Questions about \"membership dues\" to pa.com

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In another thread (My Mother's Day gift to myself)~ [url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum1/HTML/003686.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum1/HTML/003686.html[/url] some very good questions were raised about our membership dues here at PA.com. I'm sure there are lots more that I hope members will take the time to add/post.

Here's a start:

1. When we buy products from this site (chocolates, t-shirts, etc) does any portion go to pa.com?

2. What percentage of members pay dues?

3. Are dues required?

4. How is the money used?

[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited May 04, 2003).]

On May 2, 2003

If dues are going to be "required" then this site would have to be password protected to ensure that memberships expire and people who don't pay don't have access. I would expect it to be closed to lurkers as well since the majority of people come here for information and not to post. Why should the people who are sharing info have to pay and not the people who come for advice or the benefits of our experience?

As in any website, the quality of the experience varies. Would you be willing to participate in a discussion board with little moderation like the boards are here if you paid a membership fee? What about the people who leave because of the negative tone of the boards or because of a personal conflict? Will they get a refund?

Most sites that require paid memberships are not successful - unless they are porn sites. Personally, I avoid any site that requires me to pay money in order to visit or participate, although I am willing to make a donation to a site if the experience proves to be worthwhile.

In my opinion it would be more effective to generate funds by soliciting sponsorship or receiving benefits from purchases of the products shown on the site.

take care

deb

On May 2, 2003

great points... great questions. thanks for contributing to the discussion deb.

Quote:

Originally posted by DebO: [b] In my opinion it would be more effective to generate funds by soliciting sponsorship or receiving benefits from purchases of the products shown on the site. [/b]

More questions:

5. What are the pros and cons of sponsorships? Can this site remain "pure" from any influence of it's sponsors? (For example, I don't think any of us would probably want the support of the National Peanut Board and are cautious of FAAN because their relationship. Could this become an issue w/ other sponsors, say drug companies?) Just asking. Just thinking out loud...

6. What benefit does this site receive from sales of the products advertized here? I've purchased books directly from amazon.com without going through pa.com. I regret it, and if I'd known the benefit to this site, I might have remembered....

Gail

[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited May 02, 2003).]

On May 2, 2003

Chris once in a while asks for topics for a newsletter. I never saw a newsletter and I am a member. Is there one?

On May 2, 2003

How about making membership more internationally friendly? Having to pay in U.S. dollars can be discouraging to people looking for a simple, easy and secure way to contribute. Canadians would be paying more for membership plus conversion fees.

On May 2, 2003

wow, river... I never would have thought about that. Do you have any suggestions?

More questions to add to the list:

7. What's the status of the newsletter?

8. Can membership fees be more internationally friendly? (river's post)

On May 2, 2003

I am glad someone mentioned the US-Canadian conversion issue. I am sure there would be more Canadians paying if that wasn't the case. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

On May 2, 2003

Oaky... just thinking out loud again. Don't know if I like this idea or not, but:

Do you see just next here to the left that there is some information about me? It says my user name (Gail W) and "member" under it, then "Posts: 600" (I suppose that means I've posted 600 times) and then "Registered: Dec 2001".

What would you think about adding something about whether or not a member has paid? Maybe where it says "member"? It could state something like, "Current", "Expired" or even "Charter Member" ?

Again, just thinking out loud. Please don't bash me if it's a bad idea. Remember, I'm just trying to brainstorm ways to increase awareness of membership fee/dues to support this site...

Gail

On May 2, 2003

Gail, this is a problem we have found with our pto, if someone really has a need for help but cannot afford to pay, do you want to announce it and embarass them? My other thought is if this person posted a question would it be answered differently or not answered at all because someone was mad that they paid and this person didnt?

It is a touchy issue, and in one way I kind of think that either all pay or none pay, but if its all pay, you hate to exclude someone who really needs help. The economy and unemployment problems right now are an issue.

I do think if its not a mandatory pay site that people shouldnt be distinguished by whether they pay or not.

On May 2, 2003

Touchy is right! We talk about birth control, our husband's vasectomy's, our cars, cleaning habits, potty training, etc, etc. But this seems to be a topic that not too many want to discuss...

Thanks for engaging in this discussion w/ me, momma2boys. I really appreciate it. I agree w/ you. There will always be exceptions, and I think that they would be worked out (w/ Chris).

It's my hunch that the reason the vast majority of people here don't pay [i]isn't because [/i]of job loss or other financial issue (tho certainly that is the situation for some). My guess is that most of us here can afford to pay, but don't because it isn't brought up and don't really think about it.

But that's just my hunch...

[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited May 03, 2003).]

On May 3, 2003

Gail W., wow, you picked an *issue* with this one, didn't you? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

I really think that PA.com must have an okay amount of money flowing in or the website wouldn't be here. Chris is also able to e-mail every person that has ever registered on this website should a financial crisis occur (or just for fundraising purposes - like on PBS TV) and request money. I have never seen that done. I do see how you can click on now and become a member instantly and pay instantly and I think that's great. It makes things easier for people that do have the money.

The other thing that I'll bring up, even though people don't like to hear it (and I'm actually one of them because PA.com is the *best* place I've ever found re PA) is that PA.com is that - a .com - a company. It is not an organization like FAAN (and we see how questionable organizations can use monies they receive). It is a company. So, in paying membership fees to a company, I believe members may (or may not) want some accounting of how their membership fees are spent.

If you cannot afford a membership with PA.com, Chris is extremely understanding and also extremely approachable about this, unlike say FAAN. You e-mail him, explain your situation, hope that your situation will change and that you'll be able to pay your years of back-dues and you're still a member. Chris is understanding and compassionate.

I am not a paid member due to financial reasons. In my memory (which is like an elephant's), I know that I owe Chris three years worth of membership fees should I come into some cash.

I've just posted that here, in this thread, but I certainly would be horrified if it said under my name and my number of posts that I was an un-paid member.

I like to think that I support the site in other ways other than cash and I'm sure there are a lot of other people that feel the same way.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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On May 3, 2003

Sorry, rather than edit.....

But also, if I did have the money, PA.com is at the top of my list of where my money would go right now. Definitely.

