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Old 10-29-2008, 08:02 AM   #41
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Best of Luck CFB. I have noticed that I am spemdimg less time here lately (other than the last few days when I got a cold. Some mornings I would only read two or three posts, partly because I had other things to do and partly because fewer posts interested me.

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Old 10-29-2008, 08:04 AM   #42
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All the best to you CFB. I'll miss your straight talk and incredible sense of humor. Happy trails and may your frying pan always be filled with the finest bacon!
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Old 10-29-2008, 08:34 AM   #43
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CFB,
Sorry to see you go.

You'll be missed. Wait about 6 months.

Then return.
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Old 10-29-2008, 08:49 AM   #44
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Another change would be more visible moderation. I think more publicity of the moderator process is a good thing--announcing who's been banned, who's been temporarily silenced, and who's at the top of the "Ignore Poster" lists. Too many posters have been confused about what's appropriate or what policies are in effect. Too many other posters seem to be getting away with too much until they suddenly disappear.
Add to this ... having access to who has you on thier ignore list. Ever wonder why a post is not responded to?

Yeah, growth is hard.

P.S. Enjoyed your posts TH/CFB ... sorry to see you go.
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Old 10-29-2008, 08:59 AM   #45
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Hey CFB........take it light. Sorry you are leaving, I'll miss ya.........
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Old 10-29-2008, 09:03 AM   #46
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22,500 posts? I'd say that throttle has been welded open for way too long. Get out of here and play with Gabe while he's little enough to enjoy it! Spend that time with your DW instead of E-R.org or any other board.
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Old 10-29-2008, 09:59 AM   #47
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Andy, I'm not sure that you're getting it. Or perhaps you're answering the questions that you'd rather have heard. But for the benefit of the rest of the members, let me lay it out. I care about this place and I'd like to see it improve, quixotic as the quest may be.

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There is not much I can say to change these facts. There were ads on the site before I acquired it, I simply moved the placement of them. The site already ranked well in the search engines and the mod team worked harder back then dealing with various personalities then we do now.
Sure, I can block advertising, but the change involved more than "simply moving the placement" of the ads. I can't do anything about the delay imposed while the SocialKnowledge site negotiates with adservers. There's not many complaints about that these days because it used to be a lot worse. But compared to other sites, like REHP or Raddr or my local vBulletin board, this board is very slow. The fact is that you can change the board by eliminating the advertising, but you will choose not to do that.

The site ranked well in search engines before you arrived. But now practically everything in the site ranks with search engines, and the resultant crowds are the problem. We had a nasty crowd to deal with back then, and today we have a bigger crowd of slightly-less-nasty individuals. I'd rather have the old crowd back-- there was none of today's agonizing over banning them. A huge crowd of slightly-less-nasty individuals is doing far more collective damage than any of the old nasty crowd could have done by themselves.

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… we created The Soapbox so that members could ignore them, it might not be perfect but it is better then leaving things as they were.
Now let's try to make things even better by taking the next evolutionary step of getting the Soapbox outta here. There are plenty of other places for its ilk, like Morningstar's "Politics" board. If you're concerned about advertising revenue then put it someplace on SocialKnowledge as a separate URL, but separate it from this board and don't make the ER moderators shovel its sewage anymore.

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... I think we can all agree politics and current events play a big role in many of the decisions faced when planning and enjoying ER.
I don't agree. Taxes and timing are important aspects of ER, not political debates or breathless blow-by-blow reporting. I don't think anyone feels that NewGuy was providing a service. Don't try to pass him off as a valued member bravely grappling with ER decisions that affected us all-- after a few months it became clear that he was here to kick up a ruckus, nothing else.

