>"Mountain Project has been up and running since 2000. And it has always been free."
And there were four ads on the home page when I just looked at it.
>"No annoying ads posted to the bottom of forum posts,"
Huh? You don't like text lines at the bottom of a forum post but prefer scrolling color ads at the upper-right corner of the forum? Scrolling? Color? That's better? I suppose it's better because it probably brings in more revenue, but I personally find it more distracting.
There's such an ideal solution for those who want their web content free, ad-less, and high in quality: Do their own site, themselves. Set it up however they want. Put as much of their own time and money into it as they want. And maybe, it's such a fantastic idea AND implementation that, like Wikipedia it can always be free and ad-less or like Khan Academy it can wean itself from ads.
I've been on BPL for a month and added 10,000-15,000 words. Some chaff like this, but most of it content on stoves, fuels, design, mods to gear, etc. Contributing, well, contributes something of value, IMO. Whining, not so much.
>"I would love to see a spreadsheet of the costs it takes to keep the forum."
And I'd love to see Exxon's detailed budget documents. Not that I'm a shareholder, employee, auditer or regulator. I'd just like to see them. Right.