Thats exactly what I expected. If the committee believes to resolve the financial troubles with closing the forum the financial situation will go worse.
As Jonathan explains ALL forum members are giving information for free and this should be for all. Look at Wkipedia. What would wiki be if there is a membership AND a fee?
Here is the perfect example how it works: https://210277.homepagemodules.de/
This forum started as a privat initiative and is now the biggest forum in german language related to old bikes. Because it grew too big and for legal purposes it is now under the patronage of the German Veteran and Vintage Vehicle Federation. But it is still free and open to all.
Money is generated with advertising, mostly from Google. I believe this forum is meanwhile also a commercial success.
I understand and accept that some people who are not familiar with the internet and does not know how such a thing works are sticking to things like a membership as they see the forum as a clubservice and not as a service from ALL to ALL.
As a service from ALL to ALL the barriers should be as low as possible to attract as much people as possible to contribute. The example with the Douglas racer is typical.
For me it is not the money and I always enyoyed reading some parts of Yowl. But every time I was late to send in GBP at the beginning in an envelope. Later it was better with a credit card. Last time I recognized it only when no Yowl was in my postbox for a long time. I am not a very patient person and with limited time resources for my hobby and I strongly dislike complicated adminstration like filling in a new paper form every year and so on.
Maybe there are more like me?