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The History of VMB

Discussion in 'Admin. Announcements' started by Sonya, May 29, 2016.

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  1. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 1999
    Messages:
    21,854
    Location:
    Western Washington
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    18
    I've been asked a few times for the background on this site. Here is the story.

    Back in 1995, I was doing the long-distance dating thing with the guy who is now my husband. Before we met, he had scheduled an extended mountain bike trip with some of his Compuserve friends to visit the Canyonlands area of Utah. The trip happened to be the week before my birthday and I was teasing Dan about how rude it was that he was going to miss my birthday.

    He said that he would be going through Las Vegas on my birthday and maybe we should meet up there for a weekend celebration. I had passed through Vegas a few times in my life, but hadn't ever really been there. I do remember filling up my gas tank in Vegas one time in the late 1980's and pondering the marketing genius behind the show on the billboard above the gas station, "Nudes On Ice", which used to be at Plaza, I believe.

    I got out my AAA book and called around to find some hotel rates. We settled on Circus Circus, as the manor rooms were only like $139 a night, and included a free buffet every day. With that start, you can guess that we did everything wrong on that trip. First night, we decided to walk the whole length of the strip because from our window everything looked just 'right over there'. We made it as far as Bally's and turned around. We tried over and over again, without success to hail a taxicab from Las Vegas Blvd and never understood why they wouldn't stop for us. The list of failures just went on and on. We didn't know about player's cards. We didn't know about comps. But we had the time of our lives and I knew we'd be back over and over again.

    Back at home, I knew there had to be a resource out there on the internet that would teach me the ins and outs of Las Vegas and how to make our next trip more enjoyable. I eventually discovered alt.vacation.las-vegas on the Usenet and poured myself into it, trying to learn as much information as I possibly could.

    As is the nature of the internet, AVLV was full of trolls, flame wars, nasty personal attacks and name-calling. One particular member had a habit of replying to any commentary about Main Street Station with "It's a dump." By this time, I was regularly staying there as they comped me free rooms for my $0.25 Video Poker play. While I will admit it is not the Four Seasons, I was pretty sure that it was far from being "a dump". I had taken an HTML class at the local college and had recently returned with a ton of photos of my room, the view out the window, and many of the antiques and beautiful features of the casino. I put up a Geocities page with my photos and began to add some FAQ's to answer some frequent questions that came up on the newsgroup.
    At some point during this time, I purchased the domain Travel2Vegas.com and moved over to a cheap hosting service. I was staying in as many different hotels as I could, often switching properties each night so I could get more room photos for the website. I don't recommend this. One trip I did 5 hotels in 4 nights, I think my whole trip was spent at the front desk, just checking in and checking out.

    At the same time, the nastiness was getting out of hand on avl-v. Any question you would ask would be met with "Only and idiot would..." or "We answered this question already." There was a small group of people there who seemed to only be interested in attacking anyone who held an opinion contrary to theirs and the group was full of "No you are! Nuh-uh! Uh-huh!" and so on. It got to the point that people were emailing me through my website to ask questions for them on the group because they were afraid to be attacked.

    Eventually a group of us moved off of the usenet to an email list group at Yahoo. That was great for about a year, and then the sheer volume of posts became too much for some of the members. The moderator had no choice, but to severely restrict the kind of information that was being shared on the email list, as even the digest version was often pages and pages long every day. Because of that, the fun banter part of the group seemed to be disappearing.

    I was thinking that it would be nice to have an online community where people could come together and discuss all things Las Vegas travel, without fear of being attacked for asking a "stupid question" or being flamed for disagreeing with another member's opinion. I got some free message board software and added a forum to Travel2Vegas. That's why some of the old-timers around here still call this place T2V. I believe that was around 1998.

    I spent the first couple years there mostly talking to myself. :) We crossed the 100 member mark in late 1999. We had a small group of regular members and began to really grow around 2001-2002. I began to add some of the most valued members as moderators and several are still with us in that capacity.

    As we grew, I moved up to better software and better hosting services. I expanded on the room photos and articles and all of the sudden, we had an active community of people with one common interest, a love for all things Las Vegas! As the community continued to grow, the board was really putting a high demand on the server.

    Hunter, a member of this board at the time, was actively developing his VegasMate app for the iPhone and had the domain name vegasmessageboard.com that he wasn't going to continue to develop. We worked out a trade for it and I moved the board over to that domain on a new server and things have just exploded ever since.

