A Poll on Fark
February 3, 2002 9:53 AM   Subscribe

A Poll on Fark asks its members whether or not they would pay 5$ a month to belong to thier discussion group. How many of you would pay for MeFi? Do you any of you feel that there would be benefits to having MeFi become a pay for service? I do, and I'm out of work!
posted by xammerboy (29 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
wow. never been on fark before, and i can't even believe how much *better* metafilter looks. matt, you rock. :)

i would pay five bucks a month.
posted by pikachulolita at 10:01 AM on February 3, 2002

"Do you any of you" "thier" - please forgive me! (a little early on Sunday morning for me to make grammatically correct sentences. But the question still holds. I'm sure its something that Matt has thought over. Anyhoo - My reasons:

1. Matt could make some money that would go toward improving MeFi (why shouldn't he?). Anyway, It would be nice to see some sort of business succeed on the net, and this one would, because I would pay in a second.

2. The pay for service might encourage people to be a little more reflective about whether or not they want to belong, and discourage the kind of posts that make for so much policing around here.
posted by xammerboy at 10:04 AM on February 3, 2002

I disagree, xammer. Frankly, judging by the behavior on other pay services (message boards, online games, what have you), charging doesn't really scare away the jerks. And it seems like it would just alienate a lot of your audience. As much as I love MeFi, I can't see paying five bucks for it.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 10:07 AM on February 3, 2002

I can't see charging for access (and metatalk would be a more appropriate place for this discussion).
posted by mathowie at 10:09 AM on February 3, 2002

$5 a month seems a bit steep. I'd be afraid it would scare too many people away, and we'd be left with too few threads. For me, the great thing about mefi is it's craziness, all the hundreds of links are way too much, and that's what makes it great.
Of course that leads to feeling overwhelmed, and like I can't keep up, but that's actually a good thing.
Jakob says It Won't Work, because they violate another fundamental web principle: freedom of movement and discovery. I tend to agree with him on that one, BUT, mefi may be an exception to this.
I know I've already given some $$, the only site I've felt so strongly about I donated.

As for fark, I may donate to the site to keep it going, but never to see all the submissions, why does anyone need to see that much crap?
posted by Blake at 10:15 AM on February 3, 2002

You're right. The question is about MetaFilter, not Fark. Sorry about that.
posted by xammerboy at 10:16 AM on February 3, 2002

I paid 30 bucks to help Salon when they were in need and I felt this was making up for all the fun and fine stuff I had for some time been given free...I would do this too for a few other sites, but not at 5.00 per month. Fark--no way. Metafilter= suggestion. afree if you only read post and feedback. Different fee to Post your own stuff and read; and a third fee rate to feedback but not to post. This will allow for a greter ranc]ge for those who want to help out, want to use, but can not afford if the charge too much.
posted by Postroad at 10:33 AM on February 3, 2002

Anyone who wants to can donate to MetaFilter via Amazon or PayPal, or you could take out a TextAd. So Matt's not charging for access is not preventing you from supporting MetaFilter. (And he's right, this should be on MetaTalk.)
posted by kirkaracha at 10:53 AM on February 3, 2002

I refuse to pay for the privilage of discussion. End of story.
posted by Dark Messiah at 10:56 AM on February 3, 2002

Someone has to pay for the privilage, Dark Messiah. The question isn't whether there are costs involved, but how they should be covered.
posted by barkingmoose at 11:17 AM on February 3, 2002

If Publisher's Clearing House knocks on my front door today after the Super Bowl and presents me with the ten-million-dollar check, I promise to donate enough money to Matt to buy a new server and pay for a year's worth of bandwidth.

