Hey, this kind of pedantic insularity can’t be found just anywhere on the Internet! …Oh. Well, maybe it can.
This board more than many others I have seen places a value on Provable Fact. Although we have just as many loudmouthed arguments about unimportant trivia, you can actually learn things because people will link to articles and essays and information. I don’t know of many places on the Internet where one forum you’ll read about triboluminescence, the next forum over the Führerbunker, and the next forum about Pong.
We also use complete sentences and refrain from LOL-speak.
At the SDMB you don’t have to be the smartest person in the room. It takes some getting used to, if you’re accustomed to being the Answer Man around your home and/or work. This is a board where you can come to ask very odd questions to which you’ve always wanted the answers and be almost guaranteed that somebody there will be an expert in your field. We have military, police, doctors, nurses, lawyers, pilots, photographers, cameramen, musicians, authors, editors, crossword puzzle designers, cooks, actors, engineers … I couldn’t list all the specialty professions you’ll find here. The cats here are smart. And I mean that.
Go back one step and ask why you want to post on a bulletin board. Message boards are very different from social networking sites. Once you have that answer of why you want to post on a message board (and the answer is yes), then try others.
The reason I might post on the Dope is different than the reasons you might. We’re all different people and have different tastes and interests.
If the answer as to why you might want to post here is not obvious, perhaps it’s not something you want to do.
Partially, it’s about the familiarity with the community which comes after a while. you get comfortable with it, and you become accustomed to using the community at large as a sounding board and as a means just to shoot the shit. This is pretty much what happens with all succesful mesage board communities. I think the appeal for SDMB members in particular lies in the relatively elevated level of intelligence to the discourse (not that I’m claiming we’re so smart, but at least we don’t have a bunch of annoying avatars, and colored sig lines and (most imortantly) inane abbreviations and internet short hand. People talk in complete sentences and don’t use numbers as words. That alone makes the place a welcome safe haven.
It’s also a board that allows for a wide, virtually unlimited range of topics. You can talk about religion, or physics, or vampire literature or pot roast recipes, or politics or taking a dump or whatever else takes your fancy.
I guess, I’d sum it up by saying it’s a good place to find intelligent conversation on practically any topic, even if you do have to get past some of the insularity and in-jokes at first. Don’t worry, though, a couple more days and you’ll be one of us…one of us…one of us…
Not to deny the insularity, but I will say this about it. I think the insularity kind of built to a crescendo in the pay-to-post era, and especially toward the end of it when people knew that “soon” it would be free to post. This caused some people to defer joining or let their memberships lapse. Things got down to a skeleton crew. The new participants in the free-to-post era have added a lot to the board, and from my perspective have been very welcome. I think at least a few of us are looking forward to being less insular.
What **Diogenes **said, more or less. I can’t and won’t speak for you, but were I to join today, I’d probably not stick around. I’ve been here for six years as of a week or two ago, though, and so I’m used to it. It’s simple inertia in my case.
I’m new too and I can tell you the reasons that I’m staying. I’ve spent time on lots of forums and there aren’t many that find a balance between intelligent and interesting debates and posts and a fun community atmosphere. Most are either under-moderated brawls full of one liners and text speak, or over-moderated and with a rarefied and snooty academic atmosphere. Sure, it’s a bit insular like most boards with a community of long time regulars but it’s always like that when you join a new forum. I think that the number of long time posters here is a good sign of a well-run forum. It’s awkward at first and it just takes some time to settle in and get to know people.
ETA: I generally don’t start out by insulting people, though.
Might be the reason why you don’t understand what makes this place valuable. Try a couple dozen other message boards, and you should perceive quite readily why dopers stay here.
That said, message boards might not be your thing, generally speaking.
Hahahahaha. If you feel that way already, I don’t really know what to tell you. I’d recommend you start composing your Pit Threads now to save time later.
The reason I like this place is because it is made of a vast number of intelligent and funny people with diverse interests, experiences, and opinions. I’m a fan of learning, humor, and diversity, so there you go. Also, the asshole-to-nice-person ratio is refreshingly small for the internet.
Are you in some kind of hurry to make this decision? It’s not like you have anything to lose by giving it a shot for a few days. You don’t really have to take our word for it, do you?