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Why Thataway.org?

Update: In 2010, we began a massive URL change from thataway.org to ncdd.org. Thataway.org will always forward to ncdd.org, so no worries!

We get this question all of the time, so we thought we’d share this story on the site…

Sandy Heierbacher (NCDD’s Convenor and co-founder) and her partner Andy Fluke (NCDD’s Creative Director and co-founder) purchased the web domain “thataway.org” in early 2000. They had used the web space provided by their internet service provider for a couple of years at this point, and were tired of referring people to a long and unprofessional-sounding URL.

Sandy had been using their web space for her Dialogue to Action Initiative project (providing resources for people interested in organizing dialogues on race) and Andy had been using the space for his freelance graphic design business.

They wanted to continue sharing web space, since they really weren’t sure where each of their new projects would be going. So they needed a generic name that could be used for both projects. They wanted something that was easy to remember; something catchy, but not too cutesy.

At this time, Andy had been working on a handmade book about a crow that he called “The Bird that Lived on This Side of Thataway.” The word “thataway” came up as a possible URL, and it clicked with both Sandy and Andy. When they learned that no one else was using the domain, they bought thataway.org.

When Sandy’s work with the Dialogue to Action Initiative started to really seem to take off, Andy moved his online graphic design home elsewhere. When the 2002 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation became a reality, we redesigned the main page so that people could choose to go into Dialogue to Action, the Dialogue Community (Dialogue to Action’s most popular section, which kept track of what was happening in the dialogue community), or the 2002 conference.

After the conference was held and the Coalition was formed, the conference section was converted into the new NCDD section. In early 2004, we launched a completely new design at thataway.org. The new site was dedicated solely to the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation, and most of Sandy’s earlier Dialogue to Action resources were incorporated into the new NCDD site.

People sometimes ask why we haven’t changed our domain to ncdd.org. We actually do own ncdd.org and have visitors to that URL directed automatically to thataway.org.  But we are not keen on changing the domain since NCDD is much harder to remember than “thataway,” and people tend to switch the letters in their speech and typing more often than we’d like.

More importantly, though, thousands of people are already used to going to thataway.org, and many websites are linked to thataway.org. And lastly, a lot of people have told us how much they like the domain; how friendly, fun and cool it sounds to them – and how easy it is for them to remember.

And some people have even given the word “thataway” meaning that we hadn’t originally intended. They say they’ve always assumed it was referring to us taking the dialogue and deliberation community – and even society as a whole – in a new, different, better direction. That we’re showing people the way. And why not? Perhaps that’s the new story of thataway.org.