Stern's message board

I am a faithful Stern listener, but yesterday I hearde something that baffled me. He just started a new bulletin board, and it is a huge success. I can understand this - it gets tremendous advertising from the show, and a lot of the people on it are having their first BB experience (imagine if all the SDMB members had found the board all at once after weeks of hype on a high-rated show with rabidly devoted fans), so they are hopelessly addicted. I get that - the SDMB is the first thing I check each morning. But yesterday a caller compared this board to his, calling this a white bread (or vanilla - I can’t remember his exact words) version of the Stern board. I have to admit, this surprised me. I’ve checked out the board, and frankly, I don’t get it. It seems like a lot of the worst of his audience, calling each other fags, butterfaces, dicks and other juvenile attacks, and there’s a competition to see who can have the most offensive avatar and user name. There’s none of the intellegence and wit that is the hallmark of this board, and surprised that a regular Doper would prefer that board.
Now I’m aware that’s the image Howard projects, but he does have insightful things and intelligent (and funny) obsevations to say now and then, and I had hoped that the group would rise above the gutter. I guess I hoped for too much.
Anybody else on that board?

I’ve never seen the other board and don’t listen to Howeird but I’d bet that caller was one of our banned.

This may be an incredibly naive and stupid question, but is there any objective way to put the SDMB in a context vs. other message boards? If so, I would appreciate better understanding that.

There are usually one or two posts a month on MPSIM that discuss how cool the SDMB is and “isn’t it the best board out there,” but I don’t spend much time on the web surfing - I have simply assumed that those posts reflect people who have come to the SDMB and really enjoyed it, like me.

But to hear that someone is commenting on our board vs. Stern’s board - really? Aren’t there, like, millions of message boards out there? And wouldn’t lots of other boards be a lot closer to Stern’s board in terms of topics and posters than ours would be? Why the heck would our little board get mentioned?

If anyone can put the message board universe into perspective, that would be very interesting to me.

  • How many boards are out there?
  • If you tried to draw a picture laying out the major boards, what would it look like? Maybe “specialized boards” on the left, “general boards” on the right; “unmoderated boards” at the bottom and “moderated boards” at the top, so the SDMB would be in the upper right = “general, moderated boards.” Is that a reasonable way to think about it?
  • How big are the bigger boards - doesn’t AOL have message boards - would they have millions of members? Where is the SDMB in terms of relative size?
  • Other ways to understand the world of message boards that would help me see what the SDMB has in common with or is very different from, Stern’s board?


I’m not particularly fond of Howard’s mean streak, but occasionally he’ll have a guest that’s interesting. I generally blow past him on my radio dial, but I’ll take a peek at his tv show now and again. I think he got a bad rap in the radio world and he’s going to leave all those chicken-shits in the dust via some medium or another.

I’ll have to take a peek at his message board before I comment on that, but my guess is I won’t be much interested. There may be some very interesting topics being discussed, but if the posters are anything like his callers, they’ll surely give me a headache.

When I left AOL 5½ years ago, their message boards were virtually dead.

Correction: 4½ years ago.

Hahahaha…‘butterface’…I haven’t heard that since Jr. High.

I’m sorry, but seeing that word just made me laugh for five minutes.

Carry on.

Well, here are some of the ways I think this board differs from others I’ve seen.

Rules and rule enforcement- These boards keep its members in line on everything from topics to courtesy. The Pit provides an excellent forum for the diffusion of problems.

Moderators - Our Moderators are generally professional, courteous, and most importantly, active and effective. These boards have an uncommon level of enforcement.

Member traffic - 4000+ payed members, thousands more lurkers (and potential paying members).

Member value - Over the years, the boards have attracted lawyers, scientists, designers, mathematicians, computer experts, etc etc etc. Most questions of a factual nature are answered quickly and efficiently. And of course, the collected wit of the boards is astounding.

Not to mention that being able to post here requires a certain level of maturity. Sounds like the Stern board doesn’t bother with such a requirement.

Wait a second, you’re saying that someone mentioned the SDMB on Howard? What did he say? What did Howard say?

I can’t believe two of my favorite things were combined and I missed it! Is there an audio clip of it anywhere?

It was just a drive-by mention, pretty much exactly what I put in the OP. I gotta admit, I was gobsmacked to hear it myself. Stern’s reaction was, as usual, all about him and his board. He didn’t really acknowledge the Dope, just went on talking about his board. But I think Kalhoun nailed it, along with my biggest complaint - the Stern board isn’t like the Stern show, it’s like the Stern callers, and really nothing like the Dope.

Does the Stern board have those godawful graphical sigs that seem to infect every crummy message board?

I haven’t been to the board – I’ve heard him talking on his show – but they do have avatars, dirty ones too, from the sound of it.

It’s been kind of funny because most of the crew is new to bulletin boards and they’re amazed (a little) at the sniping that goes on. They talk about feeling the need to defend themselves from everything. Always on checking for responses. The kind of stuff that at least some of us realize you DON’T do if you want to keep your sanity on a MB.

One guy was talking about how he was arguing something and the guy starting citing links and magazine articles, etc. He was amazed, apparently unclear about that kind of thing.

FWIW, I didn’t hear mention of this place. But I only get about 30 minutes per day anyway.

Well I’m glad I decided to avoid it then. I hate the people that call his show. In all fairness though, Howard hates most of them too. It’s rare for him to not hang up on somebody.

As protected and parochial as some of us may feel about this board, it’s certainly not little. According to Big Boards, the
Straight Dope is one of the more highly visited boards on the 'net.

That being said, given the general high-level of debate and intelligence on this board, and compared to 99% of the other boards and their juvenile, semi-literate ramblings, it may seem like this is a “little” oasis in the jungles that are internet message boards.