Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
The History of Early-Retirement.org
Old 12-13-2010, 09:42 PM   #1
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso) Give me a forum ...
REWahoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Texas Hill Country
Posts: 38,961
The History of Early-Retirement.org

The Beginning

Early-Retirement.org was founded by Dory36, who gives credit to Intercst and his Retire Early Home Page (REHP) website for showing him the way to early retirement:

Quote:
“I discovered the REHP (which led me to my own early retirement) completely by accident.

I had many of the same bad assumptions that others have reported, and was expecting to work for years longer.

A co-worker celebrated his 50th birthday, and the folks at the office papered his office door with "getting old" stuff -- AARP membership forms, webpage printouts on elder care, and so forth. One co-worker taped up a printout of the REHP she had discovered in a search merely for this purpose.

I saw that, and looked at the site out of curiosity. As a result, I retired YEARS before I would have otherwise! Had I not seen that piece of paper posted on a door as a gag, I'd still be there slogging it out every day...”
Inspired by what he saw at the REHP, Dory began to develop a web-based program he called FIRECalc (Financially Independent, Retire Early Calculator) to attempt to answer the question, "With what I have today, and what it costs me to live, can I retire and maintain the same lifestyle?". According to Dory,The goal was to provide some additional options to the explorations made possible by a spreadsheet offered by Intercst on REHP, and make it a user-friendly web application rather than a spreadsheet.”

Dory also joined a small but growing group of individuals on The Motley Fool discussion board who shared his interest in early retirement. When the Motley Fool began to charge a subscription fee, most of the participants scattered to the REHP and other boards. One of these boards was a new site created by Dory and described by BigMoneyJim, the board’s first Admin, as a “…colony founded by Dory on his hobby side-business web server using primitive but friendly CGI bulletin board software.”

The first post on this new Early-Retirement.org website was in June of 2002. Dory had retired (early) and had moved aboard his boat, a 36’ Grand Banks Trawler named Dory by the previous owner, to live his dream of life afloat. This initial post was inauspicious and lacked fanfare, but it marked the launch of a free forum to discuss not only FIRECalc, but also investing, early retirement, the joys of not working and (almost) any other topic under the sun.

Growth and Change

The board grew very slowly - six months after Dory’s first post there were fewer than 75 members. Then the REHP and other FIRE-related discussion boards began to suffer from a number of problems. Some were poorly managed while others focused on limited aspects of investing or early retirement and became less popular. A few closed down entirely. Coincidentally, in November of 2002 Jonathan Clements of the Wall Street Journal published an article mentioning FIRECalc. This, along with the problems mentioned above, helped grow the board to a whopping 280 members by the time E-R.org celebrated its first anniversary.

The next two years saw the board grow five-fold, to more than 1,300 members. From day one, Dory had been the sole moderator on the board even though his “afloat” status saw long stretches where he had no access to the internet or the board. This, combined with increased membership, created the need for changes. As Dory put it,

Quote:
“I had an extended discussion with [CFB] about where we are. He had some interesting insights about the evolution of a community such as ours.

He suggests, and I agree, that we have existed in the recent past as sort of an "extended family picnic" where some people are very fond of each other, others are neutral, and some are at odds, but even those who disagree completely will still limit themselves to the sorts of discussions found in such a gathering, out of respect for the relationship they have.

Now, we are approaching the "nightclub crowd", where few have any relationship with the crowd at large, and many are not concerned with preserving any ongoing relationship. As a result, they don't much care how their comments are received.

In a family picnic, people behave themselves, and when anyone starts to get out of line, words from others are sufficient.

In a night club, they need bouncers.

His point was that we are at the point now where a quiet word to a misbehaving cousin isn't enough.

I guess it's not possible to preserve the atmosphere we once had, and to keep things from descending into a state where the community will be of no interest to anyone, I need some help.


I'd like to ask you to help moderate the forum...

…You have probably gathered that I don't feel it necessary or appropriate to squelch unpopular ideas, but I don't see this as a place for spam, insults, obscenity, or trolling.

