moderated Re: Samuel's Paid User Proposal #suggestion


There’s another potential problem with charging members directly (in any proposal, Samuels or otherwise) and that is pet (or even human) health groups where medical issues are discussed. Helen’s post mentioning that if members pay they might expect better service is actually what brought this to mind. I fear that these types of groups could be at legal risk for being accused of practicing medicine (veterinary or otherwise) without a license of members are charged. Voluntary donations requested by a group owner would seem to be in a different category but IANAL.

I think it’s this concern that underlies my strong, dealbreaker objection to charging my members for participation, especially since there are actually vets in my group. I absolutely will nog charge my members in any way, shape, or form, no matter what happens and would have to leave if mg grandfathered status went away. It is completely antithetical and unacceptable to me. 

I am grandfathered but there will surely be these kinds of groups joining in the future.

On Jan 11, 2021, at 3:54 PM, Joanie <joanie.m.nightingale@...> wrote:

We run a non-profit organization which provides socialization opportunities for people with a secret alternative lifestyle. You could think of this as a secret society for those who are not "out" yet to the world. Our members consist of both people who are totally "out", partially "out" and totally in the closet. We raise money through donations and memberships to fund the organization. Most of our members are in the totally "out" or partially "out" category. Some of our members cannot use credit card transactions for fear of being outed. For us, the paid levels of service for the entire group is almost a requirement so that people who need total privacy can join the group with only a secondary email address to protect their real identity. A number of our members start out totally in the closet and then over time progress towards being totally out. Some always stay where they started in the privacy ladder.  I understand that existing groups might be "grandfathered in", which is great, but that also provides a slippery slope for future changes as we loose people who were part of the decision making and made promises to user groups.

I'm not sure how we would manage the free vs. paid members of our group so that we had sufficient free memberships for those that need it. We would need to be able to convert the free users, who progress to lower levels of privacy management, to paid users to maintain a sufficient pool of free user slots. I think we can overcome this from an admin side but we would need some tools to monitor the number of remaining free slots and we would need to send messages to free users so that we can encourage some to be converted to paid members when the pool gets low. Having our totally "out" members pay their existing organization membership fee and then a fee would "double tap" these people for money. I know it's a very little amount but it does create two things to occur. Maybe our organization would have a way to pay the fee for our paid members using the membership money we collect.

Right now, our paid memberships and fundraisers generate enough revenue to cover the costs of the Premium membership level. I know that every group is different and accommodating all these various use cases is difficult. I'm just trying to provide some insight to this particular use case.




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