New to this message board.

I’m rather curious to what “The Straight Dope” is about. Could someone explain on what it is about and the etiquette here is?

It’s about 17 years old.

Anyways, welcome.

It would be a good idea to read the FAQs in “About This Message Board” (ATMB) before asking for clarification.

Basic rule: don’t be a jerk. That will get you very far.

Heterosexual drug use, natch.

The Straight Dope refers to the newspaper column and book series written by the smartest person in the world, Cecil Adams. It is a general purpose question and answer column about all of the tough questions that are hard to get answers to from other sources.

This message board, especially the General Questions forum, has the same goal as the newspaper column except responses are written by volunteers (us) rather than Cecil himself. The other forums are dedicated to things like debates, polls, entertainment discussion and pointless things (MPSIMS).

This message board tends to have a membership that is more educated and literate than you will find on many other sites. Using facts, given legitimate citations and proper spelling are highly valued as well.

Enjoy your stay whether it is for a day or decades. Most people here are fairly patient as long with newcomers as long as you follow the basic rules.

This thread will explain the rules and much of the etiquette and board culture here.

My observations on Straight Dope culture:

(1) When making an argument, use documented facts to support your argument and spell out your chain of logic as clearly and concisely as possible. Confusing writing and unsupported claims are like blood in the water.

(2) Avoid emotional or ideological arguments. If you have to make an ideological point, use facts to support it. This is a big part of the reason I prefer to avoid the Great Debates forum entirely.

(3) Avoid the use of humor, and most especially avoid the use of sarcasm. It doesn’t translate well over the internet and it is often impossible to tell whether a person is being sarcastic or is just an idiot.

(4) You’re expected to make your own points. If you want to refer to an outside material or quote something specific, you can do that. However, don’t link to an outside page and say, “Read this.” At the very least, offer a summary.

(5) This forum is not big on making people feel good. If you just want to hear people agree with you, go somewhere else. This site is about critical thinking and people will viciously attack your arguments if they are facile.

Don’t call people cunts.

Words to live by.

Spend a lot more time reading instead of writing. You’ll be better for it.

We live under the iron thumbs of our [del]jackbooted thugs[/del] moderators, who have been known, when in a fit of pique, to ban en masse the entire membership of this board. So be nice to the mods. Do not call a mod a fucking hall monitor – only the mods are allowed to call themselves that.

Actually . . .

This board is reasonably hang-loose. We, including the mods, are fairly tolerant of most innocent etiquette blunders, for newbies at least. You can get mod notes, which are low-level suggestions from the mods, but you have to make some serious mistakes before you start getting warnings.

One absolutely strict rule you MUST follow lest you get INSTA-BANNED: NEVER create more than one member ID for yourself here. That is one of this board’s strictest most absolute rules, and if you get caught doing it, you WILL get insta-banned.

Also, be aware that flame wars are forbidden here, expect in The Barbecue Pit, a forum defined just for that purpose. And even in The Pit, there are some rules.

Another thing: Don’t write in txtspk too much around here.

What is it about? As Shagnasty says, it’s a place to bring all your tough questions for which you struggle to find answers from other sources. That may be because the questions are on obscure/esoteric subjects, or because they concern subject matter that would make a veteran porn star blush.

In the General Questions forum, you will find members with expertise in a wide array of fields - engineering, art, aviation, medicine, law, firefighting, police, on and on - anxious to answer your questions regarding matters of fact.

In IMHO, you will find members who have lived lives very different from your own who can offer edifying perspectives and informed opinions to help you better understand the world around you, or just better understand yourself.

In Café society, you will find members who are aficionados of arts and entertainment who will happily answer questions and engage in discussion about popular and obscure oeuvre.

In MPSIM (this forum), people post about obscure things that catch their eye - a news article, or just a passing thought that must be put to print. Sometimes people respond with “meh,” and sometimes it resonates and makes for interesting discussion.

In the BBQ pit, you are afforded an unusual amount of latitude in criticizing/insulting people, whether the target is a Straight Dope member or not.

Hopefully in the middle of all of this you will find a place where you can provide valuable contributions based on your own experiences and expertise.

The diversity and explicitness/directness of this place is, I think, what keeps people (me at least) coming back for more. Welcome aboard; I hope you find the same sort of fulfillment from this place that I have.

I have never read anything as stupid as this in my whole life.


ps - :slight_smile:

fucking rules are meant to be broken! :stuck_out_tongue:

1-I’m always going to have confusing writing and unsupported claims-guess you’ll have to ignore me or just bite “me” :p:D (more sarcasm)

2-See number one above

3-Sarcasm is my middle name and again, see rule #1 about how you will have to deal with it-now me, understanding sarcasm and jokes, go way way over my head! Which leaves me confused and asking questions, again, see how to deal with it (all sarcasm on my side)

4-bite me :p:D (sarcasm)

5-Rarely do forum members care how others feel but sometimes you can get lucky with nice people. Except for the critical thinking part, # 5 is basically true! :D:D

I wanted to point out the sarcasms here as to not piss you off. Like I said, sarcasm is my middle name! :smiley:

This is a very nice post.