User fees?

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Please note: Mark's passing along of today's Cathy comic should be seen before reading this post.                                                                                                                               We get amazingly few complaints about the organization and management here at Language Log Plaza, perhaps because currently we have no surcharges or extra hidden costs. In case you haven’t noticed, we actually have no charges at all. So we can’t be accused of having middlemen, speculators, price-fixing, lack of transparency, add-on fuel consumption charges, or less than full disclosure of our accounting procedures. In fact, it appears that we don’t even have any of these. Come to think about it, compared with utilities companies or, ugh, airlines, or the websites of many journals, Language Log can't be accused of being very cost conscious.

This came to our attention at the most recent meeting of our Executive Board, where board members discussed the possibility of instituting a user registration system. If this idea would pass, you readers would have to pay a small fee to read our posts. Let’s say $49.95 a year or $5 for a one-time access. And if readers want to make a comment about a post, there’d be another $5 fee that we could collect. Further, according to this plan, readers who submit irrelevant, nasty or badly reasoned comments would be charged a penalty fee. We would also add a fuel subsidy for the gas-guzzling sports cars that we have to drive to work. The Board also suggested that we replace our current practice of free food and drinks for you loyal readers who come to visit our luxurious bar/café at the Plaza. Henceforth, you would have to pay for your own food and beverages.  And if your small children happen to stop by without you, there would be an additional charge for unaccompanied minors. Finally, there would be a small charge for anyone who comes through the Plaza security detector with a  briefcase weighing over 15 pounds.

Anyone who’s flown on commercial airlines lately can find it easy to see where the Board is coming from. The Board thinks the Language Log business office is still living in the 20th century. Looking back on it, that century didn’t seem too bad. 


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