We can ALL say that we contribute something to this site rather than finances, but, of course, finances are what is needed to keep the site operating ultimately.

I would pay for my membership if I could afford it. PA.com would be at the top of my list. This comes from a woman who used to have several different charitable donations a year (different places). I'm just not in that space right now.

I'd like to thank Chris for understanding that (the reason I said he was approachable, compassionate and understanding is because I e-mailed him three years ago when I found this site, explained my situation, and well, here I am [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] ).

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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On May 3, 2003

My personal feelings is it should continue to run as a site where people can find help and where others can stumble in(as non-members) and read, lurk and post for the purpose of [b]getting the right information out there[/b]. I do not think it should be disclosed for all to see whether or not people have paid.

If a paid dues were required we would certainly not get visits from the non-PA community. They do drop in and sometimes play a valuable role in the education of the general population.

It seems to me it is a voluntary thing at the moment. I have never been limited in my posting, I have never been approached personally for $$, and initiated my contact with Chris regarding $$.

I just think perhaps a more aggressive drive/approach to sliciting the dues would help bring more in. As Gail has said, and I said, we never realized it was required(and really isn't, since we were here for along time before paying and I still have yet to actually send my membership, but have pledged it).

What made me really think about it and then I felt pretty bad, is that Chris is doing this for a passionate cause. He has made alot of sacrifices to do it. Simply stated and not more than that, but I have read here or in some press release, how he relocated to make it his full-time career. I suspect it is not very lucrative.

It is totally personal, but I can certainly find a place to dip for some $$ for PA.com(after the tax check comes in, LOL). I also think if one cannot pay the $25 or $125, that $5 or $7 or $10 would not be returned! This is in no way directed personally to anyone. Just some ideas and thoughts I have. becca

[This message has been edited by becca (edited May 03, 2003).]

On May 3, 2003

Thank you, thank you for posting your thoughts. I was brainstorming... and I guess what I really hoped for was an open, honest, respectful discussion about this topic. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] I'm grateful that this is happening...

I completely agree that there are oher ways that members can contribute (other than financially). You both (becca and Cindy) are poster members for that point!

Some more interesting points were raised, and I hope Chris will pop in to answer these and the other questions raised.

Cindy, in a different thread you asked a great question... something like, "Who is our advocate?" Tho FAAN has done a great job in so many ways, they seem to fall short in the advocating department for some. They avoid controversay, come out opposing bnas, etc. It's not intended as a slam to FAAN because we need them too. But if they are not my advocacy group, then who is? So I keep asking myself... "Who is our advocate?"

This site is so vaulable in the day-to-day crisis management we're all are dealing w/. I think that's advocay. Especially for newcomers, and those dealing with schools trying to keep our kids safe.

I just keep thinking about "Who is our advocate?" Who is out there trying to change things for the better for us? So that maybe not so many newcomers need the crisis management...

For example, I love the idea of having a library of 504/IHPs. I really think that could make life easier for so many. It would have made a difference for me to go to my school with a folder of say a dozen plans that were on school letterhead w/ contact information that were actually functioning. My school would have been recptive to that, and used the plans as models.

But how do we make this "library" happen? How can it get bumped up as a priority? out from the (much needed) day-to-day crisis support?

If Chris said, okay, to do this I need to dedicate X number of staff hours at $ X wage. To do this it would cost about $X, do you think some members would contribute to make it happen? I think so... I know that I would.

Maybe I'm babbling.... I guess I'm just thinking about how this site could be more and how to make that happen.

Am I off the mark here? I really hope people will share their thoughts about this...

Gail

On May 3, 2003

Gail, I hear what you're saying and I also, of course, see another question. Who is our advocate? I know a lot of people (not myself because I used my *real* name here, new to the internet and all) refer their children's schools to this website for information. Or family members. Or friends.

I do know that if you have the time and are able to volunteer, Chris does welcome volunteer work from members. I've done it in the past and know of two other members who have. It may simply be something like researching a particular topic that Chris himself doesn't have the time for at that particular moment and he'll simply say, hey, could you help me out with this and post it on the board?

I also agree with becca. I'm sure that no matter how small a sum was submitted (lower than the $25.00 membership fee), it would be accepted to keep PA.com (which is a really *good* thought, becca).

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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On May 3, 2003

I also agree with the suggestion of accepting Canadian funds. Here in Canada, it is not easy to get a cheque in US funds. The only way I have been able to do it in the past is to go to the bank (which is quite hard to do sicne they are only open during work hours and close at 5pm), and then I have to buya US$ money order. It would simplify things in order to be able to send Can$ and with the number of Canadians posting on here that would be a good idea I believe.

Another point is that many people on here do not even realize you can pay a membership... I have never received any emails about it, and I never even knew there was a membership until I'd been here over a year.

One idea would be that an email be sent to everyone who registers at the site informing them about the membership so that people will know about it so that they will have the option of contributing [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

On May 3, 2003

more questions to add to the list:

9. What does the "dot com" mean?

10. If someone doesn't have the money to become a member, can they volunteer time in lieu of a financial donation?

11. Are our donations tax deductible?

12. Is PA.com open to members donating for a specific goal (e.g. creating a 504 library)? Or is that like "buying influence"?

And I guess the big one for me is:

13. Why IS there a $25 yearly membership at all? (i.e. Is it necessary? since so many don't pay it anyway....)

On May 3, 2003

I know the answer to #11. You reminded me of the nature of my contacting Chris about the issue at all. It was to inquire as to the differencec between a "Membership" and "Charter Membership", and to find out if it were tax deductible.

It is not tax deductible at this time. I believe there is legal issues in defining and being able to accept tax deductible funds. becca

On May 3, 2003

Gail W., definitely no, membership fees are NOT tax deductible because you're not paying them to a charitable organization (a .org , which I believe FAAN still is). I'm also not a member of AAIA or Anaphylaxis Canada here in Canada so I'm not clear what their status is as far as being tax deductible or not.

The reason again would be the PA.com is a company, a company that is allowed to make a profit (whether or not it does is highly debatable) and the profit would go to the person who owns the company.

