Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #451  
Old 09-10-2018, 10:10 AM
Jonathan Chance Jonathan Chance is online now
Domo Arigato Mister Moderato
Moderator
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: On the run with Kilroy
Posts: 21,729
And I don't even HAVE my coffee cup anymore. Damn kids.

The griping and such really isn't that big a deal. We do our best to deal with it and let a lot of it roll off our backs.

I am always curious, though. How does anyone think something like this is sustainable without ad dollars? Ad blockers and such are real problems. I'm not privy to the financials of the SDMB but I was in publishing for about 20 years, man and boy, and membership drives and sales won't bend the curve. Without ad dollars it'd be difficult to make it work.
  #452  
Old 09-10-2018, 10:36 AM
Left Hand of Dorkness's Avatar
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: at the right hand of cool
Posts: 39,469
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Chance View Post
I am always curious, though. How does anyone think something like this is sustainable without ad dollars? Ad blockers and such are real problems. I'm not privy to the financials of the SDMB but I was in publishing for about 20 years, man and boy, and membership drives and sales won't bend the curve. Without ad dollars it'd be difficult to make it work.
I keep an ad-blocker on by default, but I've turned it off for the dozens of sites that have politely asked me to--and that serve only non-intrusive ads.

Some sites (I'm looking at you, kenken.com) serve literally hundreds of "ads" per page that get blocked by Adblocker; if I leave the adblocker turned off, the single page will freeze my browser, and occasionally deliver me some faux ransomware. No way am I turning it off for those sites.

Straightdope isn't as bad as kenken. But it's probably the second-worst site I've visited in the past five years for serving intrusive ads.

Get a better handle on how more professional websites serve ads, and be a little more aggressive at detecting adblockers, is my suggestion.
  #453  
Old 09-10-2018, 01:27 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Jose
Posts: 37,610
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Chance View Post

I am always curious, though. How does anyone think something like this is sustainable without ad dollars? .
Because afawk, the expenses for the board are so small, the subscriptions pay for it all by themselves.

No actual info has been shared.

And of course the SDMB has a unscrupulous or uncaring ad provider that has served up some malware.

Last edited by DrDeth; 09-10-2018 at 01:28 PM.
  #454  
Old 09-10-2018, 01:51 PM
The Librarian's Avatar
The Librarian The Librarian is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Delft
Posts: 1,015
Ads are fine. If the reader would sell advertising space my adblocker wouldn’t even kick in.

I object to 3rd party adtech serving up malware and following me around.
__________________
Oook!
  #455  
Old 09-10-2018, 02:03 PM
kopek kopek is offline
born to be shunned
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Southwestern PA
Posts: 13,487
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
Because afawk, the expenses for the board are so small, the subscriptions pay for it all by themselves.

