straightacting.com dead?

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Re: straightacting.com dead?

Postby drtom » Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:22 pm

Earl Butz wrote:That's only half the reason. The other reason is not enough people come here anymore.

eg. Only two topics today and this is one of them! :?


Unfortunately, the spammer issue went on for way too long - about TWO YEARS. The board was initially taken over by spammers. Then we were switched to a service that screened all posts before they went to the site. That stopped the spam but several others and myself could never post during that period. The service company went out of business and we were back to the spam. The board then moved to new software, which didn't work. We switched back to the old software and were hit again with the spam. Finally, Lou got involved and it was finally fixed. Unfortunately, I think we lost about 80% of regular posters during those two years. I'm not complaining. It just happened. People do other things in the interim, however, and form new habits.

We are now in a catch-22 or chicken-and-egg situation. You're not going to attract regular posters until you have a critical mass of people posting, but you need to attract regular posters to build that critical mass. It is almost like starting the board from scratch. It would take a significant amount of work to get the site going again. Not impossible and I think worth it, but who would do it? I’d be happy to help, but I have no time to spare right now. It’s too bad something wasn’t done for the 10th anniversary of the board. It would be sad to see SA go.
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Re: straightacting.com dead?

Postby Schlodesss » Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:10 pm

Yeah it's sad, unfortunately FB has taken away alot... but a lot left on their own, because they had beef w. someone and took the net too seriously or what have you. I dunno. I like this site too. If it does shut down, I can say I posted [not like crazy but was active] pretty much till the end.
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Re: straightacting.com dead?

Postby nimby » Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:56 pm

Yeah, I try to post as much as I can about topics that would be of interest to lots, but no bites. I like this place and would be very sad to see it go. Would maybe spicing things up a little help?
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Re: straightacting.com dead?

Postby drtom » Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:12 pm

Unfortunately, I don’t think it is a matter of spicing things up. The eyeballs are just not there. Go to the end of this forum and you will find two threads from March 2006 and earlier with 7 replies. This was prior to the spam issue. There are close to 1,000 views each. These threads are about mundane topics, but that was typical traffic back then. I started a thread on the 10th anniversary of the board in SA news. It got 7 replies and only 162 views (as of this date and time)! In this forum, I picked 5 threads with 7 replies (the more replies – the greater the views): Smoking, Blond for a day, Godless, Happy Birthday Solat and Here I am. Average views (as of this date and time) are 163 – almost identical to my thread. This is a HUGE decrease in eyeballs. The site just doesn’t have the traffic, and the little it does have comes from lurkers not posters (I know I’m guilty of this). Big problem.

Yes, Earl has a point – Facebook is popular. However, there are many people like me that despise MySpace and Facebook. Moreover, this site has enormous potential (in my opinion) that you could never duplicate on Facebook.

What made this site popular? Well – the guys of course. All of you who still post and the many that don’t. You made the site. Aside from the guys, however, Tom-SA was one sharp ingenious promoter. He picked a great name for the site that created a certain amount of controversy. He had the straightacting quizzes that were VERY popular. He had the Cover model contest – and MUCH MUCH more. Articles were written about the site in numerous gay publications all over the US. All of this drove a LOT of traffic to the site and the board.

The board can be revived, but it will take some work. We should have had an online party last June. I have contact info for several former board members who don’t post or visit anymore and I bet I could get them back for a special online get together. I’m sure all the current posters know of several former members too. If we all did this, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if we didn’t get 50 people back online at least for that event. The site would still need to be promoted on a regular basis. Sorry guys, but vibrant online communities don’t happen by accident. Tom-SA had to invest a lot of time, effort and energy to build this site and get the traffic. It could be brought back to life. I don’t know if Tom-SA would allow that. This is his site and he’s the boss. I think it would take more work than money. This place just has enormous potential – but it needs to be nurtured and I’m afraid it has been somewhat neglected. I’d hate to see it go. I remember what SA was like not long ago. It changed peoples lives.

PS. I always read your posts Michael (nimby) - nice to see you sticking around.
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Re: straightacting.com dead?

Postby drtom » Thu Jan 27, 2011 12:00 am

Hey Guys:

Just heard from Lou. I think you can stop worrying about Tom-SA dropping the board. Lou doesn’t believe that is going to happen.