Also, for this reason, if you're doing volunteer work for anyone where you need to get credited volunteer work (say mandatory volunteer credits now required in Ontario high schools), any volunteer work you did for PA.com would not be considered *true* volunteer work because it is for a company rather than an organization or some place people in power (i.e., government) feels needs volunteers.

In Ontario, our welfare system is called Ontario Works and you are required to either work or volunteer to receive your monthly cheque from Ontario Works. Volunteer work on behalf of PA.com is not considered volunteer work, again, because it's a company and it's an internet company. What is considered volunteer work is volunteering at the school, nursing homes, etc., places where the government feels they need people power and can't be paid for it.

I would have to check, but I'm fairly sure that membership dues for AAIA and Anaphylaxis Canada *might* be considered tax deductible under charitable donations. I believe the same would be true for FAAN.

There was some discussion of PA.com being a company a couple of years ago on the board and I had another member contact me and just ask me to please be quiet, PA.com is ALL we have as far as information, support, etc. That is very very true as I seem to prove to myself each and every day. And certainly PA.com is not the only company out there dealing with peanut allergies or food allergies *possibly* for profit.

Is MedicAlert a .org or is it now a .com as well?

Again, I hear what you're saying, but I also know that at this point in time I can't afford to pay a membership fee. I can't afford to give any more of my time to this website (since I feel as though I spend my life here anyway) volunteering. What I can do is keep that mental note in my head that, as I posted above, I owe Chris three years worth of membership fees when I do have the money and he would be the first one to get it.

erik, you also made a good point. As soon as one registers with PA.com, an automatically generated e-mail could be sent out saying that you have registered and that the membership fee is $25.00 annually.

I do think we see it every so often where Chris will post something on the board so it becomes clear that money is needed and in any e-mail correspondence I have ever had from him there is always the information about becoming a member and where to send money to. I believe he tries and I also believe he tries harder when he feels the need to.

I am not saying people should not pay membership dues here. I'm saying pay them if you can afford them and feel comfortable doing so. But I would have to say that for those of us that can't pay, how much crappier could life get if we couldn't even come to PA.com when we're having difficulties just because we're in financial difficulties as well?

There are a LOT of people posting on this board who aren't going to admit it, but they certainly don't have the money for membership and yet they do need this website for the wealth of what it has to offer. It would be a sad day when those of us who couldn't afford membership dues all of a sudden couldn't visit PA.com

Gail, I see you're doing a lot of thinking in your head about this and I guess, because I'm feeling defensive since I'm one of the people that can't afford to pay (and also because I'm Curious Cindy), why are you wondering so much about the membership fees and if they're being paid?

Deb O., I also really liked what you had to say.

There have been very few other websites that I have visited where you had to pay to use the website. The one that I distinctly remember is a dictionary website. Jesse had said a word that I didn't feel comfortable with - stupid. I couldn't find my *real* dictionary and I went on-line to look up the word with him so he would know what it meant and why it wasn't okay for him to use it. Well, lo and behold, you had to pay to use the website, so we had to search out another dictionary website where you didn't have to pay. Then, there was the Disney website, but I think that was only if you wanted to become part of the club and be able to participate in certain on-line activities. But certainly discussion forums, I have never seen a membership fee (of course, I've been to very few of them as well) for being able to use them to discuss whatever it is you're discussing.

erik, I also think Chris would probably take just the good old $25.00 Canadian if you forced it on him. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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On May 3, 2003

Gail W., just a thought. Sure, we've all weighed in as members with our thoughts/answers to your questions. How about e-mailing Chris with them and see what his response is. Some of your questions, in particular, only Chris would be able to answer (or some of the other questions that have since been raised - i.e., where is the newsletter?), where do the funds go, etc. I'm sure that he would be able to give you the comprehensive answers that you need rather than all of us just surmising and commenting. Just a thought.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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On May 3, 2003

Hi everyone,

Lots of questions and good ones! I will try to answer them in the next few weeks. It is very busy and we are about a week behind in what needs to be done here in the office. On top of this, some of the people that were working had to cut their hours recently, we are working to find new people to work. If you would like to be considered please let me know.

A "company" verses non-profit status is something we hope to raise the money to be able to address in the next twelve months (hopefully sooner). There is lot that needs to be done, working on the wording for the charter so we can work on what needs to be addressed etc. We have a plan and have been doing pretty well with it. We would like to set up an action non-profit, with the possibility of an action and an educational non-profit. I will be talking with lawyers again in the next few weeks. Of course every meeting I have creates more work that needs to be done. We have not found lawyers in our community who are able to do the non-profit set up for us, it is complicated and some have been working to find their friends that do this type of work. Either way, we will need money to get this done, so please help.

We are working on the newsletter and hope to have it out in the next few months, and then quarterly. Some of the articles are in, some are having some final touches done etc. and there is lots of other work that needs to be done before we give it to the printer.

If you have not signed up already to receive the newsletter, be sure to fill out a contact form (or let us know that you want to sign up to receive it). You can click on the Register and Join link near the top of the page for options.

------------------ Stay Safe,

[email]Chris@PeanutAllergy.Com[/email]

On May 4, 2003

Quote:

Originally posted by Cindy Spowart Cook: [b]I do think we see it every so often where Chris will post something on the board so it becomes clear that money is needed and in any e-mail correspondence I have ever had from him there is always the information about becoming a member and where to send money to. I believe he tries and I also believe he tries harder when he feels the need to. [B]

[i] My response: I have never seen this... maybe I missed it? Since I haven't been approached by anyone (e.g. e-mail, posts, etc) to pay a membership, I would like to know (from Chris, of course) if this is true or not. [/i]

[B] "Gail, I see you're doing a lot of thinking in your head about this and I guess, because I'm feeling defensive since I'm one of the people that can't afford to pay (and also because I'm Curious Cindy), why are you wondering so much about the membership fees and if they're being paid?" [/b]

I don't know if I am able to state my motivation any clearer than I have here or in the other thread. But I'll try...