No actual info has been shared.
I'm in the same frame of mind here. ProBoards and all the other free boards (basically without ads) were so common that I never thought of the SDMB as being much of an expense. To go further I figured it was actually turning a profit just from the various subscriptions and all that the paper was using for other things. From my Ecunet time I know this isn't always the case but this was enough bigger that I figured it had to be close to a wash at the worst on what we paid for membership and all.
  #456  
Old 09-10-2018, 03:08 PM
Doug K. Doug K. is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Hutchinson, KS
Posts: 3,652
Quote:
Originally Posted by kopek View Post
I'm in the same frame of mind here. ProBoards and all the other free boards (basically without ads) were so common that I never thought of the SDMB as being much of an expense. To go further I figured it was actually turning a profit just from the various subscriptions and all that the paper was using for other things. From my Ecunet time I know this isn't always the case but this was enough bigger that I figured it had to be close to a wash at the worst on what we paid for membership and all.
Like I mentioned before, when I was working at a school district it cost us literally nothing to set up a WordPress multi-user server. We already had a domain, a connection and public IPs. I was on salary and set it up in slack time, so no extra labor costs. It took less than 30 minutes to download and install. vBulletin isn't free, but the latest version is only $249. Without existing network infrastructure vBulletin Cloud is under $800 a year for the highest tier of service. At $20 a year it would only take 40 paid members to cover that.
  #457  
Old 09-10-2018, 07:43 PM
expectopatronum's Avatar
expectopatronum expectopatronum is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Tampa
Posts: 974
Could a mod or someone ask TubaDiva to drop by this thread when she has a chance? I'd like to see what she thinks of some of the suggestions made on the last couple pages.
  #458  
Old 09-11-2018, 12:08 PM
IvoryTowerDenizen's Avatar
IvoryTowerDenizen IvoryTowerDenizen is online now
Nope! I said stop!
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: North Shore of LI
Posts: 19,165
Quote:
Originally Posted by expectopatronum View Post
Could a mod or someone ask TubaDiva to drop by this thread when she has a chance? I'd like to see what she thinks of some of the suggestions made on the last couple pages.
I passed the message along.
  #459  
Old 09-11-2018, 05:07 PM
expectopatronum's Avatar
expectopatronum expectopatronum is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Tampa
Posts: 974
Thank you!
  #460  
Old 09-11-2018, 05:53 PM
IvoryTowerDenizen's Avatar
IvoryTowerDenizen IvoryTowerDenizen is online now
Nope! I said stop!
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: North Shore of LI
Posts: 19,165
Quote:
Originally Posted by expectopatronum View Post
Thank you!
You betcha!
  #461  
Old 09-12-2018, 06:00 AM
Quartz Quartz is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Home of the haggis
Posts: 29,597
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug K. View Post
Like I mentioned before, when I was working at a school district it cost us literally nothing to set up a WordPress multi-user server. We already had a domain, a connection and public IPs. I was on salary and set it up in slack time, so no extra labor costs. It took less than 30 minutes to download and install. vBulletin isn't free, but the latest version is only $249. Without existing network infrastructure vBulletin Cloud is under $800 a year for the highest tier of service. At $20 a year it would only take 40 paid members to cover that.
The set-up is the simple - and cheap - bit. There's all the other stuff to do: legal, administration, sales, backups, meetings, etc. Let's say that it takes an hour a day (on average) to run the Dope. Let's further say that (for simplicity) that Jenny & Jerry each cost their employer $100K per year - that's not salary but the total cost of employment - and work an 8 hour day five days a week. So the cost of running the Dope is $12500 per year. That's not trivial.
  #462  
Old 09-12-2018, 01:27 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Jose
Posts: 37,610
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quartz View Post
The set-up is the simple - and cheap - bit. There's all the other stuff to do: legal, administration, sales, backups, meetings, etc. Let's say that it takes an hour a day (on average) to run the Dope. Let's further say that (for simplicity) that Jenny & Jerry each cost their employer $100K per year - that's not salary but the total cost of employment - and work an 8 hour day five days a week. So the cost of running the Dope is $12500 per year. That's not trivial.
I am pretty sure I remember Jerry was not a FT staff, that he was called upon when needed, which is why little things, like fixing emoticons were not done.

And it's not that Tuba isn't worth it, but I doubt is she is being paid a fraction of that.
However, there is something then wrong with your figure of $12, 500.

Last edited by DrDeth; 09-12-2018 at 01:29 PM.
  #463  
Old 09-12-2018, 02:50 PM
Doug K. Doug K. is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Hutchinson, KS
Posts: 3,652
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quartz View Post
The set-up is the simple - and cheap - bit. There's all the other stuff to do: legal, administration, sales, backups, meetings, etc. Let's say that it takes an hour a day (on average) to run the Dope. Let's further say that (for simplicity) that Jenny & Jerry each cost their employer $100K per year - that's not salary but the total cost of employment - and work an 8 hour day five days a week. So the cost of running the Dope is $12500 per year. That's not trivial.
But having been there, done that, I know that it doesn't take anywhere near that much time to administer something like this. The setup was not the simple bit. It was the most complex bit. Once the infrastructure was in place it was maybe - maybe an hour a month. Backups can be done automatically. It really does become pretty much set it and forget it. The time consuming stuff is done by members and volunteer moderators.

