I became a supporting member, because I believe in what this site stands for. I have learned so much, had so many questions answered, given of my time as I could and many other things. I was a non supporting member until I think November of last season, so approximately a year. I knew about the supporting member, and always wanted to do it, but was never really motivated. I finally became a supporting member, because I was surfing the forum, printing out some stuff, and ran out of ink. I went on Ebay, bought some ink, and while I had my CC in front of me, I became a supporting member.
If I had been required to become a supporting member in order to participate in Group Buys last year, I would have become a supporting member without question or complaint. I know I saved over 300$ on my first group buy here, what is another 20 compared to that savings? I had no real motivation other than my own personal feelings of good will before these rules changed.
Almost all of the group buys that occur on this site, are done in the spring and summer months, so that the people running the buy have time to get everything done, and leave the buyers time to put it all together. I would venture to guess that 95% of all new members join this site in the late fall/winter months like I did, because they are looking for a way to make their displays better. This means that the vast majority of people have 3-6 months to research, ask questions, and decide what they want to do to get into the hobby. 3-6 months is more than enough time to become an addict here, even if they are not actively posting. And if they are likely to participate in a group buy, they have been here long enough to hopefully understand what they are getting into, and know exactly how much money they will be saving by participating in a group buy.
If, after all that, anyone is unwilling to pay the $20 to become a supporting member, then I don't feel they deserve the privilege of participating in any forum activity such as a Group Buy. And if they are a "Johnny come lately" and join the forum in the short period before a GB, and are not willing to pay such a nominal fee (in perspective), then I don't think they really need to be buying in to this hobby anyway at such a juncture, because they don't understand the significant financial dedication it requires.
There will be those who take a stand, and some of them may leave DIYC because of that stand, but I believe that the loss of those few will not significantly impact the forum as a whole.
So, Brian, well done sir, I concur wholeheartedly with this decision, and commend the entire of the committee for their time in coming up with these new rules.