    My vision for this place has not changed from the early days. I want to have an open and free place where lovers of Vegas can come to share their stories, commiserate with others, learn, explore and discuss without fear of insults, attacks or malice. Early on it was clear that this would need to be a moderated community with a framework of rules to keep everyone on track and having a good time without the usual noise you see on many other discussion boards. That decision to moderate the board has not always been a popular one, but I think most people can understand my motivation.

    For a short while, we tried to have a section of the board that was unmoderated to discuss different topics, including politics and the like. It didn't work. Those threads were heated and tempers flared and eventually it always ended up bleeding over into the other sections of the board and so we shut it down and established our "No Politics" rule.

    Our moderators, who are all volunteers, work very hard to keep things running smoothly here. I can not say enough how much their participation means to me. Without them, there is no way this place would still be standing. I couldn't possibly do it all myself and I value them so much for their loyalty and enthusiasm for keeping this place running smoothly.

    Where do we go from here? I'm not sure. :) We recently moved to new software that works much more smoothly and securely than the previous versions. As we work out the kinks, I hope to install some new toys for you all to play with to make sharing your experiences in Vegas even easier.

    My email and private messages are always open to anyone to share their concerns, questions and suggestions on how to make this community even better. The members here are our life-blood. Without all the information you share, it would still just be me, talking to myself. Thanks so much for being here!
     
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  2. blackjacker2

    blackjacker2 Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    216
    Location:
    Midlands, UK
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    8
    Sonya, many thanks. For one I am very grateful that those series of events led to what we have now, it must have been lots of dedication and hard work. You are greatly appreciated as are the moderators and contributors.:nworthy:
     
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  3. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2011
    Messages:
    5,265
    Location:
    Northern Nevada
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    204
    Absolutely THANK YOU Sonya!!! I know you've worked long and hard providing this board and I've gained a lot of knowledge and enjoyed much entertainment from it.
     
  4. Niteshade

    Niteshade Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2013
    Messages:
    331
    Location:
    Abilene, Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    25
    Another THANK YOU! This is a great place
    for fellow Vegas lovers to unite.
     
  5. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 1999
    Messages:
    21,854
    Location:
    Western Washington
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    18
    Thanks for the kudos. It's been an interesting journey. Every day it seems like there is still something new to learn. I never thought I would have more than a few dozen regular members, so this has been quite a surprise.

    Exactly! That's always been my goal for this place. Not everyone "gets Vegas", so having a place you can come where people do get it, is great.
     
  6. Geogran

    Geogran OTD Tea Sipper

    Joined:
    May 1, 2014
    Messages:
    1,415
    Location:
    capital of Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    42
    Your description of that first trip to Vegas took me back to our first trip - clueless but hooked from the get go!

    Your perseverance in making a place for those of us who want to learn more about Vegas, want to share our knowledge about Vegas or just want to be part of the Vegas community is what makes VMB the special place it is.

    Thank you Sonya for being that person that made it possible, and thank you Moderators for all you do for us directly and indirectly in keeping this such a great place to hang out!
     
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  7. nostresshere

    nostresshere Mr. Anti Debit Card

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Messages:
    11,145
    Location:
    TN
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    19
    So glad I found your "history" story.

    Totally agree with being moderated and "no politics" rule. (I did sway off just a bit once, but these days, it is rather easy... LOL)

    Again, great board. I have moderated a few other boards over the years and think you and your team do well.
     
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  8. amk121

    amk121 Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2012
    Messages:
    255
    Location:
    east coast
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    19
    I am so glad you shared this story! I have always really loved this board- thank you for doing this!
     
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  9. TIMSPEED

    TIMSPEED !địt mẹ!

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2013
    Messages:
    4,574
    Location:
    Modesto, CA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    001
    Nice story!
    I always wanted to create a group for something...except I'm too much a follower, rather than a leader. hahah
     
    Palace Tower Suite!
  10. Viva Las Vegas

    Viva Las Vegas Ramblin' Gamblin' Man

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Messages:
    2,594
    Location:
    Chicago
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    46
    Great post Sonya! Love the board, love how you and the other moderators love it, love the fact that is no BS Politics or other nonsense you can find on billions of alternatives, love the fact that whether I've signed in a few hours ago or a few months ago, when I come back everything is just as I remembered. I haven't been on the board as long as some of the great Mods and Posters.

