First, to repeat: if you are here already with a user account, you don't have to pay anything. A lot of people seemed to be worried that I was going to shut everyone's access off and extort a payment from all of you. That's not going to happen.
Also, a few of you have noticed the expanded hotlist stuff. I got rid of the old premium member subscription, and enabled those features for everyone. If you haven't noticed it, look in the right-hand sidebar. You now have automatic reply tracking ("Replies"), a convenient list of your own recent stories, and a Diary watchlist in addition to the old Hotlist. You also can use spellcheck now on your stories, diaries, and comments.
The ad-free monthly subscription option still exists, for $2.00 a month.
The background of this is basically that dupe accounts had become fairly epidemic, and harassment and flooding a scripted sport here of late, and something had to change. The theory is that with less abuse, the site will be more fun to use, therefore more people will use it, and a small fee yto join will help ensure that they have a stake in the site as well.
The alternative theory, supported by a good many of you in the comments to the original discussion of this is that everything will go to hell, because no one would ever pony up the price of one beer for posting rights here. I don't know which theory is right, which makes it a worthwhile experiment, I think. So let's see what happens.
The other oft-expressed concern is that people will be banned for no reason and without warning. We do have a warning system, and with this change (and knowledge that coming back from a ban is going to cost you something) we will be a hell of a lot more liberal about issuing warnings and a lot less quick to ban anyone. For my part, I consider the slate clean -- I'm going to proceed as though everyone here is a well-intentioned new user. So, welcome to K5 everyone. No one is going to be banned without any warnings.
Some people said they believe there are no clear rules and no administrative activity. This is really not true. The rules are:
It's not that complicated. None of the above prohibits trolling or high-spririted stupidity, provided that the people participating are willing. No, the above is not a detailed list of allowed and prohibited behavior, but on the other hand, we aren't in kindergarten here. The longer the list of specific rules, the more time everyone spends trying to poke legal loopholes through them. I am not a lawyer. I don't expect any of you to be.
- Treat others how you would like to be treated
- Don't be personally abusive to other members
- And the basic standard global rules of minimally-acceptable online behavior, like don't post commercial spam
As for administrative accessability, if anyone doesn't know already, you can always quickly (where "quickly" can mean "within up to a half day or so") report abuse to an admin by going to an abusive user's profile page (i.e. mine if you hate this change) and writing a note in the "Report Abuse" form on the left side. Please do be specific, and URLs help a lot. We look at these reports all the time, and we do take action on them if warranted.
I think that's it. Oh, I dropped the original idea of hashing payment info to restrict people to one signup. Firstly, you guys convinced me that it wouldn't work (gift cards and so forth), secondly enough people seemed to be concerned about the security of the idea that I'd rather avoid that unless it was absolutely necessary, and finally, I'm not really sure it would serve any purpose. If you like screwing around here enough to pay me for the privilege, I guess that's ok for now.
Also, payment is via the normal subscription system, and is credit card (Visa/MC), paypal, or check or untraceable money order by mail, in case you're super-worried about your pseudonymity. I repeat that I really don't care who you are, and you should take as many precautions as you feel are necessary to maintain as much anonymity as you are comfortable with.
And finally, you can sign up and buy an ad without paying for an account. If the ad is approved, your account will be activated automatically.
Sorry for the somewhat scattered list of "oh yeahs" here. I probably forgot something else, so ask me below if I did. And thanks for hanging in there with K5. You guys do make life more interesting. :-)