First, again, I feel that you (Cindy) are in the minority. Please don't feel defensive... you give to this board so much in non-financial ways. And you have personally addressed your situation w/ Chris. That's as responsible as one can get... But I think you are the exception because I believe most members [i]can [/i]afford $25. To me, it would mean giving up fast food (or something comparable that is unnecessary) a couple times in the year. I would like to bring the value of this site into that sort of perspective for what I believe is the majority of members who can afford to pay $25 but, for whatever reason (mostly lack of awareness, I'd guess), don't.

Also, it is absolutely my intention that it is Chris (not members) who would be answering these questions. (FYI, I've had a couple conversations w/ him recently and we've talked some about dues and how very few members actually pay.) My intention in bringing up these questions is to increase awareness about financial support on the site. My motivation is to support Chris and his nobel efforts. By asking these questions, I hope it gives Chris the opportunity to address them and, by doing so, would definitely motivate members to donate to this extremely worthy cause.

Next, I guess I want to return to my question about "Who is our advocacy group"? In my mind to answer that, I need to know "What is PA.com"? Is it soley a discussion board? If it is, I think that is fabulous. I love it here and gain/give support. It is extremely valuable to me as a discussion board.

Or is PA.com [i]more [/i]than a discussion board? Are there other efforts that Chris is trying to achieve? Are they also a part of this site? Can members also be a part and support those efforts too? Could, possibly, PA.com be the "advocacy group" that I am looking for?

I know that Chris will return to this thread and answer these questions about what the mission of PA.com...

I knew upfront that bringing up the issue of paying membership would be a controversial and perhaps unpopular. I think that at this point it would be best for me to leave it for Chris to address. Perhaps I am becoming defensive, too, as it feels that my motivation is being questioned... I fear that I might be becoming labeled as a "troublesome" member, and I'd like to stop rather than for my motivation to be misinterpreted ...

I'll look in here later for Chris's return. Thanks for listening and thanks to everyone for respectfully engaged in this discussion with me.

Gail

[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited May 04, 2003).]

On May 4, 2003

Gail,

I don't think you're being troublesome or controversial at all. And I'm one of the people who is not a member, but I'm glad to see the issue raised.

I haven't joined as a member because PA.com is a company and I don't donate money to companies. If it were a non-profit, it would have to release a financial statement revealing how the money is used, how much of the budget goes to salaries and administration, etc. It would also have a mission statement and we could all see exactly what the group's aims and purpose are.

I'm a member of FAAN, which I consider to be a highly professional, well-organized group, THE premier nonprofit advocating for people with food allergies. They are the reason PA is even in the news these days. I know there are criticisms of FAAN and I feel dissatisfied with a few of their positions, but overall I believe they are the cat's meow. I would not like to see any other group develop which has an adversarial position with FAAN.

If PA.com becomes a nonprofit and develops a cooperative relationship with FAAN I think that would be GREAT. I think it would be possible for the two groups to cooperate even if there are some differences in policy. Becoming a nonprofit is not all that complicated. My local mother's group got one of our members to file the paperwork and it was no big deal. You really can't raise funds without nonprofit status--nobody will donate (as PA.com seems to be discovering).

But FAAN doesn't have a message board, so that's why I'm here.I know the people who run this board are busy, but I've never seen a report of their activities or accomplishments, so it's hard for me to know whether those are activities I'm interested in supporting. With FAAN, I know exactly what they're doing and what they've accomplished.

The message board had been valuable to me. As far as I'm concerned, that's all that's needed. FAAN is handling everything else. If PA.com were just a message board, it wouldn't cost $25/year. It would be a lot cheaper. I just have a feeling that the other activities might be duplicating FAAN's efforts and I can't see the need for both. If there were more information available, it would be helpful.

On May 4, 2003

Something has apparently hit the fan on the boards to-day and I wanted to check it out before I go to make dinner, but I did want to check in on your thread as well Gail because I saw there was a response after Chris' (actually two).

I'm sorry that I questioned your motivation. You know me fairly well, I believe, from the board, and I could see that you were trying to sort the whole thing of PA.com out and I was simply wondering why. I didn't think it was anything negative or anything that you should feel defensive about. I was just simply curious (truly) about why you were interested.

And damn, I got a really good explanation of your motivation. I'm sorry if it was coloured by defensiveness that you felt I had provoked and I certainly didn't mean to. Again, you know me, I'm forever asking questions and I was just wondering why you were interested in how PA.com was run and what it did and where the membership money went, etc. And, of course, it's a damn good question (pardon my language). I just had a question for you in return, that was all, and I'm sorry if I made you feel it was any more than that or that you shouldn't have asked the question (remember I never believe any question is too stupid or simple to ask).

I think you provoked important discussion here and I also thought it was wonderful last night when I did a round of the board and saw that Chris had responded.

Please accept my apologies. I didn't mean to make you feel defensive, especially since I admitted I was feeling that way as a non-paid member. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

I also like what seemed to be your general motivation was to raise awareness about paying membership dues which people seem, in some cases, not to have been aware of.

I just remember when I found PA.com. I registered and did see somewhere about the $25.00 annual membership fee. I automatically e-mailed Chris and thankfully, he understood my situation.

Again, I'm sorry. It was an excellent, valid question and it raised great discussion. I don't want you to feel badly about it at all, especially because of me. Now, I have to go and find that thread where something is going on.....

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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On May 6, 2003

Sandra Y, you are a brave soul. The "company" aspect of pa.com has irked me, too. Like you, I am a contributing member of FAAN and (for the most part) thoroughly respect the work they do. For me it is also the message board component of pa.com that I want to support. How costly is it to run a message board? I truly have no idea. How difficult is it to achieve non-profit status? You and Chris have given totally different perspectives on it. It leaves me confused. Why will it take weeks for Chris to answer the questions that Gail has enumerated? Important topic, yes. I will be looking forward to some answers. -Miriam

On May 6, 2003

Thank you Sandra and Miriam.

On May 6, 2003

Gail W., really need to know if you accepted my apology (I had something disturbing happen at my home last night and I'm not in the greatest of moods) so just really need to know if you accept my apology (yes, I'm feeling needy and posting so!).

Although I don't pay membership and have said why and have said that I would should I have the money, I also agree with both Sandra Y. and California Mom. Basically, for me, if I had the money for membership fees, I would be questioning the .com part of PA.com regardless of how useful the website is to me.