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As you know I started my first forum back in 2002 and it has also had growing pains. As many forums grow they become burdens for the owners and I have adopted/acquired various forums over the years. My philosophy has always been to work with the members and spread the load of moderation over a big enough team so it does not seem like w*rk. Most forums could not exist if it were not for the volunteer moderators and administrators, E-R.org is no exception. The team here is nothing short of amazing and has done an excellent job managing our community.
I know that seeing a site that was once a small tight knit community grow in size, opinions, and rule changes (like no more signatures) might alienate some members. Unfortunately the fluid nature of the community causes us to change as issues present themselves. We have worked hard to accommodate our members who have a diverse set of opinions.
One of the reasons we're having this discussion in public is because I feel that your e-mails & PMs have consistently offered reassurance while continuing to do what you think is important, not what the membership wants. I think the posts on the moderator's board, especially those in the first few months since you took over, will support my opinion. The Navy has another saying-- "Contrition is easier than permission".

"Growing pains" is not something that just happens like sunshine or rainfall. You're making the membership the victims of your own SEO, your advertising, and your "experiments" like "Bailoutsville". It's not "growing pains"-- it's the consequences of your decisions.

As for "no more signatures", once again I'd ask you to look at Raddr's board. Doesn't seem to be an issue there. Not an issue at other vBulletin boards I frequent, where they even (*gasp*) include links with signatures. They don't seem to be suffering any consequences from doing so, either. Maybe it's time to revisit E-R.org's links policy instead of giving the moderators more things to fuss about.

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Originally Posted by Andy R View Post
Unfortunately the fluid nature of the community causes us to change as issues present themselves. We have worked hard to accommodate our members who have a diverse set of opinions.
Again, I feel that the "fluid nature" has been caused by things that you've decided to implement. I agree that the moderators are working hard. I suspect that they're working too hard.

As for your hard work: do we need to revisit the board's privacy policy?

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As you mentioned there are other options on the internet that are provided by their host without ads. Unfortunately at some point when the community gets big enough the host often cannot continue to run the community on that same business model.
My point, Andy, is that they don't even HAVE a business model and they don't need one. Dory didn't sell the board because his "business model" wasn't working, he sold it because he wanted to move on to other things. Dory may take contributions to keep FIRECalc going, but Raddr won't even accept member contributions. Raddr does it because he values it, or because he enjoys it, or because he has more money than he can use and is just flinging away the excess with carefree abandon. But he doesn't run a business, and he certainly doesn't pretend that his business is a community or that he's working hard for its members!

The whole idea of early retirement is that you no longer need to have a "business model". You have a business model because you want the money. Kinda ironic for a board dedicated to ER.

The fundamental conflict is that you're running a business based on gathering huge crowds of new customers. You are alienating the old customers and they're leaving because the board's value has been lost by your revenue-generating changes. The old customers are beginning to suspect that you really don't care about them-- you care about attracting a crowd of new customers. At some point the new customers are going to wonder what the heck happened to the old customers, and why they should hang around. Of course their concerns might be lost amid management's trials & tribulations of dealing with all the new customers.

Maybe churning turnover is considered a good business model. I don't know about that and I don't care about business models. I care about improving this board by taking care of the customers who have demonstrated an interest in ER, who have taken the time to improve the place, and who have contributed to the culture. I don't think we can improve the board by attracting huge crowds of new customers. I think that the customers we want will find us whether or not we're advertising. But the relentless advertising and SEO is attracting a lot of people who are just wasting everyone's time.

Maybe if you took better care of the current customers you wouldn't have to be so focused on attracting new ones. I bet that has a lot to do with how some of the board's members-- and former members-- achieved ER.
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Old 10-29-2008, 10:00 AM   #48
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I wish the board was more like when I joined in 2005... it seems to have gone downhill since Dory and some of the original posters left.
Especially John Galt.
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Old 10-29-2008, 10:10 AM   #49
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And H o c u s, I loved him, too. Sure.
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Old 10-29-2008, 10:12 AM   #50
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Best of luck CFB! I will see you back next week!

and as always....God Bless you
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Old 10-29-2008, 10:14 AM   #51
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¡Que vayas con dios, Bunny!
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Old 10-29-2008, 10:16 AM   #52
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I'd like to point out that my moderator duties are not too much for me to manage--I have a full time job, 12 animals at home, lots of family responsibilities, plus the gym 4 days a week and still find joy in coming here to read, learn and moderate as needed.

