Thank you for the thoughtful comments and for recommending LingQ. There is lots of good advice there.
With regard to one point that you raised, the issue of asking people to pay a monthly fee, as opposed to relying on the generosity of those who are inclined to contribute money, I am not in favour of that model, for several reasons.
First of all I do not think that it is fair. We offer a range of free resources and services at LingQ, partly because it makes us feel good, but partly in the hope that this will help spread the word. It is a kind of advertizing and promotion.
However, for the most part we feel that if our service has a value, and we are working hard to make it better and more valuable, then people should pay equally to enable us to cover our costs. You cannot run a store where customers only pay if the feel like it, nor public services, like schools, hospitals or recreational facilities, where people only pay taxes if they feel like it. Some taxes rates are uneven, and those with higher incomes pay more, but there again, there is no choice, and there is means measurement. Where that is more difficult, like sales taxes, everyone pays.
So I am philosophically against this model, but that would not matter if I thought that this model would enable us to cover our costs. Unlike Wikipedia we do not have any where near the traffic to make this work, and never will. Nor do we have the traffic to allow us to rely on advertizing. So we are left with asking people to pay a small amount per month to use certain “elite” resources, which we will be adding as we go.
I should point out as well, that learners who engage with a tutor, and especially take a course, do better and study more. It is in the nature of humans, that when they make a commitment, and especially pay something, more happens. So it really is in the interest of most people t o make this commitment.
I have become much keener on improving the accuracy of my Russian since I have been getting encouraging “criticism” from my tutors.
But I recognize that there are different opinions out there, different ways that people are motivated, and we welcome all of these styles and opinions at LingQ, but we have to decide what is most likely to ensure our success, and the ability to continue to develop and improve our site.
We do rely on volunteers for much at LingQ, and we appreciate the spirit of these contributions. Even when people are compensated for content, in most cases, the amount of the compensation is minor compared to the work they put in.
However, we have employees and costs that cannot be supported by volunteerism.