The Internet is loaded with forums (and blogs for that matter) that have paid sponsors and have quality content. I don't see the correlation.
Advertising is the main source of revenue for Websites that don't sell products or services.
Free content drives membership. It's particularly galling when a site locks content to non paying subscribers that is provided to it for free by the paid ones.
How would you feel if Google had a Platinum designation for people who paid "donations" to get deep search while their free offering was mediocre? The takeaway is those who donate, get the superior content even if they provide it or, as in the case with many of the downloads, it is pinched from other websites that had it for free. Elite is the correct word, because it breeds a sense of elitism (and discrimination).
I post what I hope people think is useful stuff both in the open and the Elite sections. My criteria is how much time I've spent on something. If I'm developing something over months, its in Elite. A two hour code job will be public.
I'm using Ninja at the moment, which means a lot of C#. The quotes you will get for a few hours of coding from a freelancer who doesn't know trading and doesn't know Ninja vs. what is available here for a small fee will put things in perspective. There is stuff I've coded and posted here over the 18 months I've been a member which ranges from idiotic to pretty cool (IMHO).
I heard a guy I respect talk recently and he brought up the idea of "coder traders". The new generation of active traders who don't just use platforms, they build them. I'd love to see the Elite section evolve that way (just a personal opinion) but there are still plenty who pay the entry fee and then just download stuff. No big.
I can't and don't speak for Mike, but from a user perspective, so far so good. The S/N ratio on this site is great, and the functionality of it from Search to Chat is fantastic. If it ever became Elite Trader I'd be out of here in a heartbeat.
If its a choice between Mike spending time chasing sponsors so "his" content can remain free or spending time creating a place a community can build themselves, I'd support the latter.
IMHO, YMMV, etc etc.
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I really don't understand this conversation. If you go to someone's house either invited or uninvited, do you start telling them how they should do things in their house? I submit that you probably don't. At least a reasonable person would not and if you do, you probably won't be welcome in that house again. So, don't do that here.