"I realize that I may be in a minority here."
Perhaps only partially. I read very few of the articles, truth be known (and I guess, now, it is!). I've always felt that BPL should charge some limited amount for access to the forums, as that's where I find the most value for my particular buck. If nothing else, at least charge for the gear swap forum.
To answer the IP's questions:
1. The 'site' is worth much more than $25, IMO, even though the forums are free. In my eyes, my subscription is more to support the forums than to gain access to the articles.
2. I don't think so.