A thank you to Chip for the facebook account.

So let’s use this scare to take some further action. Thursday, June 2nd is the 11th anniversary of the board. That’s about four months away – plenty of time to plan something. Let’s have a brainstorming session. We set a goal of getting 100+ guys on the board June 2nd. Let's try to get as many old timers as we can back that day and also strive to get a batch of new guys. How are we going to do this? No critiquing ideas until we get a couple of dozen. Just toss out anything that comes to mind. Once we get a nice list, we can critically evaluate the options. Present final ideas to Lou and Tom for approval at the end.

I'll start:

Make a list of gay publications with editor name and email address. Write a press release about SA and submit to get the site some publicity. Need a couple of months lead time for this.

Revive the photo contest at least for the anniversary. Announce winner on June 2nd. Or require contestants to make a youtube video about themselves instead of a photo. Video is rated on a straightacting scale and a winner is selected for each category and overall. I bet you could get coverage in several gay publications over this.

OK - your turn. Again, no critiquing ideas until we get a couple of dozen. Just toss out anything that comes to mind for now.
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Re: straightacting.com dead?

Postby Gaydudelaf » Thu Jan 27, 2011 12:21 am

What financial support is needed for the site? Also we need to get our act together in terms of how to use this site:

What should we post on here and NOT on Facebook?
How much is needed to give us an extra year (and I will contribute $$$)?
What is the possibility of us having an SA.com get together somewhere and celebrating this birthday together?
How can we leverage Facebook to draw traffic to this account?
What else can we do to drive traffic back?
Is it possible to get some members to clean the slate and come back?
Are there some members who we should discourage from returning?
MOST IMPORTANTLY: What exactly needs to be done and how do we divey up the work!

I am in guys! I am getting my life back together and recovering from a horrible chapter in my life. I really want to help move this forward and as part of my new life!

HUGS! I am excited that we are going to try to do this!


PS: I read your posts too nimby and you have one erotic eye! :))
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Re: straightacting.com dead?

Postby Earl Butz » Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:20 am

Whew. Well I hope Lou is right. Thanks, Doc. :P

Sorry to dump on the Facebook group Chip, but the conversations there tend toward the superficial. That's what I like about this place. You can really talk about something meaningful here, and get a response.

I didn't know the history of this place or how much work Tom put into it in the beginning. Gee we all owe him a debt of gratitude.

One obvious and huge advantage this place has over Facebook is anonymity. I think most newcomers tend to be in the closet, looking for support. We need to exploit that advantage somehow!
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Re: straightacting.com dead?

Postby Gaydudelaf » Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:06 am

No offense taken Earl. In fact, I can see the distinction and thats something that needs to be considered if everyone decides to help get this bird in the air again.
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Re: straightacting.com dead?

Postby drtom » Thu Jan 27, 2011 12:49 pm

Earl Butz wrote:I didn't know the history of this place or how much work Tom put into it in the beginning. Gee we all owe him a debt of gratitude.


Absolutely. I was very impressed when I first saw the site. Tom did a lot of work. It was his promotional ideas that really caught my eye, however. He basically created a system that continually encouraged traffic to the board with minimal ongoing effort. If you took the straightacting quiz, for example, you could download an icon with your rating that would link back to the site. Very clever! This was just one of the many things he did.

Lou also needs to be commended for the effort and energy to finally fix the spam problem. But with the economy in the toilet and Tom running a business, he doesn’t have the time to put in here. This place makes no money, but costs money. So now it’s our turn. We need to roll up our sleeves and get to work. We can do this. It would be great to bring the board back to where it was not long ago.

Earl Butz wrote:One obvious and huge advantage this place has over Facebook is anonymity. I think most newcomers tend to be in the closet, looking for support. We need to exploit that advantage somehow!


You make an EXCELLENT point. Moreover, the new board software lets you create hidden forums and exclude those forums from the search engines. So we could have a hidden forum for members only that would not be indexed and reserved for sensitive matters. That and the anonymity are major advantages. Mark Zuckerberg admitted in a New Yorker profile that he mocked early Facebook users for trusting him with their personal information – he called them “dumb f*cks.” Hey – what a nice guy. Tom, Lou and Normen – these are good men. I despise Facebook and don’t trust the company behind it. But it is popular. I think we ought to be able to capitalize on its popularity and use it for our advantage in promoting SA.

