefit from unlimited groups memberships; also possible future additional features may only be available to 'Contributing Members'
- In the future, some groups will only have a limited number of spaces available for non-contributing members.
- There is no requirement to become a 'Contributing Member': you may continue as a free member, with your current group memberships and features unchanged (including use of web interface).
- But you may not able to join additional groups (if they do not have 'free' spaces available), or take advantage of new features.
- People will continue to be able join as free members (though with an invitation to become a 'Contributing Member')
- Invitations to become a 'Contributing Member' can/should be sent periodically...
- When someone wishes to join a 'full' group (no free spaces), they should (perhaps) be invited to become a 'Contributing Member' for the purpose, on a 30(?) day provisional/trial basis.
- For a 'full' restricted group, the ability of group owner to add an additional 'free' space must be considered: possibly the process should be an additional response to 'can I join?' - 'yes, if you become a 'Contributing Member'; or an initial request take it on 'trial' basis (cancellable on rejection). Process may differ, depending on whether additional 'free' spaces are bought by the block (50? 100?), or individually.
- If a group is full, with public archive, etc., then someone with free membership will still be able to read the archive, etc.: just be unable to join, and post, etc, as a member,