Wanna chat?
May 9, 2007 8:25 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for an off-topic message board, but I don't know if it exists.

I figure it exists, but I've looked many a time & just haven't found what I'm looking for.

What I want:

- general discussion (a slant towards a particular topic is OK, but really, I just want a place I can chat with people online about anything).
- humour; I want to talk with people who have a good sense of humour & don't second-guess everything they post because it might not be PC.
- regular contributers; I want to visit regularly & see new posts and new topics.
- intelligence; I don't expect (or want) overly intellectually stimulating conversation, but non-idiots would be nice.

What I'd prefer, but isn't essential:

- free... like I said, not essential, if I feel it's a worthwhile site I don't mind paying a fee, but I worry I'll pay a fee & not like the community.
- not too many rules; user moderated can be OK, but I don't want to be modded for swearing.
- not too many sub-forums; I'd prefer not to scroll through subforums on books/ movies/ tech/ pets/ relationships/ chat, etc. It's a pain in the ass, just post already, about anything & everything in as little sub-forums as possible.
- not too many contributers; I'm not looking to make lifelong friends, but I'd like to get to know the personalities I'm chatting with a little bit. Individuals seem to get lost in most of the big forums I've seen.

Does this place exist?
posted by Laura in Canada to Computers & Internet (25 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Yes, it's called MetaChat. Populated mostly by Mefites. It's not a message board; it's a community weblog. Everything is off-topic there, because there are no categories or sub-forums.
posted by iconomy at 8:35 AM on May 9, 2007 [2 favorites]

If I understand you, you're looking for a forum that's all off-topic, all the time. I don't know if you'll have much luck finding it as a stand alone. It's generally a special interest that draws someone to a site to begin with, but just about every site that has a forum has an "off-topic" area, which is where you go for that sort of thing.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 8:38 AM on May 9, 2007

Three Way Action. There's a fee, but you get a month free to figure out if you like the place. Quite a few subforums, though.

Several newsgroups on Usenet are essentially general forums with senses of humor, though Usenet is such outdated technology that it's going to be an especially nerdy (and shrinking) set of users.
posted by commander_cool at 8:39 AM on May 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

Of course, for a small amount of money each month you could just buy hosting at one of the many hosting companies that have point and click installs of BBS software and start your own with your friends.

Uh, unless you're looking to do this to make friends. :)

It's what I have done for my close circle of friends, and it works out great. We keep it closed to the public entirely, so we feel a little safer posting about otherwise sensitive topics (although we rarely get into the use of our real names or life dramas because frankly that's boring).
posted by smallerdemon at 8:44 AM on May 9, 2007

iconyomy: I have checked out MetaChat, for some reason I didn't take to it, but that was a while ago, I'll check again.

commander_cool: I've heard of that one, but didn't know much about it & the month free to figure it out is great. I'll give that a try too.

smallerdemon: I actually did start up one at one point, but it was next-to-impossible to promote & didn't get busy enough for my liking. I'm not looking to make friends, but I don't have a current group of friends with whom I can create a site like this.

I figure I'll try a bunch out 'til I find the right one for me.
posted by Laura in Canada at 8:52 AM on May 9, 2007

Barbelith - pretty amazing place, but takes a while to get membership - they basically vet you to ensure you have a real and verifiable web presence, and you're not going to come in and troll or spew bile. Lots of topics, lots of very thoughtful and erudite posters. I lurked there for ages, am now a member, and love it.
posted by Happy Dave at 8:58 AM on May 9, 2007

It sounds like the Straight Dope Message Board is something you should take a look at. I haven't hung out there in years, but it seems to still be going strong.
posted by Otis at 8:59 AM on May 9, 2007

Oh, didn't see the point about 'PC-ness'. Some rather uncharitable souls have tarred Barbelith as being uber-PC. It's basically not, but you will definitely get called out for saying things carelessly (i.e. not backing up claims in the debate threads), making broad generalisations or using casual racism, sexism etc. The Conversation (which is the part that sounds closest to what you're looking for) is a lot more relaxed than the other parts of the Board in terms of, well, banter, but if you're the kind of person that says something off-colour, is called out for it and then accuses the board of 'having no sense of humour', that might be an issue.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:09 AM on May 9, 2007

While I've never really hung out on the message board part, 4chan (NSFW) has some regular boards that, last time I checked, are usually more intelligent than the general image boards.