Will you help? I suspect that it will typically involve no more than a rare click on a "modify" or "delete"”
The above message was sent to a group of long-time board participants in July of 2005 asking if they would agree to be moderators for the forum – the first of what has become a long line of volunteers contributing to the success of E-R.org. That first group of mods included Cut-Throat, Laurence, Nords, Martha, and REWahoo.

(Martha, one of those first mods, particularly enjoys what she termed the “slight understatement” in the last line of Dory’s appeal.)

New Ownership and Continued Growth

E-R.org continued to grow rapidly with the total number of posts doubling in the second half of 2005, reaching the 100,000 mark in January of 2006 with this post by brewer12345. By January of 2007 board membership had grown to more than 3,000. While the success of the forum was very gratifying for Dory, there was also a very big down side. As he put it in a February 2007 post,

Quote:
“You all have probably noticed I have been decreasingly active here over the past year.

I haven't been particularly happy about that -- but to be honest, the non-social aspects of a forum like this -- backups, software updates and fine tuning, tweaking things on the server to keep performance optimal, tracking down a user's lost account info, and so forth has become a lot like (gulp!) WORK!

What began as a labor of love has become just labor. So what do you do in that situation? I actually considered shutting it all down a while back, but thanks to all of your help, I was able to keep going a lot longer than if the moderators and many of the members weren't here to help.

Besides, I wanted to dump the labor and retain the love! I've been trying to figure out how to do that for a while.”
Dory went on to announce he’d found a buyer for the forum and that Andy R and his growing Social Knowledge organization would be the new owner. Understandably there was a great deal of concern regarding the change – going from a “labor of love” forum to a commercially owned site filled with advertising was greeted with a great deal of skepticism. Andy R and Admin Janet H focused on addressing members concerns, improving the software (adding an “ignore member” feature, etc.) and working to preserve what Andy R described as the unique personality of E-R.org. With a few bumps and bruises, the board survived the transition and continued to grow and gain membership.

Media and Other Attention

One of the factors contributing to the growth of E-R.org has been the repeated attention of the financial media to both FIRECalc and board participants. The board and individual members have been contacted numerous times by the mainstream media who are, as Janet H describes it, “…seeking to get a fast 'pulse' on the real world’s opinion of some emergent issue.” The list of media contacts includes the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Bloomberg, Forbes, Money Magazine, Scott Burns’ column, and others. Several board participants have been profiled by the media, including Crazy Connie and Nords, who were featured in a Fortune magazine article showcasing real-life examples of people who had retired in their 40’s and 50’s.

The board also has among its membership a small group of book authors who have published works on the subject of financial independence and early retirement. Two excellent examples are “Work Less, Live More” by Bob Clyatt (ESR Bob) and “The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement” by Doug Nordman (Nords). Both authors were influenced to some degree by the board and sought the advice, counsel and knowledge of forum members while creating their works Both authors were also generous in their acknowledgement of the inspiration and assistance provided them by various board members.

Just as financial writers are eager to mine what they perceive to be the very lucrative E-R.org membership database, those seeking more direct financial gain are drawn here as well. Topics under discussion draw the unwelcome attention of those who believe they can be of assistance to members by offering some product or service. As an example, a protracted forum discussion of annuities often brings a flurry of new registrations from insurance professionals eager to extol the virtues of their particular version of that product, complete with less than subtle hints to send a PM for more information. The reception these new members receive from board members is reminiscent of watching cats entertain themselves with a captured mouse. In fact, dealing with those who register on the board simply to sell something - be it financial products, snake oil or themselves via their own self-serving blog - is a form of entertainment the board has polished to an art form. A classic example is this thread started by a “self-made millionaire” promoting her website. She obviously had no clue as to what awaited her when she introduced herself.

