I know a lot of people have been here since this was, what I guess was something similar to a Yahoo group at AOL. But what I’m really interested in is how you found this place - whether at AOL or later (however I have included an option for AOL as one answer since I have no idea how that system worked).
I found the site through big-boards.com. I was looking for a general discussion site that was reasonably active and had intelligent posters. It’s nice to go to special interest sites if you’re particularly passionate about specific hobbies or issues, but a place that does it all is exceedingly rare. I figured all the smart kids had to be hanging out someplace and I’m very happy to have found at least one of your haunts. Maybe in a couple more months you’ll teach me the secret handshake? Pretty please!!!
I’m a Charter Member but I found it post AOL. Originally I found Cecil’s Straight Dope column at www.straightdope.com. I checked it for a new column everyday. I’m not positive how I got from there to the message boards, but I think that at some point I clicked on the “Comment on This Answer” link that’s at the bottom of each article. I liked what I found, and signed up.
ETA: IIRC, my first X posts were lost in the infamous “winter of missed content”.
I was googling something (I can’t remember what) and the subject of my search had been covered in a Straight Dope article. I read those for nearly a year before discovering that there was a forum, which I joined as soon as I found.
my first email / internet access was through AOHell [but I got better…] and I followed a link to one of Cecil’s columns, and stayed. I didn’t actually join until after 2000. I remember I joined then lapsed then rejoined.
Since I have an interest in useless knowledge, Hub bought me the first book for Christmas in 1999. I loved it and it had a reference to the AOL boards. Neither of us had ever heard of The Straight Dope. I tried to find it on AOL and couldn’t, then discovered it had moved to the real internet. I lurked for a loooong time because I wanted a witty username. One never came to me and ultimately I had a thread that I HAD TO POST IN so I finally registered as Ruby. The rest, as they say, is history.