This place has so much potential. I’m not worried about keeping people coming back once it reaches critical mass again. I think it will just take off. The hard part is reaching critical mass. Plus we need a system to continually drive traffic to the site. An acquaintance of mine ran boards for years going all the way back to the CompuServe days. He also took a few courses on building online communities. He says you need about 20 regular posters and about 30 occasional posters along with an ongoing means of attracting newcomers to achieve a dynamic community. And stats show that you get a poster for about every 100 lurkers. So we need about 5,000 eyeballs on this site. This place had that at one time. We can do it again.
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Re: straightacting.com dead?

Postby glas_scot » Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:39 pm

I will also help as much as I can with reviving the site. I've learned so much from here and I check the site on a daily basis. I would hate to lose it.

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Re: straightacting.com dead?

Postby Guinness Fan » Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:01 pm

Sounds like we need a marketing or advertising exec...Unfortunately I'm not one...

I stumbled upon this site a couple years ago ~ don't even remember how I was directed to it so I can't suggest any marketing ploys. This is the only board that I frequent with any degree of regularity, so I can't comment on what the other sites have to offer compared to this one...nor have I met any of the guys on here ~ current members or ones that have drifted away, so I don't know how to drum up business...

But, that being said ~ count me in, I'd like to help keep this board alive ~ I really enjoy it. I like the layout & ease of use...In short, I feel at "home" here...

Not being a computer guy and not having (nor do I intend to) a Facebook page, how about a simple fix (so sayth the Luddite) on this site's main page? The site lists the Straight Acting quiz and a couple of others that have been under construction (the SA job quiz & K-9 quiz). When you click on them it directs you to sign into Facebook. Looks like we're directing potential board members to the "dark side". Is there any way we can have the quizes hooked directly into the SA site?
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Re: straightacting.com dead?

Postby nimby » Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:01 pm

Yeah, the facebook route is not one I want to take. I'm not totally out, nor do I want to be right now. I don't trust facebook with all my personal info at all.

Here's an idea just for fun. How about a members' body parts contest? I know we have restrictions we have to follow, but how about, say abs, or back, arms, butt (covered of course :D ), basket, pitts, legs? Hmmm? You can keep it totally anonymous if you like, but imagine the fun we can have. Is there a way we can download pics directly from our own PCs? I don't want to have to post on facebook or photobucket in order to post here.

I chat this place up at every chance I get. I belong to a couple of support groups where I've mentioned SA and there has been some interest. Maybe I'll just start giving the address out willy nilly, though I don't want to attract the wrong kind. I still feel like a newby here and want to follow the rules.

And thanks for the nice words guys. I appreciate it. This place has been a great help for me during my voyage down the alternate path, and I try t o keep things going as best I can. We can be erotic and sensual without being pornographic, and have a helluva time doing so. Remember, the best sexual organ we have is between our ears. :twisted:
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Re: straightacting.com dead?

Postby drtom » Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:33 pm

I’ll tell you this story to make all of you feel good. I have a friend who has a popular youtube channel. He has over 35,000 subscribers. His youtube channel has gotten over 5 MILLION views. One of his videos has over 500,000 views alone. He can post a video one-day and have thousands of views the next day. The guy also has a website and forum just like SA. How’s the forum doing? WORSE than SA. He has 500+ members and almost nobody posts. Everyone posts on his youtube wall or responses to his videos - and you can’t carry on intelligent conversations that way!!! I really think he should disable responses to his videos, create a new thread on his forum for every new video he makes and embed the video in the first post of the forum thread and get everyone to post there. You could actually carry on conversations then. Oh well - build it and they will come is NOT true.

Actually Michael, I like your idea. I’m sure there must be an extension to the forum software that would allow posters to upload pictures without using an external service. We need a few neat things like your idea that can be done on a regular basis to encourage people to re-visit the site.

