I am under the impression that administering the board was a major time commitment for TubaDiva. Anyone know about how much time moderators need to devote to the board? How much time would an admin have to spend?
The time from the mods vary quite a bit and from day to day. I’m here probably too much. But thanks to Ed we again have pretty good coverage and with the election over things were much calmer say starting around Jan 21st.
On the Admin say, I’m don’t know. But we’re hoping to have a tech Admin who would be handling the day to day tech stuff like merging usernames back together and tweaking settings. ECG has been doing a great job with the limited Mod powers doing as much as he can of this.
Ed is more of the managing Admin like he was back when the column was going. I think TubaDiva was doing most of the tech admin stuff and before she had help from Dex & maybe some others.
I know nothing about this stuff so…Does this mean everything like the Discourse app or whatever we are posting on is called, the server space, support , basically everything we have now? If so, Martin was right in the last thread and the board would break even with 120 paying members at $30 a pop. I know you can get user groups thru your profile but I can’t seem to find it right now. Any mods, or someone smarter than me that can find the groups page, want to pipe in with how many paying members we had/have?
Is it enough, though, just to cover the Discourse fees and make little or no money on top of that? Is that worth it to the owners?
Yeah, it’s a total package. Discourse provides everything. The only thing the site owner needs to do is pick the tier of service they want and create the message board categories, graphics, etc. One additional cost would be the domain name, but you can create one of those for $10/year or so.
Is this the level of knowledge that all mods have of admins? Seeing as both Ed and TubaDiva would be just one step above you in the pecking order, you seem to have little info about who does what. Is that because all your contact is thru email/PMs, so you keep it focused on that particular message and don’t discuss wider issues?
Thank you. That at least gives us a ballpark figure for what kind of money is needed per year.
I believe that sort of stuff is proprietary and confidential.
Well, yes, of course it is. I knew that. You knew that. Everyone knows that.
But it’s important to keep in mind that this site is being run by a for-profit corporation rather than by an individual as a hobby. A person running a message board for fun may be fine with just covering costs, but a corporation is going to want to maximize their return. They’ll look at that $3600/year and think about where they can put it to get the maximum return on their investment. They may instead decide it’s better to use it to support a local fun run for the advertising benefit to increase newspaper subscriptions rather than put it into keeping the board running.
That’s a matter of opinion.
I didn’t think that needed saying. Clearly I was wrong.
I’ll confess that I thought you were making a statement of objective fact.
I’ve only been a Mod here since Ed returned. It is probable the longer-term mods know more about the workings than I do.
If that thread were still open I was going to suggest to Ed that he consider running the Straight Dope column on Substack. Not only could he then monetize his work, but the column would be a good source of advertizing for the board. And it would give those of us willing to pay a bit more a place to buy a subscription to the column.
One of the big advantages of Substack is that it has a robust subscriber engagement system. Authors can send E-mails to all their subscribers, etc. A weekly ‘teeming millions’ E-mail pointing to interesting threads on the boards could drive some traffic.
If the column is up to the old standards of high quality info coupled with humor and snark, I for one would be advertising it heavily in other places I contribute to on the net.
Note that there is more than one former mod there…
Not sure if he has the freedom to do that - remember, Ed doesn’t own the SD, Sun-Times does.
Could be that they won’t let him: I have no idea what the financial arrangement is, or if they would balk at running a column in a place other than a Sun-Times property. If he’s already got a deal to publish the column in a paper, then that’s a little different. But if not, maybe there’s a way to make it work - especially if he uses the column to drive traffic to the SDMB. One limitation might be copyright. I don’t know of Substack claims any ownership over what’s posted there, or has restrictions preventing newspapers from publishing copyrighted content there, but it would be worth looking into. And there’s also Medium.
But if it coipd be done, it seems to me like it could be a win for everyone. Ed gets money, the board gets more traffic, the Sun-Times gets more exposure for a property they don’t seem to know,what to,do with, and we get more goodly Cecil snark.
I appreciate that. I also did not make them buy it. I did not eliminate their ability to accept subscription monies. This is an internet service that has been continuously operated (well, almost continuously) since the late '90s, and the fact that the owners don’t seem to know how to monetize it, use it as an asset to their online presence, or even how to make it break even with thousands of visitors to the site every day, is also not my fault.
If this isn’t Internet Business 101, it’s IB102, and it’s the business they’ve chosen to be in.
It’s possible to make an argument that something he did in the past shows that his current idea is a bad one, by showing how they are related. But that’s not what the thread became. It just turned into people bringing up stuff from the past, in rude ways, seemingly just to vent at Ed.
It became more like a Pitting of Ed, so it makes sense it got shut down. The mods always shut down threads that start getting heated and contentious like that. Ed isn’t shutting down a thread that “didn’t go as expected.” He shut down a thread that would normally get shut down, if it were about other poster.
Normally the mod response would be “you can open a new thread,” but it seemed to me that all the non-hateful topics are already covered by the other threads. That said, I hadn’t considered “how we could keep the Straight Dope column” as a topic, which I agree is also a legitimate topic.
But relitigating the past, covering everything that you think Ed has done wrong, regardless of whether it was resolved? That I can’t get behind, for the same reason I don’t like it when posters do it to me, or will tell people off for doing so to others in the Pit. It’s a shitty rhetorical tactic. It’s the stereotypical nagging spouse who keeps track of everything you’ve ever done wrong since your marriage, to bring it out any time they’re angry at you.