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What Did OB Teach You? [Serious]


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Some of us have been with this site longer than we haven't(!) and a lot of the skills I use in my work life (writing, organizing groups of people, art direction) are things I originally put into practice on this very site!

I was wondering if there are any skills, interests, etc. you use regularly that you can directly attribute to your time on the site. For some that might be art, for others it might be technical stuff like coding. These days I write comic books professionally, and I don't think I would have been as comfortable with the organizational stuff behind it if I didn't have a decade of OB experience behind me.

What says you?

Edited by Shy
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I think that the biggest thing OB taught me were lessons from the members here. These life lessons and life experiences from the members here has helped me so much getting through my highschool and college days. (and constantly reminding me that I matter and folks care for me during some of my darkest times in my life)

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Goodness, I was a high school senior when I first joined and now I'm 34. A huge benefit from posting and chatting online is that I was able to improve my writing, reading, and communication skills. Laura made some great points about the social aspects and learning things from others-and that rings true. 

I learned a lot about diversity, tolerance, and even how to carry out a debate respectfully. I've also learned that I should treat people better and have more patience based on some of the immature arguments I found myself in. 

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I learned a lot about diversity, tolerance, and even how to carry out a debate respectfully. I've also learned that I should treat people better and have more patience based on some of the immature arguments I found myself in. 


And seriously, where do you start? OB has always been something I'll refer back to because a lot of my [online] friends (who I communicate with more than my physical friends) came from here. The diversity of people I surrounded myself with was just incredible. It taught me to appreciate everyone's opinions, their style of writing inspired mine, their arguments shaped and rounded my thought process..

And on top of that, the OB really showed me that my personality was acceptable and appreciated. I'm sure I speak for others when I say this because most of us started on the OB during awkward phases of learning about our own personalities and being comfortable with who we are/were. You were NEVER alone in the OB circle of friends. No one ever made me feel weird or stupid. OB taught me how to accept different attitudes and empathize for others.

Even though I don't write anymore, the techniques and discipline I learned from the OB are used on a daily basis and will never leave me. :)

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OB has been a great place of learning, as well as an excellent testing ground. I certainly wouldn't have the same level of [...]* skills if not for OB

  • English
  • Writing 
  • Photoshop/Graphic design (including pixel art)
  • Trolling
  • HTML
  • Audio editing

These are basically all the skills I use for my job now so thanks for that. Then there's stuff like interpersonal communication. Didn't get much of that here. Most of you are sorta lame.

No really, Charles summed that part up pretty well:

I learned a lot about diversity, tolerance, and even how to carry out a debate respectfully. I've also learned that I should treat people better and have more patience based on some of the immature arguments I found myself in. 

It's been a great place to get in touch with all sorts of people, with all sorts of backgrounds. As a teenager, it's been really informative and inspiring to sort of get to know all of these people. Especially the relatively strong gay part of the community. But honestly, I've probably learned most from people who are/were complete douche bags in debates and situations, and/or who stuck strongly to some freaky clique. Makes you appreciate the others more.

I'll stop now before I get some kind of identity crisis. 

Edited by Boo
herpderpherpderp <3
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I think OB--and, more importantly to me, myO--were probably the first places where I became deeply aware that there were whole other worlds out there, both real and virtual, inhabited by cool people, and my identity didn't have to be built around wherever I was physically living if I didn't want it to. That was pretty big for me, as I grew up in a series of small, somewhat remote towns where there wasn't much for me to identify or fit in with.

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  • Trolling

This for the most part. Back then I don't even think it was called trolling, but I think when it got here you knew where the internet was heading, and you just had to learn to not be so serious all the time. OB pretty much got me to lighten up a bit.

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I first joined OB in 2001 right before in entered high school, and my most active years continued until after I entered college.

That was an impressionable time for me, and OB was pretty much the place where I hung out. So it taught me about forming complex friendships and relationships first and foremost. Had it not been for OB I would have learned this stuff elsewhere, sure, but OB was my playground to experiment with all of that. And it was in this playground that I most likely gained an interest in psychology, the field that I work in today.

OB also taught me about writing, reading, debating, graphic design, trolling, HTML, the Internet, and most of the other things discussed above.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm happy to see that OB really left people with some positive things, even if the site isn't active anymore.

For me, it's actually a little complicated.

