After some code changes this morning the current state of the gallery is..
-all visitors and registered members can view thumbnails and categories only
-subscribers have full access
I am leaning strongly towards keeping it this way because since the lockdown on the gallery the server has never been in such good shape. Performance is way up, and our bandwidth use is way down. With the lockdown in place we should be able to maintain things on our semi-dedicated server plan for quite a while.
It is hard to give non-subscribers access to upload a few images because that sets us back to square 1 with 100's of non-subscribers uploading a few images and 100's of people viewing those images.
My main concern now are those who geographically have major problems subscribing. For example one user would have to pay $15 just to create a check to mail me. I need to find something to do for these people, but at the same time keep others from abusing what I decide to do. It will probably come down to a case by case basis.
The lockdown has caused some strife, and a few people have either left or asked their old images to be removed. At first this was worrying to see, but now it seems it was only isolated to a few. I say this because most feedback has been supportive, and subscribtion numbers are rising. Generally people are happy with paying $1 a month to have 4megs of personal gallery space, and the ability to participate in the gallery system.
The book is not closed on this, but for now it seems we've found a good solution to curb our out of control server usage..