Great post great topic
You express a number of similar sentiments to those I believe in. That doesn’t make either of us right I also spot a number of what I think are presumptions in what you write leading to assumptions that I think can be valuable examined and that’s why I offer the text below
I wholeheartedly support the idea that lurkers are not a problem - indeed I’ll go further and say I think use of the term lurker is - to use @HAWK 's term / concept almost a form of “microaggression!” Readers is a more ‘civilised’ respectful term to use at all times. While you strike it through at the beginning you use it repeatedly thereafter - possibly thus a subliminal creator of tone or mindset (If not in you as writer possibly in others as readers )
Recognise that when you decide to do something that pushes somebody who is quite content as a reader in the direction that you’ve decided is beneficial (Who too?) then you’re maybe increasing their discomfort which may cause their exit to somewhere less ‘expensive/painful’
Recognise that for some you may have just increased that discomfort a notch. The phrase “holding them back” suggests that they want a behaviour and struggle to achieve it but they may have exactly the behaviour they want and far from being held back they are now being pushed over a precipice. This would be particularly true for long-term readers who would seem to have found a stable cost to value ratio that is satisfying them
Of course there are those who suffer from all the challenges you itemize such as impostor syndrome and knowledge gap, the lack of helping hand so your suggestions maybe all good for that population. Perhaps therefore you’d be better off reaching out to new ish readers EG those on their way to trust level 2, those that have already gone from 0 to 1+?
Discourse is a rich UI platform. many unannounced mechanisms to enable different facilities and many paths, not all equivalent but often ending in similar or the same places. It’s very very easy to get lost unless one invests a great deal of time.
So you’re changing the value proposition for your readers who are asking the question “what is the cost of extracting value?” And you’ve just put the visible cost up but only the speculative value to them; so now you’ve introduced the psychology of uncertainty into the equation with all the economics of regret. Generally when the price goes up volume goes down (and the expectation of the customer rise and then the equation starts to give more emphasis to the quality aspect alongside the volume aspect)
I’m not sure that this observation is valid. Certainly (I posit) extroverts who are likely to be your writers love being praised. If there is a correlation between readers and introversion then being called out for public praise may well be a trigger for discomfort thus raises the price for consuming content / receiving value. It isn’t related to introversion then it might just be ‘laziness’ “I was getting this free of effort now I’ve got to put effort to get it I don’t want anymore at this price”
this is a suggestion that I suggest needs guidance on how to break it down. Perhaps it’s your most valuable observation but too massive and implacable as it stands?
Maybe it should be phrased as what is the value proposition by user type? Then there are challenges with what is the typography of users, what do they see the profit equation as? Profit equals value minus cost.
One last thought I haven’t seen any discussion of in this forum and topic is private user to user communications as a channel that may be offering value whose bedrock is the public posts that’s read in public. These readers maybe a conversationalist in private either on or off your platform