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Important Site Update

Update:  It appears from the comments that some of you are confused between the difference of “forum” and “blog”.   You are currently reading the blog. The forum aka “Community” is accessible via a link on the menu and is entirely different from the blog…different format, different software. The forum is going away, the blog is not.

After 20 years I’ve decided to semi-retire from web administration of the Ehell domain and therefore there will be downsizing the site significantly.

This decision has been coming for several years as advertising revenues have been steadily declining. While Ehell never made huge amounts of money, it did cover the expensive cost of the server and funded many of my charitable projects. The forum is and always has been the largest resource hog of the server. It costs hundreds of dollars a month to host the forum and at this point the forum is not paying its way. Revenue has now gone so low that last month it did not cover the cost of the server and the trend indicates this will be the pattern for the future.

We tried various things in the past 2 years to increase revenue but the major problem is ad blockers. The analytical data is indisputable…..lots of people read the ehell site while using ad blocking. Ehell needs those eyeballs to generate income to support itself. I cannot thwart the ad blockers. There have been a number of tech sites warning of the impending collapse of “free” sites which depend on income derived from people seeing ads but will go under due to ad blockers. Ehell is one of those sites. Ad blockers are changing the internet and nothing will be free to view in the future unless you go through advertising “front gates” or pay a subscription.

So,the plan is to downsize from a dedicated server to a shared server in a month, probably June 7th, significantly reducing costs. The forum will cease to exist at that point and the blog will remain for now.

I will not be approving new members for the forum as of today nor will I be archiving the site. Current members are welcome to head over to the blog and comment (there’s a lively community of regulars commenters there). If current members desire to find another venue to interact with each other, please do take this time to do so. The only restriction is that the name “Etiquette Hell” cannot be used in any context since it is trademarked.

I know there are members who have been active on the forum since it’s creation nearly 15 plus years ago and have witnessed the growing pains, theme changes, drama. Closing the forum is like saying good bye to old friends. I sincerely hope those members migrate to commenting on the blog.

Jeanne

{ 49 comments }
{ 49 comments… add one }
  • Ygraine May 7, 2018, 7:54 am

    Where can the blog be found?

    • admin May 7, 2018, 8:34 am

      You are on the blog.

      • Ygraine May 7, 2018, 6:34 pm

        Thanks – I’ll just go blush in the corner for awhile. 🙂

        • Melissa May 9, 2018, 8:46 am

          Don’t feel bad. I was confused as well because of the quote “head over to the blog,” which made me think–head over? I’m already at the blog, aren’t I? Wait a second, is there another blog I don’t know about?

  • VickyJoJo May 7, 2018, 8:19 am

    As unfortunate as this news is, it is the right call if you are not generating the income. I get it – I am in advertising myself, including the purchase of digital ads. Ad Blockers are a hot topic in the digital ad industry and make it challenging.

    I will continue to look forward to reading the blog. It is actually my favorite feature.

    • VickyJoJo May 7, 2018, 8:20 am

      And too funny – but one of my clients ads just popped up on the blog.

  • Michelle May 7, 2018, 8:31 am

    So sorry to hear this. This site has helped me so much! Educating me so I don’t make a major etiquette faux pas and helping me to know to react when they do occur. If the option to pay a monthly fee ever becomes a reality, I would gladly do so.

  • WickedWitchoftheWest May 7, 2018, 8:46 am

    I’m sorry to hear that, you have provided so many happy hours and useful information to me over the years (I feel since 1997 when I was planning my own wedding, but possibly more recent…but certainly long enough that I still think of this as the ‘new’ site), so much so that at one stage a few years ago my daughter commented that she had thought this was a work site as I was on it so much… Thank you so much for providing so much guidance and entertainment over the years, and making the world a nicer place to be in. I don’t use ad blockers for just that reason (and both the real estate agent and bin hire advertised are actually good and useful)…and I have to say this is one site for sure that I would go paid subscription on.

  • staceyizme May 7, 2018, 8:51 am

    Thank you for the many interesting anecdotes and the opportunity to encounter many diverse minds in this forum, Ms. Jeanne! Wishing you the best going forward!

  • Jentile4 May 7, 2018, 8:52 am

    So sorry to hear this. Just wondering if you could possible move the forum back to Delphi. I am guessing it would be a lot cheaper. Just a thought.

    Thank you so much for providing this all these years. I have been a follower all these years.

  • Cat2 May 7, 2018, 9:17 am

    There may be some hope for the future in terms of ad-blocking. The primary reason most people use ad-blockers is because many of the ads are resource hogs and cognitive issue for people who have issues with the flash and movement and autoplay ads, known as “intrusive” ads.

    There is a really strong pushback against those types of ads to the extent that Google announced earlier this year that they would start automatically blocking all of those in Chrome, and there are other websites hopping on board the “Better Ads” train.

