What's your story? (Or..What brings you here)

I got to thinking today (oddly enough)about why I love this board so much, and it got me a bit curious as to what makes some of the other posters like this message board so much. So I thought “Hey, I’ll make a poll of it”.

What makes you love this board so much? What circumstances led you to discover it, and what caught your eye about it that made you stay? And as a second part of the poll, what is your story? Are you a Prodigy child who at 5 was reading Dante and Voltaire? An average Joe? Memebers of MENSA or just the PTA?

I won’t go into specifics or bore anyone with my story, Its not very long anyhow. Needless to say, im not a Prodigy child. More the Average Joe. Highschool was a joke, I didn’t want to be there, Smoked pot, hung out with the wrong crowd, barely graduated, ect. Wasn’t untill nearly 4 years after my graduation that I became interested in things…uh Academic. (for those interested, thats merely a year and a half ago) Interestingly enough, I was on the internet and happened across somebodies homepage that gave this place a great review.

I read all of Cecil’s colums and it awakened a part of me that has never been anything but asleep. I was curious, about everything, and from that point on was determined to learn everything I could. Of course, it wasnt untill just recently that I felt even remotely comfortable registering, and still don’t really feel that confident being here, other than just reading the posts.
Nonetheless, I am here, and will stay as long as im allowed. :slight_smile:
So, what is your story?

My son put me onto Cecil many years ago by lending me the second Straight Dope book. It was hilarious - cracked me up, plus I learned a lot! I’d say I’m an average Joe (er, Josephine) but with an intellectual curiosity about nearly everything. I like to learn and if you can learn and laugh at the same time - great! I also like the SDMB as an alternative to chat rooms. The chat rooms I’ve visited were incredibly boring. “Hi, how ya doin’” “what’s new,” yadda yadda – jeez, I needed some substantive “conversation”!
Only wish I could spend more time here.

How’d I get here?

Well, it was a dark and stormy night. The winds were howling around the castle towers and the clouds hung low over the cliffs…
Actually, I got here from either the Left Behind boards or the Snopes boards. These quickly became my favorite. I had never heard of Cecil until I came here, but I am slowly catching up with what I missed over many, many years.


I had read Cecil back in the early Eighties or thereabouts. About five years ago we got AOL and I found the Straight Dope area there. I found people who talked about interesting things and who appreciated my sense of humour (it does exist).

Very few of the paleo-Dopers are still about…

A friend of mine gave me the original Straight Dope book in the mid-80s and I enjoyed it. At a used bookstore I found More of the Straight Dope.

And that was it, for a bit. I’m in Texas and the column had never made it down here, and nobody else I knew was aware of it.

After I got net access, I found the Straight Dope web page. I wasn’t on AOL, so I couldn’t get to the old board, but I was in the habit of checking the column weekly. So I found this board as soon as it became available. I lurked for a few weeks and signed on.

It is interesting, but I can’t really explain the time I’ve spent here.

And welcome aboard, Amedeus.

Discovered Unka Cecil and the 1st Straight Dope Book in the Early 80’s, loved it, waited for years for the second book. Reread them all sooooo many times they needed to be repaired with duct tape. Followed the usenet Alt.fan.cecil-adams for a while, and when this split from AOL, moved here. Love to put my 2 cents in on things I know something about, and also give strong opinions on stuff I don’t know much about.

Wow, I never actually read (or heard of them for that matter) the books untill I saw the web-page.

Beatle: Thanks :slight_smile:

Sycorax: Yeah, I know what you mean. I seem to spend most of my free time here. Or all the time that im online. If im visiting another web page, I have a habit of having another web page open with SDMB on it, and refresh once in awhile.

Lsura: I too am slowly catching up with what I have missed over the years. Its hard to keep up with the new and the old at the same time though.

DrFidelius: Someday I hope I can look back as far as you, and share memories with others who have seen the same times (good or bad, was reading some Phaedrus stuff earlier today…shiver).

Three years ago, Turbo Dog was looking for trivia sites. A search brought him to a site that claimed “Cecil was the best”. He had to show me the straight dope page that night because of his admiration for Cecil. (I concur, by the way.) One day, about a year ago, I finally scrolled down far enough to see “Threadspottings”. Scylla’s “Nazi Groundhog” thread piqued my curiosity enough to open it. I was enthralled with the wit of the posts in that thread and ventured further into the message board. 8 months later…I am posting here, daily. (So I lurked for a few months before registering.)This place is damned addicting! I returned the favor to Turbo Dog by showing him the message boards, as he had only cruised the site at work, and he assumed this meesage board would be similar to other ones attached to sites, filled with comments on the site only so, he never looked at the message boards.

