Given the topic that has come up regarding the treatment of Guest/Non Paying Members, I was reminded of a posting that Ryan Jordan put up back in July in the thread "Why are you not a member of BPL."
I thought that it might be useful to re-post what Ryan Jordan said.
If you read points #2 & #3, I think you will clearly see how guest are regarded.
Sure there will be people who want to argue point #1, but fact is you can argue if limiting posting on Gear Swap constitutes needing to pay for forum access....knock yourself out if you want to waste time on that topic, but Ryan made a decision and Ryan will have to live with the possible consequences positive or negative. It is what it is.
So below are Ryan's words...take what you will from it.
OK, wow, y'all have been busy.
First, thanks for the feedback. I'm blown away.
Second, I've not read it all yet, but I promise I will. Unfortunately, I'm not able to respond to five forum pages of feedback right now, we're in the midst of the last 4 weeks of the logistics of closing the shop and it's a busy time, and this is where I'm needed right now.
Third, a few things.
1. The forums aren't going anywhere and we're not going to start charging for them.
2. If you can afford a membership and you get benefit out of the forums, then please consider subscribing. If you're freeloading and spending your coin on the latest Lady Gaga albums on iTunes, then you're not going to get a lot of sympathy from the "M"s when you try to advance your "the Internet should be free" argument, because everyone here who has an M or MLIFE next to their forum ID is subsidizing your entertainment. This site would not exist the way it does in a Marxist society.
3. If you can't afford a membership and you are getting benefit out of BPL and its forums, no sweat. You're always welcome here.
4. I'm really looking forward to a number of new projects that will be highlighted at BPL:
- sharing my own writing, photography, and video as a BPL author again!
- production of feature films about wilderness travel that will be traveling the festival circuit and distributed in HD online and via DVD; the first of these will be launched in Spring 2012...more soon!
- expansion of the Wilderness Trekking School to include regional offerings
- revamping the article production pipeline to include rapid publication of articles and reviews about new gear
- lots more ideas, but these are some highlights in process.
5. My blog is an experiment. Don't get too excited over any perception of conflict of interest. I'm not going to offer private guiding to BPL, so it makes sense to offer those services at my blog. The online courses are actually part of the BPL School, but the logistics are managed by the technology at ryanjordan.com (we're evaluating how best to integrate them into the BPL site as well). And the letters allow me to experiment with something new that I may or may not fold into BPL later. I see the blog as a place to try new things that may or may not make it into the BPL Member experience. I've been using that model for 10 years - first with gear, then with the WTS, now with a more service based approach. Also, the blog gives me a low key platform to test some content ideas, and if they resonate with readers, then they motivate me to invest more time to create more comprehensive content for BPL. Finally, there are some things that go on at the blog that just aren't about backpacking, or BPL, or the outdoors, and are best kept to the side.
Finally, thanks. Love the feedback, the discussion, and the commitment to BPL you all have.