The Soapbox Experiment

Discussions of politics and religion are the third rail of internet discussion boards. Few other subjects can consistently create so much passion, disagreement, rancor, name calling and threats of physical violence. For the many board members not interested in debating these issues these threads can be an unwelcome source of irritation. For those who are passionate about these subjects, these threads are potential points of conflict and can taint discussions throughout the board. Avoiding these subjects altogether helps foster a civil and welcoming atmosphere on the board. This was the goal when the first Community Rules were formalized and published in April of 2008. (Prior to formally documenting this code of conduct the only guideline for participation on the forum was an unwritten rule: “Don’t be a jerk”.)

From the beginning, religious debate has been off-limits and both Dory36 and the moderators intervened whenever they saw a conversation take a turn down that path. By contrast, political discussions are more complex as there is no clear line separating politics from the many financial issues effecting retirement. For example, taxes have a huge impact on retirement income and taxes are set by our political leaders. How can you have a discussion of tax policy without involving politics?

Politically charged discussions tend to peak on a two-year cycle as we approach national elections in the US, especially when choosing a President. The 2004 election spawned particularly vehement discussions, often turning very personal and combative. Some members objected strongly to allowing these discussions to go on while others complained of “censorship” if the mods stepped in when discussions became unpleasant. The moderation team, not immune to their own political beliefs, struggled to find a balance between a free-for-all donnybrook and stifling legitimate board discussion. One frequently recommended solution was the creation a separate forum on the board, a forum designated specifically for political discussions. This would allow members who did not wish to participate to place the “politics forum” on ignore.

After months of discussion by both the membership and the moderators, a decision was reached to add a politics forum to the board. In April of 2008 the Soap Box was created as an experiment to allow discussion of “… issues concerning public policy, prominent political figures, and topics about governmental conduct.”

The experiment succeeded in confirming that political discussions unrelated to FIRE were not conducive to forum health.

In the months leading up to the November 2008 Presidential elections it became obvious to the moderators the new Soap Box had created more problems than it had solved. Many discussions, no matter how benign initially, turned partisan and quickly ruffled the feathers of those with opposing political philosophies. The opinions and strongly-held beliefs of many of the members participating in the Soap Box sparked heated discussions, often openly hostile and distinctly unpleasant. To make matters worse, these exchanges spilled over into other areas of the board upsetting the many members who wished to avoid political discussions entirely.

The moderators agreed the Soap Box needed to go and once again sought a middle ground to facilitate reasoned discussions involving topics inseparable from politics. A decision was reached to discontinue the Soap Box on January 1, 2009 and create a new FIRE Related Political Topics forum where politics could be discussed provided “…the focus is predominantly opinion based, concerning public policy, prominent political figures, or topics about governmental conduct. Posts must be related to the subject of early retirement in more than a tenuous fashion.” The “be nice” section of the Community Rules was reemphasized and the moderation team was determined to prevent the new forum from following the same unfortunate path that led to the demise of the Soap Box.

As expected, this change was met with mixed reactions. Some expressed their thanks the Soap Box was gone while those who spent much of their time posting to the Soap Box were upset by the loss. A few members, primarily those who posted exclusively on political subjects, left the forum entirely. Others protested but were eventually convinced the decision wasn’t going to be reversed and continued to participate within the new forum rules.

The new FIRE Related Political Topics forum received its first real test during the November 2010 election cycle. Compared to the tenor of the board during the previous three elections cycles, the atmosphere was markedly improved and relatively few moderator actions were required.

Whattya DO all day?

Although there are many often repeated questions relating to financial independence and early retirement, one of the most frequent is how will the early retiree occupy all that free time. This has been discussed so often that “Whattya DO all day?” has become a board catchphrase and led to the creation of one of the longest running and most popular threads on the forum, “What did you do today?”

Started by Khan in the “Life after FIRE” forum, the initial post was a cartoon celebrating the simple joys of early retirement. From there the topic began to be taken literally as members, retired or not, shared their daily activities, accomplishments, trials and tribulations. This peek into the lives of board members struck a chord and has more than 10,000 posts with no sign of slowing down.

Who the heck is Jennifer?

The primary function of the board is to assist, encourage and support those who have an interest in financial independence and early retirement. Second only to “FIRE support” is the board’s ongoing success in providing amusement and, not infrequently, genuine belly laughs. As one member is fond of saying, “Where else can you get so much for your entertainment dollar?”

