Straight Dope Message Board evolving?

I want to believe there’s a pony, I really do, but it seems to be woven into the fabric of the universe that every time something seems “just right” or “really neat” like the SDMB that a giant hand comes down and sweeps everything aside.

I notice Straight Dope web site and message board is adding new features, the state of the art (tho’ occasionally poky) message board software is being updated, mailing lists are being offered etc. Even with the mods donating free time this enterprise has got to cost some real dollars in time, equipment etc. In other words, it seems a very significant investment is being made to keep the SDMB members, like myself, infotained… for free!

I don’t imagine (perhaps incorrectly) that Cecil sells enough books and knick knacks via this website to justify the investment in the SDMB universe and last time I looked neither Cecil or the Chicago Daily Reader was a charity so what gives?

Are we just blessed by Cecil’s generous spirit or is this Website/Message Board community going to be an advertising or fee based entity at some point in the near future? Anyone got the Straight Dope?

Good question, astro. I’ve been wondering about the same thing myself.

I suspect that you intended to post this over in ATMB, so I’ll just bump it over there. Meanwhile, the latest official word is that there are no plans whatsoever to start charging for membership in any way, but the Reader is currently trying to negotiate an ad deal. Keep your fingers crossed, and if you have any suggestions for funding, we’d love to hear them.

Here’s a discussion we had on the subject last summer.

The SDMB is excellent advertising for the SD books. I know that I have bought several of the SD books that I probably wouldn’t have if I weren’t posting here. (I already owned one before coming here). I have no way of knowing if the added royalties are enough to offset the cost of maintaing the board, but I doubt it.