Premium Forum?

Stephane BoucherMay 25, 201514 comments

Chances are that by now, you have had a chance to browse the new design of the *related site that I published several weeks ago.  I have been working for several months on this and I must admit that I am very happy with the results.  This new design will serve as a base for many new exciting developments. I would love to hear your comments/suggestions if you have any, please use the comments system at the bottom of this page.

First on my list would be to build and launch a new forum system. What you currently see in the forums section is an interface to technical usenet groups (comp.dsp. comp.fpga, etc) and some old Yahoo Groups that are either obsolete or will most likely be in the near future.

One idea I have and I'd love to read your thoughts about this, would be to launch a "premium" forum with a yearly fee of let's say $20 per member.

My guess is that you are currently shaking you head in disbelief.  How could charging money to participate to a forum on the internet be a good idea?  Please hear me out.

What would make this premium forum potentially interesting is the full re-distribution of the entry fees to the most appreciated contributors through a simple voting system.  In other words, the goal would not be to use the entry fees as a source of income for the *Related sites, but as a mecanism to reward on a monthly basis the forum participants who would be the most appreciated by the community, through a simple voting system attached to every thread.

So knowledgeable members who would contribute to the forum would most likely easily recover their entry fee over time and the other participants would benefit from a vibrant and high quality forum.

I think the idea has some potential but I am also conscious that the entry fee could discourage many to participate, until the forum has gained some serious momentum.

So my question to you today: would you be willing to pay $20 to participate to a "premium" forum as I just described?  If the response is positive enough, I will seriously consider implementing it.  Otherwise, I will do my homework and come up with alternatives.

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Comment by TomOHaverMay 26, 2015
A fee-based service might discourage certain contributors, such as students, people from foreign countries and developing countries, or people without credit cards or other means to pay in US currency. I made my site ( free for those reasons. On the other hand, I agree that rewarding good contributors has merit.
Google forums have a system in which the best contributors are rewarded with a "top contributor" status by the forum organizers; no money is involved, but the top contributors display a special "badge" and have additional forum rights.
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Comment by cfeltonMay 26, 2015
I agree, this is how stackoverflow ( works as well - many folks seem very motivated by badges (badges not badgers). In my opinion you would need to meet all (most) the technical features of stackexchange but improve (fix) where their community fails (e.g. moderates being able to easily remove content).

Mr. Sachs wrote a little about this ...

Many of the comp.dsp folks use stackexchange because you can include graphics, plots, graphics, equations, etc. whereas plain text can be limited (but there also is beauty in the simplicity of plain text).
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Comment by a.s.May 26, 2015
The new look is beautiful.
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Comment by epalcichMay 27, 2015
lots of interesting reading
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Comment by dsp.learnerMay 26, 2015
The new design is really excellent. One suggestion is that the pdf version of every article should be given. It will be more helpful for off-line reading. Additionally, DSP applets and animations will make this website 'Superb'
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Comment by vkMay 26, 2015
Would not pay.
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Comment by jan_m_hikingMay 28, 2015
I am not interested in "premium" forum; some form of reward for top contributors is worth consideration.
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Comment by xjordanxMay 28, 2015
I would do it.
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Comment by CagriMay 30, 2015
I personally would not pay for contributing to a forum. On the contrary, I would expect to be rewarded for the time, effort and the knowledge I share. That is why most forums pay per article to selected contributors. Such selected contributors are the reason why forums gain momentum. I think a successful model is the one that does not charge the users but attracts paid adverts. With so many forums and free information sources, it's extremely hard to offer sufficiently differentiating content so that the users are willing to pay an annual fee for joining.
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Comment by tsd82June 9, 2015
Hello Stéphane,

First, congratulations for your great job. The website is now excellent.

Now, I don't think that a freemium site would be a good idea. As said by others, less visitors, less answerers, less traffic, etc.

Besides, I think that rewarding answerers would be a kind of childilizing (if this word exists?).

Sinon, votre patronyme me laisse à penser que vous êtes peut-être francophone ? (if the last sentance is chinese for you, please don't take care of the following, it is my mistake ;)"

Dans ce cas, que penseriez-vous d'ajouter une fonction de localisation ? C'est-à-dire en particulier un portail en français, identique au portail anglophone, y compris au niveau des contenus, mais traduits si nécessaire en Français (il existe des logiciels gratuit pour le faire de manière automatique). Et réciproquement la possibilité de poster en Français avec traduction automatique vers l'anglais pour les anglophones ?

Je rêve peut-être un peu, mais ça serait super !

Merci d'avance juste d'y penser,

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Comment by stephanebJune 15, 2015
Thank you for taking the time to comment. The general consensus seems to be that a premium forum is a bad idea, I am glad that I asked. I will go for a regular forum (free) with moderators. We'll see how it evolves. Thanks again.
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Comment by stephanebAugust 27, 2015
This is a test
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Comment by tomwrightSeptember 25, 2015
Good looking site, great content.
I might consider paying but would be very concerned that the value of $20 differs significantly around the world.
It would be nice if my profile could link to my ORCID as well as commercial entities such as linkedin.

Thanks for the efforts,

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Comment by boneOctober 12, 2015
Forum looks great!

I don't know about a premium service. In my case I am too used to the stackexchange way of things. Although I still can't figure out why only some members can do blogs and not everyone, will the premium feature enable everyone to create blogs?

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