It would follow that a second very popular and long-running threads is “It’s funny joke Thursday”, started in 2005 by the board’s most prolific poster. The board’s most-viewed thread, the ‘joke thread’ totals more than 3,000 posts and is still going strong. Some members profess placing everything else on the board on “ignore” and only reading this thread – but that’s probably a joke.

Of course the humor on the board isn’t limited to the joke thread; the forum is filled with it. Few threads, no matter how heavy the initial subject, escape a humorous twist or turn. Perhaps there is no better example of just such a thread than this one started by Dory36: This is as weird (and sick) as it gets

This thread also exemplifies another personality trait of the forum: thread hijacking. While many forums have specific rules prohibiting any attempt to vary from the initial subject, no such rule exists at E-R.org. “Threadjacking” is a high art form on the board with the underlying concept that if the subject bears discussing, thread participants will eventually steer it back on course. This free-wheeling, often irreverent approach, combined with the irrepressible sense of humor displayed by many posters, does occasionally irritate new members – until they understand this is merely part of the entertainment package provided by the forum – free of charge!

A few of the more memorable events, running gags, and enduring legends include dryer sheets, Cute Fuzzy Bunny (CFB) posting photos of animals with food on their heads, unclemick making reference to the Norwegian widow or tossing in helpful “heh, heh, heh – psst…Wellesley” investment advice, bacon (the board’s version of crack cocaine) and of course Day of the Jennifer - but there are many, many others. Although these links can provide insight, the only way to truly understand and appreciate what has transpired here is to have been there at the time – or to become an active E-R.org member and participate in the creation of new experiences!

The History Continues

Whatever the reasons, the chemistry found at E-R.org has proven to be highly successful.
It is unlikely Dory36 envisioned his small board of fewer than 75 members in 2002 would grow to more than 10,000 by the end of 2010. Or that the number of posts per month would increase from a light sprinkle to a torrent of more than 17,000! Growth hasn’t been linear; it has ebbed and flowed with both the election cycle and especially with the economy. The economic downturn in 2008 was mirrored on the board – something to be expected when the hopes of early retirement for so many suddenly dimmed. As the economy and the markets began to improve, increases in the volume of posts and new membership registrations reflected this upswing. By October of 2010 more than 400 new members per month were joining the board in order to learn, participate and, just perhaps, become the next Cute Fuzzy Bunny.
__________________

__________________
Numbers is hard.

The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts while the stupid ones are full of confidence. - Charles Bukowski

Retired in 2005 at age 58, no pension

REWahoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 12-13-2010, 09:51 PM   #2
gone traveling
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,864
Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
The Beginning

Early-Retirement.org was founded by Dory36, who gives credit to Intercst and his Retire Early Home Page (REHP) website for showing him the way to early retirement:

Inspired by what he saw at the REHP, Dory began to develop a web-based program he called FIRECalc (Financially Independent, Retire Early Calculator) to attempt to answer the question, "With what I have today, and what it costs me to live, can I retire and maintain the same lifestyle?". According to Dory, “The goal was to provide some additional options to the explorations made possible by a spreadsheet offered by Intercst on REHP, and make it a user-friendly web application rather than a spreadsheet.”Dory also joined a small but growing group of individuals on The Motley Fool discussion board who shared his interest in early retirement. When the Motley Fool began to charge a subscription fee, most of the participants scattered to the REHP and other boards. One of these boards was a new site created by Dory and described by BigMoneyJim, the board’s first Admin, as a “…colony founded by Dory on his hobby side-business web server using primitive but friendly CGI bulletin board software.”

The first post on this new Early-Retirement.org website was in June of 2002. Dory had retired (early) and had moved aboard his boat, a 36’ Grand Banks Trawler named Dory by the previous owner, to live his dream of life afloat. This initial post was inauspicious and lacked fanfare, but it marked the launch of a free forum to discuss not only FIRECalc, but also investing, early retirement, the joys of not working and (almost) any other topic under the sun.

