I've joined this discussion when it has been going for a year so my contribution might be out of date: however, isn't at least a partial answer to this issue is for Pro users to 'adopt' (perhaps via collaboration of adding to a project) non-pros who have a shared interest in our mutual trees?
It seems to me that such a mechanism would avoid much of the abuse that is perhaps behind the restrictions placed on non-pro users. (By this I am not implying that non-Pro users are the cause of all the problems - indeed most of the issues I have are caused by inactive users who won't respond to my requests to collaborate and who have marked key records as private')
re: "however, isn't at least a partial answer to this issue is for Pro users to 'adopt' (perhaps via collaboration of adding to a project) non-pros who have a shared interest in our mutual trees?"
Yes, absolutely, and brilliant. I send collaboration requests regularly now with merge requests and I'm so glad I do. It's the way to get people involved and let their passion for genealogy loose on Geni, which benefits us all.
In response to other comments concerning membership and fees....
In trying to decide whether I wanted to be a part of the collaboration pool, I read several of the comments posted.
Ancestry makes a lot of extra money by offering monthly memberships. To be a little more precise, $120.00 a year more for the world membership. There are a whole lot of people out there doing family histories who don't have $200-$300.00 to lay out in one lump sum, but if they're serious enough about doing the history, they can find $35.00 a month, and will pay it several months in a row.
After they have realized the value of a site at that price, they start looking for ways to buy the yearly membership. Pretty much everyone receives a large enough amount of money at some point, for whatever, which they will choose to invest into a yearly membership.
In the meantime, you are collecting the data, pictures and documents which they enter into their trees. It becomes a win-win situation. Something to seriously consider.