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Surly Horns State of Things End 2023


immamac

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when you say "significant 5 digit loss," is that some kind of amortization of the future, as in Surly is paying out an expense over time and $XXXX hits this year?

It's hard to fathom this joint hemorrhaging cash.

Edited by slorch
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Seems that's true a lot of places. Twitter's become a hellhole. Reddit has REALLY gone in the trash. I'm sure Facebook still sucks (dumped that place in '17).

I've actually spent more time here, lately. I like the discussion here.

But yeah, it ain't a place folks go to create discussion; it's where we go to discuss what's happening elsewhere, now.

Also think engaging the youth is going to be hard for all us olds. They're not driven by the same things our generation was driven by.

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2 hours ago, immamac said:

I mean they aren’t completely wrong on some things. Covid ravaged this community and that combined with the 2020 election has really broken a lot of the non sports irreverent discussion and commentary. 
 

The internet is just a totally different place than it used to be, we also don’t have nearly as many content creators starting media based threads - we are a primarily discussion and link aggregation community vs an original media content community. Shaggy had a lot more people doing their own photoshops, GIFs, MS Paints and a lot of generally more consumable drive by type stuff. If you don’t care about Texas sports this place is actually really difficult to land on and go. 
 

Our coaching search threads, Quinn transfer thread, manning commit thread etc are some of the best in the internet regardless of school. This isn’t a place to doomscroll or just come consume content without having an opinion and that’s just not what the internet is anymore for 18-30 year olds. I’ve been trying to figure out a content strategy that will work without alienating the existing community, but there really isn’t a way to balance it. We don’t want to be barstool longhorn, they don’t drive shit for engagement and are just the shithead Steve of Texas football. Take other people’s shit or be unoriginal and crass and call it a day. 
 

I don’t know if there’s just something I need to do to reward posts over 100 rep with a bounty to get people to start creating more original content again, but I can’t tell you how much it actually fucking pisses me off that almost every single recruiting threads first post is just a twitter embed of an edit not even hosted on this site. We don’t need write ups of the recruits but someone doing funny ass edits would be absolutely on brand and money for what the community loves. I just can’t fund that in any way and balance all that in doing for NIL and running this site in a way that effectively costs me hundreds if not thousands of hours a year. I’m not going to do all that work and then pour another 30k of my own money on top of it, it just doesn’t make sense as this isn’t my job. 
 

Surly for the first time ever will post a fairly significant 5 digit loss this year. Some of that is just timing for NIL payouts not being aligned with the calendar year, some of it is having to switch ad providers, some of that is the economy going to shit and subs canceling for both Burnt Ends and Treefiddy to the point where I’m effectively subsidizing everything out of pocket. 
 

The problem is if I don’t do it, no one does it. No one was going to do shit for the sugar bowl to raise money for NIL or have a cohesive longhorn driven experience. No one was doing NIL tailgates. No one planned anything for Tuscaloosa, no one is doing fuck all that doesn’t make them money off the backs of the student athletes. The university obviously wants no association with the site but turn a blind eye on a lot of shit we do so I chalk that up to calling it even. 
 

I’ve obviously had a lot of help from @RGBIII @BobbyB @closetojumping @SquishMitten @SydneyCarton @BornAndRaised @Tex48 and sponsors like @MrRogue and @Wulaw Horn who get what it means to support the community, but you are kidding yourself if you think this site is healthy from a community perspective or at all sustainable as a business in its current state. It’s quite frankly ridiculous that a site with our traffic and reach doesn’t have anchor sponsors for some of the highest trafficked boards in Texas and the 24th highest traffic for American football related sites. 
 

We are coming off the biggest season since 2009 and traffic from the existing user base is high but there is no new blood. A lot of posters are dying, moving on, tuned out during 5-7 and never came back etc. whenever I ask for help booking up with commercial opportunities it mostly just fizzles because no one really takes us seriously. 
 

Sorry for the rant, but reading threads like that on other sites and realizing that’s it’s not wrong and how damaging that is overall to potential growth is frustrating to say the least. 

Man, you know I appreciate everything you do and it’s been taken up a notch even more with this special season. Hopefully that’s the new normal. 
I try to throw up content whenever I can for the community. Rv thread of awesome/fail. My journey from a great big fat guy to 186 pounds, etc and so forth. There’s a lot of great threads on here, there just isn’t enough stuff like that (I don’t think) being started daily whereas it used to be something like that being started daily. 
adventures in sugar daddy was pretty awesome. Of course the holiday thread. 

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I also think that the current nonsense is a temporary thing. Temporary may last years, here, but I think a few changes in the world is all it'll take for things to adjust.

Meanwhile... Man, I hate to say "quality over quantity" because, like, Helobious still posts here, but yeah. This place feels relatively sane.

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43 minutes ago, immamac said:

I'm just not willing to compromise on things like that because I feel like when you do that is by definition the enshitification of the internet. 

 

Praise The Lord Applause GIF

 

 

 

 

6 minutes ago, G650 said:

And I'm an Alabama fan, so I'm not sure what that says about me...

