It's a perfectly fine issue to discuss. It's very complex though. For example:
- Are you sure the quality would improve? Would the volunteers get frustrated that others were being paid and would their work quality drop? - What happens if the money runs out, are people who used to be paid supposed to go back to working for free? - Who owns the real world bank account the money is paid into and who decides what is worth paying for and what is not? - What are the legal issues involved, do we need to register as a charity? How will this work internationally with tax etc? - Which aspects get paid? Is it just programmers or is it everyone?
As you can see it is not so simple as all that, even in we had $1m dollars tomorrow I think that is equally likely to wreck the project as finish it.
Personally I really like the vibe in the team and I like that Thrive is a volunteer project. I think it's more than a game and that's really cool.