I’m not at all worried about keeping everything going once we overcome this catch-22. If we hadn’t been hit with the spam problem, I don’t believe we’d be in the position we are today. The board seems to have disintegrated over that. So I want to elaborate more on what I believe Tom-SA did when he started this board. I say “believe” because I wasn’t here when the board started and I’ve never talked to Tom-SA about this. When I first came here I noticed how the site attracted people and thought it was very ingenious. Tom-SA has a degree in marketing from a school in Indiana if I’m not mistaken – and it shows. He’s a sharp guy and business savy.

He created this straightacting quiz that was very popular. It was also somewhat controversial because a few gay guys got their panties in a wad about the perceived (non-existent) implications that they should be acting straight. This was all tongue-n-cheek with Tom-SA. Many gay publications ran stories about the site.

So the publicity provided the initial boost needed to get things off the ground. This is how I believe Tom-SA overcame the catch-22, which all boards have when they first start out. Now since SA will be 11 years old this June, if we had some type of special event I’m sure we could get coverage in many gay publications which would provide the needed boost now.

Back to the quiz - this is the ingenious part and I really admire how he did this. People took the quiz and they could download a little icon signifying their score and paste it on their own website or online profile etc. The icon would link back to SA. People would see the icon, click on it, visit SA, visit the board, take the quiz and get their own little icon. This was the gift that kept on giving – more and more traffic to the site with almost no effort. After the first few years, I don’t think Tom-SA really promoted the site. It promoted itself. There was a constant steam of new people. If we can do something like this, we can get the board back in shape just like it was just a few years ago.

So, this is what I’m proposing to do:

1) Schedule some type of online event for June 2 and publicize it. Also make an all out effort to bring old board members back for the event. Hopefully many will stick around. We need to brainstorm here.
2) We need a system like the above that once we put in motion – it is the gift that keeps giving. We get a constant stream of new blood. Get the SA quiz back online? Try something else? We need to brainstorm here too.
3) Implement an idea like Michael’s above on a regular basis to keep things interesting – or as Michael says spice it up. We need to resolve the catch-22, however. #3 keeps the eyeballs coming back, but we need to get them here to begin with. I like Michael’s idea, but feel free to suggest more.

Hey – we can do this. Comments, suggestions, ideas please.
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Re: straightacting.com dead?

Postby nimby » Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:14 pm

I think we can also usea bit of a clarification somewhere on the term, "straight acting", as it can be a little misleading. How about something like, "masculine leaning"?

And I still think a dating section would be useful so us, "straight acting" guys can find a like minded partner; there have been a lot of lonely hearts opening up here lately, looking for that special someone. I tried starting a thread on this, but it didn't really take off. Maybe a database of members looking for partners that is searchable by geographic location?
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Re: straightacting.com dead?

Postby furface » Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:58 pm

Dr. Tom wrote:...I’m sure there must be an extension to the forum software that would allow posters to upload pictures without using an external service...

There is built into this version of phpBB a module to allow the upload of attachments to both posts and PMs and manage them by individual forum/subforum. This management includes file type, max/min size, etc. I'm looking at it and it's possible to enable that feature with little effort. Administrating it is still a question for me.

glas_scot wrote:The hidden forums are very useful. I use another forum where hidden forums are used for people attending trips and another one for the Moderators. I really like them personally.

This iteration of phpBB has the capability of creating private forums, hidden forums, password protected forums (and subforums) with relative ease. There are currently a brace of hidden restricted forums carried over from the previous version f the board.

As a bit of history... The original site had a series of pages and a gay news link farm. The quizzes were described and linked from the homepage. They were also custom coded. The Butch Board was a link from the homepage. Prominent on the homepage was a description of the genesis of the site and it's intent, including the very tongue-in-cheek name for the site. It was never intended to be exclusionary.

One of the other things that was emphasized was Tom's idea to provide a place when questioning folks could get information, counsel, and space to vent, i.e., a safe place on the web. That is the basis for his insistence on keeping the board and the then site PG-13 at worst. He wasn't interested in creating a let it all hang out site that devolved into a gay frat house. Those sites were, and are, a dime a dozen on the web, he wanted something different.

His intent was also not to limit the discussions to only gay topics, hence the many forums over a wide range of interest. There have been spirited discussions over the years on science, cosmology, particle physics, interior design, gun control, logic, religion, and many more.

