Tales of the City

Well, not “The City,” but Tales of the Internet Message Board Communities. I’ll give some examples…

This morning, during my walk, I got to thinking about a message board I was on 20-ish years ago and the saga of a couple who met there. They were in their 40s or 50s, as I recall. She lived in Arizona, he lived in Scotland. It was a very active board with people hanging out all day, :innocent: and many of us watched their interactions in the various forums over a period of months, noting that something was developing between them. People who don’t hang out on boards probably wouldn’t believe how much nuance and between-the-lines stuff you can pick up among posters.

It was exciting and sweet to watch this romance develop in front of us. Eventually she flew to Scotland to meet him and after a few months, they announced that they would marry. There was a core close-knit group (who up to this point had never met IRL) that flew to Scotland for their wedding. They posted pictures. It was a Totally Modern Love Story!

I drifted away from the board, and when I checked in a couple of years later, I picked up on some stuff that I verified with a few PMs-- the couple had split up. He was an active alcoholic, it seems, and things had gotten bad. Then another few months later, I found out that the woman, now back in the States, had died of cancer. Another year or so later, the Scotsman died, too. The end. The story arc rose and fell…

I just remembered another one… it was a diabetes board. Something developed between a widower who lived in Alaska and a woman somewhere in the Lower 48. Can’t remember where. Eventually he proposed in email and she accepted-- they announced it on the board. He flew, sailed, drove (or a bit of all three) down to wherever she lived, and when she opened her front door, that was the first time they met IRL. Amazing. They did marry, but I don’t know how that turned out, as I drifted away from that board, too.

I was part of a group that came together on a message board run by a big self-help organization. Our little group sort of took over one of the forums-- analogous to a gang of kids who take over one corner of the school cafeteria. We weren’t mean or anything. It was sort of like we took over this corner to tutor kids who needed help. We usurped the function of the organization’s designated helpers, and eventually all of us (about 20 people) were banned in one day! It was a Saturday Night Massacre. One person set up a board elsewhere and all of us migrated over there. Someone (me- ahem) had the foresight to collect everyone’s email addresses before we were banished. We hung out at the new board for several years until feuds developed and the whole thing collapsed.

I don’t know what made me think of these, but I’d like to hear other Tales of the Boards, if y’all have any. They don’t have to be romances-- they might be feuds, turf wars, family reunions, adoptions, lost pets returned, jobs lost and found. Doesn’t have to be related to a message board, as I know some of y’all do various types of online gaming where relationships can develop. I dunno. Surprise me.

Between LiveJournal, twitter, tumblr and various message boards over the years, there are too many to list. There’s lots of crossover core groups for me, within those communities, but some of them are stand-alone.

Relationships, friendships, marriages (including a couple of overseas LDRs that culminated in marriage), affairs, predatory men, at least one felony conviction, assorted misdemeanors, a few people who went off the rails entirely, far too many deaths (from cancer and suicide especially), several stalkings and doxxings, and a lot of rallying around community members who were experiencing hardship.

This is so intriguing. Not asking for all or even a list of all, but how about one anecdote?

Hmm. Well, there was a fella (married) who was romancing no fewer than 3 women at the same time. They’d all been told that he was either divorced or getting divorced, and that they were his one true love, but it had to remain hush hush for [insert bogus reason]. The secret started to leak, as secrets do, and women around the community started sharing their tales of his behavior, which ranged from slightly overly-friendly messaging to full blown tawdry affairs. In many cases, the women who’d been duped had figured his game out, but were too ashamed to come forward. And that, my friends, is how predators prey.

I’ll add that a lot of this stuff came out at meet-ups. On one hand, they were rich hunting grounds for him. On the other hand, women talking and comparing notes in person with cocktails in hand was not something he had planned. :smiling_imp:

Y’all know I snoop around in old old threads. It seems to me there were several romances cooked up here on the Dope.
I’ve had no other message board experience other than the Dope.
I find some of the stories are very sweet and heart breaking
I just love those.
It makes me love this place even more.
The city called SDMB.
I wanna live there.

That’s what I’m talkin’ 'bout! :+1:

There once was a girl named Opal Cat that everyone on the board admired and sort of fell in love with due to her openly friendly way of going about life. It got to the point where it became a habit to say Hi Opal in just about every list that anyone made (generally third on the list). Tragically she meet an tragic death at a young age and left a void that could never quite be filled on the board she posted on.