Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sad: The Possible Demise Of The Straight Dope

Y'all have read my notes on SDMB before and you know how much everyone who posts there means to me. My friendship with Timespanner/Ice Wolf (Lisa) from New Zealand began there, as did my friendship with Julia, Janis,foodhoe, Margaret and many more who lurk here! (and if I forgot someone, PLEASE correct me because EVERYONE from there deserves inclusion and my thanks!)

So what's goin' on with SDMB?

Click on the title line and it will take you there.

It ain't makin' no money for its owners (heretofore the people who publish Creative Loafing, i.e. The Chicago Reader newspaper).

Recently, the message board was acquired by the Atalaya corporation and no one knows what they may do with us.

The SDMB offers free membership (you see ads, and it is hoped you click on them for revenue) or subscriptions (no ads).

The "Dope" (in case you're just tuning in) has been around in one form or another since 1973. It has nothing to do with drugs and its slogan is "Fighting Ignorance Since 1973. It's Taking Longer Than We Thought!"

So it's an "information think-tank" with some of the smartest people in the WORLD in its membership (your humble blogger excluded, of course). You can go to The Dope, ask a question and normally within minutes, get an answer. In my case, it has even saved me I don't know how much money, by just asking first.

Sure, you can go to google (SORRY Googs!) and do the same thing, but you'll miss out on the "personal" aspect of the reply.

But that's not all that The Dope is about!

Fist of all, we're international, Baby! People from all over the
world post there, and I know this gets overused, but we really are family!

Secondly, we help each other when times get rough.

Someone falls on hard times, is about to lose their "roof": Dopers To The Rescue!

Someone's loved one dies or one of us die? There's always someone with a kind word and/or deed.

A pet dies, someone needs some TLC? Same thing.

It's not Christmas with me unless I can participate in The Doper Christmas Gift Exchange. (Well that and Elf Bowling!!)

And finally, they're my companions/friends/family, and I depend a lot on them just to have someone to "talk" to at any given time.

"The Dope" is the largest and oldest message board of its kind, having existed in the early days as just a newspaper column written by "Cecil Adams" and then progressing to the internet via AOL, and I would be stranded and yes, devastated, if one day I clicked on its link and got the "This Page Cannot Be Displayed" message.

What can you do to keep it going?

Got a few million you aren't using?

Other than that, not much, I'm afraid.

Just wait it out and hope someone in upper level management looks at the "big picture" and not just the profit margin.

The Straight Dope and its members are a huge part of the "German Boy's" life, and I will sure miss 'em all if it shuts down.

I couldn't find a version by Johnny Cash I liked, so here's Roy once again:

The Animal Rescue Site




Timespanner said...

There are at least two international "cyber life rafts" out there if something does happen to the Dope, Bill (Giraffeboard, Domebo), but -- yeah. The 'Net without the Dope wouldn't be the same. I don't head over there except on a blue moon (or less), but I resubscribed this year because I'm a softy and that place has cool memories for me. It's kinda like supporting th' ol' home town, even though I've moved far, far away (yet still sit in the same place!)

Thanks for the head's up -- if it wasn't for your blog, I wouldn't have known. I'll keep an eye on it now, to see what happens. Hopefully, just business as usual.

Margaret said...

Thanks for posting this too, Bill. I almost never read the ATMB forum. Though I'd seen the thread about the new owners, I hadn't paid attention.

I love the SD, even though I don't post there much. My son used to post there and for all I know he might still be on the board-- that possibility sort of makes me reticent to post anything too private. He knows my handle, I use the same one pretty much everywhere online. I had intended to ask for a name change but never got around it. Moot point now, I guess.

Bill Craig said...

IThanks, Margaret and Lisa!

I edited the blog to include Margaret as part of my SDMB kids.


Bill Craig said...

I know, Lisa, but neither of those servers could "take the load" if we lose The Dope, right?

I KNOW things haven't been "hunky-dory" with The Dope lately, but have they with ANYONE/ANYTHING?

We're ALL very TENSE because these are tough times, but it's places like SDMB that bring folks together, and I just cannot bear the THOUGHT of someone needing to be heard or helped and not having The Dope there to provide those things.

And yes, I include myself in the "heard and helped" categories.

I just hope that there's SOMEONE in the Atalaya group who has more than dollar signs in their eyes!

Thanks for your note, my friend!


Bill Craig said...

I wish we could edit these comments, but unless I am missing it, I don't see that option.

What I WANTED to add, Margaret and Lisa, is that The Dope very badly needs an "angel", and by that I don't MEAN another conglomerate looking to make a buck with it.

It will NEVER be a cash cow in that respect, but it COULD be what it is NOW: A place to come to to for answers to questions, to rant and rave, to debate, to discuss and even get a little "TLC" when one needs it!

I KNOW I'll never lose touch with you, Lisa, Margaret, Becks and everyone who reads here, but SDMB is and always has been my "bridge" to the rest of the world.