As I posted much earlier in this thread, I had raised a question a couple of years ago about the .com status of PA.com and I was basically told to keep my mouth shut by another member (or two) who feared that if I opened up any can of worms (if there is one), we would lose PA.com altogether. But no, I have never felt comfortable with the .com status.

Looks like Chris is working on that from his post in this thread.

Gail W., I just hope you're not upset with me. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

------------------

On May 6, 2003

Cindy, I'm just working a few things out in my head. Your approach sometimes irritates me, but that's [b]my [/b]problem. Mine. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Yes, I saw your post. And yes, I accept your apology. I just needed a little space. Thanks for checking in again.

Gail

On May 6, 2003

What an intriguing thread, thanks Gail. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Just FYI for any Canadians out there, $25 US works out to approximately $37 CAN. I just got my VISA bill today with the conversion on it.

My opinion on this subject differs from SandraY's (awesome post, btw, Sandra) and here is why.

I am a member of Anaphylaxis Canada and pay them about $35 a year for the privilege - they're terrific as far as advocating for Canadians with food allergies and it's money well-spent.

I am also a member of PA.Com (though not currently contributing by posting, I've paid my member dues) and made my donation because FAAN, Anaphylaxis Canada and other groups do not have this type of bulletin board for us to hash out comfort zones and get quick answers to EpiPen and product queries. If a BB existed at these other groups, would I jump ship? Perhaps. For one thing, the moderator would actually moderate! You can bet that racial slurs and personal attacks against members would not remain in perpetutity for all to read, forever and ever, amen. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] They would be deleted, as they are at other well-managed sites.

I pay to post here because there is nowhere else to do it that moves as quickly (as far as getting quick answers). But I'm currently taking a very restoring break from the disharmony here. Will I return? Maybe now and again, but not on a regular basis until [email]Chris@PA.Com[/email] uses the money I'm giving him to regain control over these boards. A moderator, contrary to the way some think, is not a censor. He is a facilitator for meaningful discussion, who guides topics back on track and who warns about and then deletes obscene and attacking messages to preserve the integrity of the membership.

Moderators get paid, so initially, I didn't have a problem paying Chris to use his site, because I figured he would join us and guide us, as he did at the beginning. For example:

[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum13/HTML/000004.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum13/HTML/000004.html[/url]

You will notice me shilling for Chris near the end of the above thread about better labelling.

So, while disgruntled, I paid to pay for a moderator's duties, and not getting that, I left. Other sites pay their moderators through pop-up ads and other advertising. Chris is the only moderator here, so he doesn't need to hire a new one, he just needs to set aside time to seriously look into posts that members have notified him about. I don't consider the money to PA.Com a "donation" - I consider it payment for service rendered. Quite a good service for quite a while, I might add. But his involvement has (seemingly...) petered out.

Or has it??

What is he doing behind the scenes? What are we financing? Did you all know that Chris bought the [url="http://www.peanutallergy.org"]www.peanutallergy.org[/url] domain as well as the .com domain, perhaps for future use? Why doesn't Chris keep us up-to-date on what he's doing behind the scenes, sort of tossing us a bone once in a while to keep us satisfied, you know?

Anyway, those are my thoughts. I don't have a problem with my money going toward services rendered... but I want my services rendered a little more clearly, please.

Carolyn and family

On May 6, 2003

Hi Carolyn,

Thanks for your posting. I know that you have stopped posting here on a regular basis these days, but it is good that you are still making an occasional visit to see what's happening, as even an occasional post from you provides so much to this site. Now, I hope Nick sees that you are still making a sporadic visits so that he may do the same as well [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

On May 6, 2003

Carolyn,

Thank you. I'd hope that by backing off others might come forward to express concerns, if they had them.

I see this questioning as a positive growth step. Perhaps pa.com is experiencing a growing pain?

(BTW, I've missed your posts. When I take a reprieve, I think of you...)

On May 6, 2003

Gail W., off topic, so I apologize immediately. I was wondering what my *approach* is that bothers you. I understand that you said that it is your problem, but I'd just like to know what my approach is exactly and what it is about it that bothers you. Is it the never-ending questions or something else?

Many thanks and best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

------------------

On May 6, 2003

Cindy,

Quote:

Originally posted by Gail W:

[b]I just needed a little space.

Gail[/b]

I'll keep your invitation for a discussion about this in mind. Thanks.

[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited May 06, 2003).]

On May 7, 2003

I'm not one to post regularly, but I've been a member here for many years. I checked the boards regularly and find them very useful.

That being said, I'd like to share my reasons for NOT sending money in to PA.com like I do to FAAN.

First of all, when I joined, there was no mention of a fee. Then one day (sorry, I don't have links just my memory) I remember seeing Chris posting that he and his wife quit their jobs to devote their time to PA issues and were asking for members to send money to support them in their efforts.

Now, I'm not criticizing Chris for doing this. It is his decision and these boards were a great idea. However, I can not see sending money to an individual without any legal non-profit standing. I also have no way of knowing what the Papkee's are doing with whatever money they receive through donations to PA.com. I'm not saying that they aren't using it for good, I'm just saying I've never seen any accounting for it. If they had a non-profit status it would be easier for all of us to feel comfortable sending in donations.

Although I feel these boards are very valuable, I have no idea how much they cost to run. I'm a software developer and have my own web site which costs somewhere around $30 a month, although I have no discussion boards on it. I would think with the volume on these boards the storage costs could be more than a typical static website.

Again, I am not criticizing the creators of this site. It was a fantastic idea that obviously helps thousands of us communicate. However, I don't even understand how a company can legally solicit "donations". Chris, if you could please let us know how this all works!

On May 7, 2003

Hmmm. I never really gave this whole .com thing much thought. I have also asked some specific questions and never gotten answers. I know Chris is working on an ice cream venture, and I asked in a thread twice(and he posted later about his needs again) where it would be located and was never answered.

I think I might hold onto my money(or some of it at least) until I see some of Chris's responses to all of these questions raised in this thread.

I too, see all the good stuff here on the boards, but in my 2+ years here, Chris has not been very visible.

What are the dues/mebership fees paying for?