My first dose of Dope came from the TV show. That was about four years ago and I only caught one episode. I presume the show was cancelled because I haven’t seen it since. Too bad, I thought it was pretty cool.

Anyway it made an impression on me and I went out and bought some of the books, which I’ve read to many times to count. I’m relatively new to the SDMB and I love it.

My dad sent me a link to a thread called “Do They Make PVC Big Enough To Launch A Goat Out Of?

I was struck by the quality and wit of the posts.

And I laughed my arse off.

This is a great place to remind ourselves that the world is NOT, as it sometimes seems, getting dumber.


lurker brought me here. It’s all his fault. Blame him! :slight_smile:

Seriously, lurker is the reason I came to the board. He thought it was a community I would enjoy, a place to find like minds. Sad to say it, but the column had little to do with why I came, and little to do with why I’ve stayed.

The reason I’ve stayed is because of the community. Someone once likened it to Callahan’s, by Spider Robinson. It’s the closest I’ve been able to find, and I’ve been looking for a long, long time. I spend most of my time in MPSIMS, because I don’t feel smart enough for GQ or GD, and I try to keep out of the Pit as often as possible… I just don’t like conflict. I wade here into IMHO once in awhile, but MPSIMS is where I get the biggest sense of the community that I so desperately crave.

Now for the second part, I’m an Average Jane. Basically a good kid, better than average grades, but I don’t feel smart. I know there are many, many people out there far smarter than I am. I finished my HS years living with my Dad and my step-mom. I’ve made mistakes in my life, a lot of them, but tried to be a good person none-the-less. Now I’m doing my best to turn my life around, to do whatever I can to be the person that I want to be. Self-esteem was always an issue, but now, through the help and positive reinforcement that I’ve receieved from a lot of people here, as well as some IRL (many of whom overlap!), I’m realizing more that I’m a pretty damn good person, and anyone that doesn’t see that is the one with the problem, not me. :wink:

So, that’s why I’m here, and that’s my story. Glad ta meet ya all!

I was introduced to the board by another member (DVous Means) and was instantly hooked. I spent a long time just lurking before I registered and still spend most of my time just reading others posts and don’t respond much. But it still gives me great pleasure just to be a part of the community of SDMB.

I too have been reading Cecil’s columns since the early eighties. When I left Chicago, about ten years ago, I brought my Cecil books with me and have given copies as gifts to people from Nova Scotia to Key West. I know I have helped fight ignorance! Every little bit helps.

I first learned of Cecil back in 1997 when I first got AOL and went to his AOL channel. I went to the board there. Then when I got rid of AOL, I (shock) forgot about it for a few years until one day I thought, “I wonder if the Straight Dope has a message board” because I had been to th Straight Dope site a few times, so I went back and found this place. I like this board because there are so many people and so many topics to choose from to look at. At most of the other message boards I go to, it’s so dead that it could be weeks until someone answers you. But here, it could be only one minute until someone answers your posts. I think that’s cool. :slight_smile:

…I first found out about this place a few months ago, when a friend would send me random columns for no apparent reason. I’ve always been a collector of what most would consider useless knowledge, so I enjoyed his emails quite a bit. From there, I decided to log onto the site myself, and started exploring. And here I am. I’ve tried sharing this site with others, but I guess their interests lie elsewhere…

I originally stumbled across SD about three years ago, following a link from another site. Checked it on a regular basis, read ALL the listed archive info, and checked out threadspottings. I’ve never done a message board before, and had no idea how it worked, but I lurked for about a week, then held my nose and dove in headfirst.

People here genuinely care for each other, whether we’ve met or not. The tributes to WallyM7 are really what brought me here. You can have fun flirting with wimmins, discuss international policy, answer questions based on you particular experience or education, answer a puzzle, and go back to flirting with wimmins all in ten minutes.

I’m not a Prodigy child, although I DID have Prodigy when I got my first 'puter in 1992. Smart kid, did well in school, shy, no MENSA, DENSA, or PTA here. I enjoy debunking bunk.

Welcome, Amedeus.

TruePisces said:
“The reason I’ve stayed is because of the community. Someone once likened it to Callahan’s, by Spider Robinson. It’s the closest I’ve been able to find, and I’ve been looking for a long, long time.”

