Could it be that people…want to pay for news on the Web? An intriguing, if highly unscientific, survey of reactions to yesterday’s news of The New York Times’s layoffs suggests that the conventional people-don’t-want-to-pay-for-news wisdom might be wrong.

Mediaite’s Glynnis MacNicol does the math:

Richard Perez-Pena’s Media Decoder post about the layoffs went up at 2:49pm yesterday, and as of this posting 502 people have commented on it. What is most striking about the response is how many people volunteered to pay for access to the NYT.com. By my count, of the 507 comments 167 people offered to pay for access. A number of people complained about the fact they have in the past tried to pay for access and were not able to. And more than one person suggested the NYT.com implement a volunteer pay system that allows people to give what they can. Side note: By the looks of it Drudge posted a link to the Decoder piece around 7pm, after which the last 200 comments or so are dominated by people proclaiming a certain amount of delight over the demise of the Obama-run liberal rag, or something similar.

Sample comment:

“I want to pay for my online use of the New York Times. I read the site multiple times a day. I can’t imagine life without it. Why oh why can’t somebody come up with a good way to get this money out of the hundreds of thousands of readers who would gladly pay for the content? Figure it out now! I have my credit card ready.” — Anne Hills

Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.