Sorry Gail! You might regret this thread for possibly *changing* my mind! becca

On May 7, 2003

I've been following this thread closely. May I chime in here?

I recently sent in my $25US (which as Cayley's Mom said is roughly $40 out of my Canadian pocket). I too felt I was paying to use the message boards... something no other similar allergy group has.

That said though, other than the boards, I have never seen evidence of how my financial participation in this site has improved the cause of peanut allergy education/advocacy. I'm very uncomfortable with this and believe I too will no longer pay "member" fees to this site. I particularly agree with DebO and Carolyn that paying to be on an unmoderated site is not worth it in many circumstances.

I'm very happy and comfortable being a paid member of Anaphylaxis Canada (a registered charity), though they do not have discussion boards, I AM INFORMED of how my money is being spent on allergy issues.

I must say many here have made some very thought-provoking points.

Chris?

On May 7, 2003

I look at it differently.

I like this web-site and am willing to pay $37.00 a year to use it. The alerts and recalls Chris keeps up to date with a little help from whoever gets there first [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] I could go on and on and I don't have a lot of money to throw around either, but I feel this is an appreciation gift I give every year. I don't care how Chris and his family use it but I'm getting a feeling that a lot of people here don't pay so they probably use it to maintain the boards.

Your welcome.

On May 7, 2003

Quote:

Originally posted by becca: [b]What are the dues/mebership fees paying for?

Sorry Gail! You might regret this thread for possibly *changing* my mind! becca [/b]

No apology EVER necessary. It all depends on Chris' answers for me, too. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

On May 8, 2003

Quote:

Originally posted by erik: [b] Now, I hope Nick sees that you are still making a sporadic visits so that he may do the same as well [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img][/b]

erik,

Check out the "I've decided to come back and post, so there!" thread. Nick is back!!!

On May 8, 2003

I haven't had a chance to post my response here yet, but better late than never.

These boards, particularly the Manufacturer's Forum have definitely been instrumental in tightening up my "zone". The result was that for the first time since being diagnosed, I was able to report to Kevin's allergist that he has not had even one reaction in this past year - not smell, touch, cross-contamination - nada (knock wood, salt over my shoulder, poo-poo-poo). For that reason, I will continue to support PA.com because there simply is nothing else like it.

That said, of course I would prefer a switch to non-profit status, with an accounting of how contributions are spent.

Great thread - I'll be watching for new developments.

Amy

On May 8, 2003

Check the "Members" board to read responses from Chris for the first 4 questions.

Thank you Chris.

Gail

On May 10, 2003

I'm actually hoping that Chris finds other means to fund the majority of PA.com. If he is mostly dependant on donations, it puts him in a very vulnerable spot. If for any reason the donations that come in start to dry up, or if a large group of supporting members begin to make demands regarding content, format, etc. it could mean the end of PA.com as a real voice for the peanut allergic and those who care about them.

On May 10, 2003

That certainly is a danger (members wanting certain requests met in return for donations). Would company involvement also influence pa.com ia a similar way (e.g. that certain books be promoted on the topic of allergies, for example, even if the book is considered not very... (searching for the word..) accurate? Just thinking our loud... I'm not in any way suggesting that this is occuring.

How can pa.com obtain funds without becoming influenced?

On May 10, 2003

Quote:

Originally posted by Gail W: [b] For example, I love the idea of having a library of 504/IHPs. I really think that could make life easier for so many. It would have made a difference for me to go to my school with a folder of say a dozen plans that were on school letterhead w/ contact information that were actually functioning. My school would have been recptive to that, and used the plans as models.

But how do we make this "library" happen? How can it get bumped up as a priority? out from the (much needed) day-to-day crisis support?

If Chris said, okay, to do this I need to dedicate X number of staff hours at $ X wage. To do this it would cost about $X, do you think some members would contribute to make it happen? I think so... I know that I would.

Maybe I'm babbling.... I guess I'm just thinking about how this site could be more and how to make that happen.

Gail[/b]

Is a member donating funds earmarked for a particular project appropriate? Is earmarking a donation giving money with a string attached? Is that okay? Or should Chris accept money and decide how to best appropriate the funds?

Gail

On May 10, 2003

I still have trouble referring to this membership money as a "donation". It's more like membership "dues".

And in that case, are members of unions who pay dues encouraged or even allowed to earmark where their dues go? No sir, they're not. I can't see Chris bending to influence, especially when he's still a dot commer.

Carolyn

On May 10, 2003

Quote:

Originally posted by Cayley's Mom: [b]I can't see Chris bending to influence...

Carolyn[/b]

Me neither. I think Chris is probably very careful about this.

But don't you think people are often more motivated to "donate" when their money supports a project they paricularly believe in? It seems "fund raising drives" oten have a specific goal. Recently our school raised funds to buy the teachers a regrigerator, for example.

I guess it would depends on if membership is "dues" or "donations"...?

On May 10, 2003

Hey, Cayley's mom, you takin' mommabear's shift this weekend?

Anyway, back to the subject at hand:

I'm not about to defend myself to the same few people over and over again, (it gets boring), but I will try and make this clear for others who are reading this thread.

I'm not talking about individual donations, but large groups of donations. Donations that come from a group of people who have a common goal and agenda.

I'm certain that Chris is a man of integrity who would never "bend" for money. If he wasn't, he'd already be selling NPB hats and t-shirts. Chris have never shown himself to be anything other than TOP NOTCH.

What I suggest is that if he puts all his eggs in the donation or membership or call-it-what-you-will basket, he could have the rug pulled out from under him pretty fast. PA.com could easily be forced into bankruptcy. Chris should be careful that he's not setting himself up to be clobbered in this way.

That's all I'm saying on this subject.

On May 10, 2003

Quote:

Originally posted by river: [b] I'm not talking about individual donations, but large groups of donations. Donations that come from a group of people who have a common goal and agenda. [/b]

river, I think I agree w/ you. I guess I just don't understand who this group (above) is or might be... sorry.

On May 10, 2003

Quote:

Originally posted by river: [b]Hey, Cayley's mom, you takin' mommabear's shift this weekend?

[/b]

... and Cayley's Mom briefly wonders what that is supposed to mean, then decides it really doesn't matter anyway...