Growth and Change

The board grew very slowly - six months after Dory’s first post there were fewer than 75 members. Then the REHP and other FIRE-related discussion boards began to suffer from a number of problems. Some were poorly managed while others focused on limited aspects of investing or early retirement and became less popular. A few closed down entirely. Coincidentally, in November of 2002 Jonathan Clements of the Wall Street Journal published an article mentioning FIRECalc. This, along with the problems mentioned above, helped grow the board to a whopping 280 members by the time E-R.org celebrated its first anniversary.

The next two years saw the board grow five-fold, to more than 1,300 members. From day one, Dory had been the sole moderator on the board even though his “afloat” status saw long stretches where he had no access to the internet or the board. This, combined with increased membership, created the need for changes. As Dory put it,

The above message was sent to a group of long-time board participants in July of 2005 asking if they would agree to be moderators for the forum – the first of what has become a long line of volunteers contributing to the success of E-R.org. That first group of mods included Cut-Throat, Laurence, Nords, Martha, and REWahoo.

(Martha, one of those first mods, particularly enjoys what she termed the “slight understatement” in the last line of Dory’s appeal.)

New Ownership and Continued Growth

E-R.org continued to grow rapidly with the total number of posts doubling in the second half of 2005, reaching the 100,000 mark in January of 2006 with this post by brewer12345. By January of 2007 board membership had grown to more than 3,000. While the success of the forum was very gratifying for Dory, there was also a very big down side. As he put it in a February 2007 post,

Dory went on to announce he’d found a buyer for the forum and that Andy R and his growing Social Knowledge organization would be the new owner. Understandably there was a great deal of concern regarding the change – going from a “labor of love” forum to a commercially owned site filled with advertising was greeted with a great deal of skepticism. Andy R and Admin Janet H focused on addressing members concerns, improving the software (adding an “ignore member” feature, etc.) and working to preserve what Andy R described as the unique personality of E-R.org. With a few bumps and bruises, the board survived the transition and continued to grow and gain membership.

Media and Other Attention

One of the factors contributing to the growth of E-R.org has been the repeated attention of the financial media to both FIRECalc and board participants. The board and individual members have been contacted numerous times by the mainstream media who are, as Janet H describes it, “…seeking to get a fast 'pulse' on the real world’s opinion of some emergent issue.” The list of media contacts includes the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Bloomberg, Forbes, Money Magazine, Scott Burns’ column, and others. Several board participants have been profiled by the media, including Crazy Connie and Nords, who were featured in a Fortune magazine article showcasing real-life examples of people who had retired in their 40’s and 50’s.

The board also has among its membership a small group of book authors who have published works on the subject of financial independence and early retirement. Two excellent examples are “Work Less, Live More” by Bob Clyatt (ESR Bob) and “The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement” by Doug Nordman (Nords). Both authors were influenced to some degree by the board and sought the advice, counsel and knowledge of forum members while creating their works Both authors were also generous in their acknowledgement of the inspiration and assistance provided them by various board members.

Just as financial writers are eager to mine what they perceive to be the very lucrative E-R.org membership database, those seeking more direct financial gain are drawn here as well. Topics under discussion draw the unwelcome attention of those who believe they can be of assistance to members by offering some product or service. As an example, a protracted forum discussion of annuities often brings a flurry of new registrations from insurance professionals eager to extol the virtues of their particular version of that product, complete with less than subtle hints to send a PM for more information. The reception these new members receive from board members is reminiscent of watching cats entertain themselves with a captured mouse. In fact, dealing with those who register on the board simply to sell something - be it financial products, snake oil or themselves via their own self-serving blog - is a form of entertainment the board has polished to an art form. A classic example is this thread started by a “self-made millionaire” promoting her website. She obviously had no clue as to what awaited her when she introduced herself.

