why cant we do a kick starter campaign and buy the rights to the dope ?

What would be the point of buying the board when you could move everyone to a new board and only pay the hosting fees. The Straight Dope doesn’t have any value going forward.

It’s an investment!

Fill it up with bitcoins and tulips and wait for the money to roll in.

AIUI now that they’ve sold the Reader, the Sun Times Media Group owns only the Chicago Sun Times. They used to be a lot larger.

Specifically they wanted to, “…buy the display, move it and restore it.” That’s an art project.

If we wanted to have a kickstarter to support the publication of another Straight Dope book, that might work to. Although the owners of the brand would probably have to lead it.

A Kickstarter to buy a whole business is another matter.

STM Reader, LLC could run a kickstarter to refurbish their website. TV Tropes did that. Thinking it over, there might be a way to make this work: I haven’t gone through Kickstarter’s guidelines in general. (So kudos for running a check on my POV.) But an advanced commitment to sell for a fixed price would have to be involved. Also an actual buyer, probably with capital of their own (I bid $3.72). The kickstarter would be a publicity adjunct. The analogy might be the Kickstarter that was run for Atlas Shrugged III. :dubious:

One key consideration is that Kickstarter doesn’t like to involve itself with equity sales. Passage of a ~2013 law makes this legal, but they have good reasons for steering away from crowd muppeting.

It’s potential value lies in its brand, which is worth more to a media organization than a small non-for-profit bulletin board. So yes, agreed.

Unfortunately “Cecil Adams” has more value than “Straight Dope”. And IIRC they could not trademark the former.

I think this is still on topic although it’s starting to feel far afield in the weeds at this point.

OK, I went to check on Kickstarter’s rules. Their guidelines are:

There’s no prohibition on buying a business, from what I can see. What’s prohibited is people buying a project as a revenue sharing platform. That makes sense. Who is going to account for someone’s $5 share in a business and distribute profits accordingly?

If the OP was looking for that, then yes, it wouldn’t work, both from a logistics view and Kickstarter’s rules.

However, if the OP was looking to start a fund to buy the rights back and leave the message board as self-funding (or not), that might be within the rules.

btw, I looked up crowd muppeting on two search engines. Your reference on this board is the only hit I saw. Even the author you mention doesn’t have any hits on that phrase. I don’t get the sense that it has become very popular, has it? My guess is that the logistics in accounting for that on such a small scale makes it less appealing.

Or we could send a couple heavyset folks in:

“Nice message board you got here. It’d be a shame if something happened to it. Ooops. Was that your coffee cup?”


Note: starting up a “new” board has several problems. First, how are newbies going to find it? (This will eventually become a problem with the current board with Cecil retiring.) Second, it’s would not be possible to bring the database of old threads to the new board. So replying to old threads and such gets weird. And in turn this leads to: Third, if this board “dies” due to all the regulars leaving it will be shut down. No access to old threads or anything. Period. That would be very bad.

first id see if they wanted to sell and price before anything would be started

wed kill the print angle and just make it online and as I said run better ads that the skeezzy ones we seem to get now
if ed wanted to stay retired we could fall back on the advisory board and keep tuba doing board stuff

and if anyone takes this seriously enough you could offer shares

as for any extra money that would be simple that would go towards keeping the board ad free as long as possible

For ongoing costs you’re probably better off with something like Patreon. You can have tiered options based on whats raised each month, $x pays for hosting, $y pays for hosting + ad free, $z dollars pays hosting, ad free & 1 column a week etc. Then if people pay up they get the service they want, if they don’t they can’t complain. If you made enough you could fund the column from that, and only worry about syndicating to bring in new members.

Alternatively, I remember a few years ago Penny Arcade did a kickstarter to raise 1 years worth of ad-free hosting, plus development of a couple of web series (which they raised easily). The plan then was to run a new kickstarter each year, although I can’t remember whether they went head with the second year in the end.

The question is, are there enough core members willing to pay a high enough rate to make it viable.

Disclaimer: this is not an official statement from the USPTO.

The Reader applied for a trademark and someone probably could get “Cecil Adams” registered if so desired; might involve changing the name of the column from “The Straight Dope” to “Ask Cecil Adams”, though. After all, Ann Landers is a registered trademark.

Well, I wouldn’t chip in anything unless the deal was to drop the ads for everyone. Or at least stick to discrete, well-behaved ads. (And I have no idea how to do that, this website has much nastier ads than anyplace else I go on the internet, so it can certainly be improved.)

I wasn’t thinking of buying “the straight dope”. You need an AUTHOR on board for that, and it doesn’t sound like there is one. I was thinking of just buying the message board. Message boards are pretty cheap to run, and if you bought the rights to it, you could port the old threads and user IDs and such somewhere else.

There are plenty of stocks that list for less than $1 per share. They are called penny stocks.

There are also a lot of scammers in the investment world - penny stocks are a favorite venue. I understand that a number of crowd funding websites have come and gone. One of the challenges is keeping scammers away. Kickstarter’s procedures are designed to do just that.

I see no evidence that Sun Times is interesting in liquidating the Straight Dope brand, which I’m guessing has more value (such as it is) than this website. There was once a Straight Dope television show. Could happen again, ya never know. Hope springs eternal.

I’ve only used patreon from the pledger side, but I belive you have 2 sets of tiers. One is based on how much the individual user pays and then you have the overall funding tiers for the site. So you could say that anyone who pays $x per month gets an ad-free experience for themselves, but also have a funding goal across all users of $y per month that removes ads for everyone.

Or we could collect a pair of underpants from every member and then: PROFIT!!! I mean, there’s probably a middle step in there but I’m sure it will all become clear sooner or later.

I believe that “middle step” is illegal in about 38 states.

Whoa - there was a Straight Dope television show?

I just looked it up on IMDb. It is listed as “Comedy - TV Series (1996 - )”. Does that mean it is still ongoing? And I didn’t know this?

Cecil Adams is listed as Creator, someone called Mike Lukas as Host. Mike’s last credit was back in 2000, when he played “Bald Guy with Frog on Head”.

Under Episode Guide, it says 0 episodes. The residuals must be substantial.

Just a few episodes in '96, sadly.

(Bolding mine)

Cecil’s retirement is actually a form of deicide.

  • ducks behind sandbags *


This current/exact thread I at least read everything so a link to the other may be worth throwing in. :wink:

Basically in terms of what I mentioned; a sort of “Friends” group. Say a half-dozen of the older or wiser hands agreeing on a plan and properly incorporating it. Its done for everything from historic sites to message boards and while not every result is without problems, enough have worked well enough over the years to make it at least worth consideration