    The adblocker on my system at work allows you to enable the non-intrusive ads and I do that – but I still see almost no ads because so many are designed as intrusive.

    • Dee May 7, 2018, 10:47 am

      I don’t use adblocker for the most part because I know that the ads are the reason for the sites’ existence in the first place. My son uses adblocker consistently and nags me to use it when I complain about sites’ ads. Using any other device but the computer is almost impossible without adblocker, however, and most sites I don’t end up reading more than a line or two on my tablets, because of ads. The site won’t load properly, it takes forever, it skips up, then down, then up, then down, and whatever I click on changes as the page flips up and down, and so on. I know the ads are necessary, and at the same time they prevent me from being able to read the sites in the first place.

      A person who is solely using a portable device pretty much has to employ adblocker in order to go to any sites. I don’t think people are deliberately trying to skip the ads as much as the ads are preventing them from doing just about anything online. It’s a difficult situation.

      As it is, if ads prevent me from reading each page on a site without waiting for all the ads to load and the page is going to skip, skip, skip, I’ve already lost my patience well before the last ad has loaded and I’ve left the site. I’ll remember that site again and not revisit it. Maybe the site registers that I’ve visited, no matter that I didn’t stay longer than 10 seconds and couldn’t read anything, but eventually that lack of “staying power” has to affect the site, doesn’t it?

      If I can pay less than $10 for Netflix and have access to a huge library of shows (although most of rather poor quality) then why wouldn’t I want to pay such a nominal fee for access to sites online, ad free? I think that is the way to go. As it is, it’s a toss-up whether I want to see the sites badly enough without adblocker or whether I will not miss them when (not if) they shut down. This site has been such a refreshing island in a sea of commercial madness.

      And sites that push for comments but then require you to join Facebook (um, no, not doing that, not that stupid) or make you wade through a million boring words and pictures before you get to the recipe or craft are just asking for a web revolution. If it was easy to put adblocker on and off quickly I would employ it just for those sites. There’s no reason to deliberately clog things up and frustrate people. But we have been given the idea that all this space on the internet is free for the taking and giving, and so it gets jammed up gratuitously. I look forward to a cleaning of the internet, when good sites (like this one) stay and poor ones are weeded out.

      • Cat2 May 7, 2018, 1:50 pm

        fwiw, most adblockers allow you to whitelist sites relatively easily – the one at work has an icon on the browser bar, you click it and just unclick the option that says “enabled on this site” and then it reads “disabled on this site” (however, IT will come after me if I disable it for too many non-essential sites, so…).

        It will also allow you to block one element that you find annoying/offensive/etc.

        • Dee May 7, 2018, 4:08 pm

          Thanks, Cat2, for the advice. I can navigate the internet fairly well but I find the computer itself to be so very confusing that there is much I do not know what to do, and can’t seem to learn, no matter how often my kids teach me. I will look into selective ad blocking on my computer.

      • Deb May 8, 2018, 1:21 pm

        Wait. What?!

        You’ve implied that those who have joined facebook are “that stupid”.

        Wow.

    • EchoGirl May 7, 2018, 10:38 pm

      This is why I have toyed with using adblockers over the years. I don’t mind ads that just “sit there”, but many of them pop up over the page (or, worse, redirect you to scam sites), make noise, have moving/flashing displays, and/or contain inappropriate images; unfortunately, many of the worst offenders are often the sites I use most frequently. Many of these also end up hogging bandwidth and slowing down my browser in order to load themselves. (Theoretically, some of the adblockers out there are supposed to have “approved” sites that don’t use intrusive advertising, but the lists are limited.) I try to whitelist but I can’t always keep up with who does and doesn’t have intrusive ads (and that’s assuming it would be consistent).

    • A Person July 16, 2018, 5:35 pm

      The reason I use uBlock Origin is because of malvertising. I lost a computer to ransomware two years ago (I had it backed up THANKFULLY!!!) because of an ad and now I don’t trust ads anymore. Even sites that are clean can have their ads hacked and distribute malware. I prefer paranoid overkill over the chance of losing another computer.

  • Library Diva May 7, 2018, 9:31 am

    This world changes so fast. It’s hard to keep up, and so many things are getting ground up in the churn. Admin, thank you for your work at keeping all of this running for the past 20 years. I’ve been with you nearly the entire time. I remember first coming across this site in 2000! Through graduate school and career changes; through my relationship progressing from casual dating to a long-distance relationship, to living together, engagement and marriage; through dark days like the death of my mother and the loss of my job, this site has been a touchstone for me. It’s always been a place I could come to laugh, to think, and to learn. I just want to say thanks for all of that.

    • admin May 7, 2018, 9:34 am

      The blog isn’t going anywhere. The forum will be gone however.