The Soapbox Experiment

Discussions of politics and religion are the third rail of internet discussion boards. Few other subjects can consistently create so much passion, disagreement, rancor, name calling and threats of physical violence. For the many board members not interested in debating these issues these threads can be an unwelcome source of irritation. For those who are passionate about these subjects, these threads are potential points of conflict and can taint discussions throughout the board. Avoiding these subjects altogether helps foster a civil and welcoming atmosphere on the board. This was the goal when the first Community Rules were formalized and published in April of 2008. (Prior to formally documenting this code of conduct the only guideline for participation on the forum was an unwritten rule: “Don’t be a jerk”.)

From the beginning, religious debate has been off-limits and both Dory36 and the moderators intervened whenever they saw a conversation take a turn down that path. By contrast, political discussions are more complex as there is no clear line separating politics from the many financial issues effecting retirement. For example, taxes have a huge impact on retirement income and taxes are set by our political leaders. How can you have a discussion of tax policy without involving politics?

Politically charged discussions tend to peak on a two-year cycle as we approach national elections in the US, especially when choosing a President. The 2004 election (Bush vs. Gore) spawned particularly vehement discussions, often turning very personal and combative. Some members objected strongly to allowing these discussions to go on while others complained of “censorship” if the mods stepped in when discussions became unpleasant. The moderation team, not immune to their own political beliefs, struggled to find a balance between a free-for-all donnybrook and stifling legitimate board discussion. One frequently recommended solution was the creation a separate forum on the board, a forum designated specifically for political discussions. This would allow members who did not wish to participate to place the “politics forum” on ignore.

After months of discussion by both the membership and the moderators, a decision was reached to add a politics forum to the board. In April of 2008 the Soap Box was created as an experiment to allow discussion of “… issues concerning public policy, prominent political figures, and topics about governmental conduct.”

The experiment succeeded in confirming that political discussions unrelated to FIRE were not conducive to forum health.

In the months leading up to the November 2008 Presidential elections it became obvious to the moderators the new Soap Box had created more problems than it had solved. Many discussions, no matter how benign initially, turned partisan and quickly ruffled the feathers of those with opposing political philosophies. The opinions and strongly-held beliefs of many of the members participating in the Soap Box sparked heated discussions, often openly hostile and distinctly unpleasant. To make matters worse, these exchanges spilled over into other areas of the board upsetting the many members who wished to avoid political discussions entirely.

The moderators agreed the Soap Box needed to go and once again sought a middle ground to facilitate reasoned discussions involving topics inseparable from politics. A decision was reached to discontinue the Soap Box on January 1, 2009 and create a new FIRE Related Political Topics forum where politics could be discussed provided “…the focus is predominantly opinion based, concerning public policy, prominent political figures, or topics about governmental conduct. Posts must be related to the subject of early retirement in more than a tenuous fashion.” The “be nice” section of the Community Rules was reemphasized and the moderation team was determined to prevent the new forum from following the same unfortunate path that led to the demise of the Soap Box.

As expected, this change was met with mixed reactions. Some expressed their thanks the Soap Box was gone while those who spent much of their time posting to the Soap Box were upset by the loss. A few members, primarily those who posted exclusively on political subjects, left the forum entirely. Others protested but were eventually convinced the decision wasn’t going to be reversed and continued to participate within the new forum rules.

The new FIRE Related Political Topics forum received its first real test during the November 2010 election cycle. Compared to the tenor of board during the previous three elections cycles, the atmosphere was markedly improved and relatively few moderator actions were required.

Whattya DO all day?

Although there are many often repeated questions relating to financial independence and early retirement, one of the most frequent is how will the early retiree occupy all that free time. This has been discussed so often that “Whattya DO all day?” has become a board catchphrase and led to the creation of one of the longest running and most popular threads on the forum, “What did you do today?”

Started by Kahn in the “Life after FIRE” forum, the initial post was a cartoon celebrating the simple joys of early retirement. From there the topic began to be taken literally as members, retired or not, shared their daily activities, accomplishments, trials and tribulations. This peek into the lives of board members struck a chord and has grown to than 6,000 posts with no sign of slowing down.

Who the heck is Jennifer?