 

You have a "special" family relationship? 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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14 minutes ago, Viper said:

Speaking of content, sushihorn is back with some good analysis and discussion of the playoff game

 

 

@immamac, is this the kind of stuff you're looking to promote and advertise on twitter? 

fuck twitter. We are just using twitter to troll people, not really to draw in traffic. I don't think a lot of people realize that we generate the most longhorn content and discussion out of any place on the internet. We are driving significantly more content in posts/reactions etc than Twitter/FB/Instagram/whatever. There's a difference between followers and likes and comments on what you post. Except for the Texas Football account and a few players we drive WAY more engagement. 

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12 minutes ago, Dbeasy said:

The young people’s aversion to the written word continues to surprise me. It’s videos or nothing for them it seems. I don’t get it. With videos you have to just watch the whole thing because you don’t know what’s coming. With written content you can skim quickly. So I do both, optimizing on video I know will be good, and written content when I’m not sure. If I did all video, I’d waste enormous amounts of time. 

I hate video because unless there's captions is fucking worthless. I ain't turning on the sound

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27 minutes ago, Dbeasy said:

The young people’s aversion to the written word continues to surprise me. It’s videos or nothing for them it seems. I don’t get it. With videos you have to just watch the whole thing because you don’t know what’s coming. With written content you can skim quickly. So I do both, optimizing on video I know will be good, and written content when I’m not sure. If I did all video, I’d waste enormous amounts of time. 

My boys are 30 and 25.  They are active and aware of social discussions.  They are not on opposite poles of the political spectrum, but if you had a 25% left spot and 75% right spot, that's where I'd put em.  I know left leaning one reads/ listens to a shit ton of blogs, as does the one on the right.  They both enjoy stories from discussions on Surly, but they pretty much view it as "that's where Dad goes."   Neither of them lives in Texas or follows a Texas school. They know I am among the elder folks on the site, but like you say in your post, they are pretty much, "Fuck typing out our thoughts and shit."

This discussion made me think of back in the VERY early, rudimentary AOL days and chatrooms... and we thought those were  entertaining, at least I did. Surly is so far beyond those and even most sports sites.  It's so obvious when a noob tries to wave their team flag or talk down to fans of other schools, and it's usually a Texas fan who will advise them, "Hey Sporto, we don't do that shit here."  I have always felt it was an important differentiating factor for this community and why it has been good for so long.

In the end, i don't know what would make it more appealing to younger folks/ current students.  I like the transparency and legit, vulnerable discussions whether they are in the sports forums, politics, family, whatever.  It's unique, in my experience, and what keeps me coming back.  Not sure what the 20 somethings are necessarily looking for on that front.

Edited by slorch
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2 hours ago, immamac said:

This is what I thought pre Covid, but now I’m absolutely certain that young people legitimately have no idea how to have actual conversations with people who disagree with them. I’ve seen it professionally, I’ve seen it here, you see it on social media, you see it everywhere. People just want to be spoon fed everything and entertained. It’s why TikTok and instagram reels or whatever are all the rage. The algorithms are actually not even good. The content is absolute garbage. Doesn’t matter to young people because they get to turn their brain off and feel the brain tingles. We live in real life idiocracy, but instead of it being some guy that woke up centuries later we live in the same time period  only a generation apart. 

Can confirm this on the professional front. It is unreal how much gotdam time I spend refereeing interpersonal conflicts among my younger staff that cannot have a discussion and work things out. Any sort of disagreement or guidance is treated as a personal affront.  

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2 hours ago, immamac said:

This is what I thought pre Covid, but now I’m absolutely certain that young people legitimately have no idea how to have actual conversations with people who disagree with them. I’ve seen it professionally, I’ve seen it here, you see it on social media, you see it everywhere. People just want to be spoon fed everything and entertained. It’s why TikTok and instagram reels or whatever are all the rage. The algorithms are actually not even good. The content is absolute garbage. Doesn’t matter to young people because they get to turn their brain off and feel the brain tingles. We live in real life idiocracy, but instead of it being some guy that woke up centuries later we live in the same time period  only a generation apart. 

I think we are sort of saying the same thing.  I think the root of the "fear" I am talking about is this notion that they don't want to be wrong, be disagreed with, or shown to have an inferior knowledge base/skill because to your point they don't know how to deal.... so they just avoid and go doom scroll.  To an extent I understand, if you have had shitbrain parents/educators/etc who never pushed you into arguments, told you that you were wrong, showed you why, used it as a learning experience then yes you don't have any clue how to cope with being disagreed with. It's too bad.  Being able to discuss, argue, be right, be wrong, teach new things, learn new things, change minds, and have your mind changed is one of the great things about life.  With all my kids I have encouraged them as they have gotten older to push back on us as parents. Use facts and logic and passion when appropriate, keep it civil etc.  I have often uttered the phrase "you can disagree with me, if you bring a logical argument and don't personally attack me or your mother you are never going to be in trouble for that....you may not get what you want but you are not going to be in trouble for stupid shit like "talking back".  I do all that to your very point that I see far too many people in the business world melt the first time they are wrong, don't get what they want, etc. 

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2 hours ago, Surly Bevo said:

do all that to your very point that I see far too many people in the business world melt the first time they are wrong, don't get what they want, etc. 