I'm not sure how much, if any, of the original coding and graphics still exists from the server failures over the years. If some does it should be resurrected to have a site beyond the board. I suspect a fair amount of code will have to be generated for that to happen; and unfortunately that is beyond my skill level and access.

I too would hate to see this site consigned to history and I'm willing to do what I van to keep it alive. It has provided a touchstone of reality to many of the young'ns who've wandered in and a place to pay forward our place in society.

All suggestions will be considered and passed up the line to Tom-SA.
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Re: straightacting.com dead?

Postby furface » Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:21 pm

nimby wrote:I think we can also usea bit of a clarification somewhere on the term, "straight acting", as it can be a little misleading. How about something like, "masculine leaning"?

And I still think a dating section would be useful so us, "straight acting" guys can find a like minded partner; there have been a lot of lonely hearts opening up here lately, looking for that special someone. I tried starting a thread on this, but it didn't really take off. Maybe a database of members looking for partners that is searchable by geographic location?

Michael, see my post above. :wink:

Way back when there was a dating section, but it became unmanageable since it was an off site operation. They wandered far from Tom's intent and it was dropped. While it's possible, it would require considerable custom code and a fair amount of administration.
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Re: straightacting.com dead?

Postby nimby » Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:47 pm

Lou, I'm just brainstorming as was requested. You pass up to Tom what ever you see fit.
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Re: straightacting.com dead?

Postby drtom » Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:23 pm

Lou:

Do you at least know if Tom still has the questions, the scoring algorithm and the icons from the original straightacting quiz? I can’t remember, but I thought he mentioned that the code was gone but a friend of his had access to some Facebook module for constructing custom surveys. Is the original straightacting quiz now on Facebook using this module? I refuse to use Facebook so I can’t find out myself.

I can read between the lines regarding your concern about custom code. I know Tom has a programmer in-house or under contract with one of his businesses, but I believe the guy is paid hourly. So anything we dream up could get pricey. However, I had a pHp project I needed done a couple of years ago and I posted the job on getafreelancer. It would cost me at least $3K if I hired someone local. I got a young guy off getafreelancer from Dhaka, Bangladesh to do the work for $350. He did a great job and I saved a lot of money. I also know enough about pHp to at least structure the work so a good coder can pick up the project and run with it. I’m afraid if we pass something on to Tom unless we do all our homework, he’s going to take one look at it, do a quick calculation of time and $ and say NO! Just my guess :shock: Or he’ll really want to do it, but can’t right now due to other constraints and it will go on the back burner. However, if I can figure out how to get it done for the least amount of money, line up donations to pay for it and give it to you to send to Tom with a clear plan and all i’s dotted and t’s crossed, I’m betting he’ll go for it. So I wanted to brainstorm here, reach some sort of consensus, do some research and then I’d write it up for you to pass along. That’s why in my email to you earlier in the week I said it would take about a month.

My creativity right now is at a low point. Any ideas for doing something special for June 2nd?

You brought up an interesting point that ties along with what Earl Butz and glas_scot were getting at when you said: "Tom's idea to provide a place when questioning folks could get information, counsel, and space to vent, i.e., a safe place on the web." There were many guys who came to the board for that, found this place welcoming, made friends and got some needed support. I'm wondering how we could let people know SA could be used as that type of resource.

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Re: straightacting.com dead?

Postby drtom » Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:37 pm

Doh! The whole thread is in the SA News Forum under: “Bringing Back The Quiz?:

Tom-SA wrote:What's missing from this site is what the site was originally found on--the quizzes. Did you know that at one time we had over 1 million quizzes taken on this site? The original "guy quiz", the "womens quiz", the "job quiz" and my favorite "dog quiz".

So when the server crashed many years ago, it would have cost me too much to bring these back online. But lately I started thinking--what about bringing back the quiz in more of a "Facebook" style? That way it could spread a lot faster, and Facebook has development tools for apps that would make it a lot easier to do.

The good news for the Butch Board? More recognition for the quiz on Facebook would bring MORE TRAFFIC HERE! We could start getting an influx of new users again!



The quiz is up, tested, and online Facebook.