  • Sarah May 7, 2018, 9:55 am

    It’s hard to keep up with a changing technology world. Members may want to start a Facebook group, the open group format kind that will still allow for the posting of questions and giving responses. I belong to several of these, and they allow for that online community feel that I think people really love about the forum.

  • Melissa May 7, 2018, 9:59 am

    I’m sad to know the forum is going away, I love reading it, and being able to share different prospectives! It’s really sad that AdBlocker is the main reason the forum can’t continue, because the advertisements on the forum are not intrusive or annoying at all (they’re not on the blog either, which I never really thought about until now, but I greatly appreciate it! I can understand why people use AdBlocker when I go to sites that have a pop up that has to be closed out to read the site, etc).

    Anyway, I just wanted to add my two cents in to say I’ll miss the forum a lot but it’s a totally understandable decision, and I’m also happy to know that e-hell has served such a wonderful purpose, not only in helping us behave a little better, but also funding charitable endeavors! Thank you to Admin for all of the work you’ve put in over the years, and of course I am still looking forward to reading the submissions here!

    • Latreylantras May 7, 2018, 1:33 pm

      Sometimes, unfortunately, it’s not even the ads. I used to disable my Adblocker for the forum, but then some people use animated emoticons or icons, and the text around it becomes unreadable for me. I wish there were an option to disable only moving images and allow stationary ones. :/
      (Hmm, but talking about this, I just noticed that my Adblock is on over here. Must have forgotten to turn it off after I had to get a new computer. Time to fix that, I guess.)

  • Mustard May 7, 2018, 11:04 am

    I’ll miss the forum because I’ve learned a lot, but your decision to close it is totally understandable. I will still read the blog; many thanks for all your endeavours.

  • Celestia May 7, 2018, 12:57 pm

    Do what you have to do, and of course no hard feelings. But I highly recommend that if you’re taking away the place where there are un-moderated comments, you consider allowing the previous forum moderators to approve/mod comments here. I go to the forum because when Jeanne is busy, there’s zero conversation, and coming back to an interesting thread results in the same comment 50 times from people who couldn’t see that other people had already posted. More people with approval permissions means actual conversation in the comments.

    • admin May 7, 2018, 1:45 pm

      Wordpress does have the capability of having comment moderators. I just downloaded the plugin. We can also explore the option of people posting their own posts to the site..sharing the soapbox, so to speak.

      • Cat2 May 7, 2018, 1:53 pm

        You could perhaps do a free-for-all post either one a day or one a week, and let people use those as general commenter communication substitute?

        • admin May 7, 2018, 2:15 pm

          What do you mean by “free-for-all” post?

          • Victoria May 8, 2018, 8:02 am

            Like the Friday open threads on the askamanager blog. She makes a blog post stating it’s open for any conversation, then allows free-for-all in the comments. She only mods them if they get offensive.

          • Victoria May 8, 2018, 8:04 am

            That was the wrong thread, sorry! It’s this one: http://www.askamanager.org/2018/04/weekend-free-for-all-april-28-29-2018.html

          • admin May 12, 2018, 4:20 am

            I can’t tell if that is a Wordpress blog but if it is, it is using at least one plugin modification to allow unmoderated comments. Generally Wordpress experts discourage unmoderated comments because it creates a perfect environment for spammers to post. I’ve begun whitelisting commenters on the Ehell blog to allow comments without moderation but it will take a while to get a large enough group whitelisted who would participate in that kind of free-for-all thread. Good idea.

          • Cat2 May 8, 2018, 9:26 am

            You would post the topic as “Discussions of the day” or some such and then allow people to leave and respond to comments on any subjects that they are looking for advice on, etc. and turn off moderation for those posts or assign the moderation to whatever community volunteers develop.

            For example, on the Ask A Manager blog there is a post every Friday where commenters can seek and answer advice on workplace issues from other commenters when they need information sooner than they might get if they made an official submission to the site, or they don’t think it’s important enough for an official submission. On Saturdays, there’s a post that’s general talk for anything except work.

    • MelEtiquette May 7, 2018, 2:31 pm

      I agree with this. I primarily went to the forum for the interaction and different perspectives on a range of topics. That interaction doesn’t happen as much in the blog comments, primarily for the reason mentioned, but hopefully if enough people migrate over from the forum, the blog will become a more active place.

  • Kristen May 7, 2018, 3:33 pm

    Have you had any thoughts about moving to another format. I’m an active Reddit user and think it would fill the space left by the forum. Some down sides do exist. I’m sure another sub about ettique exits already and youd lose some control. But if you created a subreddit for EH you could create any rules you’d like as the mod. It might not work with your model but it’s worth exploring at least.