Yeah I know quite a few business leaders who fit this description, and they ain't spring chickens. I think it's a core lack of curiosity that ends up expressing itself whenever they encounter something that takes more than a moment to learn about

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Yeah I know quite a few business leaders who fit this description, and they ain't spring chickens. I think it's a core lack of curiosity that ends up expressing itself whenever they encounter something that takes more than a moment to learn about

Oh yea. While I would say most I see this out of are younger it certainly isn’t only them.

I do think that as great as the information age is, the problem now for a lot people is kind of the Ian Malcolm “you didn’t earn the knowledge for yourself’ comes home to roost. They know something but they didn’t LEARN it.
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I’ll admit, as a prolific poster who has been here for ages and what have you, starting posts isn’t the easiest thing. Creating original content isn’t easy. The standards on this board are extremely high - which I consider a positive - plus if you aren’t careful you’ll get labeled as the sex tent king or something. Shout out to Wulaw his thread was awesome. I tried one on building a house with some really kick ass innovative features - probably needed to get my hot lady friend to post on that she’s way more interesting. I’ve tried. She might but she is a bit afraid of y’all. I digress but it kinda also makes the point. I did start the RV thread which was a hot mess during Covid. Thought about sharing travels when we were traveling monthly, decided I didn’t want the accusations that sometimes come with it “look at me” horseshit. There still is a ton of great intel here across many subjects and it’s where I go to first get answers for anything except how to treat gonerrhea. 

 

Edited by troph
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@immamac I do think if you aren’t creating videos you aren’t going to get the utes. I’ve tried to avoid it and I fucking hate it, we have a consumer products business and I swear the need for video content is a fucking beat down.  You can avoid it but if you want to change or grow certain age demographics then it’s probably mandatory. I think the message board format will live for a few more decades but if you want growth you’ve got to have video content and be platform agnostic - basically follow the crowd. 

 

as for home page ads? Fuck it, if it will make money turn on ads that won’t be obnoxious. I don’t mind seeing them as long as they aren’t popup ad AIDS and aren’t in between posts like for CR when you’re logged out or not a subscriber. Incidentally, the CR ads is what brought me back to membership and posting. I was a lurker and it was an abominable experience - no complaints here I just had to come back to avoid that shit. Do it with taste and limited to banners at the top that don’t fuck with the core experience and I won’t complain. 
 

I think if you bumped up to $5/7 for the min subscription you’d lose very few. 
 

 

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17 minutes ago, troph said:

I’ll admit, as a prolific poster who has been here for ages and what have you, starting posts isn’t the easiest thing. Creating original content isn’t easy. The standards on this board are extremely high - which I consider a positive - plus if you aren’t careful you’ll get labeled as the sex tent king or something. Shout out to Wulaw his thread was awesome. I tried one on building a house with some really kick ass innovative features - probably needed to get my hot lady friend to post on that she’s way more interesting. I’ve tried. She might but she is a bit afraid of y’all. I digress but it kinda also makes the point. I did start the RV thread which was a hot mess during Covid. Thought about sharing travels when we were traveling monthly, decided I didn’t want the accusations that sometimes come with it “look at me” horseshit. There still is a ton of great intel here across many subjects and it’s where I go to first get answers for anything except how to treat gonerrhea. 

 

Where is the RV forum?

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Can confirm most of our twitter posts lately have just been to drum up engagement, and the best way to do that is to rip on other people. That being said, if you see a good piece of content that someone put work in to, I'll happily tweet it out. Just shoot me a DM. Artwork is easiest but I can also link to the post as well. 

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22 hours ago, immamac said:

If I showed ads to "legacy members" tier of people, even just one at the top of the page revenue would skyrocket. I'm just not willing to compromise on things like that because I feel like when you do that is by definition the enshitification of the internet. 

It's time to re-think this.  Have it show once, on login.  Automatically log out users after 24 hours.  Sell the "forecasted" impressions, beat the number, voila, 36-month contract.  At the 6-month look-in, set the auto log-out to 12 hours.  Prell.

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18 hours ago, Dbeasy said:

But there is a counter-point to this too. There are a great deal of older people who just refuse to change their minds about anything. I’m getting up there in age and have pride that I often change my views on various topics. I notice few of my peers do. 

my mom's newest defense when confronted with the daily fascist talking point is "i don't watch the news"

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Thanks for the thread and update, @immamac

I took a pretty significant break from here for a while. Personal stuff, raising a kid, Twitter, shitty Strong/Herman eras all contributed.  But I'm back. 

Can I offer a suggestion re: Surly Twitter account? Take any popular or funny edits/photoshop/videos/gifs made on here and post on Twitter Surly account with a link to the thread where it originated. If you want to DM the authors for permission, go for it. But I'll tell you right now you can tweet out any edits I make. Any chance of going mini-viral can put more eyes on this site.

Twitter has gone to complete shit and is on its last legs of usefulness for a lot of people. The changes they made to highlight paid blue check comments has killed conversation/discourse on there. Users will look for another outlet, including some younger people that are not familiar with Surly. 

 

 

Edited by Hank Kingsley
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