American Heritage Dictionary, with the appendix of Indo-European roots. My mother gave it to me when I was 13.
If you’re interested, I started a whole thread on this:
You’ll find Your People there…
In some ways, I seem to use this place differently than most, so instead of repeating all of the above, which is true for me as well, how about some ways the SDMB matters to me that aren’t mentioned:
- I’m very public about all my interwebz identities, so my family, my ex-wife, my kid, the women I date, all of them know about this place and I send them links to stuff I write constantly. Hell, there’s this one thread which has me and the woman I was dating at the time flirting for a bit.
I even wrote a love letter disguised as a piece of fiction which was a book review about her favorite book, this story starring her as the central character, the entire review written in the narrative style of the book I was reviewing, and posted it here.
If that makes sense.
Anyway, I sent her the link and the relationship has gotten much closer since then. Given I wrote it for an audience of one, it seemed to have hit its mark.
I link back here all the time on Twitter, FB, texts… but mostly the Twits. I’m the only doper (other than CodingHorror, who owns(?) Discourse) who has 300 outsiders click on my promoted SDMB links, and the only doper who has 1,000 outsiders click on one of my threads. I promote this place constantly, and I do get the occasional email/PM/whatever from someone who joined. At least the women I date probably join too, lol. Hi!
This place has helped me become a better writer, now to the point where I’m doing so ‘professionally’ - ghostwriting for websites is my main source of $, not glamorous stuff but work is work and experience is experience. I also have my own Substack and am building a nice audience - my last piece earned 12 new subscriptions, including one I’m pretty sure is a verified account on Twitter. @Ion1 was the one who suggested I do this after reading my work here, and I’m always grateful for the suggestion.
(and, yes, I do social media and given I’m working to monetize it, probably take it more seriously than most here. But then, I consider the SDMB to be part of the social media continuum as well. And act as such.)
Here’s the thing: most other discussion boards that I’ve seen are topic-specific boards. Usually something to do with a hobby - trainspotting, motorcycling, woodworking, upright bass, sailing, flying, and so on. Sites like that tend to attract a certain type of people with a certain type of mindset that engenders discussions that tread well-worn paths. The type of people and discussion varies depending on the topic of the discussion board. In my case, I frequent a motorcycle touring discussion board. Who tours on motorcycles? Almost exclusively men, physically and mentally healthy/able, with disposable income that they can burn on an expensive hobby (so white, middle-age, middle/upper class). Almost all of the members are based in the US. I happen to tick off all of those categories myself, so I fit in fine there, but there’s not exactly a vast breadth of perspective on the world there, you know?
And then I found this place in the mid-2000s. GQ attracted me at first. Finally, a place where people could come with high hopes for a definitive answer on the factual uncertainties/inclarities that plaque their minds? And a place where my own technical expertise would in turn be valued? Holy shit, sign me up.
In the years since I joined, I’ve certainly enjoyed learning and helping others learn reliable facts to satisfy their curiosity about objective aspects of the world. The thing that has surprised me along the way is my enjoyment of learning about the subjective experiences and perspectives of other people: IMHO now rivals GQ for my attention when I’m here on the Dope. In contrast with the motorcycling site I mentioned above, this place has a vastly greater variety of people - male, female, trans, gay, non-white, non-American, people with physical disabilities, elderly, minor, people dealing with mental health issues, crazy-smart people, irredeemably dumb people, obscenely rich, frightfully poor, a thousand other descriptors that I can’t even think of right now, and a continuum of gradations in between. You’re all here, and each of you adds one more unique ingredient to this stone soup we all enjoy every day.
So, a heartfelt thanks to all of you for sharing your personal triumphs, tragedies, foibles, predilections, and even the banalities of your daily life, and for giving me room to do the same for myself. Please carry on.
Loved your post…but the only thing plaquing our minds is incipient Alzheimer’s!