I’m going with “Some other way”. I had never heard of the newspaper column until I moved to the Albuquerque area in 1999. The local alternative newspaper, the Alibi, carried the column. I read it every week and soon became a fan of Cecil (and of course Slug, with his wonderful illustrations).
Around the same time, I started to really get into the music of Bela Fleck & The Flecktones. I found their website and then their messageboard. I signed up (that’s where I got my user name- Bumbershoot is a Flecktones tune) and really enjoyed interacting with like-minded people.
I also found snopes.com while researching (I believe the modern term is googling) various subjects. Eventually I noticed the link to their messageboard. I hung out there for a while and one day I decided to see if The Straight Dope had a website and a messageboard.
It turns out there was indeed a Straight Dope Message Board. I was hooked in no time. I lurked for a while before signing up. Now I’m here every day and I don’t know what I would do without my SDMB fix. Somewhat convoluted, but that’s how I ended up here.