I am wondering what the pros and cons are of keeping a sourdough starter inside the fridge or outside the fridge. Certainly, keeping the starter in the fridge reduces the frequency of feedings, but does keeping the starter in the fridge negatively impact its quality?
Keeping the starter in the refrigerator is a fairly common practice, and does not degrade the quality of the starter. In fact, you can also freeze a starter...or even dehydrate it for longer storage. As you point out, this just reduces its activity, and the frequency of feedings. Of course, when you are preparing to bake, you should remove it from the refrigerator well in advance. Depending on how long you go between feedings, you may want to remove it from the refrigerator 24 hours or more in advance, and begin regular 12-hr (or so) feedings to get it working at its full effectiveness again.