    I am headed to Vegas for trip 47 this week (9 month absence, a long time for me as of late), but since I signed up several years ago I learned so much about Vegas on this website, even though my first trip was 17 years prior to sign-up. Video Poker, Comp offers, CET Road to Rewards contest (snagged a free AC trip, FP and other prizes) are just some of the new things I picked up along the way. Great conversations, incredible trip reports, casino business news, new casino news. This is my go to source for Vegas, and I hope to be on the site for many more years.

    I've contributed a few times to the board along the way. If I could offer one suggestion, it would be to consider making it easier for persons to donate to the board, either via a direct paypal or other link, and also possibly considering allowing members to donate as sustaining members or something to that effect, to help sustain the board. I've seen the hard work, time, effort and outlays over the years, and many here would like to reciprocate.
     
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  11. Aces and Eights

    Aces and Eights VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2014
    Messages:
    1,121
    Location:
    Southern California
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    100
    There are a lot of things I've learned from going to Vegas over a hundred times in my life, and I'm happy to share them as many times that people have questions. But as many times that I've been to Vegas, this Board continues to teach me new things over the past couple of years since I became a member. Kudos to all involved on VMB. It lets me live vicariously through other members when I'm not there.
     
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  12. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 1999
    Messages:
    21,854
    Location:
    Western Washington
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    18
    Do it! Do it! Do it! ;) I tend to be a follower too. I'm not great at decision making as I always see benefits to both the pros and the cons. I also really hate conflict. These are all indicators that I shouldn't be any kind of message board leader, but here I am. :haha:

    I have some plans to put the Paypal donate button back on the board, especially for the wristband sales. It's on the "Phase two" list and I'm still working on getting some of the "Phase one" cleanup done from the migration to the new software (old youtube links still don't work, etc) This software comes with a system for a "sustaining members" kind of program. I was looking at making the board "ads free" and adding some bells and whistles for the group. Again, all part of Phase two. :)

    Thanks again for all of you being here. Your content and participation is what makes this place great! :nworthy:
     
  13. bshowell

    bshowell VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2004
    Messages:
    1,226
    Location:
    DMV
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    11
    Great story. I found this board when it was T2V, I remember.
     
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  14. Bo333

    Bo333 VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Messages:
    1,576
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    62
    Great Read...and thank you!
     
  15. Char1

    Char1 High-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2015
    Messages:
    848
    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    15
    Thank You Sonya, for putting this together.
    It is a great place to be when you can't be there!

    Cheers
     
    May 28-June 2
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  16. jrinct1

    jrinct1 VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,938
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    20
    For me I have been online on various lv boards since 96 but not on the 1 Sonya mentioned. One of the few I wasn't on at some point ( Good god just about 20 yrs on Lv boards I AM an old goat!!! LOL). However for a LOT of reasons $$$$$ being the main issue haven't been out to LV in yrs and wont be for the forseeable future. So my posting has gone down VERY extensively. But do check out the board daily. Many of the long time veteran posters know the many boards i was on...Along with this 1 i lurk an occasionally post on 2 others ..Think this now might be one of the bigger boards out there. I can only imagine the work that goes into doing a project like this and commend those who are the Adminstration and run the board here.
     
  17. WDMJB

    WDMJB Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2014
    Messages:
    159
    Location:
    The middle of the Pacific Ocean
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    34
    I agree wholeheartedly with this. You and the moderators put an amazing amount of work into this so that we folks who love all that is Vegas can just enjoy it. Many, many thanks. Just put that button up and I'll contribute to your bankroll!
     
    Our annual Holiday celebration!
  18. buckeyestud

    buckeyestud Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2014
    Messages:
    177
    Location:
    Doha, Qatar
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    20
    Great story. Thanks for the history lesson and all of your efforts in making this site what it is today!

    Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
     
  19. richardinbc

    richardinbc Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2002
    Messages:
    245
    Location:
    Mission B.C.
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    10
    Thank you Sonya for history. I remember alt-lv and T2V. I remember the war between David Berman and some other fellow. I know Berman moved to LV. Do you know how he made out living there.

    Thanks for all the work you have put into this very fine board.
     
  20. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 1999
    Messages:
    21,854
    Location:
    Western Washington
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    18
    I lost touch with David Berman several years ago. Not sure what happened to him. I remember we'd do the fundraiser every year for Shade Tree Shelter with his calendar sales.
     
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