moderated Re: Samuel's Paid User Proposal #suggestion

Sandi D <sandi.asgtechie@...>

On Mon, Jan 11, 2021 at 06:54 PM, Joanie wrote:
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.
I don't see anything in Samuel's proposal that would change your current way of doing things. You are grandfathered in as a legacy Premium Group. That fact would not change unless you decided to download to Basic or upgrade to Enterprise. Or if legacy groups were no longer grandfathered in at some future point. 

What might change under this proposal, is that some of your group members might favor the option to become paid GIO account holders so that they could join future groups with a capped membership. The choice to use an email address to pay for a GIO account should continue to be theirs alone.

The proposal gives people, including your existing members the option of a paid GIO account and that in turn gives them the ability to join other groups including those with capped membershios. Yes, incidentally if they choose this option, they may or may not show up in your member area as having a badge reflecting their paid GIO account status. I don't see how such a badge would translate into a changed membership role. It merely signifies their desire to pay GIO for a service they value and in return GIO may give them a badge (or perhaps some other benefit outside of the existing benefit of being a member in your group.)

This seems confusing to many current owners. They are of the opinion that they will see a badge or other indication in their member list showing one of their members has opted to obtain a paid GIO account. In their option, if they see such a badge, they feel it places a burden on them. That they need to look differently at members who opt to hold paid GIO accounts. Or perhaps treat them differently. I have yet to understand that rationale. Other than some owners are more protective of "their" members then other owners. Almost to the point of treating their members as property.

Some owners are opposed to the concept of optional paid GIO user accounts and have offered a variety of reasons. So far I have read that some owners feel that the paid GIO account holder will demand more service from the group owner, that others in the group will see the paid account holder as having elevated status in the group, that it will violate the terms the owners set it on place at the time their group was created and that it could violate statue and codes because the person does not hold a license and therefore cannot dispense the information if they are paying in some way. Or things along those lines. 

As a licensed health care professional in a variety of states and the federal systems, and as a former state level Executive Director aware of state codes and statues, my informed opinion is an unlicensed professional cannot dispense "information of a professional body that is defined by statue or code" for free or "for value". Doing so places them in violation. So having a paid account holder within their membership is a moot point.

As for the aurgument of an elevated status, if a badge were to be displayed, it would not be visible to other members of the group unless they were Owners (or Mods with that privilege). Members do not see the badges of other members. Some people dwell more over the issue of "stars" and "no stars". That's human behaviour. We will always have those who want to sow divisiveness. There are mechanisms available to control unwanted behavior. 

In regards to the argument that paid GIO account owners will be more demanding that may be true in the sense that some paid account holders will feel they have more of a voice in the GIO community as a whole. But again, do paid groups have more of a voice than basic groups? It all depends on the issue. Perhaps their GIO support inquires will be elevated above the inquires of free, basic account holders. Whether that comes to pass or not is outside this discussion.  

Then there is the issue that a group created under earlier terms may see those terms as being violated if they admit paid GIO account holders. Admitting members after GIO introduces new terms and policies is not something new. As time goes by and GIO policies change, it's quite possible both groups and account holders will have to comply and "being in compliance" may well change the terms the group operates under or the terms the account holder operates under. 

Some group owners seem to forget that individuals may join GIO with more than one email address. GIO does not inform group owners which of their members have more than one GIO account. As a group owner you may never know that one of your members is using a different email address that is attached to a paid account. It's very possible a discrete person may continue to be a member in your existing legacy group and you will never see evidence of his/her paid account. So all the discussions of having to treat paid GIO account holders is in some ways absurd since you are relying soley on an email address to identify them. 

People may decide to create a mixture of GIO accounts, some free and some paid. Some may use their paid GIO accounts in order to seek out capped membership groups. A person not "out" yet may want to use two different accounts to more freely express their different or conflicting personalities/perspectives in various groups. Some use different GIO accounts to keep family groups separate from professional groups and keep of those separate from transitory hobbies and interests.

I want to thank Mark for allowing individual account holders to weigh in on the proposal. Personally, I am one who will opt in on at least 3 of my GIO accounts, should this proposal be implemented. 

Sandi Dickenson

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