If it cost 12,500 a year to administer vBulletin wouldn't be able to host it for you for only $800/year.
  #464  
Old 09-12-2018, 03:25 PM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: SF Bay Area, California
Posts: 13,329
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lamia View Post
I don't flatter myself that my absence is a great loss to the board
I think it's a real loss, FWIV.
  #465  
Old 09-12-2018, 05:48 PM
BigT's Avatar
BigT BigT is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: "Hicksville", Ark.
Posts: 35,056
Quote:
Originally Posted by filmore View Post
One thing about the Mods is that they are volunteers. Moderation will be inconsistent. Different mods will have different priorities. Different mods will have different amounts of time to spend on the board. I worry that all this griping about mods is just going to serve to make them quit. Who wants to put up with all these headaches for a coffee cup? Who would want to spend their free time on a task when it's just means endless griping about what you did and didn't do? Especially when the nature of this board means having spirited, contentious debates is the norm. It makes the pool of potential volunteers that much smaller.

I think we'd all be better served by realizing that they are volunteers giving up their free time to do this. It's not going to be perfect. They won't be able to make everyone happy. I think there's too much focus on "mods aren't perfect" that we're going to end up with no mods at all.
I don't see any reason for volunteer mods to be any more inconsistent than paid mods. They are still enforcing the rules on behalf of the board in question. They still can get together and can discuss exactly how they are going to mod, and work out any differences. They still have a set of rules--and rules restrict those in power as much as those who are not.

I also don't like this line of thinking at all. We should not refrain on fixing the problems on this board because some mod might not like it and want to quit. A mod is still one user. They are not more equal than others. Plus, if we fix problems, more people would likely be wiling to mod.

And I agree with Lamia that we have a bigotry problem. Rather than being a welcome place for diversity of ideas, we drive people away. It's the paradox of tolerance. If you don't allow bigotry, you actually get more diversity.

That's not to say that concepts related to bigotry can't be discussed. Just that we should establish a clear line based on what we all pretty much agree is bigotry, and don't allow it.

That said, I could see certain perennial arguments being just told to go read a closed thread, and to only come back if they can bring a new argument that hasn't been discussed. Just for bigotry--not for anything else. It would basically be "Racist thread. Poster posts where that question has been answered and reports the post." Mod does a quick check, and then closes the thread.

But that last part isn't essential. The one where we just chop off the bigotry that isn't in a GD thread arguing about what bigotry is is the important one, I think. Keep it out of the whole board, and it would be a more welcoming place.
  #466  
Old 09-12-2018, 06:03 PM
Grrr!'s Avatar
Grrr! Grrr! is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 15,626
I was thinking it might be worth considering having the Mods all post with the name "Moderator", of course the could still keep their regular screen name when they just want to post regular stuff. But when they want to moderate, they should have a second "Moderator" banner they all post under essentially making them anonymous.


Might cut down on some of the bad feelings or drama between posters and moderators. Plus, it would make it less personal when Dopers do want to criticize a moderation.
  #467  
Old 09-12-2018, 06:05 PM
BigT's Avatar
BigT BigT is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: "Hicksville", Ark.
Posts: 35,056
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Chance View Post
And I don't even HAVE my coffee cup anymore. Damn kids.

The griping and such really isn't that big a deal. We do our best to deal with it and let a lot of it roll off our backs.

I am always curious, though. How does anyone think something like this is sustainable without ad dollars? Ad blockers and such are real problems. I'm not privy to the financials of the SDMB but I was in publishing for about 20 years, man and boy, and membership drives and sales won't bend the curve. Without ad dollars it'd be difficult to make it work.
As far as I know, the world has changed on that. Ads online are worth a lot less than donations now. Every online content creator I know is supported primarily through Patreon, not through ads.

And, yes, it should be possible to keep this board running on fairly little money. I know that the Straight Dope still needs to pay TubaDiva, but it should be doable.

If it cost a lot, then there is likely a lot of restructuring that could be done to reduce costs.

