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

That’s pretty much my actual POV too. We’re breakeven -ish on their scale of money.

I should have made it more clear that that whole post was a sorta made-up re-enactment dramatized for TV scenario, not my actual opinion of the more humdrum reality.

Agree completely. Which suggests two things:

  • Our profit (ref just above) won’t support even a single paid FTE position. Probably not even a part-time postion.
  • They are uncomfortable with a volunteer in that position for liability & compliance reasons. Even though we’re US-based we have posters from the EU and Canada. Not that the US isn’t regulatory quagmire enough.

So they leave the role empty as the least bad solution. With the inevitable technological and customer service rot that entails slowly growing ever larger with no relief planned. Ever.

Had Jenny become incapacitated before Discourse was switched on I bet we’d’ve been gone on whatever date was the planned cutover date when she dropped out.

Threadspotting? I don’t think Ed resumed that after Jenny passed away.


It is also impossible.




This is an excellent point that I don’t think has been addressed in detail, but it should be.

By my rough cocktail napkin calculations, Ed must in his 70s by now, assuming he was in his early-mid 20s when he took over writing the column. The world has changed a lot since then - I mean, people who weren’t even born when when boards first came online are now legally adults - and I just cannot imagine what it’s like for someone of his generation to try and keep up with social media trends and the like as well as a message board.

Even someone like my dad, who was in his 40s when home computers first became affordable, was like “This is the future and I need to get on it and make sure the kids understand it too” so he’s pretty good with computers, but even he has no hope of getting his head around something like TikTok, much less the intricacies of Facebook and Twitter marketing or Google SEO. There’s a reason looking after those things is literally a full-time job now, and one usually done by someone born after the Beatles split up.

Not exactly.

Said more accurately, it doesn’t display the animated whatever when the spoiler is opened. The user has to click to see it. Which comports with the global 2-click rule as I suggested it should.

Just a comment on likes, by default, discourse only gives you a fixed number of likes. Higher ‘trust levels’, gives you a like # multiplier. Now, apparently we’ve lost codinghorror or I’d ask what the minimum likes can be set, and if it’s per day/week etc.

But if each poster only had, say 5 likes a day, it might be enough to make us use them judiciously. You’d still use them for a great post, zinger, or someone you strongly agreed with, but you might not go through every forum just hitting ‘like’ for everyone who agreed with you. May mitigate the concerns that it would contribute to the echo chamber effect.

If anyone who knows more on discourse has specific info, that would be helpful.

Yeah, what happened to @codinghorror? He was active as late as last month but now it says “Account removed” under his name? Does it have anything to do with the recent thread started by Ed Zotti?

No. His account has said that for many months, even when he was here actively posting.

I don’t know, but the default number of likes you can give must be pretty high. On another board I’m on, I have a sort of weird stalker who seems to “like” pretty much every post I make.

Yeah, message boards are basically dinosaurs. Reddit has a group for…well…pretty much anything.

I assumed it was high, but since every discourse doc I’ve found says ‘x trust level multiplies likes by y amount’ I think the implication is that the base number can be manipulated. @codinghorror if you’re just lurking due to all the discomfort on the board right now, do you think you could post or perhaps PM? Otherwise, well, we’ll just have to find out another way.

According to Wikipedia, Ed’s 70, being born in 1951.

Quoting myself for context 4 days later.

Several folks followed up on my idea suggesting I try it and report back. Or that they would do the same.

So here’s my interim report 4 days later.

About an hour after that post I muted those 3 categories. Which quickly shrank Unread & New to about 40% of their former size. For the next day-ish the many, many GD, PE, Pit threads I’d recently posted to garnered replies or quotes which popped them into my Unread page. When that happened, I opened the offending thread, reset the status to normal, and closed the tab. Now 3 days later I’ve had just one such thread today.

How’s it feel?

The 'Dope is a lot smaller. But I’m much more able to be my charitable self, not my irritable self. My desire for nitpicks and one-liner responses is down. Net, net, I like it this way.

I’m still around. I’m glad the community is thinking about growth!

I had some time to read through the Modest proposal, and we are testing a plugin that allows communities to contribute toward their own hosting costs.


Surely there’s got to be enthusiasm for the fighting ignorance problem – I know we at Discourse are willing to contribute toward that goal. That’s kinda the whole point!

I don’t know if @Cecil_Adams is still interested, but we’ll contact him!

Nice! Thanks, codinghorror!

Great! Hopefully it will have both a one-time and automatic monthly contribution option. If we members can contribute enough to support 100% of the hosting fees, the Sun-Times can totally forget about us. If the accountants don’t have to send a check every month to Discourse, we may fall off the budget watch list completely.

I’m surprised there wasn’t more enthusiasm for the other core idea:

An advisory board advises; I’ll decide. That said, I see this as a collaborative process. The Straight Dope’s mission has evolved considerably since pre-Internet days. Today we don’t provide answers you can look up just as easily on Wikipedia. Rather, we’re sorting through competing explanations, some of which may be at least moderately illuminating while others are complete |-|0r535|-|17. I expect the SDSAB will be helpful in the filtering process. As has always been the case, I’ll be responsible for reviewing source material, doing offline research, making judgments, and writing the column.

There are entire businesses that do nothing but recycle popular Reddit topics in more readable format!

A good place to start with this is to get rid of the trollz r us thread in the pit. As far as I can tell, the main clue to being a troll is to be a new poster on the board. They just nominate anyone new, then give themselves high fives for the one out of a hundred they get right.

I’m not against like buttons if they are as described by @puzzlegal in one of these threads. However, they seem to be exactly the same as “me too” posts. I also don’t think we even have a lot of me too posts to minimize.

I agree. Whenever this comes up, I just think of people scrolling thru Facebook, liking everything in their feed because of who the person is, and the anticipation of getting likes in return, rather than what they think about the post.

Well, you need to advertise better, I thought it was a gizmo for duck hunting. It’s a dog used in duck hunting. I afraid I can’t “like” your post. :wink:

Can you rephrase this? One way, it looks like a hit on TubaDiva, and I have no idea what STM means in this context. Seize the moment?

My CT is much shorter, I think Ed was offered the job but he wanted the column too. They weren’t willing to put any money behind his effort but said if he could do it off the back of the SDMB, go ahead. As far as any of us know, he’s still in charge, so he could go with his plan if he wants. I think as far as his bosses are concerned it’s Ed’s job, why would they even be looking for someone else?

Did Ed leave? How is the role empty?

Since you’ve been answering all my “like” questions, here’s another. Let’s say 'likes" display as a star and a number appears next to the star as a counter. On my first post I get 2 likes, so I have a star with a 2 beside it. On each post I make from now on, it will always say 2 “likes”. Now I make my second post, which gets 5 “likes”. Does my display now have a star with a 5 by it or a 7 by it? I guess simpler, is it a running total of all your likes spread over the entire board? If I go back to my first post, will it have the running total displayed there or the original 2?

Sorry, the only place I use that has “likes” is Reddit, and in the subs I use there is no reason for me to use them, so I pay no attention to them at all.