In line with our consultation on the future development of the Forum, and the suggestions made - this is a poll to help assess the likelihood of the Forum receiving subscription payment(s) from forum members to help cover the running and maintenance costs of the Forum.
The forum staff team do not feel charging for read access is a sensible long term strategy given it will have a major impact on the awareness of the usefulness of the forum by potential new members. For the avoidance of confusion, the DD Central fee would be in addition to write access if a fee for write access was charged.
Should this proposition seem viable we are proposing to have a customised 'Subscribe' page on the Forum/site for members to be able to use.
Up to this point the running costs have been minimal, and have been covered by donations (1:1 mapping of donors to bills). Essentially the current costs are domain registration fees for our .com domain and proboards hosting fees for the forum (its not free for custom domains). The next bill for the domain registration is due for payment in November.
Going forwards, the proposal is to create a not for profit company ("limited by guarantee"). This will incur set up costs, and on going costs associated with companies house, and virtual service address / registered office forwarding, bank fees, accountancy fees for example.
As mentioned in the main thread, costs will be incurred for ongoing legal advice concerning the forum rules and forum operation, professional indemity and other insurances, ico registration (GDPR) etc.
The costs will vary year to year, and will be kept as low as possible, but could be expected to be a low four figure sum each year. As with any company, accounts would be filed at companies house.
Without the forum being a legal entity in its own right, it is pretty much impossible to procure appropriate insurance for the forum staff, and to register where necessary for things such as data protection.
An ad-hoc system would be better, perhaps with some kind of benefits bestowed on members who do contribute.
Yes, and others will agree with you that donations are preferable to subscriptions, but equally there are others who made their views known yesterday that they would prefer a subscription model over a donations model.
Disclosure: I'm a shareholder in Assetz Capital Limited
With another free forum in direct competition, I think the outcome might be read this one for information, but only post on the other one. There is already considerable crossover with familiar faces in the other place.