The primary function of the board is to assist, encourage and support those who have an interest in financial independence and early retirement. Second only to “FIRE support” is the board’s ongoing success in providing amusement and, not infrequently, genuine belly laughs. As one member is fond of saying, “Where else can you get so much for your entertainment dollar?”

It would follow that a second very popular and long-running threads is “It’s funny joke Thursday”, started in 2005 by the board’s most prolific poster. The board’s most-viewed thread, the ‘joke thread’ totals more than 2,500 posts and is still going strong. Some members profess placing everything else on the board on “ignore” and only reading this thread – but that’s probably a joke.

Of course the humor on the board isn’t limited to the joke thread; the forum is filled with it. Few threads, no matter how heavy the initial subject, escape a humorous twist or turn. Perhaps there is no better example of just such a thread than this one started by Dory36: This is as weird (and sick) as it gets

This thread also exemplifies another personality trait of the forum: thread hijacking. While many forums have specific rules prohibiting any attempt to vary from the initial subject, no such rule exists at E-R.org. “Threadjacking” is a high art form on the board with the underlying concept that if the subject bears discussing, thread participants will eventually steer it back on course. This free-wheeling, often irreverent approach, combined with the irrepressible sense of humor displayed by many posters, does occasionally irritate new members – until they understand this is merely part of the entertainment package provided by the forum – free of charge!

A few of the more memorable events, running gags, and enduring legends include dryer sheets, Cute Fuzzy Bunny (CFB) posting photos of animals with food on their heads, unclemick making reference to the Norwegian widow or tossing in helpful “heh, heh, heh – psst…Wellesley” investment advice, bacon (the board’s version of crack cocaine) and of course Day of the Jennifer - but there are many, many others. Although these links can provide insight, the only way to truly understand and appreciate what has transpired here is to have been there at the time – or to become an active E-R.org member and participate in the creation of new experiences!

The History Continues

Whatever the reasons, the chemistry found at E-R.org has proven to be highly successful.
It is unlikely Dory36 envisioned his small board of fewer than 75 members in 2002 would grow to more than 10,000 by the end of 2010. Or that the number of posts per month would increase from a light sprinkle to a torrent of more than 17,000! Growth hasn’t been linear; it has ebbed and flowed with both the election cycle and especially with the economy. The economic downturn in 2008 was mirrored on the board – something to be expected when the hopes of early retirement for so many suddenly dimmed. As the economy and the markets began to improve, increases in the volume of posts and new membership registrations reflected this upswing. By October of 2010 more than 400 new members per month were joining the board in order to learn, participate and, just perhaps, become the next Cute Fuzzy Bunny.
Thanks, ReW for the great synopsis; very enlightening for those of us who joined within the last few years.
__________________

__________________
Westernskies is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2010, 10:12 PM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
dex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 5,094
Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
The first post on this new Early-Retirement.org website was in June of 2002.
I didn't realize I was here not too long after the beginning.
__________________
Sometimes death is not as tragic as not knowing how to live. This man knew how to live--and how to make others glad they were living. - Jack Benny at Nat King Cole's funeral
dex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2010, 10:18 PM   #4
Administrator
Janet H's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 4,770
Nicely done Ken, et. al - this is a great read!
__________________
E-R.org Custom Google Search | You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. (Robin Williams)
Janet H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2010, 10:36 PM   #5
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
bbbamI's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Dallas 'burb
Posts: 8,962
Thank you....from this four year old forum member.

A toast to ER.org.
__________________
There's no need to complicate, our time is short..
bbbamI is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2010, 02:25 AM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
vicente solano's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,116
Disovering this forum was one of my last year´s accomplishments
__________________
I get by with a little help from my friends....ta ta ta ta ta...
vicente solano is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2010, 04:10 AM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
RonBoyd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 5,113
Wonderfully done. Thank you. It was an enjoyable 45-minute respite. (However, having WS make me read it all over again was a bit much.)
__________________
"It's tough to make predictions, especially when it involves the future." ~Attributed to many
"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is." ~(perhaps by) Yogi Berra
"Those who have knowledge, don't predict. Those who predict, don't have knowledge."~ Lau tzu
RonBoyd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2010, 05:59 AM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
brewer12345's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 15,890
Very nice and politely restrained.