On May 10, 2003

Quote:

Originally posted by Cayley's Mom: [b] ... and Cayley's Mom briefly wonders what that is supposed to mean, then decides it really doesn't matter anyway...[/b]

I guess it would depend, in part, on whether or not you think "Literally". As to serve as an appropriate substitute you might need the attributes this characteristic bestows upon its owner, as river has so freely expressed prior to this moment in time. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img]

On May 10, 2003

Quote:

Originally posted by river: [b]Hey, Cayley's mom, you takin' mommabear's shift this weekend?

Anyway, back to the subject at hand:

[/b]

As long as we're "veering" here. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img]

anywhoo.............

I wonder if Chris's PA child has a full-time school nurse (maybe "certified"?), part time school nurse, or none at all.

MommaBear [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]

On May 10, 2003

Quote:

Originally posted by river: [b]Hey, Cayley's mom, you takin' mommabear's shift this weekend? [/b]

Dick Van Dyke is taking my shift - I am busy this weekend [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

On May 15, 2003

Bumping up hoping Chris will find questions #5 on...

Gail

On Oct 15, 2003

reraising. Wondering if there are any new developments.

On Oct 15, 2003

heard from some persons having difficulty posting but able to peruse the site freely. Is this a glitch? (thinking also of the mouse problems?)

On Oct 15, 2003

more persons informing me there is a problem with posting.

Anyword on whether a membership requirement exists?

Do you have to fill in all the blanks to register?

On Oct 16, 2003

Momma Bear, interestingly enough, I have had a few people contact me this very week to see if there was a problem with the board. It seems as though there has been mass UserName blip out! What I did was come in, and, as you can see, re-register with yet another *new* name to see if I could get onto the site without paying membership dues. Yes, I could.

If your UserName blips out, as seems to be the case this week with a lot of people contacting either Momma Bear or myself (or others), you can contact Chris at [email]Chris@PeanutAllergy.com[/email] and tell him about the problem. He can then work to re-store your original UserName and password. He has always done this for me in the past.

I don't know when my *real* name (which is my real name) blipped out again but I have never been patient when it comes to posting on the board so I had picked Alternative to Mainstream quite some time again (when rilira was still a regular [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] ) and used that when my real name blipped out until the problem got fixed. This time, I just figured okay, I'll leave it be.

So, if you don't have patience, what you do is go to the register part of the board, not the Click to Support part. You re-register with a new UserName and you have to have a different e-mail account as well, such as your ISP account if you have been using Hotmail or Yahoo.

Then, what I've done, is eventually I went into Introductions and said Hey, Alternative to Mainstream is really Cindy Spowart Cook (for the regulars that didn't know).

I don't plan to use the name Nomad Woman unless Alternative to Mainstream blips out, but I did register with that name this week without being asked for cash to use the site.

I also think it's important that Chris be made aware that there has been a lot of UserName blipping out this week. Perhaps there is like a system overload or something and I'm sure that the creation of multiple UserNames probably doesn't help the situation.

But no, I checked the same situation this week and here I am posting as Nomad Woman [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img] without having had to send money first.

Hope this helps someone. And again, I strongly advise anyone whose UserName has blipped out recently to contact Chris. It's great to contact fellow members that can tell you how to resolve the problem but Chris should know that there is a problem.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

------------------

On Oct 16, 2003

[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/redface.gif[/img] Sorry, double post.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

[This message has been edited by Nomad Woman (edited October 16, 2003).]

On Oct 16, 2003

Quote:

Originally posted by Nomad Woman: [b]Momma Bear, interestingly enough, I have had a few people contact me this very week to see if there was a problem with the board. It seems as though there has been mass UserName blip out! What I did was come in, and, as you can see, re-register with yet another *new* name to see if I could get onto the site without paying membership dues. Yes, I could.[/b]

Knock wood, haven't had any problems with my username [i]yet[/i]. But the mouse problem.........

Quote:

Originally posted by Nomad Woman: [b]

If your UserName blips out, as seems to be the case this week with a lot of people contacting either Momma Bear or myself (or others), you can contact Chris at [email]Chris@PeanutAllergy.com[/email] and tell him about the problem. He can then work to re-store your original UserName and password. He has always done this for me in the past. [/b]

Some persons mentioned having contacted Chris and were waiting on a reply. *Personally*, don't have another user name that I know of. Do remember comming to the board some time before, but don't think I registered prior to this username. I like it. Although people have mentioned imagining me differently (with regards to the name). LOL. Maybe I shoulda chose [b]"Barbarella".[/b] [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] BTW, did you get the pic I sent you of me and the cubs? Would hate to have my sons' pictures (on a beach, no less) floating somewhere in cyberspace.

Quote:

Originally posted by Nomad Woman: [b] I don't know when my *real* name (which is my real name) blipped out again but I have never been patient when it comes to posting on the board so I had picked Alternative to Mainstream quite some time again (when rilira was still a regular [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] ) and used that when my real name blipped out until the problem got fixed. This time, I just figured okay, I'll leave it be. [/b]

I want to let you know, I really like "Alternative to Mainstream". Wish I would have thought of it. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] It is catchy. Makes people think. I LIKE IT. Hope you get it worked out. Although, "Nomad Woman" has a sly feel to it. I LIKE IT TOO.

Maybe, someday, when I feel comfortable........... I may use my first name (or middle --- both from my grandmothers) in my posts. Until then, I think "MommaBear" is pretty close to cave, er home. I LIKE IT. Despite the visuals it conjures up with some folk. Let me know about the pic, ok?

BTW, love the surprised smile that overtakes my face when seeing someone post who has been here for a number of years but posts only several times [i]a year[/i]. Makes you feel like PA.com is so much to so many. Even if they don't post very often. Me, I'm a compulsive poster. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img] Maybe it's just me.

Quote:

Originally posted by Nomad Woman: [b] So, if you don't have patience, what you do is go to the register part of the board, not the Click to Support part. You re-register with a new UserName and you have to have a different e-mail account as well, such as your ISP account if you have been using Hotmail or Yahoo. [/b]

I have often been told that I have a lot of patience. Perseverance, most likely. Thank you for the tip on the email accounts.

