Thanks for this post and I hope it is still read, although it was written last year.
Probably many of the commentators here are from the United States or from Western Europe. Let me tell you what is the feeling if coming from Southeast Europe.
Five dollars are not much if you want to support the authors (while in local currency is doubled). It is not clear to me exactly who I support, given that there are authors with very dubious content. I want to read a variety of articles and that is why I became a member. On the other hand, it is extremely difficult to get involved in the author`s program— the program that should support the paid content. Payments, for example, happen to Stripe. I do not have a Stripe account because it is not available in my country (Bulgaria). If I want to participate as an author, I must be a citizen of one of the 32 (at the moment) countries that Stripe maintains. It is extremely frustrating to constantly remind you that you coming from an area outside of a service that others are using every day.