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Posted on: Sun, 05/04/2003 - 2:59am
Gail W's picture
Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

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

Posted on: Sun, 05/04/2003 - 3:50am
Sandra Y's picture
Joined: 08/22/2000 - 09:00

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.

Posted on: Sun, 05/04/2003 - 7:11am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

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]

Posted on: Mon, 05/05/2003 - 11:45pm
California Mom's picture
Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

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

Posted on: Tue, 05/06/2003 - 12:46am
Gail W's picture
Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

Thank you Sandra and Miriam.

Posted on: Tue, 05/06/2003 - 2:33am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

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]

Posted on: Tue, 05/06/2003 - 5:49am
Gail W's picture
Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

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.

Posted on: Tue, 05/06/2003 - 6:42am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

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:
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

Posted on: Tue, 05/06/2003 - 7:38am
erik's picture
Joined: 05/15/2001 - 09:00

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]

Posted on: Tue, 05/06/2003 - 8:16am
Gail W's picture
Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

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...)


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