Why is the SDMB membership declining, and what's the best way to add younger members?

Ah, I think of it as Chicago Sun-Times. Do we actually know that Jenny had another job there? From a thread that I will not link to, I was under the impression that the SDMB was what she did at the Sun-Times.

She could have. I’m just extrapolating from a piece of data here, something said there.

We have an Admin, he is Ed Zotti. He was nice enough to return to help the board out. He also put together the fundraiser for the tribute to Jenny (TubaDiva).


Above is official, the rest is just from me a mod.
He is trying to find ways to keep the SD & SDMB going.

What we do not have is a Tech Admin. It would in theory be a nominal position and one of the senior mods who would be given admin rights and could handle the Tech duty such as tweaking settings, merging users and etc.

The exact details are above my paygrade.


To the best of my knowledge, Jenny’s job for the Chicago Sun-Times was running the SDMB and the SD front page and thread-spotting. But I could also be off on the details.

They’re called “News websites” :grin:

More true than it should be!

Is it possible to find out who the admins are on this page? People have guessed that they helped with the migration, but I’m wondering if maybe one or some of them are also doing some maintenance. Might they be getting paid for that? If they are, then it might just be a matter of having a liaison to let the tech people know what to change. (I know it’s not this simple, but just as a hypothetical.)

Sure, happy to answer easy questions. :wink:

Yes, there’s a little heart with a 2 beside it underneath your first post. But the “likes” belong to the post, not to you generally. So when you make your second post there is a pale heart that someone can click if they want to “like” the post, with no number by it. As people “like” it, it shows 1, then 2, and so on up to 5, when the last person likes it.

One of those people might think, “hey, this MordacaiB is fun to read, i wonder what else he’s posted” and go back and “like” that first post of yours, too, which will now display a little “3” instead of the “2” it had sported.

Unless you turn off the notifications, you get told when someone likes one of your posts. In my settings, that only shows up when i click on the little icon of my avatar, when I’ll see that my stalker has liked my last three posts, and some other guy liked one of them, too. It’s possible that the default notifications are more intrusive. I toned down a lot of the Discourse notifications. (Why no, i DON’T want an email any time I’m mentioned, thank you very much.)

You can also hover over the little heart to see who liked the post. At least, i can if i am on a laptop that doesn’t have a touch screen. Maybe one can anyway, but I’m not certain how to. You can see that on your posts or on anyone else’s posts.

I don’t find the likes terribly intrusive.

Are any of the moderators capable or willing to do this? Are we talking about something someone could learn in a week, or is it months? I recall from the old boards that we had Jerry to pop over for major stuff, I can’t imagine he did name changes or merging. Wasn’t that part of what Tuba did? If something major was needed, is that part of the Discourse support provision?

Looks like andysuntimes had something to do with the board before the changeover. His join date is October 2019.

Great reply, thanks! You have slowly won me over with your explanations. Well almost. In size, are they more user icon size, or more smiley size? How many likes can a user give out in a day? I thought I saw you say somewhere you could limit it, or it has a limit. Correct answers from you and I promise to vote for a like button. I know that my vote, which I’m sure will be vital, has been worrying you.

I don’t feel strongly about whether or not we have “likes”. I miss them, because I’m used to using them. But it’s not a big deal to me one way or the other.

They don’t take any extra real estate, because they live on the same “row” as the reply arrow, the three dots, and the link icon – just to the left of the link icon, on the other forum I’m looking at, in whatever theme I’m using there. The little heart is just a tad smaller than :heart: but it plus the number next to it are wider than just an icon. The little heart is hollow (just an outline) unless YOU have liked that post, and it’s red if you have liked the post. Either way, it’s sort of faded-out, like the link icon.

Also, if you click on the hamburger menu and then on “about” at near the bottom of that menu, you can see who the admins and mods are. Tuba is still listed. :cry:

We have Mods that can do this. They can start doing some of it as soon as they have Admin powers and then learn more.

Jerry’s position was something else and was closer to hosting. The SD & SDMB was one small part of his job from what I could recall. But back then the SDMB was on servers operated by the owners. The servers are now hosted and that problem is removed.

A tech admin that is interested in the board proper is a good thing indeed. They can try tweaks among other things.

Any estimate for the amount of time a tech admin would need to spend weekly? I imagine quite a bit initially as there’s a backlog of account mergers and other tasks that are waiting to be done.

