Some questions for Ed Zotti (re Barn House)

You have, I guess, seen the comments in this forum and in the pit about your new forum. I’d be interested in what you think about what has been said. As most of it has been negative, were you expecting that? Did you think it would create as much discussion as it has? Do you agree with what has been said?

I have a simple solution that I think should address most concerns. I’ll implement it tonight.

Dear Mr. Zotti, please don’t start to have a field day with that red Banning button.
a concerned Doper

i thought it was the easy button.

I have no problem at all with the idea. After all, it’s his damn column in the 1st place. I have placed the book on my Amazon Wish list.

I do have one question= Can I ask if we are ever going to see a new Straight Dope book? Pleeeeze?:cool:

A two-tier system where paying members don’t see ads? Oh, wait…

That worked. Now, undoubtedly someone’s gonna complain about the extra bar on the index page, but screw 'em.

What the hell? Now I gotta go all the way to the bottom of the forum to talk about fixing up houses? Dammit man.

I Keed, I Keed, nice touch.

While a solution is always welcome, my question is geared to how you feel about the furore. All your reply intimates is that by having a ‘simple solution’, you recognise that there is a problem. I’m just interested in your views.

I guess many others would be interested in how you view your relationship with the SD - all in the cause of fighting ignorance, of course.

My relationship with the SD is I’m in charge of it. CL reorganized it as a separate business unit, which I manage, and my job is to make money on it as soon as possible. Does that answer your question?

Partly. I appreciate that your goal is to make money.

To achieve that goal, do you have a game plan or view as to how the board should be, in terms of tone and behaviour, and if so, what is it? Is it your own personal ‘vision’, or do you create it in conjuction with others? Are you personally responsible for its implementation, or do others (like the Moderators) have a hand in it?

I’d really appreciate hearing your views.

My game plan for “tone and behavior” is that people should be civil. This is my personal vision but I assure you it’s uniformly shared by everyone in the company who has occasion to ponder the matter. I’m responsible for its implementation and I hire the moderators and administrators to do the dirty work, which to my continuing amazement they do year in and year out for no compensation other than a mug, T-shirt, and occasional brats and beer at my house. Does this clarify things?

Sincere question I’ve always wondered about, and would like to raise now given that civility is the vision for the board from you and the whole company — why is there a BBQ Pit? Yes, I know it’s so people can vent, but if they must vent, why not let them go to some other board and vent? How can there be both civility AND a forum for screaming “TROLL!” and 'IDIOT!" at each other?

Would I be correct in thinking that you are implicitly excluding the Pit here?

By ‘tone and behaviour’, I meant the appearance and style. For example, if changing the Dope to appear more like boards that encourage (or at least tolerate) text speak, avatars and flashing fonts proved to be much more profitable, would you want that? If by keeping the SD as it is proved to be profitable, but less so than in the above example, would you be happy with that?

Do you believe that how the SD is now is the best for drawing in new customers and retaining existing ones and thereby maximising revenues?

Because they don’t. The Pit keeps the craziness in one place where you don’t have to look at it. I’m quite satisfied with how it works and have no plans to eliminate it.

That is good to hear. It would be a very unwelcomed move if it was eliminated by many posters. Possibly the majority of active posters.

Mr. Zotti, do you have any more improvements in the works for the upcoming months?

I know there were dozens of suggestions that you said you would consider, ones I can think of was the partnership program with Amazon was mentioned many times and the allow Google to index the threads I understand will be happening soon.


We will never, ever have avatars on the SDMB no matter how much money they make, because I don’t like them. Conceivably we might have them on some ancillary project, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Sorry. Didn’t mean to step on any toes. Was just asking is all.

You mean the forum you never post in yourself?

So maximising profits is tempered by your desire for the Dope to be as you would like it to be?