Yes! Yes! Yes! I love Spider Robinson’s Callahan series, and the SDMB does come pretty close to it. I like it because it’s got something for everyone from the intellectual to the mundane. You can grab a drink, log on and surf, strike up a conversation about anything you want anytime you want, or you can even get virtually married in an instant, and you don’t have to deal with the messy details associated with marriages. I think I really value my time on the boards because it let me meet Collounsbury. :slight_smile: I hope to get to know more people too. I’ve really enjoyed expanding my horizons with the plethora of perspectives in the Dope community. :slight_smile:

I heard about the SDMB from my roommate, and some days I wish she’d never told me because I’m having a difficult time staying away. AHHH!!! This is the first message board/chat room I’ve seen or been involved in, and if I have my way, it will be the last. I’m not into computers or the internet at all because I’m a technophobe and prefer a good book or chatting with friends face to face. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. I think the internet is dangerous because it’s not real and it doesn’t make people accountable for their actions. I really feel sorry for kids coming up now who have never known life as it was before the internet. What are they going to do if the power goes out, or some hacker blows it up? Oh well. I know my fear of the internet is irrational, but I can’t help it. I haven’t read any of Cecil’s books. I’d never heard of him until I got on the dope website. I’ll have to get my hands on these straightdope books.

As far as my background, I don’t know or care if I qualify for MENSA or any other “brainy” organization because I don’t believe in IQ tests. The learning process never stops, and I don’t believe you can put any kind of number/statistic as a value judgement on the potential of the human mind to grow. I think that no matter where you are, what schools you attended, what grades you made, everyone has something of substance, even if it’s their ignorance, to bring to the table, and I welcome the chance to learn from that, even if I’m floored by the crap that people unquestioningly buy into. I’m just an anti-elitist bookworm, a not-too-serious scholar and critic who is committed to intellectual and personal integrity, who can’t stand bullshit, and who probably needs to be committed to a mental institution if she can’t get her spaceship fixed soon so she can get the hell off of this planet.

It was nice talking to you. Have a great day.

I’d never been to Chicago or heard of the Chicago Reader. It was the eighties and I was in a second hand book store in Bangkok. In those days you were lucky if they had one shelf of English Language books. Bought the first Straight Dope book, read it overnight. Thoroughly enjoyed it, but didn’t think I’d ever hear of it again.

Two years later, I’m in a second hand bookstore in Kathmandu and what do I spy, another Straight Dope book. Enjoyed that book as well. But again wondered if I’d ever hear of this Cecil again.

Shortly after that I remember seeing a TV show, but it was short lived and disappeared right after I discovered it.

I was on the internet for over a year before it occured to me to search for the Straight Dope.

Of course, by then I’d been carrying around a couple of questions in my head, thinking, if I ever meet this Cecil I’m going to ask him about…

That’s how I got here. I was delighted to discover there was board. And, like the rest of you, I am hopelessly addicted.

I certainly am not a brainiac, but I have an enquiring mind. I find this place very stimulating, educational, witty, touching and just a charming community.

I am most awestruck by reading answers to questions I only barely understand. Y’know, physics, astronomy and the like. Sure sometimes the heady details make my head spin, but I love that sensation.

I consider this community an amazing resource. I never cease to be astounded by the knowledge you all possess.

It’s lovely, just lovely.

I was brought here by a friend saying to me, “Hey, Jus, you should check out this web page. There’s this guy that tries to answer all this stuff, and he’s really smart. And the message board people are all really chill.” That was the elusive doper ElusiveMiser, last seen arguing over graffiti. I thank him regularly.

Get turned onto the Straight Dope books by my brother. Find out one of the local weekly papers carries Straight Dope column. Get weekly paper every week. Lament that I don’t have AOL or cable TV, reducing access to Dope. Weekly paper stops carrying Straight Dope, find website out of desperation.

Ignore message board for a long time. Who cares about a message board?

Threadspotting introduced. This stuff is all right. But why does it load so damn slow? Continue to ignore, apart from spotted threads. Start to have occasional slow spells at work, start lurking now and then. Favorite threadspotting “thread” thread appears. Cinches it; know I’ve got to register at some point. Procrastinate. Ponder amusing user name. Procrastinate. Finally register. Start some threads in wrong forums and others which are simply misunderstood. Such a newbie.

Basically, I came for Cecil but I stayed for the Cecil-like atmosphere… the chance to learn while being entertained.