If you don't mind the image board aspect, /b/, the random image board, can be hilarious though it's far from intelligent, but there are no rules.
posted by champthom at 9:11 AM on May 9, 2007

It's not a message board, but you might want to get an LJ.
posted by serazin at 9:58 AM on May 9, 2007

You might like IRC which has 40,000 channels on every topic.
posted by rhizome at 10:26 AM on May 9, 2007

forums.somethingawful.com meets most of your requirements.

I find the extensive sub-forums to be appealing, because I don't have to wade through pile of E/N posts if I want to find somehting about a basketball game, or when I'm in a 'surfing' mood I can go read all the general posts. They have 3 'general' subforums- one for relaxing [which sounds like what you want], one for screwing around/stupid/offensive crap, and for reasonable disucssion.

It's not free, but I find that it keeps more of the idiots out. It is VERY well moderated, with frequent bannings/probations for rule violations, mostly for the first rule: Don't be an idiot.

I think it's free to read several of the forums. Give it a look- start in GBS and BYOB.
posted by Four Flavors at 10:31 AM on May 9, 2007

If you're not opposed to telnet:

Been around since.. hoo boy... that was the first thing I ever did on the internet. Even before email.
posted by smallerdemon at 10:51 AM on May 9, 2007

Salon's TableTalk is, hands down, one of the best message boards I've ever belonged to. Probably because their is a nominal fee required to be a member. (Just like Metafilter :)

Their is off-topic and on-topic stuff. Folks are funny, intelligent and interesting. You can browse it without having to join in order to decide if it is your cup of tea. Though there are Members-Only threads that are only viewable if you are a member.
posted by jeanmari at 11:56 AM on May 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

For example, titles of recent free-for-all threads:

Shut Up II: Shut Up Shutting Up

WAYDRN L: 50 Ways to Do the Do

Calamity Jeanne's Northwoods Lodge

Plain Old Questions, The Sixth

The Off-Topic Thread IX

and, one example of the many on-topics:

Limerick by Committee

What is there not to love?
posted by jeanmari at 12:05 PM on May 9, 2007

I Love Everything sounds exactly like what you're describing.
posted by bonaldi at 12:11 PM on May 9, 2007

Oh cr*p! Their = there. I've clearly lost my mind.
posted by jeanmari at 12:12 PM on May 9, 2007

TheDaddy is a fun place with interesting people and good times, and a relatively small user base.

Also, they're mostly brits, but you get used to that after a while :)
posted by langeNU at 12:20 PM on May 9, 2007

Actually, I believe ThreeWay Action is totally free now to read and post (i.e. longer than the initial month trial), but there are a few perks to paying (members only private forums, etc.)
posted by aclevername at 1:33 PM on May 9, 2007

ThreeWay Action is now free. You have the option of paying $5/month for things like photo storage and chat and private messaging and a spot on the portal. Disclaimer: I run the site. Come visit, we love new people!
posted by astruc at 2:05 PM on May 9, 2007

posted by zabuni at 2:16 PM on May 9, 2007

Three Way Action is great, and I spend far, far, far too much time at the Straight Dope Message Boards. I also dip into Something Awful's forums, but I gather 4chan has some pretty gruesome stuff posted in the images sometimes.
posted by Savannah at 8:06 PM on May 9, 2007

Portal of Evil news forums

It's moderated but loosely so. There is some NSFW language and the occasional link to a NSFW image. As you would expect from the name, the POE news forums can be pretty "out there" but generally the posters are intelligent and articulate.

When I first started reading it (I don't post there; it's seems to be a male-heavy group) I noticed that sometimes a thread would get so out-of-control with flammage that posters would call for the moderator to kill the thread and ban everyone who posted in it. Then one day an absolutely insane thread got some posters so upset that someone sarcastically called for the moderator to ban the thread and kill everyone who posted in it. Ban the thread and kill everyone.
posted by fuse theorem at 11:21 PM on May 9, 2007

I've thought about setting up something more-or-less exactly like what you described, but it's kind of hard to create a community in a vacuum. :)

Seconding the vote for Barbelith. Good luck getting in, but it's a fun place to lurk in the meantime.
posted by philulrich at 5:35 AM on May 10, 2007

I am administrating an off-topic forum written from the ground up. Currently it's serving to several friends and their friends. It grows in that people join by getting invited. Then responsibility lays upon the "inviter".

Either way, I'd love to see it grow and if you want an invite please let me know.
posted by timmins at 11:29 AM on November 29, 2007

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