I’ve met a couple. They do exist, even if they’re exceptionally rare.
Oh, yes…the Doper Bears are high quality indeed…
I got a job which paid enough that a checking account was a good idea.
Then I wanted to get a friend a paid livejournal account as a birthday gift, so I got a paypal account. And I was paying for it and briefly thought of getting myself one.
then I thought, “that’s stupid. The SDMB is less expensive and I’ve wanted a subscription there for years.”
and then (I’m really dumb sometimes) I thought, “holy crap! I can actually get my own subscription now!”
I did the guest membership thing, though, because I didn’t want to pay fifteen dollars if actually posting wasn’t all it was cracked up to be or if everyone hated me or something.
Then one day I looked at my expiration date and went, “oh crap! I’d better pay!” and did.
I’d been at other boards before, but I did get tired of howly poorly moderated they were, how junked up they could be with pictures and graphics, how many spammers there were, etc. This board is one of the few I’ve found where you virtually never see a post written in all capital letters. Punctuation and grammar are not taken for granted here. There are some really smart people here.
The board is also good in that there are enough members that most topics get at least a few responses, and fairly quickly at that. You’ll find other boards that have intelligent posters, but their member base is so small that the conversation takes place at a glacial pace.
I thought I’d just lurk after my trial period ran out, but I got impatient not being able to join in the conversation anymore. I was hesitant about the idea of paying for the subscription fee, but in the end it turned out well worth it. It’s really not that much money for a whole year’s membership – if you’re like me, you’d likely fritter away the fifteen bucks on something else anyways; may as well spend it on something decent.
Actually, in an effort to be more efficient, I’ve cut down on my beer drinking. Instead, I’ve taken to drinking Bullfrogs in the hot daytime and bourbon, neat in the evenings. The joys of the teaching profession…
But I can see where you would be concerned…
Considering that I work retail, and your make a salary, I’d say I appreciate your concern. Capitalist Pig!
I’m 20,000 dollars in debt because of my college education.
I honestly think i’ve learned more useful things here at the SDMB.
15 dollars was peanuts.
I’ve been on the forums here since about the second day they went live and I haven’t found another spot quite like it on the web. I’m assured seeing intelligent conversation, a real attempt to help spread knowledge and some entertaining chit-chat about literature, TV, comics, cinema and a bunch of other stuff. I think that the forums are well moderated and there’s a real sense of community while still maintaining a welcoming feel for new comers.
There’s other forums were I’m most certainly entertained and a much bigger fish in a much smaller pond than among the hundreds (thousands?) of Straight Dopers but there was never a question that I’d pony up to remain part of the forums and keep access to the unique community they have here.
Why did I pay up? I didn’t. I’m notoriously hard to buy gifts for, and I dropped enough hints around my parents that they gave me a subscription as a birthday present. One of the best presents I’ve ever gotten, and it gives them an easy, well-appreciated gift every time my birthday rolls around (I’m right after Christmas, so birthday gifts are really tough). This is a method of payment I highly recommend!
Why the Dope? For me, it was all about the grammar. And the punctuation and spelling and good formatting. That’s unbelievably rare on the internet nowadays (indeed, I’ve never seen it anywhere else this reliably). I’m a real stickler for correctness in that way, to the point where it takes me forever to read something that is as badly spelled as many things are nowadays.
And I’ll second Samclem- this board is well moderated. I mean, I certainly don’t always agree with a mod’s actions, but I can’t recall an example of someone raising a mod’s ire without directly attacking said mod. You posted something in the wrong forum, or hijacked a thread? No biggie. You’re corrected, usually with an amusing comment to boot. I mean, have you seen mods at other boards?
I also love the community here. There are some amazingly intelligent and articulate people here- Scylla and Sampiro come to mind as people who I always read- amazingly funny, those two. GQ is wonderful if you need a dozen answers to an obscure question, and you can usually get that in under an hour. And while I rarely post in the Pit because that kind of vitriol isn’t my style, I love the tongue-in-cheek rants like Waverly’s Cheaper Than Dirt. And even in MPSIMS, people cite their sources. That’s one feature that really sold me.
IMHO, this is the best place to find a group of intelligent, mostly well-mannered folks who I can interact with, on pretty much any topic that interests me.
There are tons of forums dedicated to one specific interest, but none of them has the scope of the dope. (now, that’s a catchy phrase!!!)
Plus, I really like the lack of avatars and fancy signatures. So much easier to read.
If this message board went away, I’d be hard pressed to find a replacement.
If I don’t pay up, the government may fall, movies will get worse, someone might not read A Prayer for Owen Meany, someone else might not realize that depression is not a personal character weakness, no one will figure out the song that has something like “sarasponda” in it and I can’t exchange a “WAR EAGLE” with John Carter of Mars.
These are important responsibilities in life.
Like others have said, the board went to pay. What was I going to do, stop posting? Not fucking likely.
After reading Yahoo message boards for years (and seeing all threads degenerate into namecalling and insults), this board was/is a breath of fresh air. I had no qualms about paying for it.
Not to mention the times I’ve nearly died laughing from some of the exchanges
In that vein, THIS was the thread that clinched it for me.
(sorry, Hal :))
Bingo. It never even occurred to me not to pay.
No choice. This place is well informed, well diversified, well moderated, and has an incredible sense of community.
P.S. I have a 43 year collection of Legion of Super-Hero comics.
When we went to paid subscriptions, I thought “Hmmm, maybe you can’t afford the 8 bucks per year [or whatver]?” but then realized that if they charged me 80 bucks per year for GQ alone, that would probably save me money and time looking up stuff --for one (hilarious) example, when I broke a light bulb in the socket, I got much more helpful and funny responses than I ever could have gotten by going around from hardware store to Home Depot, hoping some clerk would have a clue how to help me. I doubt any of them would have suggested the potato trick. That alone was easily worth 8 bucks, and I get one of those moments every few weeks here. The cameraderie and the amusement and the empathy are free, though priceless.
To sum it up:
Internet Access: $15/month
SDMB Membership: $15/year
Humor, moderation, information, sense of belonging: PRICELESS!
There’s jerks. For everyone else, there’s the SDMB.
This is one of the few forums that I’ve stuck with for more than a year, and the price is cheap enough that there’s no reason why I shouldn’t pony up. Aside from the good moderation, this board has some good, deep conversations. Although I don’t participate much substantially, I enjoy reading what others have to say, and there’s always some interesting, funny or flame-fest thread to keep me from being bored. And every once in a while there’s an anime thread and I get to rant about crazy otaku
[thread=353356]**Pseudotriton ruber ruber’s ** thread on extracting a broken light bulb[/thread] I could not stop laughing and realized I had to sign up and spend more time with these people.
I was here for a while before it went pay, at which time I stopped posting.
I lurked occasionally thereafter, but not all that often. Found some other things to spend my time on.
Came back and paid for 2 reasons:
- happened to lurk one day and came across a “Departed Doers” thread and saw that a couple of sweet (and undoubtedly unbalanced) folk actually indicated that they had enjoyed my past input. Which was nice. Always a rare pleasure to be noticed and remembered favorably.
- I still might not have gone through the effort of putting the $15 on a credit card, but I had been doing a little trading/selling of aquarium plants online, and had accumulated a few paypal bucks with no clear idea what I intended to spend it on. So I used paypal for SDMB as well as another couple of forums/sites I appreciate.