Failing that, I'll have to dig all the change out of my couch for gas money for the week.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:25 AM on February 3, 2002

ANY time i've paid on the Internet or filled out forms, they didn't go through. Bought stuff on a few Internet sites- learned my lesson there. Tried to pay for my food bill via Internet- didn't get fed. Tried to apply for the Selective Service over the Internet- BAD idea. I like my federal loans and local scholarships. I s'pose i could always send money in the mail, but ive lost any faith in dishing out money over the Internet.
I love the Internet and use it for lots of stuff, but anything having to do with dishing out money isn't gonna' happen (and for those who're wondering about paying for my Internet connection, i'm on broadband at school).
posted by jmd82 at 11:43 AM on February 3, 2002

For the record, fark isn't talking about charging for access to the site in general, but for access to extra features.
posted by ph00dz at 11:55 AM on February 3, 2002

I am not sure what Fark's extras are but perhaps they ought to charge only for access to those posting that are labelled Not for Work. I would pay for that and they can exclude the rest.
posted by Postroad at 12:15 PM on February 3, 2002

ph00dz is right, if one considers fark's input queue without Drew's snarky commentary a "feature". I suspect that input queue is really ugly. Matt doesn't pick and choose what goes on the front page like Fark does. MeFi + DoublePosts + SelfLinks is not something I'd look at for free, much less pay for.

Note that it's losing 88%-11% at this point. France surrenders.
posted by swell at 12:32 PM on February 3, 2002

If Publisher's Clearing House knocks on my front door today after the Super Bowl and presents me with the ten-million-dollar check, I promise to donate enough money to Matt to buy a new server and pay for a year's worth of bandwidth.

Ditto, and I'll see everyone at the bar. I'm buying.

As far as fees go, I've already been through this as a former participant at Salon's Table Talk.

They changed it to subscription and most people left.

Fark has been running auctions at eBay. So maybe that's an idea.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 1:41 PM on February 3, 2002

$5 per month in American dollars? Hmm, that would be over $120 a year for me once you take into account the conversion rate. I would pay up yeah, but I would consider it a bit steep, and if any other sites that I use start charging similar rates, I couldn't keep using all of them. I could afford to use Metafilter and.....yeah, Metafilter.

Paying for Fark seems stupid, since half their links end up on here anyway ;)
posted by lucien at 1:49 PM on February 3, 2002

The issue with paying for extra service is that it changes expectations. It's comparatively easy to garner users with a free service. But for a second fee-based option, the same users up their expectations (even if the monthly fee costs less than a single matinee movie and provides hours more entertainment). MeFi would, at first, get an infusion of paid users, but new users would be much harder to convince, and meanwhile the paid subscribe base will dwindle over time without a consistent inflow of new subscriptions.
posted by fleener at 2:04 PM on February 3, 2002

If Matt wanted to revamp the site--do it proper from the ground up--I can imagine myself paying pretty much anything I think he'd ask for monthly access.

If he started charging money right now, I would pay out retroactive guilt for all the good times I've had for free (or for the one meager Paypal donation I've made).

But if I was a new user and he wanted to charge me to go on Metafilter, I would probably say "screw you blue" and go to some other site that maybe wasn't quite as good. New users don't wanna pay to access anything. The only people who are willing to pay for, as Dark Messiah calls it, the privilege of discussion, are those of us who are already addicted.
posted by Hildago at 2:04 PM on February 3, 2002

Anyone who wants to can donate to MetaFilter via PayPal, or you could take out a TextAd. So Matt's not charging for access is not preventing you from supporting MetaFilter. (And he's right, this should be on MetaTalk.)

posted this on the MeTa Freepers thread earlier, but..

Free Republic is organized as a non-commercial limited liability company and says it operates on about $240,000 a year in donations.

When I went to the Paypal link, Matt had $3,472 in donations. That's just wrong. I refuse to believe that the *freepers* value their community more than we do.

Personally, I have serious Objectivist leanings (you know, one of those evil people that believe altriusm is just an abstraction of self-interest) and the word "donate" has icky connotations for me. I have no problem, however, paying for a service that adds value to me in some way, and MeFi definitely fits in that category. on some level, I feel *morally obligated* to pay for it. If I couldn't pay (and some people can't) I'd find some other way to add value or help out. At the very least, i'd send Mr. Haughey one hell of a thank-you note.

I agree that the subscription fee would probably scare people off, but it would be nice if there were some way to better encourage people to financially support the site if they're really getting something out of it, and make it a little less of a free-rider problem.

I refuse to pay for the privilage of discussion. End of story.

you're not paying for privilage of discussion. you're paying for privilage of *access to a forum* for discussion, and one that wouldn't exist without Matt's generosity. No one's *entitled* to Metafilter. You *get* to have it.