On the plus side, OB actually helped me through a difficult time in life; it was at a point where I'd just started studying at University and I was living at home with my parents. I went through a good couple of years that were very tough for me. Looking back, I actually think I was probably clinically depressed for a period of time there. 

During that time, OB was one of my primary windows to the outside world. The experiences I had and the people I met actually helped to keep me going in a number of ways. I don't want to overstate it, but I think OB was probably crucial to my life for a time there.

I certainly honed various skills from being here, like many of you, and I definitely gained new perspectives on a number of topics due to debates and discussions. I think my mind was opened on a lot of issues because of OB.

And I had some really awesome experiences with people here; many of them were very very meaningful to me. So, I'll never forget that.

On the down side, I suppose that I started off on OB with this mental dividing line between the "real world" and the "virtual world", which I think caused some problems over time.

And because of the way things were back around the v2/v3 era (where we used to have very heated debates and spam attacks and stuff), I actually gained my first experience with fairly serious online harassment. My reaction to that was pretty undesirable, and it caused me to create a really strong and deliberate divider between "virtual" and "real" for a long time (which was really the wrong approach, and I think it majorly distanced me from people who I actually cared about quite a lot on here).

So, uh...I don't want to end this on a negative note, but I haven't really said those things before on OB. It shows how much OB did play a role in my life for a few years there.

Overall, OB has been a positive experience for me. Some things have come full circle, I've re-connected with people a bit, in a more honest way, and I think that's a good thing. I'll never forget those lessons, that's for sure.


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  • 4 weeks later...

I've been a member since i was a sophomore in High school.  The OB has taught me a lot about creative writing and putting my ideas out there without fault or rejection, and to improve upon myself my own skills and creativity.  Not only that, but I've made some great friends through here from doing so, and we've created masterpieces worthy of being made into a novel, or even a movie (I gush at the idea but reading back, it could happen). 

OB was my sanctuary when I was alone or bored, and others joined in on the fun we created, I would definitely like to be as alive as it once was, those were the golden days for me. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Look at all these familiar faces. Hi guys!

I actually came back to this site for a moment because I'm writing a piece for my job, which I wouldn't have without joining these boards. I'm doing my Doctorate in English and Cultural Studies and get to work as a lecturer too - there's a big series of talks in the summer that I'm involved in around digital culture so rightfully I ended up back here.

I'm only 24 now and I joined in 2003, thirteen years ago. 

I was the type of kid that spent a lot of time in my room and on my computer, so I was here quite a lot making RPGs. Since I've been writing from my undergrad and had a lot of success in that area, I've never come across a time where I've improved creatively and technically in my life than joining these forums - everything after was a steady climb that doesn't compare to the dive bomb of joining a random internet forum when you're eleven.

It's not necessarily learning how to be a writer, but more the imaginative process that goes into what we used to do here; character and world creations, collaborations, motivation to carry on (I don't recall a finished RPG though) and the benefits of thinking big when you're working with what is essentially such a small, limited platform. You have to come up with a lot of clever solutions and most of the people I work with don't have the same base skill set I feel I've gained from my adventures online. 

This forum, which again explains why I'm back here right now, is also a gateway to my field of expertise in what I hope is a long career for me. I feel like I grew up here. There was, of course, the outside world, but this place is influential to my perception of my work and the cultural landscape I'm exploring. 

Also, I certainly was a pretty lonely and depressed kid, and I still have trouble talking to IRL people about anything that's troubling me. The friends I made here got me through to being an adult who is almost comfortable with myself, and sometimes I cherish the memories of the friends I had on here more than the ones outside. I'm actually quite upset AIM closed down and I can't stay up until 4am to chat to some of you. 

To be specific though, I'd list my lessons from this site as:

  • Creative Writing;
  • Graphic Design;
  • Handling criticism;
  • Never argue with Allamorph on the rules and regulations of grammar;
  • Internet etiquette; 
  • Boo is not from England. 
Edited by Vicky
I realised AIM does still exist. Hit me up on my old username: ScarySpaceGoat. Can Facebook me too: https://www.facebook.com/695717705
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Like many of you I've grown up here. I started when I was fourteen, and I'll be thirty in September.

I was a shy kid, and this place allowed me to express my opinions and share my artwork with others without fear. 

I generally hovered in the artsy section, posting and viewing other's artwork. It allowed me to see my own work in a different way with the construction criticism that I was given.

I also learned of Internet etiquette, like Vicky stated. And how that has all but died in other regions of the net...lol.

Thank you for the OB!

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