That said, some small unobtrustive ads from very reputable sites might be fine. I'm talking Google Adwords and such. And, yes, possibly getting sponsors directly.

But none of this stuff with the bar on the bottom and popunders and stuff like that.
  #468  
Old 09-12-2018, 06:15 PM
BigT's Avatar
BigT BigT is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: "Hicksville", Ark.
Posts: 35,056
Quote:
Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
Get a better handle on how more professional websites serve ads, and be a little more aggressive at detecting adblockers, is my suggestion.
That last one, I do not recommend. I know that, if I feel forced on that issue, then I will find a way around it, and then I will not in any way contribute. You can serve a reminder or something, but I have never given into any site that tried to force the issue.

On the other hand, as long as it's my choice, I'll support financially and find ways to make ads tolerable. (They generally involve tricks that make them less noticeable on my end, without blocking them entirely.)

I just only contribute when I think it can actually help, or briefly for access to perks. So I have adblock on by default.
  #469  
Old 09-13-2018, 11:42 AM
kopek kopek is offline
born to be shunned
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Southwestern PA
Posts: 13,487
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grrr! View Post
I was thinking it might be worth considering having the Mods all post with the name "Moderator", of course the could still keep their regular screen name when they just want to post regular stuff. But when they want to moderate, they should have a second "Moderator" banner they all post under essentially making them anonymous.


Might cut down on some of the bad feelings or drama between posters and moderators. Plus, it would make it less personal when Dopers do want to criticize a moderation.
Like back in the AOL days when I was always ArussFROG except "on duty" when I became Hostie6. In the Civil War room most of us kept our official identity "secret" and were just our screen-name to everyone else. Since we met a lot IRL (at various historic events and lectures) it did help quite a bit.
  #470  
Old 09-14-2018, 01:38 AM
voltaire's Avatar
voltaire voltaire is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 6,083
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heracles View Post
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Stack Exchange / Stack Overflow as a reference / competitor. In my view, it's become one of the most credible Q&A sites on the Net for IT and programming, of course, but also sci-fi, maths, and several other broad subjects. It's certainly more credible than Quota and Experts-exchange. There are important differences with the SDMB, of course, but it's consuming the same demographic of people with questions.

Then you'd likely be interested in this ATMB thread, started by a cofounder of Stack Exchange/Overflow from six years ago. Probably an interesting thread to review in full, but I'll leave that to you or anybody else so inclined.

Last edited by voltaire; 09-14-2018 at 01:38 AM.
  #471  
Old 09-15-2018, 11:59 PM
rowrrbazzle's Avatar
rowrrbazzle rowrrbazzle is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Chicago
Posts: 8,644
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigT View Post
And I agree with Lamia that we have a bigotry problem. Rather than being a welcome place for diversity of ideas, we drive people away. It's the paradox of tolerance. If you don't allow bigotry, you actually get more diversity.

That's not to say that concepts related to bigotry can't be discussed. Just that we should establish a clear line based on what we all pretty much agree is bigotry, and don't allow it.
It depends on precisely what you mean by "diversity". It also depends on what is meant by "bigotry" and who establishes that "clear line". As to a "clear line" that all sides will agree on, I doubt that's possible. I think we might be able to agree on extremes, and between them there will be disputed territory. I was going to give some examples, but I didn't want to start the debate in this forum.
  #472  
Old 09-17-2018, 09:17 PM
Textual Innuendo Textual Innuendo is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 408
I bet everyone here is going to hate this, but I'm going to throw it in anyways.

Instant money-making idea:

Ban bounties.

Any registered member can request that another member be added to the ban bounty board. Mods assign a very generous ban bounty based on that posters posts, join date, and mod-selected intangibles.

So Poster X: $500, Poster Y: $2000, etc.

Then anybody who feels strongly enough that the board would be better off without Poster X or Y can contribute whatever amount they feel like, and when the amount is reached, Poster X or Y is banned for a set amount of time, say 3 or 6 months.

You could have some fun with this - put it all public on a patreon, so everyone can see how much their silence is worth and how close other folk are to being banned, and whether it's worth contributing.