It is a unique community, one that I find more interesting in times like these. The burden of moderation is not undue, and the backroom is a place I find both rewarding and hilarious in turn. Andy doesn't spend a lot of time in there with us--I'd say 99% of the decisions made by moderators don't even get so much as a comment from Andy. We get an enormous amount of latitude in determining the tone of our moderation and seldom get an opinion from Andy unless we ask for it.

FWIW, as Ha said in another thread--I love this place, and am both honored and pleased to wear the moderation mantle for my time. Having only been here since 2005, I can't speak of the very early days, but I've seen some great stuff in these few years of participation and see myself here for years to come.
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Old 10-29-2008, 10:25 AM   #53
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bunny! say it ain't so?!

If i had a daddy complex, you would be the object of my obsession!

You will be missed...
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Old 10-29-2008, 10:46 AM   #54
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Noooooo! CFB! Surely you could build an irreversable hack or subroutine that would only allow your browser to go here for an hour every two weeks or so! You don't have to be consumed by this place.

Anyway, if you truly stay gone--adios, and thanks for all the great tips and good humor. You'll be sorely missed.

If you choose to return--I dont think the ribbign would go on very long--and a few pix of Gabe would get the discussion turned in a new direction in a hurry.
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Old 10-29-2008, 11:01 AM   #55
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I just wanted to say that I am reading this thread. I just haven't felt like addressing the matter much because I find it to be depressing and it makes me angry! But another mod said I should post here what I posted "behind the scenes", so here goes:

Nords, I think your motives were undoubtedly good. Many of your points are quite valid, but the way in which you presented them left me feeling stunned.

I did not know this board in "the old days", but I LOVE THIS BOARD. OK, every good thing can use improvement and I wouldn't cry if the Soapbox disappeared. But overall, we have a fine message board here, and I think we should be proud of it just as it is.

Like Sarah, I do not feel overburdened with my mod duties. I put time in when I have it, and don't when I don't.

I have lurked at the other retirement boards mentioned, and a few others, and IMO none hold a candle to this one. The only other related message board that I even like at this time is Bogleheads, and it is more for investing in general than it is a retirement board.

CFB, we miss you. I think we all wish the best for you, your wife, and little Gabe, no matter what you decide to do.
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Old 10-29-2008, 11:03 AM   #56
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Pssst Wellesley(I still believe it was his great idea), the Pat's are good football team, the beer can crushing lady, pancakes on the head, and and and

BACON!

I think I'm gonna cry.

heh heh heh - hmmm maybe go over to Raddr's and lurk for a while.
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Old 10-29-2008, 11:37 AM   #57
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So I wish you all good luck with your various endeavors and may I say that I've most appreciated the humor, friendships, valuable learnings and our shared adventures into the realm of well funded unemployment. For what its worth, I think investing is going to start getting a lot more fun pretty soon.

honestly, now even less reason to visit here.
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Old 10-29-2008, 12:38 PM   #58
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Pssst Wellesley(I still believe it was his great idea), the Pat's are good football team, the beer can crushing lady, pancakes on the head, and and and

BACON!

I think I'm gonna cry.

heh heh heh - hmmm maybe go over to Raddr's and lurk for a while.
Raddr's board has been mentioned several times, and it is a board to pick up some good information. Good quality, but little activity compared to this one. But there is no law that says we have to stayed tied to one board. I look at Raddr's, Bogleheads and a few sports and leisure ones. Still not sure why one has to cut off all ties to a board. If your bored, go do something else as CFB says he will do. But why not pop in every now and then. Surely we haven't all pissed him off.
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So long and thanks for all the tips...
Old 10-29-2008, 12:38 PM   #59
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So long and thanks for all the tips...

Bye and take care, CFB.

I'll miss your posts.

Thanks for all the tips and all the laughs.
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Old 10-29-2008, 12:41 PM   #60
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By the way, CFB, that was quite classy that you came out and acknowledged your real reasons for departure--the time issue. Two snaps for you! Good luck.
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