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What's The Cellar?
The Cellar: What It Is by Undertoad, owner/admin dude

First, the staff:

Owner/admin: Undertoad
Moderator: glatt
Moderator: limey
Moderators are elected each January, current term runs through the end of the year

The Cellar started in Philadelphia, in September 1990, as a "BBS" - a Bulletin Board System. It is one of the longest-running communities on the Internet. Back in the day, if you wanted to use your computer to communicate with people, it was common to use a modem to dial in directly to another system owner's computer.

Since its inception, the Cellar has been a place for anyone who enjoys communicating with other literate, intelligent people, and sharing a community with them - nothing more, nothing less.

The Cellar is like an electronic tavern. Behave as you might at a real-life tavern. Don't barge in and interrupt every table in the place. Walk in and sit down, wait for something you know about and politely put in your two cents.

Whether you care to stick around will probably depend on whether you're taken seriously. Your reputation here is not made by whether you're "in the clique" or how cool you are or etc. It's only based on how you behave and what you contribute. Be a thoughtful version of yourself. Make an effort to leave it a better place than when you arrived and we all win.

There is nothing for sale. I am not running this place to make a quick buck, or to get a quick buck out of you. For me, it is what I hope is a lifelong hobby. I just like this kind of community.

There is no business plan. Businesses come and go. My own first business failed in about 18 months. I have nothing against businesses, but the Cellar is different and has different needs. Communities can't depend on someone else's business plan. In fact, communities are needed the most when the plan fails.

There is no not-for-profit 501c3 registration. The Cellar takes in a little money via donations. But the community has to know that it can live on -- even if there are NO donations. Communities don't run depending on whether they get funded. Communities don't run according to their tax status.

There is as much privacy as you like. You don't have to register if you only want to read. If you register to post, you can give as much information as you like. The system uses cookies, but only to remember your login, and what you've read and not read. A community doesn't care about your real name, address, etc. It only cares about you as a person and wants to know your thoughts.

You can participate as a reader and never register. There is nothing wrong with that. Many online communities have a reader-to-participant ratio as high as 10 to 1. The Cellar is no exception. In fact, as a reader, you may be as much of a participant as people who do post. The audience is the biggest part of any play. So it goes with communities.

The Cellar will not go away. It survived a year of much less activity in one of its incarnations, while it tried to "go Internet" with inferior approaches. Many of the users here have been here for a decade. A community needs a sense of continuity.

The Cellar is not about me, it's about you. A lot of sites that aren't business-driven are ego-driven. Not here. This message and the official History are the only two bits that I really control. I set up the message areas, but if anyone wanted a new area I'd surely create it. Also, you can hate me, it doesn't matter. (I will only respect you more for it.) My goal as a virtual community operator is to do right by the community itself. Disagree with me if you like; I'm often wrong and need to be taught a lesson. Disagreement and honesty are critical to a community's health.

It takes all kinds. There may people here that you don't like. There may be people here who don't like you. Such is life, and it's not the end of the world. Now, if you don't like most people here, you should find another forum. And also, if most people here don't like you, you should find another forum.

If you like this sort of thing, make a small commitment. I know, everyone is asking you for your time. But it takes a little while to "get into" any community. Once you "meet" some of the regulars and know what they're about, what they're interested in, everything sorta changes. Unlike larger communities, you can really do that here. Just read, register, and post. If you find after a few open-minded visits that it's boring or unpleasant or too much work, accept my apology, no hard feelings. But if you like it, the time you'll have spent will be rewarded a thousand times over.

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