I originally came here after the REHP board on TMF founded by intercst degenerated into RWCJ (Right Wing Circle, um, "Joy"). Wonder how many other posters are refugees from that mess.
__________________
"Neither my companion or I carry firearms on our persons. We depend on the goodwill of our fellow man and the forbearance of reptiles."


- English Bob
brewer12345 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2010, 06:39 AM   #9
Full time employment: Posting here.
bruce1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Hagersville
Posts: 793
Very Well Done. This brought back a few memories that I had forgotten. I did not realize the board was less than two years old when I joined.
__________________
I wish I was half as good as my dog thinks I am!
bruce1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2010, 07:14 AM   #10
Moderator Emeritus
Khan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Pine Island, Florida
Posts: 6,801
Send a message via AIM to Khan
Now I'm famous.
__________________
"Knowin' no one nowhere's gonna miss us when we're gone..."
Khan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2010, 07:40 AM   #11
Moderator
Alan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Eee Bah Gum
Posts: 18,738
An entertaining read - thanks REW

I came here from a link on the REHP site and hadn't realized until now that this forum was only 3 years old at the time.
__________________
Retired in Jan, 2010 at 55
Now it's adventure before dementia
Alan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2010, 07:46 AM   #12
gone traveling
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,864
Quote:
Originally Posted by Khan View Post
Now I'm famouser.
Fixed that for you!
__________________
Westernskies is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2010, 07:52 AM   #13
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 364
One thing I've always wondered about - about sites like this in general: so the owner, Social Knowledge, pays for web hosting and related expenses, and covers this by running the small ads we see here? Is that all the owner gets of this? Just curious.

Thanks for the history!
__________________
Joe
(retired 2009, age 48)
JoeDreaming is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2010, 07:59 AM   #14
gone traveling
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,864
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeDreaming View Post
Is that all the owner gets of this?
AND he gets to put up with us...what a gig!
__________________
Westernskies is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2010, 08:06 AM   #15
Moderator
Sarah in SC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 13,388
Nice job, REW! Your synopsis made me miss some of our earlier participants and wonder how they are doing these days. I love Dory's description of the transition from family picnic to nightclub scene.
Thanks for your research!
__________________
“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching.”
Gerard Arthur Way

Sarah in SC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2010, 08:46 AM   #16
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 10,688
I joined ER.org in the post-Dory era, so it was nice to read about the early days of this forum. Thanks REW!
__________________
42 y/o, married, retirement portfolio = 43 x annual expenses
FIREd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2010, 09:00 AM   #17
Moderator Emeritus
Rich_by_the_Bay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 8,827
Well done, REW.

Lets get it into the archives if it's not already there.
__________________
Rich
San Francisco Area
ESR'd March 2010. FIRE'd January 2011.

As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
Rich_by_the_Bay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2010, 09:23 AM   #18
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,072
Great job - I missed the Jennifer Day but had actually read or been involved in many of those threads (or lurked!). I love the Dory36 cartoon video of the guy behind the computer screen typing and then smashing his head - the eyeball flying off is great!
__________________
Deserat aka Bridget
“We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.” - George Orwell/Winston Churchill
deserat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2010, 09:48 AM   #19
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 404
A reminder of how time flies. I don't post very often, but have been around since the very early days. Is it my imagination, or was CFB once TH?

Peter
__________________
Peter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2010, 09:53 AM   #20
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 81
Very informative for all of us relative newcomers. Thanks for providing the backstory to this great website.
__________________

__________________
av8er is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Early-Retirement.org Acquires FIRECalc Andy R Forum Admin 10 04-15-2010 08:40 AM
What will the the future of www.early-retirement.org ? dex Other topics 158 09-05-2009 02:20 PM
The official Early-Retirement.org vehicle? Nords Other topics 0 08-19-2005 10:27 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:56 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.