Very little has changed on it, due to my busy schedule, but I did update a few of the answers to the questions.

If you have facebook, be sure to take the quiz and please not only publish to your wall, but there is an option to post to your profile on FB! Help spread the word of straightacting.com again.

Thanks to EVERYONE for their donations!!

http://apps.facebook.com/straightacting/


WOW - 1 million quizzes! This was popular. OK – so how is this going? Who is on Facebook? Can anyone update us?
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Re: straightacting.com dead?

Postby furface » Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:45 pm

The quiz is still running but I'm not sure exactly how folks find it. I think it's an app. I followed the link from your quote and it's there and I took it again and still got the same result I got 11 years ago. There is an error block that comes up with the results. I've done a cut-n-paste of it in an email to Tom. We'll see what happens there.
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Re: straightacting.com dead?

Postby Gaydudelaf » Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:59 pm

Lou you gotta bring back that welcome you used to do! I am still pissed off at Chick Fil A now so I need a smile! Paste it here for me! :)
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Re: straightacting.com dead?

Postby furface » Fri Jan 28, 2011 10:10 pm

Actually Mien Herr Doctor, there are four that I've got hid away some place or other. Here's one for ya since ya asked so nice. :D
Who dat? I sees your pun'kin head pokin' 'round the gate post. Step on out where we can see ya, son. That's better Claude Lee. Walk your shy self on up here, grab a chair, and join us.

We're a right friendly group, mostly. Ain't nobody been bit in near two weeks. Had most all our shots (got us a vet). We's all trainable, one or two almost house broke.

So poke 'bout in the threads and if y'all find somethin' that piques your interest, jump on in and add to the talk. Don't find nothin' - add a topic y'all are interested in. T'ain't necessary to use y'all's Parson's come to Sunday supper manners, but Tom the webmaster sure would 'preciate y'all keepin' it fit for mixed company. Sides there's youngins about. So....



Welcome aboard, and have fun. Might even make a friend or three.

I do hope that blast from the past makes ya feel a mite betterer, ole son. I may just start them again now that I've beat the spammers and other noxious critters into a bloody pulp. Well see.
"Do not ascribe malice to that which can be reasonably explained by ignorance ... or incompetence."
Isaac Asimov
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Re: straightacting.com dead?

Postby Gaydudelaf » Fri Jan 28, 2011 10:27 pm

haha I missed that!
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Re: straightacting.com dead?

Postby drtom » Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:05 pm

furface wrote:The quiz is still running but I'm not sure exactly how folks find it. I think it's an app. I followed the link from your quote and it's there and I took it again and still got the same result I got 11 years ago. There is an error block that comes up with the results. I've done a cut-n-paste of it in an email to Tom. We'll see what happens there.


Well that could be the problem. If Facebook users don’t find the quiz, there’s no way the quiz will promote the site. It worked before because the concept was so novel that Tom got coverage in gay publications all over the US. I’ve got a copy of the Advocate from about 10 years ago somewhere with an article about SA along with the icon. I did a search on google and it is very hard to find any evidence of this any more, but I did find one:

http://greenjack.blogspot.com/2003_08_01_archive.html

Thursday, August 21, 2003
Straightacting? Somewhat...

LEVEL 4 -- SOMEWHAT STRAIGHT ACTING

A few people might suspect that you might not be a heterosexual. No one knows for sure, but there are rumors about what you're doing on the weekends. Most of your traits are straight acting but a few traits you have are causing people to wonder, but nothing is so apparent that anyone is sure enough to bring it up.

How Do You Rate?

posted by Angelo : 2:08:00 PM


You need to scroll down to August 21, 2003 to find the post above and then you’ll see this icon:

Image

If you click the icon like the one above in the actual blog it goes directly to http://www.straightacting.com. There must have been tens of thousands of these all over the internet at one time linking to this site. It is this system that provided the steady stream of traffic.

It has been years since I took that quiz. I believe I scored a 1 on it. I think you and/or Carlos got a zero if I recall correctly.
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Re: straightacting.com dead?

Postby Gaydudelaf » Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:13 pm

I got a 1 the first time, but Dustin and I took it again a couple years ago and I think I was a 2. Maybe it was the Candles. haha
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