How often do you read the alt-weekly newspaper column "The Straight Dope?"

Have we all noticed the giant yellow letters on the blue background setting atop our computer screen right now-- the letters that read “THE STRAIGHT DOPE?”

How often do you actually read the weekly column, which can be found linked to on the Straight Dope homepage.

I’d say I read the column every week. Occasional weeks I’ll forget to check it out, or some weeks the topic doesn’t interest me, so I just skim it. Other weeks, I’ll check in and read the classics and mailbag answers every day.

Also, when living in Chicago, I’d usually pick up a Reader and read Cecil’s column on paper rather than online. Now that I’m in Detroit, I can only read it online.

So…how often do you actually read the column that has brought us this MB? Every week? Twice a month? Occasionally? Never?

I only read it these days when there’s an interesting thread about it, and I’ll usually go back and read the preceding ones until I get to where I left off last time. Maybe once every 4-5 weeks?

Keep in mind, though, that I discovered the Straight Dope five years before discovering the SDMB, and I used to read the archives obsessively. I’ve read every article in the archive numerous times, so when they pop a “classic” onto the front page, I’m usually already very familiar with it.

I think I have read every classic column as well. I read the weekly column almost every time as well.

Never, wouldn’t know where to find it.

Bwaa ha ha! Good one!

I read the columns for over a decade before the website went up off of AOL. I still revisit the columns regularly, but usually in monthly batches.

The what?

I read it weekly plus the staff reports and occasionally the classics if they are not familiar. I get the Email alert weekly also that helps as I can get the articles before they are posted publicly.

I have never read or seen the paper.


I read it every week, but can only do so online. The Boston Phoenix dropped it without warning (or explanation) a couple of years ago.

I’ve never seen the column in print. I have no idea if any paper down here carries it. When my Google search for the answer to a question led me to the website, I read the entire archive, up to the time that was current then. After I joined the message board, the column slipped off my radar. I don’t think I’ve seen one since. Not on purpose, it just never occurs to me to check.

Every couple of weeks I’ll go and read the ones posted since the last time I was there. I used to make it part of my daily routine, and read the new one every day, but it’s been a year or two that I haven’t done that. I go back to some of the classics once in a while, especially if the topic happened to come up IRL.

In fact, that happened today. One of my profs today stopped lecturing for a second, and asked if anyone happened to know why there was no channel 1 on TV? Having read Cecil’s column from a few years back, I remembered the answer and told him. I sent him a link when I got home, too! One of the first times I’ve been able to answer a question of his in class! hehehe

I check the columns every time there’s one added, but how deeply I read the column depends on how interesting the topic (or, to be more precise, the presentation of the topic) seems to be.

Every week in which I physically or technologically have access to it, since the early 1980s. First in the Baltimore City Paper, then online.

Strange. I actually have the front page bookmarked, so each day I’ll read the column if it’s interesting, and then go off to the forums. It looks like I’m fairly unique in this ritual though!

Occassionally. I used to read it every week and would be anxious and ready for the new week’s column online since I didn’t get into the city that often to get a print copy of the Reader. Eventually, I kind of fell off… I can’t pinpoint the date but I remember the SD kind of getting into a “debunk urban legends” rut a few years back and got a little bored with it. Like most things, once I fell out of the habit I never fully picked it back up again. So I still read it now and then but not on a regular basis.

I think part of it too was the introduction od the SDMB – I started being able to get my “General trivia knowledge” fix on a regular basis so the SD columns weren’t quite the rare intellectual treat they once were.

That’s actually less funny than you think. It’s been less than a couple of years that the huge “The Straight Dope” banner at the top actually links to the column. For the first 5-6 years it linked to the forums front page instead.

(me pointing that out a couple years ago )

In my bookmarks I have this website saved as rather than Straight Dope Message Board - Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks. even though I wander the message board with a much higher frequency. This is to remind me to catch the weekly column as well as not to miss any interesting SDSAB contributions. Every now and then I’ll read a good classic even though I think I’ve exhausted the archives at least once.

What are this “The Straight Dope” you speak of? Is it, by chance, an alt-weekly newspaper column? It sounds vaguely familiar.

I read it online every day of the week that they post a new or classic one. A good start to my day. The hard copy version does not appear over here.

Excellent question. I personally read each new column that comes out, but I’ve found that a lot of SDMBers – both veterans and newbies – will ask questions in GQ that have been directly answered in the column.

Here’s three examples from the past month or so…

I read Cecil faithfully every Friday online. I’ve only ever seen the print version (as in real paper) once. I read the staff reports and old columns as well, but not always on the day they are posted.

I seem to be a bit of an oddball here in that I read the columns for a long time without having any interest in the SDMB. I was hooked on Cecil’s columns right from day one, but it took me a long time to finally warm up to the boards. Now, of course, I’m hooked, on both the columns and the SDMB. Damn you all! I’m a dope junkie!

My bookmarks go, in order:
Straight Dope Home Page

Which is always the order in which I read them.