Quote:

Originally posted by Nomad Woman: [b]Then, what I've done, is eventually I went into Introductions and said Hey, Alternative to Mainstream is really Cindy Spowart Cook (for the regulars that didn't know).

I don't plan to use the name Nomad Woman unless Alternative to Mainstream blips out, but I did register with that name this week without being asked for cash to use the site. [/b]

Had to go back to the "Cookies Recipies" thread. Wasn't that a hoot? It's in the "Snacks and Recipies" topic. [i]Mouser, where are you?????[/i]

Quote:

Originally posted by Nomad Woman: [b]I also think it's important that Chris be made aware that there has been a lot of UserName blipping out this week. Perhaps there is like a system overload or something and I'm sure that the creation of multiple UserNames probably doesn't help the situation.

But no, I checked the same situation this week and here I am posting as Nomad Woman [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img] without having had to send money first.

Hope this helps someone. And again, I strongly advise anyone whose UserName has blipped out recently to contact Chris. It's great to contact fellow members that can tell you how to resolve the problem but Chris should know that there is a problem. [/b]

Yes, Chris may be able to fix the problem. I believe it is important to hear [i]all points of view[/i] for fair and impartial evaluation. "Outside of the Box" so to speak, er type. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]

MommaBear [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/cool.gif[/img]

On Oct 16, 2003

I hope the mouse problem gets fixed soon.. it makes it quite difficult to edit posts/reply with history. I've been using my arrow keys as a workaround.

On Oct 16, 2003

I noticed that I cannot cut and paste from this site too. No problem with username yet. Also cannot edit with mouse.

On Oct 23, 2003

Hi, I think I just figured out how to get around posting without being sent directly to the membership page before getting the post out. If you don't use your mouse but use the "tab" key to get to each field, it seems to be working. Also, don't use the "enter" key to return. Let's see if this posts.

On Oct 23, 2003

I guess it did, for now. Hopefully, I can get back to posting. It seems like if you use you mouse to go to each field, or hit the "enter" key, it takes you to that membership page, at least for me anyway.

On Feb 6, 2005

Simply re-raising. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

On Feb 6, 2005

Thank you Cindy for finding this I have bolded a few ?'s ,that I have asked myself alot.

"in a different thread you asked a great question... something like, "Who is our advocate?" Tho FAAN has done a great job in so many ways, they seem to fall short in the advocating department for some. They avoid controversay, come out opposing bnas, etc. It's not intended as a slam to FAAN because we need them too. But if they are not my advocacy group, then who is? So I keep asking myself... "Who is our advocate?"

This site is so vaulable in the day-to-day crisis management we're all are dealing w/. I think that's advocay. Especially for newcomers, and those dealing with schools trying to keep our kids safe.

I just keep thinking about "Who is our advocate?" Who is out there trying to change things for the better for us? So that maybe not so many newcomers need the crisis management...

Next, I guess I want to return to my question about[b] "Who is our advocacy group"? In my mind to answer that, I need to know "What is PA.com"? Is it soley a discussion board?[/b] If it is, I think that is fabulous. I love it here and gain/give support. It is extremely valuable to me as a discussion board.

Or is PA.com more than a discussion board? Are there other efforts that Chris is trying to achieve? Are they also a part of this site? Can members also be a part and support those efforts too? Could, possibly, PA.com be the "advocacy group" that I am looking for?"

Gail W I hope you don't mind?

------------------ Love this site Synthia

On Feb 7, 2005

I believe running such a message bb IS expensive (server, bandwith, etc...). On another message bb (Infertility and parenting related) we do pay yearly dues and here's how it's set up.

Silver membership $0 = enables everyone to browse, look for info, post and reply to threads, etc...

Gold Membership $12 = all of the above PLUS you can view and post pictures and send and receive Private Messages (part of their inhouse "email" where you can send messages to other members)

Platinum Membership $24 = all of the above PLUS you don't get the popup ads, or banner advertising

So the site is free so that people can see it, decide if they like it, and can (if they choose or if they just can't afford it) not to pay any dues.

The Gold membership is by far the most popular. It lets you post pics and send private messages and above all, support the site.

The Platinum membership is not as popular and really I don't see any benefit except that you are giving more to the site.

There is no public notification of who is Silver, Gold, or Platinum. I mean, it's not hard ot figure out if you try to send somenone a message and it says you can't, then you know they are "only" Silver members.

Lastly, they have it set up to where you can "gift" other members. If you notice someone is a Silver member, you can check with Admin and if that person is a Silver member, you can "gift" them with a year's membership. It's great cause it's a nice thing to do, lets someone post pics and such that otherwise couldn't, AND supports the site even more.

Oh and one more thing, there are moderators on each bb. They don't moderate topics, it's mainly abotu delivery if you know what I mean. You can't get nasty or ugly with someone or make personal attacks and the mods on each bb take care of that. The moderators receive free yearly memberships in return for their time spent moderating.

I hope this makes sense. I've been a member of that other bb since '98 and I can confidently say it's a great system. With the mods and the yearly dues, it seems to cut down on trolls too. Also, more people are more apt to post pics and share with their "friends" since not just anyone can troll through the bb and view your pics.

Maddy

[This message has been edited by MattsMommy (edited February 07, 2005).]

On Feb 7, 2005

Thank you Synthia. That is what I am wanting to know as well. I think it has been glossed over once in a great while, like the ice cream store thing, and who knows what happened to that. I raised it and asked a couple of times and got no response from Chris.

What is Chris working on with regards to PA, or is it just this discussion board(which is great anyway)? Does dues only fund the BB system, or does it fund any other projects? Does it pay anybody's salary? Things like that. becca

On Feb 7, 2005

Your welcome becca!

------------------ Love this site Synthia

On Feb 8, 2005

I'm so glad this post was started because it reminded me to officially "join." I've been using the site for the past year and it has been an invaluable resource for me. I honestly don't think I could have maintained any bit of sanity this past year if it wasn't for this site! I don't need to know how money is used...just having this site as it is is wonderful. This site was very easy to find on the web after my daughter was diagonosed with the allergy.

THANKS SO VERY MUCH!!!!

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