Our forum has always been “beerware”, on the old site we did have a vanity badge for people who contributed and a couple of features that were limited to paid members, but we won’t be moving away from the beerware model. So far the model has worked for us, and I’m sure that we aren’t the only discourse site in a similar situation.
We don’t want to put the site (or large parts of it) behind a paywall, but it would be nice if we had a way to prod non paying users to contribute, and offer something more than an ego badge.
So, what could we do to gently stimulate users, other than running a PBS “Bug em till they buy a coffee cup” campaign?
One way would be if we could throttle user activity, or trigger a “Hey there” based on if that user was in the group “Paid Members”.
If “max emails per day per user” were group based that would be a possibility.
Restricting PMs to only Mods and admins would be another.
A “Hey there…” popup every X posts would be another.
As far as I can tell there isn’t really all that much infrastructure in place for sites which are somewhere between completely open, and putting parts of the site behind a paywall.
(A PayPal contribution facility with badge assignment would be magic!)
Cough… That might not go over well with our user base… we had a few long term users leave when we migrated to Discourse because they saw the Facebook login and thought we were trying to drag them into the 21st century. Many who have contributed since the migration did so by snail mailing a cheque.
Can’t you do this already, by adding people who PayPal you to a group?
This could presumably be automated a little more, and might be a good #marketplace task. I suggest only giving the badge for (x) months after each contribution, or you could extend the badge duration based on the amount of the contribution or something.