Instant moneymaker!

There may be some moral hazard in that some particularly determined and controversial posters just keep coming back more and more determined to agitate after their 3 months is up, but as long as they stay on the right side of not getting perma-banned, that's just another money-maker for the board!
  #473  
Old 09-18-2018, 09:56 PM
CarnalK's Avatar
CarnalK CarnalK is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 15,949
Sounds good. Tuba can pay me to troll targeted well-off Dopers to keep the money rolling. And I'll need socks. Lots of socks.
  #474  
Old 09-19-2018, 05:16 PM
nelliebly nelliebly is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Washington
Posts: 887
I've been rereading The Straight Dope Tells All (1998) and damned if it wasn't relevant.

Quote:
Why should I, a sophisticated net user, want to avail myself of the AOL Straight Dope when I've got a.f.c-a?[/I]

Lotta reasons. Easy acccess to Cecil's current and past work. The active participation of Ed Zotti and, more usefully, his ore recently hired assistants JKFabian and TUBADIVA.
It was like seeing TUBADIVA's baby pictures.

I don't know what a.f.c-a is/was, but apparently AOL was a revenue source. From the book:

Quote:
Why are you doing this [moving to AOL]?

Because they are paying us to. Had anybody sent us a million-dollar donation like we are constantly hinting, maybe we wouldn't. However, one must face the fiscal realities.
Cecil says another feature would be
Quote:
CECIL"S HOUSE OF VALUES. Order books, T-shirts, and mugs online! Just like Disneyland!
So my questions:

Did AOL pay the SD?

How much revenue was generated by the SD AOL store?
  #475  
Old 09-19-2018, 06:16 PM
GreysonCarlisle's Avatar
GreysonCarlisle GreysonCarlisle is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 486
OK, so who is JKFabian? I don't think I've heard of that user before.
  #476  
Old 09-19-2018, 08:49 PM
nelliebly nelliebly is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Washington
Posts: 887
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreysonCarlisle View Post
OK, so who is JKFabian? I don't think I've heard of that user before.
The Straight Dope Tells All was published in 1998. I'd assume JKFabian is no longer around. There are dozens of usernames in there I don't recognize: TamBlonde, Jaz Beau, Marrtenvdg, SueZ, BayBeary, WildBabe4J, Film Esq, Nootcheez, Bermuda999, and many more.
  #477  
Old 09-19-2018, 10:03 PM
filmore filmore is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 4,086
Quote:
Originally Posted by nelliebly View Post
I don't know what a.f.c-a is/was, but apparently AOL was a revenue source.
a.f.c-a stands for alt.fan.cecil-adams. It refers to the newsgroup, which came before the SDMB forum you see today. Newsgroups were a more primitive kind of bulletin board system. It was all text based. Newsgroups are still around, although they aren't nearly as popular as they once were. You can see the newsgroup here:

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!fo...an.cecil-adams

Newsgroups aren't really managed by a central server, like the SDMB is. It's a bunch of servers scattered around the internet by whoever wants to be part of it. If the SDMB ever went away, the alt.fan.cecil-adams is probably where you should look to see what happened. Someone would probably post info there eventually.
  #478  
Old 09-20-2018, 04:37 AM
MrDibble's Avatar
MrDibble MrDibble is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Cape Town, South Africa &
Posts: 23,895
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreysonCarlisle View Post
OK, so who is JKFabian? I don't think I've heard of that user before.
JKFabian was Firstborn of The Mods. She didn't make the move over to this place, I gather.
  #479  
Old 09-20-2018, 05:40 AM
nightshadea nightshadea is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: a condo in hell 10th lvl
Posts: 3,639
I remember reading the "were leaving aol "note basically it read like a divorce notice from two nineteen year olds ….


But around that time aol was blowing up huge right after unlimited access started and people were paying attention to the content so they dumped all their "mature content" aka the hub …… and I think the dope not getting renewed was part of that mindset

Last edited by nightshadea; 09-20-2018 at 05:41 AM.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:34 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017