Frequent posters: Do you get fulfilling social interaction by posting on the Dope?

Hi, I’ve been reading this board since 2008 or so, but I read much more often than I contribute. Earlier this week, my friend and I were talking about fulfilling social interaction; in other words, meaningful conversation as opposed to small talk. She mentioned that she got fulfillment and intellectual stimulation from reading books, and while I love books, I argued that books don’t provide fulfillment in the same way that meaningful social interaction can, because it’s missing that element of interaction.

What I cannot figure out is whether you could find that sort of fulfillment on a message board. Clearly you’re getting interaction on a message board, but you don’t have the same sense of knowing the other person, and really giving answers and advice that are targeted to the individual and what you know of the individual’s history and personality.

But since I am not a frequent contributor, I wanted to pose the question to people who are: do you feel that you are able to get the same, or similar, sort of fulfillment from posting on this board that you could get from a conversation with a friend?

No, not the same sort, but a different sort. Part of it is that there are a hundred different conversations going on at the same time, with several hundred different people, and I can participate in all of them as much or as little as I like.

If I am with my friends and the conversation gets boring, it would be rude to leave and find another group to talk with, but on the Dope it happens all the time. Plus I can argue politics and religion and sensitive subjects and make wisecracks in a way that I would be less likely to do IRL.

It’s different - like reading a book vs. watching TV. Better in some ways, worse in others.


It’s a place to talk about the news, music,tv and hobbies. There’s a plethora of members that have similar interests. It’s a lot fun and interesting to read other viewpoints on the day’s hot topics. The diversity in lifestyles, life experiences, and opinions they express are what makes any message board fascinating and informative.

It is a bit superficial. You can be friendly with a message board member and enjoy their posts. You don’t really know any of the people there. You’re seeing a persona they bring to the board. It may be completely real or not. You never will know.

I’m more opinionated here. I detest confrontation in real life and almost never discuss anything remotely controversial with anyone. You have to work side by side with coworkers 40 hours a week. Disagreeing with somebody might piss them off and now there’s an awkward situation. It’s not worth the heartburn.

No, not at all. I only get on here when I am bored at work. I enjoy certain posters and detest others, but I don’t consider any of it social interaction.

No. I don’t have friends on this Board - I have people on a Friends list, and other people I’m favourably inclined to, but I’ve never met any of you people, you’re not my friends.

And most conversations on this Board are way less meaningful than the ones I have with friends.

I’m a medium-frequent poster, I’d say. I enjoy chatting about music, arts, sports, and non-politically charged current events. I do get some social interaction out of it, because I come to recognize people’s voices, POVs, and personal histories (I find myself thinking “I wonder what Snowboarder Bo thinks of this album” or “I wonder what Elendil’s Heir thought of that movie.”)

I have probably three dozen FB friends that I met on here, so that’s something.

Not directly. I just enjoy venting my spleen…and, now and then, I enjoy the effort of trying to make a point clearly and concisely.

But…I’ve made some personal pen-pals through PMs and have found that to be immensely rewarding!


I’m not sure “interaction” is the best term for it, but I must get something out of it.

Yes. Pretty much, anyway.

I’m sure some disagree, but I find that Cafe Society is a great place to discuss entertainment in an intelligent way. I love it.

In some ways it’s a deeper interaction than face-to-face.
I can discuss things here, and express opinions that I would be hesitant to tell anybody IRL.

I’m not sure if the OP is asking whether this kind of interaction is sufficient in itself. If so, my answer to that is of course no: you need more than just MB posting. And I’ll for one admit that for me, my current mix of friendships is woefully inadequate: I have many friends but few if any close friends.

I wouldn’t call it so much social interaction; more curiosity. This board has a wider range of opinions and backgrounds than I find in real life and hearing/seeing all the various views and joining in just intrigues me.

The real question is whether you end every real-life statement with “Regards, Shodan?”

depends on the board.

i’ve been on some boards that discuss particular philosophical issues. you could spend as much time each day as you might in real life with a friend in deep discussion. some people might become long distance friends, off that board, if they got to like another’s thoughts enough.

this board is sort of wide spectrum stuff. there are questions, debate and jokes. depends on which area of the board and which thread. there is deep stuff here but the board has lots of members and lots of threads and people may come in for a bit lighter stuff.

Yes. I don’t need social interaction as such. What I need is intellectual stimulation. But my interests are somewhat narrow and there are only so many “real life” people that I can talk with about shared interests. So this board and others provide an additional slice of that. It’s not as good as in-person interaction at its best, but it’s better than about 80% of day-to-day social interaction.

And yeah, it’s nice to have a place where I can take off the facade a bit. A good part of real life is pretending to be someone else and I don’t have to do that here.

Very much so. I’m not an introvert or antisocial, yet I find myself less and less interested in speaking with people IRL. I mean I can and do engage in the necessary small talk and work interaction, but I’ve become a bit of a loner in the last few years. I dare say if it wasn’t for the time I spend here I’d never have an interesting conversation.

No, not the same or even similar. I would never turn down or put off a conversation with a friend because I was participating here. I would readily stop in the middle of reading/posting to the SMDB to have a conversation with a friend. That tells me that the friend is more fulfilling than a message board.

I have to be careful to sign my e-mails with my real name instead of - you know. And I find that people IRL don’t respond well to “Cite?”

If sending letters is “social interaction”, then I get social interaction on the Dope. It is an enhancement of my other social interactions rather than a replacement of them.

I Long For You Tragically,

Well, you would know which of the two is more fulfilling to you, but the logic doesn’t really follow.
No-one is waiting for you to post or read a message, there’s no urgency there, so you may as well talk to your friend. Later, you can resume what you were doing on the board, and get the best of both worlds. Doing the time-critical interaction first doesn’t prove it’s the more important one.

I’m new to this particular board, but have been engaging in various social interactions on the internet for a good 15 years now. In that time, I have acquired three genuine friends who translated from online to real life. And all three of them have viewpoints, values and lifestyles very different from mine. And that’s exactly why I value them and why I value interacting online. My real life friends tend to be fairly homogenous. We either worked together, live near one another, or met because we have similar interests. We are all within 10-15 years of each other in age and have similar academic achievements.

Coming here to read and solicit others opinions or expertise on various subjects give me a far wider range of opinions and information then I’d ever get in real life. I can ally with one individual on one issue and furiously disagree with them on another. And it doesn’t impact either of our lives at all. But it’s wonderful exercise for the mind. Having people agree with me more often than not doesn’t keep my mind fit and young. Having to defend my opinions to others forces me to examine them closely, and in some cases even change them. It’s like mental gymnastics.

Maybe I’ll get close to someone here eventually. But if I don’t, it’s ok. I’ll still enjoy reading and conversing here.