There's a book called "The Good City, and the Good Life" by Daniel Kemmis, then-mayor of Missoula, Montana. It talks about how to create a cohesive community and build social capital and in one of the chapters, Kemmis talks about the local farmer's market as a key part of the "social glue" that holds the community together. People come to the market to buy things, to barter, and to socialize, but in all cases they're getting their respective needs met. Kemmis points out that although people could get those needs met in other ways (i.e., individual transactions via trips to the grocery store, visits to friends' houses, etc.), it's much more efficient to do it at the market because "buyers" and "sellers" are centralized and needs and offerings are well matched. As a result, people will drive half an hour to get there and pay for admission.

You can get together with friends and have a discussion and not have to pay for it. You would, however, incur tremendous costs to yourself in terms of time and effort. If you pay for MeFi, you're paying for the efficient marketplace. Discussion on demand with thousands of participants. For those of us that think the quality of discussion is much higher here than on other sites, you're also paying a premium for the "well-matched" aspect of your needs and the offerings of the community. I know Matt doesn't want to charge for it, but I don't think it would be unfair or unreasonable if he did.
posted by lizs at 2:14 PM on February 3, 2002

any of yous guys can charge whatever you want for anything on the web.... but there will always be an "underground" of sort with stuff thats much better im certain...

i definately wouldnt pay money to hear the same black and white arguments over and over
posted by Satapher at 2:19 PM on February 3, 2002

I still support the optional subscription model that seemed to be mooted for MetaFilter Pro (basically a set of funky extensions to MeFi). That way new users wouldn't be turned away by the idea of paying for something that they haven't necessarily grown to love yet and those that do pay would feel like they were getting some bang for their buck - always a nice feeling.
posted by MUD at 3:16 PM on February 3, 2002

Ditto what lizs said. And hooray for the reference to Montana, where I am likely moving soon! I would pay for MeFi...it's a value-added thing, and I really enjoy (a) the interesting links and (b) the conversation, even when it gets bogged down in flames and predictability. One of the great things about MeFi is that there is always something new...just hit refresh, and there you go.
posted by davidmsc at 4:17 PM on February 3, 2002

When paying online without a creditcard becomes possible, I'll donate. -no doubt some smartass will suggest paypal, but, hey smartass, paypal requires a creditcard.
posted by giantkicks at 4:33 PM on February 3, 2002

Actually, not necessarily. They can make electronic funds transfers from checking accounts if you set it up that way.
posted by crunchland at 4:40 PM on February 3, 2002

I'll donate. -no doubt some smartass will suggest paypal, but, hey smartass, paypal requires a creditcard.
Post your money to me. I have a credit card.
posted by holloway at 4:47 PM on February 3, 2002

The splash page on SA Forums is the most sensible argument I've heard.

Metafilter is a useful example as, unlike most other sites, it occassionally stops new users from registering. I never hear people complaining about the lack of fresh ideas from this act. Yet when money comes up so do the scenarios of a stale and closed-community.

You don't want to pay for the privledge of conversation? Most people here pay for internet access. Free speech is about freedom, not price. Speaking to this many people isn't cheap for Matt.

I don't mind paying for Metafilter.
posted by holloway at 5:09 PM on February 3, 2002


Fark isn't charging for its page. Its just asking 5 dollars a month to get all the unfiltered stuff that get submitted.

Fark "editors" select the ones you see on the page. Not every link submitted gets posted.

So basically, you pay 5 bucks and you get to see this: Sample page

So you get about 300+links a day, sometimes on the same subject from multiple sources. (for example the Pats winning the Superbowl)

I don't know if I am correct, but doesn't Metafilter post everything submitted?
posted by andryeevna at 3:53 AM on February 4, 2002

The Motley Fool last week started charging 30 bucks a year for its message boards. Someone from the Fool was our lunch speaker today, and their hope is that the community there is now so strong that many will pay to stay a part of it. It doesn't hurt that they gave 1,000 of their most popular posters free membership for a year to ensure some continuity.

One major difference between the Fool and a community like MeFi is that the content is presumably a lot more focussed on the Fool, and toward educating yourself on an issue that will supposedly help you make money because of your participation. So, there is more incentive to pay a little.

posted by IPLawyer at 1:27 PM on February 5, 2002

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