First, a Disclaimer: I yield to no one in my unhappiness (this word is a massive understatement) at the way SE treated Monica. As for other issues that upset people, I didn't follow them closely enough to have a valid opinion, but much of the unhappiness came from people I respect.

However, I find myself being pleased at the appearance of new people on TGO and the excellent questions that are coming from them, and at the reappearance of old acqauintances. I hope others will return. But I also feel guilty at my own modest return.

Thus, the question: What are the pros and cons of being happy at the rebirth of TGO? What are the pros and cons of continuing to abandon TGO as a matter of principle?

  • I don't believe the site ever died. In my view the site has improved immensely since certain people left it.
    – Chenmunka
    Jul 2, 2021 at 10:27
  • Why should some high-level drama from the deep past matter? Sep 26, 2021 at 15:05
  • @Danubian Sailor History matters.
    – ab2
    Sep 29, 2021 at 18:50

4 Answers 4


As you know, I am an eternal optimist, and I'm seeing signs that SE is moving the right direction, and communities are beginning to show some health and growth, and at the end of the day it's the people in the communities who will benefit from this. From my perspective, folks like you who ask and answer good questions are just a good thing wherever you are. If it's here, you make a difference. If it's on the alternative site, you will be helping people there.

So no matter what your principles, I think you will be benefiting individuals. If you interact here and there, you will probably help the greatest number of people. It's up to you - do whatever you feel comfortable with. It's all good.


What to do

  1. Asking interesting on topic questions and giving answer to the existing questions
  2. Extend the scope for finding the outdoor activities that are not covered or poorly covered by creating canonical questions
  3. Create canonical questions and FAQs on the meta, to get the traffic from people searching for place to ask questions about their activities.

What NOT to do

Please do not ask off topic questions to create artificial activity. This site is about outdoor activities, anything that it's not about outdoor and not about activity, is off topic.


I'm not sure, but the question seems to be implying that the fact that outdoors.SE is small and unhealthy is related to the Monica Cellio affair. I don't really believe this is the case. My recollection of the site's history over the years is something like this:

  • First it was mainly populated by hikers and backpackers.

  • Then there started to be more rock climbing and mountaineering questions. Some hikers grumbled and went away.

  • We started to see a proliferation of posts that were about imaginary survival scenarios. "I saw this youtube video where this guy has a really big knife, and he uses it to kill a wild boar, ..." The quality of the site went way down, and I think we lost a lot of people.

  • Recently, the site has regained more of an appropriate focus, but the number of users has become so small that a lot of the traffic is from people asking for shopping advice, spamming, or asking questions about things like how to find a certain spare part.

I think the way to make the site grow is to ask and answer high-quality, on-topic questions, while rapidly closing low-quality and off-topic questions. We need to build an impression in people's minds that this is a good place to come for information and that the people here are not sitting in their parents' basements daydreaming about fantasy scenarios.


Things seem to have gotten even worse over the last week. The majority of activity is spam, off-topic, shopping questions, or grubbing for rep. I've decided to delete my profile and stop visiting. It seems to me that it would be appropriate to close the site, but it looks like there is no procedure for that: Can a site "degraduate"?

-Ben Crowell

  • On the spam and shopping side of things, all sites go through phases of these. They are relatively easy to control - flag/vote to close/delete.
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Aug 22, 2021 at 15:37

What are the pros and cons of being happy at the rebirth of TGO?


Happiness in general is good for one's health, regardless of the cause of that feeling.

In this specific case you can be happy that something you once enjoyed and supported is doing well, despite its recent unfortunate history.


Perhaps you want to still be angry, and you want to harbour resentment, and you want to carry this emotional burden with you (all despite the extreme unlikeliness that eventual retroactive changes will make it all go away).

If you feel truly happy about something, you won't be capable of feeling this resentment at the same time. So if you truly do want to feel anger, you won't be able to.

What are the pros and cons of continuing to abandon TGO as a matter of principle?


If you stand up for your principles, you can take satisfaction knowing that you are willing to sacrifice personal happiness and reason for a higher cause.


If you stand up for your principles, you are the only one that will ever know or care about it.

You will deprive yourself of the current and future TGO, and will deprive others of your new contributions.

If you abandon your principles, the only other people that will know about it are people that either already abandoned their own principles or never stood up for that principle in the first place.

Either way, it might matter a lot to you, but in general no one else cares about your choices. (I don't say that in an insulting way, only as a matter of fact.)

I'm reminded of a barn on the outskirts of our city that had "Stop the City" painted on it, to protest urban sprawl. A few years later, when it was surrounded by little boxes, "All right, so don't" appeared before that message.

  • All very fine and wonderful but it doesn't address the question.
    – Chenmunka
    Jul 2, 2021 at 10:26
  • I don't understand what this answer is about.
    – user2169
    Aug 12, 2021 at 17:05
  • @BenCrowell, the answer is for the "Thus, the question: …" at the end of the body of the question. I've reformatted and slightly expanded my answer to make this more obvious. (The real problem here is that this "the question" doesn't match the question in the Title.) Aug 12, 2021 at 18:07

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