Are forums dying?

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

  1. No

    97 vote(s)
    45.8%
  2. Yes

    115 vote(s)
    54.2%
  1. eva2000

    eva2000 Habitué

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    well how many folks google for forums too ? i know i don't. I find forums from their attached web sites and if i like them add site and forums to my bookmarks :)
     
  2. we_are_borg

    we_are_borg Administrator

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    Forums are dying in such way that not many are made per year then lets say 10 years ago. The time of 1000+ posts a day are for most forums over only the special forums in a special niche will do well. Dying in this case means less people post or visit forums, from website owner standpoint its more do i make a forum or do i want a non forum site. More and more people flee to Facebook but from a discussion standpoint its crap to use a forum gives structure and a good overview of the discussions going on, with Facebook its disorganized groups are the same as all other pages. There will be growth in niches that are special but decline in lets say automobile discussions, sites that are small will merge and continue for some time.
     
  3. PoetJC

    PoetJC ⚧ Jacquii: Black Kween of TSSN ⚧

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    "Own the niche - a specialty niche - then your shyt won't die.. Try general chat and get buried..."
    Is this the magic answer? It's a good one!

    J.
     
  4. Tracy Perry

    Tracy Perry Opinionated asshat

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    I do.. .it's really easy to do a search for FJR forums, or Pipe forums or tobacco forums. Brings in results of sites to visit. Don't think I've ever googled facebook though (at least not intentionally or when sober). :p
     
  5. GTB

    GTB Tazmanian

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  6. Tracy Perry

    Tracy Perry Opinionated asshat

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    Forums come and go.... this one hung around for 4 years and I never could get it to really gain traction, so this is the result. Now I just have to decide whether to sit on the license or sell it.

    Screen Shot 2016-11-03 at 8.55.14 AM.png
     
  7. Mesca

    Mesca Aspirant

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    There is a before and after facebook (2009/2010) and i check many forum stats : the smallest ones suffer most. And the specialized ones resist more.
    What you can see is there is less chit chat / off topics, and the discussion tends to be more focus.

    I have several communities on my forum, and some created facebook groups, and I see this in the stats : before and after the creation of the group.
    If one of your community is very small and tend to produce many messages or to produce many off topics messages, when 1 or 2 leave, there is a big impact.

    + more and more mobile users, and forums are not much easy to consult on mobile
    + more and more adblocks and you tend to have less and less information about your users in your stats (because many do even block the tracking)
    + less and less ad revenues.

    Facebook is not dying but aging. The younger ones are on youtube, instagram or even snapchat... I see it when I check the demography of the facebook page I manage.

    The forum have an old design, an old ergonomy and tend to be very unfriendly for younger generations, but I have not seen any forum software that tried to revolutionnize this.
     
  8. Tracy Perry

    Tracy Perry Opinionated asshat

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    I keep seeing this bandied about.. but I have yet to really see anyone with revolutionary suggestions.
    Kind of like building airplanes. To fly you need certain things.. wings, engines, landing gear. Of the major components, there is not that much that can be "changed" on them as there are certain aspects of design that have to be present.
    By the same token, the baseline forum requirements have to have a particular layout to maintain being a forum.
    What you (and most) refer to are not a revolution to forums, but TNBT that will take over from FaceBook, etc. You won't see that coming out of a forum setting.
     
  9. Mesca

    Mesca Aspirant

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    I don't know, I am no developper, but I think there are some good features on social media :
    Check twitter, you know in real time how many new posts there is, and you just have to scroll down to make them appear. Maybe some forums have it.
    Check the possibility to create and manage your own groups on facebook, maybe forums should allow that. A big forum in France allow that : http://www.forumjv.com/

    What you need for a forum is to allow people to interact, share information and find information. These are the basic requirements
     
  10. Tracy Perry

    Tracy Perry Opinionated asshat

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    Already do-able with social add-ons (specifically for XenForo) that I'm aware of. So, no revolutionary aspect there. ;)
     
  11. mysiteguy

    mysiteguy Devotee

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    Search term forum != traffic. My sites (ranging from a few hundred to a few million monthly visitors) have NEVER had the word "forum" ranking as the highest ranking keywords. The top terms are and have always been topic keyword related terms, like "keyword help", "keyword repair", "keyword info", "keyword parts", "where to get keyword", etc. It's the same for my big board clients. The decline in "keyword forum" will continue as search engines continue get better at delivering relevant results..