No good estimate. Sorry. But it shouldn’t be months, probably weeks.

I took a screenshot off another board to show how the likes are presented:

EDIT: I’m not a member of that board so I guess there would also be the three dots and the Reply button if I was. But you get the idea.

LITERALLY UNUSABLE…

:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

(I wish discourse would let me post whatever I want… I had to add this line because my “hilarious” response wasn’t good enough.)

Sam_Stone: “Also, half the country still voted for the other guy. I don’t think any of them are welcome here if they care to justify their beliefs.”

You are tone-deaf to your own post, Sam. If you need to ask me why, it just shows you how clueless most of this board is.

Sorry, I lost track of this thread. Thanks for all your help. While I will probably never use it, I think since so many people do want it, we should at least give it a try. (And, as we all know, my backing is needed on this issue.)

ECG would be the obvious choice to start with, since he’s been doing most of this already, I think. Therefore I nominate ECG, if he is willing to accept this onerous position. Bit it’s not like Highlander, right? There can be more than one.

Thanks! If I would have thought of this myself, I could have saved puzzlegal a lot of explaining.

Weird, this must have changed. I did this in one of the test threads a few months ago and as long as the name of the emoji was five characters long it would post by itself. Either that or I’m getting senile.

I think it was because my reply was in all caps; it apparently won’t allow us to scream at each other.

BECAUSE YES THIS IS A COMPLETE SENTENCE!

(Confirmed the previous post… Discourse response to the above: “Body seems unclear, is it a complete sentence?”)

I wish I knew what this means. As someone who agreed with @Sam_Stone on pretty much all of his recent posts on the state of the SDMB and agrees with pretty much none of his politics, I’m not sure of the message you’re trying to give him, especially since you posted this after a year of absence to post it.

Care to elaborate?

I found the boards through the Straight Dope column in my local alt weekly, which has since gone bankrupt several times. If someone were to resurrect the column, online only, it might drive people back to the site. You would need a writer or writers with some interesting perspective writing about topics people want to discuss. Ideally, you could get some organic traffic from links by other news sources that attract the types of thinking readers we want. It seems Salon is starved for content. Maybe they would be happy with a deal where “Cecil Adams” gave them a viable column each week and we got at least a few clicks from new readers to the homepage. Each new column could come with a baked-in link to the board discussion about the column although if there aren’t enough regulars to feed the column discussion, that won’t do a good job of attracting newbies. The archives should also be populated with links to the related discussion pages so people who find the articles through Google can also learn more or add to the discussion on the boards. Whether this would be worth the effort might depend on an analysis of what articles still drive traffic to the site.

One factor that helps keep me on the site is that I can be anonymous. I have no particular interest in Facebook tracking everything I do.

We could certainly be more welcoming of newbies once they get here.

We could advertise through social media to target the types of people we want on the board. I’m, not an expert in social media marketing but it seems like we have some active threads on interesting topics from time to time. I just bumped thread on using personality tests to screen new hires. If we were inclined, the social media outreach person could push that question out to HR professionals through ads on LinkedIn or Facebook. If we got two or three new people on board who say, “I know that!” we’re getting somewhere. Repeat for a few threads each month and build a bigger user base of people with something to contribute. We should target goals for new signups and retention of active users to grow at some realistic rate.

TPTB should set goals for what they want out of the board. Are we sustainable with a couple thousand active members? What is the minimum viable user base? What does Sun Times want out of the board? Do they expect the boards to drive traffic to their site? I don’t think that happens today, but if it did, would they be wiling to put money back into the board? Would they be willing to sell it the users who are here now, who could operate it as a non-profit? Or to a single user who is willing to put a little time and money into it to see it it could be a sustainable business again? What intellectual property could come with it? The message board archives are a minimum, but what about the column archives? Do they still drive traffic to the boards? What about the “Straight Dope” trademark? The “Cecil Adams” trademark?

I’ve never signed up a Member because, honestly, I’d rather just have a board where people are mostly equal. I get that there are moderators and others, which is a distinction I’m happy with. Once we start adding “Members” and “Charter Members,” it starts feeling like some people get to go behind the velvet rope where newcomers aren’t welcome. Once we add “Celebrity Death Pool Winner,” it feels like a club where I wasn’t invited and I don’t get the in jokes. I’d be happy to contribute to support the message board but the last thing I want is to lord it over others that I’m a “Member” while they are a peon.