Of free libraries, GQ, and this board

Let me prognosticate:

Now that there is a subscription service certain parts of the board will remain incredibly active: MPSIMS, GD, the Pit. It makes sense to pay for these fora. You will see a dramatic reduction in GQ because a lot of GQs are asked by naive, fly-by-night newbies that don’t realize the question has been asked so many times before — no doubt these guys are going to dwindle in number — and kids — who aren’t about to ask mom or dad for five bucks to post to a message board. I think this is what made GQ great. People asking questions in a fresh, new way. The effect of requiring subscriptions to continue to post in GQ will be gradual but ultimately lethal destruction of this forum.

To be the latest person to propose an alternative solution, I think what would make sense is to charge for all the fora except for the top four (ATMB, COCC, COSR, and GQ). That way anyone on the internet can interact with general knowledge for free: just like a library. If a guest tries to post a thread that doesn’t belong in those fora, mods could close it and direct the guest to subscribe and post it in an appropriate forum. That way you’re likely to hook people on the board. I think that’s a natural progression anyway. A lot of people start out on GQ and migrate in.

Potential problems with this are the bandwidth issue and — since guests can’t search — asking questions that have already been answered. I think the answer to this issue is that since a lot of the board will be restricted to them (they can read but not write) I think you’ll still see improvement in performance without losing the quality that fresh blood brings into this place.

I look forward to hearing what people have to say about my prognostication and my idea.

There will be a lot of that activity: “I don’t want to describe, but I want to know who I should vote for…” Eh, maybe we could get a few more volunteer mods.

Then there will be a lot of Pit threads started in GQ as people complain about it.

We might try this plan anyway, although I would recommend keeping the Pit open to nonsubscribers. Safety valves have their uses.

This has been proposed frequently, both in mod email and in the forums. However, so far The Powers That Be are not interested in it.

Expanding on what Lynn said: the assumption is that if some forums are free and others have cost, we’ll just wind up with people posting in the wrong forums where it’s free.

Note that Guests will be able to post for their guest period. Hence, the “naive, fly-by-night newbie” (as per the OP) with one question doesn’t need to pay $5, but can still post their question. It’s only if they want turn into something more substantial that they’ll need to pay up.

I am sure that I don’t have to point this out to you, but libraries are hardly free. My community supports a library to the tune of $65 per person, regardless of age or whether they ever set foot in the door or not.

Taking on a different tack, why not change Guest privileges to 25 threads, 200 posts and 25 searches per year?

Probably because it’s not a very good luring scheme.

simply limiting guests to a fixed number of posts instead of a fixed time period would be so much better, but i guess the current software does not have this option.

I disagree with the very premise: by my observation only a trifling percentage of the posts in GQ are made by newbies.

Since guests can post, this objection is moot. Even if guests could not post I would prognosticate only the tiniest of changes. And for the better if it is true that newbies are just reasking questions that have been beaten to death.

In the current situation we have the worst of both worlds - guests who can post without being able to search for previous threads. That means posts to GQ will probably increase rather than decrease.

I still think that this is a small event that will be swamped by all the usual suspects. Jinx on a tear can single-handedly outdo all the newbies combined! :slight_smile:

I can see that that is the assumption but what is the cost of trying it out? If it’s a big problem you can always swtich, no?

ALWAYS test your assumptions, especially if you can do so for free.

There’s a huge cost to the mods who have to move the threads. If I was trying to dodge the fee, I would keep posting to the wrong forums that were free.

Without a steady flow of newbies to GQ, how will we ever find the third word to end in -GRY or learn the true origin of “The whole nine yards”?

Please remember that we’re not killing off newbies or one-time posters. They can still register as a “GUEST” and have posting privileges for 30 days. That’s plenty of time to ask their question, get an answer (or get reamed for asking about duck quacks), and retire. Or (we hope) to ask their question, get an answer, and then fidn this place so fascinating that they pay up to stay.