    A rather large social networking study has shown forum participation rates with Internet users has gone up, not down.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2016
  12. we_are_borg

    we_are_borg Administrator

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    We all know that social sites get a lot of traffic because how they are designed. But no forum software is rewriting how forums should work its all the same as 16 years ago.
     
  13. mysiteguy

    mysiteguy Devotee

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    Forums close all the time especially when the niche is already well served.
     
  14. Mesca

    Mesca Aspirant

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    Thanks, it is what I wanted to say.
    And there are many obstacles : the messages are produced by the old users, and old users don't want changes, so we don't push for changes, because we don't want to make our old users angry and quit.
    Because we protect our old active users with old designs, we have difficulties to make new / younger ones come to our forums.
     
  15. Zero Numbers

    Zero Numbers Adherent

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    Okay, so then why does Facebook and the like keep being suggest as the ones that cause online forums to decline?

    You have proof of this?
     
  16. mysiteguy

    mysiteguy Devotee

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    https://www.forrester.com/report/Your+Customers+Dont+Want+To+Call+You/-/E-RES131922

    Forester Research is no slouch when it comes to data. If you work for a larger company they might already be a client should you decide it's not worth the cost of the study --- many won't since it's primarily from a marketing point of view, why larger companies should embrace forums and other types of social networking.
     
  17. Alex.

    Alex. The Ancient Dragon

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    It also creates a trail of words. Easy to look back on. Especially for higher ups who enjoy examining every bit of data when it comes to employee performance.
     
  18. sbjsbj

    sbjsbj Fan

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    Anybody who used to visit forums since the 2000s knows what I mean. There were so many forums and sites to explore. You could see a new user any second.
    Now thinking about the old good days makes me feel sad. I miss these days.

    Why forums are dying is told already. But just to highlight the most important one: smartphones.

    It used to be Facebook and co. which was the public enemy no. 1, but now smartphones took that role.
    The problem is now bigger than it was before. Facebook took all the chit-chatters away and the traffic went down, but still as a forum you had a small chance to survive if you provided content. It still is like this, but there is now a much bigger problem.

    Forums are not suitable for smartphones. Those damn small sized screens are the most important enemies of forums. Because of them you can't compete, even if you provide content. The small screens make it very uncomfortable.

    One asked how to revolutionize forums. We need a way to display content in smaller scales. And that content must provid information. This is the 2nd point how to revolutionize. Forums are just so damn bad when it comes to find information. Nobody has the time to search for stuff in 10 year old threads. When was the last time you guys visited the forum-node of this topic, you went back 25 pages and scrolled the topics? A topic is hot as long as it is in the first thread_list page or maybe in the second one. But other than that, no people use the pagination to go back multiple pages in the node to see what topics were discussed earlier.

    So all the stuff once was relevant, is gone again. The content you created lasted for a timeframe of that listing on 1st page of that node. Yeah, sure, google indexes it and by using the google search people my find that one particular thread. But be honest, what are the chances of that?

    So what I am saying is, that not only forums must be made usable for smartphones (which is a hell of a job), forums must overthink their system how to save information. Because for information people will come back to your site again. People value information, IF you can make it happen to provide them, which forums can't right now (if the admin didn't do a unique tailored thing for their niche).
     
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  19. zappaDPJ

    zappaDPJ Administrator

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    The problem with these kind of discussions is that the majority of what people believe comes from their experience of interacting with forums and not from verifiable data. That's understandable because from what I've seen, decent surveys on the subject are very few and far between and those that might provide any real insight tend to be costly to access.

    My experience is that while many forums appear to be in decline, the number of people visiting forums in general terms remains the same. That of course is my perception of the way things are for me although the one and only survey I've seen recently (European based, published by https://www.statista.com/) seems to reinforce that to some extent.

    What interests me more than the dying forum question is whether there has been a shift in the balance between forum contributors and consumers. Reliable data on that is even harder to find.
     
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  20. Tracy Perry

    Tracy Perry Opinionated asshat

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    I have a feeling that this hits the nail on the head. Most people are looking for information. They tend to not want to get involved in a discussion once they find it. It's like "Gimme my answer now dammit, and no, I don't want to talk about it".
    Instead of a community of sharer's, it's becoming more of a community of takers that are dependent upon a very few number of contributors.
     
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