  • Chris May 7, 2018, 5:33 pm

    I understand how the system sort of works, so you have to make your choices. I started using an ad blocker a little over a year ago. While ads could be annoying on some sites, they generally were an acceptable nuisance. Increasingly, they interfered with the functionality of the sites. In some cases they were slowing the responsiveness of sites due to multiple calls of various java-script routines and tracking routines to multiple servers or domains. I was having some pages totally lock up. Since java-script has become so integral to how sites work, turning it off just doesn’t work. My ad blocker, especially after some tuning has made a huge difference.

    • EchoGirl May 9, 2018, 11:18 pm

      I said something similar upthread. I understand advertising revenue is necessary, but it seems like many (not all!) sites have basically been giving their advertisers carte blanche to display the advertisements they see fit, regardless of whether it affects the customer’s experience of the site. I know some people would use adblockers regardless out of entitlement/spite, but there are plenty of people who would be happy to turn off their adblockers if advertisers would just stop trying to make themselves the center of the universe and let us enjoy the actual content we came for.

  • Spuck May 7, 2018, 9:57 pm

    Have you considered using Patreon or Kickstarter to support funding for the site?

  • Iris May 8, 2018, 1:41 am

    I haven’t been on the forum for quite some time – a number of years ago I made some life changes and less internet time was part of that. However, I have very fond memories of the warm community there who helped me through some difficult times without even knowing it. I also know how hard you all worked to keep it that way so I’d just like to say thank you for all your efforts.

  • A May 8, 2018, 6:43 am

    Maybe the regulars and people interested in the forum could have a private Facebook group. It would require moderation, but I’ve seen it work for several groups.

  • Nancy M. May 8, 2018, 8:14 am

    I have lurked on the Etiquette Hell forums for some years. I will really miss the feeling of the community and reading the comments of all the regular posters who frequent the threads. I was basically “raised by wolves” but here I have learned a lot about etiquette and how to treat others. And of course I have been quite entertained by some of the more outrageous stories!

  • E May 8, 2018, 8:58 am

    Jeanne– I know it might not make much difference but I whitelisted this site! I don’t mind doing it on blogs that I read regularly and support. It may be helpful to actively encourage people to whitelist because they might not know they can keep their adblocker but turn it off on specific sites.

  • Blueberry May 8, 2018, 12:15 pm

    Unfortunately on most sites I try not to use my ad blocker I get so many pop ups telling me I gotta on things like $1000 on Amazon or an iPad and they totally disable the site I want to read. I actually don’t mind the ads. The scam pop ups are what’s ruining the free sites.

  • Andi May 8, 2018, 1:20 pm

    I very much understand your decision, but am also sad it has to happen. It’s been such a lovely community and I’ve kearned so much

    Like others, I too would be willing to pay a monthly or yearly fee to Keep the forum going. However, I realize that it’s still a huge time commitment.

    Thank you Miss Jeanne.

  • Garden Gal May 8, 2018, 5:29 pm

    Thank you for providing the forum, with it’s interesting stories and some excellent advice, for so many years.

  • Camarynne May 8, 2018, 11:12 pm

    I am going to miss the forum terribly! I have been a member for many years and visit often, to see what’s going on. Lots of laughs over the years and a few tears too. There are so many people here I will think of often. Thank you for keeping it open as long as you have. To everyone else who is saying they’ll miss the forum…POD!

  • Melissa May 9, 2018, 9:03 am

    Allowing ads are a security risk to my computer. Did you hear about what happened when Forbes forced readers to disable their adblockers if they wanted to read the site? The ads promptly loaded malware on those computers. I’m not turning my adblocker off, but I would consider donating to sites with content I’m interested in. With Forbes, I just look for a different article somewhere else on the topic. I wonder if Patreon would be an option for this sort of site. I don’t see why not.

  • Daria May 9, 2018, 6:16 pm

    Gee, this is a blow. I have lurked/sometimes participated for well over 10 years. Can’t imagine life without jpcher, TootsNYC and some other old-timers, even if they have no clue I exist.

    I would love to create an alternative site — eHell Dame, would you allow one to post a link, so long-timers can congregate in a new location?

    • admin May 10, 2018, 7:41 am

      On the forum in the Forum Announcement and I think in the Off Topic folder people are discussing alternatives including a reddit subpar called “Polite Purgatory”.

  • Nancy M. May 10, 2018, 2:43 pm

    Many people like me are long-time lurkers but never created an account on Etiquette Hell. If EHell dame would allow it, would it be possible to openly post a link, or even just directions toward locating the same, when an alternate site is decided upon? I am not able to log in and PM for a link to an alternate site and I’m sure others are in that position too.

  • Rashea May 17, 2018, 9:00 pm

    There is a new forum going. It certainly looks similar, with an active discussion of what direction the new forum should go in.

    Check it out badmanners.createaforum.com

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