Today I am going to write a few things that I believe are holding the forum platform behind. This goes for all types of niches. I will compare forums like vbulletin to "forums" like Reddit and Quora and why they are successful. You can obviously disagree, in which case I'd love to see your thoughts. 1. Appealing to the New Audience I assume a lot of you are like me, using bulletin boards since the early 2000s with the classic forums. But the web has changed so much over the years and so have the users. The younger crowd has not seen forums of those old days, there are barely many forums out there. Every search result you get is either an answer from a Blog or a Community site like Yahoo Answers, Quora, StackOverflow. I think we might be the old grandpa when it comes to forums. Nothing wrong with being old, but you know when you are old, you look outside and you realize most people you know are DEAD. Our forums are like an old grandpa, we look outside and most of the forum websites you knew have died. How do we appeal to the new audience? I used to play this one game religiously back in 2014, I was on their forums and interacted with their Youtubers every day. This was a very active community for this small game. A lot of their users had a PlayStation platform so the way they interacted was through Youtube. They had made Youtube like their forums. These were all teenagers / adults ranging from 16 - 24 years old. I got in touch with one of their biggest YouTubers and asked him why he wasn't using the official forums to share his knowledge. His answer almost shocked me, he said "I do not know how to use the forums, I find them cluttered and difficult to use. I like twitter." After giving it a second thought I realized he has probably never had an interaction on forums and he is not tech savvy, from his perspective that might be not as bad as it seems. So why did he choose platforms like twitter and Youtube over classic forums? I believe it is because on these websites they can just signup and they can just start posting immediately. 2. Notifications One of the reasons why anyone makes a post or thread is to get a reaction or help others. But how we know that what you posted has done that? Notifications. Notifications are one of the best things of social media and all forums should have it. Taz already implemented it very well, which is why I like this site. 3. Quality Reply Algorithms Why does anyone use stackoverflow or quora? It's because they promote quality over quantity. Exactly why they rank high in google as well. Quality replies are rewarded and pushed up while the lower quality ones are pushed down. I am in process of working on a proprietory forum project with a similar feature I will hopefully release by the end of this year. 4. Respect ma Authorita / Abusive Staff I see some forums with abusive admins who love to punish users and act like a Nazi to feel like a big boy. I feel these forum owners are just school bullies, no one likes a school bully. When you are an owner of a forum, be nice to your users. It all comes down to one single person having to much power and authority to control the website. Sorry for mentioning StackOverflow again, but these websites are owned by corporations they cannot afford to behave in such manner. What I'm saying is if you are the owner of a forum, act professional no need to ban the member because you had a fight with your wife earlier. 5. Reward but don't punish Have you ever seen facebook blacklist you because you made a stupid post on the website? I've seen people post literally photos of burned corpses on Facebook and still not banned. Have you seen a negative reputation system on these big websites, where if you post something wrong, you get a negative rating on a post. You probably haven't, because we are humans and humans make mistakes. There are a lot of forums which provide negative rating systems which discourage the user from posting and some allow VIP members to negative rep. What this does is when a user creates as thread he will either think "What if my post is not liked by these people and they start negative repping me? Oh leave it I'll just not post. " The internet is different, you have a lot of different kind of people interacting with each other, unlike real life. In real life you mostly only interact with people you know. But on the internet you might be interacting with people with social anxiety issues, abuse victims, bullied victims, handicap, people with a lot of problems in general. I once made a joke about strippers on a forum, and found out, one of the most active person there was an actual stripper and she felt the joke was in bad taste. If most of these people had a social life they would not be on a forum. Of course, not everyone has these issues but I would say a lot. You need to make sure your system in no way harms these people in a negative way. Which is where it all comes down to point 4. Good admin bad admin. Social media has a lot of cyber bullying cases. But I think forums easily control this if you have a good admin. 6. Rank Color system Forum ranks, in my opinion, are old and should go. Ranks represent different authority. I mean it's ok to specify who is the Administrator or a moderator so members can contact you, but having different colors on names, stars, etc in every part of the website may discourage people from posting. It creates an unspoken discrimination feeling for new members, saying hey you aren't worth it unless you are of this rank color (racism pun intended). That's about all I think as far as the classic forum system is concerned. People find the forum layout structure difficult to understand, but I think its a great layout and helps to organize topics properly. Feel free to post any opinions and thoughts.