:-) Editing your post while I'm answering it is also a form of bait and switch.
So. More answers, then I really need to grab some lunch.
I really fail to understand the necessity for a community on a wiki-farm.
Search google for "Wikidot review" and on the top page, check the number one complaint from the reviewer: "What Wikidot doesn't have is a major emphasis on existing wikis."
This seems pretty categorical. For some users the community is irrelevant. For others, it's primordial. You may not want to take part in that. Others insist on it.
Reward the dog for taking the course of action you want. It's called positive reinforcement and it has been scientifically proven to work much better than negative reinforcement (i.e. you get to make the ugly bars go away if you pay us $$$).
Sorry to flatly contradict you, but this is not accurate or at least not in this context. We have learned with some regret that the vast majority of Wikidot users prefer to stay within the context of "pay nothing", even when there are good positive incentives to pay something. The failure of positive incentives in the context of this particular service was serious. Perhaps we needed even more "pro only" features. I doubt it. The free Wikidot was simply Good Enough for most people, and we'd have had to start removing more free features.
And in fact any positive incentive is a negative one, seen from the other side.
If you want to sell something, don't make the trial annoying as heck and expect people to open their wallets. Make the trial/free version easy to use, attractive, and inviting.
I agree 100% with you, and this is our goal. However, once again, unless there is an actual obligation (not an incentive) to open wallets, people simply do not do it.
You are a teacher. You have a job. That $25 per year is less than the time you've already spent arguing this (and I appreciate that you've been eloquent and polite) with me. Yet you seem to be in principle against paying that small fee and getting exactly what you are asking for. This is a common principle, it's one I also have. We've grown up to expect things for free.
When we all know, nothing can be both free, and worthwhile. The toolbars are a cost, yes, but it is a cost that is in my judgement fair. Those who wish to have a private space, separate from the community, should pay for that privilege, or explain why they deserve it for free (per the educational wiki programme).
I despise bait and switch scenarios, and in my opinion that is exactly what Wikidot has pulled here in the numerous changes over the course of the last year.
If only we'd had the ability to make "numerous changes over the course of the last year". We've been far too restricted to do more than tweak the product and keep it running.
The good news is that since the toolbars came out, pro sales have gone up nicely, meaning we can now start to consider expanding the team and responding faster to bug reports and feature requests.
It is all related: no pain, no gain.
@JakeH, I appreciate the comments and hope you trust my sincerity in wanting to make Wikidot a great product that is useful to as many people as possible, for the lowest possible cost.