Are forums dying?

Discussion in 'Managing an Online Community' started by CarpCharacin, Nov 2, 2016.

  1. No

    94 vote(s)
    45.4%
  2. Yes

    113 vote(s)
    54.6%
  1. Pete

    Pete Developer

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    The Moodle app showcases the problem a forum app has, surprisingly well. Moodle is more modular than most forum systems in that there are several key types of plugin, and there are ways for plugins to communicate with the app - but even then it's painful going.

    Even a dedicated forum-platform-X app would struggle to replicate that right now.

    Also good luck if you want a branded Moodle app for your site, that starts at either you building it yourself or paying Moodle 5000 AUD for the privilege (plus a recurring fee every year that is at least 1000 AUD).

    And this is still a healthier ecosystem for an app than literally any of the individual forum platforms have got right now.
     
  2. Nev_Dull

    Nev_Dull Anachronism

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    I don't think it's about selling mobile short. The forum developers are behind the curve, to be sure, still trying to find a middle ground that will least annoy everyone, without ever really pleasing anyone. Making the kind of shift that's needed is not easy or cheap. It will likely require reworking the forum software concept from the ground up.


    I agree, users do want a better mobile experience, both for reading and for contributing. However, there is still work to be done on the hardware side as well. The average user does not find a mobile phone easy to use for content creation, beyond a quick tweet text message, or the usual one or two line facebook post. I've seen that in my forum stats, as have others. And those that study such things have reached the same conclusions. It's improving, as the phone screens get bigger, but it isn't to the stage yet where everyone can easily type paragraphs of text. For the present, mobile phones are still primarily used for content consumption.

    I would love to do more via mobile devices than I do. I can use my iPad to write long content in a coffee shop, because I have a separate keyboard. That seems to be the sweet spot. My phone is just too small to be a comfortable content creation tool. And I count myself as one of those who embraces new (useful) technology and is willing to work at getting the most out of it.
     
  3. zoldos

    zoldos Lord Malleus

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    Those particular forums may be "dying" but mine is flourishing as well as several others I go on.
     
  4. dethfire

    dethfire Fan

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    No disrespect, but your forum is tiny
     
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  5. Apple

    Apple Participant

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    I agree. I go on our forum quite regularly on my phone. It actually has a decent mobile site. However, I find it too difficult to write more than 2-3 lines on a small screen. I prefer a keyboard if I'm going to do a lot of typing. Usually, if I have a lot more to say, I'll wait til I get home, log in and make a reply. That's all well and good if you are staff, or a loyal member of the site. New members might be less invested and so, don't return later. We blame facebook a lot for there being less traffic on forums, but it's probably mobile devices coupled with facebook.

    I don't think forums are dying as such, more in a lull, but I know deep down that SC (our current forum) will never have the success of it's predecessor that was launched back in 2002.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
  6. Pete

    Pete Developer

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  7. zoldos

    zoldos Lord Malleus

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    Perhaps, but people are registering daily, and I can hardly keep up with all the new posts.

    My other forum has 30,000 posts and 2450+ members. :D
     
  8. Nev_Dull

    Nev_Dull Anachronism

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  9. Echo

    Echo Runs with grenades

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    Spot on my friend!! Very well said in a fairly short reply. ;)
     
  10. zoldos

    zoldos Lord Malleus

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    I ran a BBS in the early 90's all the way till 1997 when I first got on-line. :D
     
  11. BlackSpot

    BlackSpot Aspirant

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    When we had our last melt down on the forum I admin in 2013, most of the pros left. It was pretty vibrant until then. I'm still friends with a lot of them, but they won't return as they all hate the owner, who is a twit. Saying that, they all bemoan their loss and now we have an ex-business partner of said owner going to start a new forum. Pretty well all the mods left would be happy to move, including me. We're all friends on FB and know exactly what we want and it isn't FB. Sure, some of us are getting long in the tooth, but concept art is very cool with youngsters.

    It's not going to be a free lunch as some of the forum will be subscription only. It'll keep out the time wasters and the pros can concentrate on helping beginners improve properly. Can't wait.

    Forums aren't dying, just not attracting the right sort of members that bring others in.ConceptArt.org will limp along for a bit before it's new rival is established.
     
  12. Jura

    Jura Devotee

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    I made a few posts.
    Nobody replied.
    I left.

    Seems to be the feeling of forums in general.
     
  13. Pete

    Pete Developer

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    You mean the lack of attention span to wait for a reply to something / lack of quick feedback? That's like the single greatest feature of forums right there - the fact people *can* take the time to consider a longer reply.
     
  14. MarkFL

    MarkFL La Villa Strangiato

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    We get a lot of users like that now at the math help forums. They post their problem, don't get a complete solution within 5 minutes, and they leave and are never heard from again.

    They don't realize our helpers are not all poised over their keyboards, waiting to answer questions as soon as they're posted. It might take 10 minutes or more before a reply, using LaTeX, TikZ and live calculators is posted. Our helpers are perfectionists and post quality replies that take time to compose.
     
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  15. Nev_Dull

    Nev_Dull Anachronism

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    This, and more. I've spoken to a few younger folk (mid 20s) who say they use Reddit or facebook, even though they don't like them and it's very difficult to have a serious discussion. They know forums would be better, but don't use them because they can't be bothered to register on different forums they are interested in.

    My takeaway from that is let those users stay on facebook and reddit.
     
  16. Apple

    Apple Participant

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    It really does depend on the quality of a post and/or if people are interested in the topic. If it's not engaging enough, people won't reply. The best way for new members on any community driven forum is to post an introduction topic. At least gives a feel for what the community is like. Are they friendly/welcoming/bunch of meanies.

    I have also noticed that people come along and make a one line response to the thread title instead of reading and responding to the things that people said within the thread. No one is going to engage with that kind of poster. They can stay on social media where that kind of commenting might get them the odd "like."

    I also feel that those people who leave after making 2 or 3 posts that didn't get responses are a little narcissistic. Even if they do stay, they don't make good members because they just want attention all the time. I've seen that type too often.


    Oh yes. This. I've made programming related posts on stack overflow when stuck on something, and honestly waited a few hours before checking back. People just don't respond right away, not even on somewhere as big as that place. Sometimes, I've only gotten a response the next day. haha.
     
  17. Jura

    Jura Devotee

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    Over a year?


    Differing ways of running a forum I guess. First few posts should be treated like an introduction thread. Indifference won't work well like it did for A4.

    Also I figured in my case someone would recognize me, but if you want to brush it off as narcissism or ego then fine.
     
  18. Pete

    Pete Developer

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    That would be a long time, but I’ve seen people rage quit because they didn’t get an answer in a matter of minutes.
     
  19. Nev_Dull

    Nev_Dull Anachronism

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    There can be any number of reasons for this that don't mean forums in general are dying.

    Cliques are the biggest offender. If you aren't part of the in-crowd, you get no attention. Apathy is another. Some forums seem to attract people who want information but can't be bothered to share any. Or maybe your posts were too good. Sometimes what you post is the definitive answer to whatever the thread was asking or discussing. There's nothing left to say.
     
  20. Jason5

    Jason5 Enthusiast

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    I think forums are dying due to noob admins like me. Who start a project and expect 1000's of users to join the forum within a month without doing anything. After few months of running a forum and with few users joining in..Loose hope and close it without any announcements. This make the users who joined willingly to loose interest in the forums and they try to avoid other forums too due to this reason..(purely my observation)
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
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