Thanks for being so open! Really refreshing!
I know that this post wasnt all about the money etc, but its obviously a driving factor, for both users, and DEV being able to survive long term.
I understand that you need to make money to be able to host and support such a great ecosystem. As long as you kept the core the same (free to publish/read without much bias in results) then I would have no issue paying a small fee for "premium" services, such as the mentor scheme and a lot of the newer features you are developing.
I would also have no issues with dev related adds which approached you directly (i.e. not google adsense/other shitty ad services). Look at how other dev targeted sites somewhat tastefully, css-tricks have a jobs board, stack overflow target job listings at users. I know you have your sponsors and sponsor posts, they are great. But if you are ever struggling for funds, there are options that people would pay for without it having to feel like bait and switch.
Im sure you have considered all of this, but I dont know how/if you would go about floating these ideas with a community that is migrating from services that exist purely for financial gain. So I probably speak for at least a small handful of people, I will pay for and support an honest product.
Keep being as you are with this, its exciting and new with a grassroots feel. We can all make this work, and if there are some costs associated, then if its honest 🤷♀️ no issues here.
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