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. Bikenut

    Bikenut Enthusiast

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    I will say that it is now harder to start a new forum, and yes, facebook groups are taking alot away from my forums. I still get the traffic, but people arent logging in, they are coming for free tech info and then going away without logging in. I considered making my tech boards login access only, but then I lose alot of good ranked threads from search.

    People are lazy and dont want to have to login from their phones. They are always logged into facebook so they post the same stupid tech questions over and over because the answers are buried in that one stupid facebook thread.

    Forums are better than Facebook, but sheer laziness ensures that facebook groups will keep growing.

    Maybe creating a forum app is the answer?
     
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  2. pierce

    pierce Habitué

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    A good forum is based on good members who are not lazy... But committed to contributing and their natural ability to help people.

    An app can help but the current offerings are lacklustre with no cross platform options.

    I don't think redesign of a forum would help. The concept is as simple as can be. Forums have threads which have posts.

    Facebook? Groups, not all the same, pages, profile pages, apps etc it's also heavily filtering content because there is too much information. If your starting a page now you need to spend money to have it shown to more than 20 people. Unless your click baiting.
     
  3. Mesca

    Mesca Aspirant

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    Because on French forums, they speak french :)



    In fact, I check stats on many forums. I have a sheet on my excel which is "international forums" and i check forocoches too, which is in spanish.
    You are right, this is not important, whether it is american or not, language is more important.

    Spanish forums are interesting, because every minutes, there is somebody who speak spanish who is awake and they are very active.
     
  4. Mesca

    Mesca Aspirant

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    For example on theadminzone, you have a click to expand for the quotes, which I do not have on my forums.
    It's clearly inspired by mobile use and facebook. What if for long post on mobile we would also have a click to expand ? The first 4 lines should suffice to know if you want to expand or not, and on mobile you could browse quicker a subject.
     
  5. Arne

    Arne Aspirant

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    Yes! Kind of :)

    I know it is not cool, but we built a product for that. I will not link or say the name since it is my first message ever. But I think that is exactly the point. Everything is more and more frictionless, and getting involved in a forum is so complicated compared to just write something on facebook.

    But there is one problem with that: The people I want to talk to, are not necessarily the people I am connected to on facebook. They are on forums!

    This is exactly what we try to accomplish! We built a tool for forums to connect the people on forums in a frictionless way. I hope someone is interested what we do exactly. If not, it is totally fine! I also hate people randomly join fruitful discussion just to advertise.

    One last thing: You made my day Bikenut thanks!
     
  6. agandl

    agandl Fan

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    I have also found people will come and read our content, both out blogs and articles are well read as well as many of our threads but not finding people logging in, many only post once or twice, but I think that having login access only will probably cost you both in good ranking of threads, as you say, and in new members who may not join to see what you may have but could be tempted to join when they get interested.

    It seems a little harsh to blame not logging-in from phones on laziness, I really think people struggle to access forums via their phones. I have members who will only use our FB page in the day and wait until evening and sitting down with a laptop to access the Forum. I'm sure it costs us a lot of traffic but not at all sure what can be done

    Sorry Arne - only just saw your post - didn't deliberately ignore it
     
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  7. darnoldy

    darnoldy Curmudgeon

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    I was talking to someone about their vacation recently, and it occurred to me that a resort town is a good paradigm for a forum—bear with me for a bit, please.

    A resort town has several categories of people within it:

    Tourists—These people are not part of the community and have no attachment to it. They come into town, stay briefly, then leave—hopefully having had an enjoyable experience (so they'll tell their friends) and leaving behind some money.

    Peripheral participants—These people are not part of the community and do have an attachment to it. Like "regulars" who book the same cabin for the same two weeks, year after year. Like the truck driver, who delivers groceries to the local store and has lunch at the diner every Thursday. Like the regional manager who comes to spend a week every quarter at the local bank. Like seasonal employees at the resorts, who are in town all summer (or winter) and then "go home" in the off-season. They are folks that the "locals" begin to recognize and develop relationship with, but are not, themselves, "locals."

    Locals—These are the people who do the living, working and dying in the community. They keep things running, provide goods and services, vote, pay taxes, identify as a group.

    There is a fourth, very important, category...

    Immigrants—These are the people who come into the community with the intention of becoming "locals"—fully-participating members of the community. These are the people who will keep the community alive.

    Not every tourist or peripheral participant will become an immigrant (and it is unreasonable to expect it)—but some will. To a great extent, how the locals view and interact with the other three categories of people will determine the success or failure of the community. Are tourists resented or begrudgingly tolerated? Are immigrants welcomed and their participation facilitated?

    What do you think?
     
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  8. agandl

    agandl Fan

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    That is a very nice and well thought-out analogy darnoldy

    ... and nice as a peripheral participant to find familiar faces when I visit :love:
     
  9. bogie

    bogie Participant

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    Personally i think one factor often overlooked is the crash of 2007 and the knock on effect. After the crash and leading upto around 2010 people hadnt fully felt the impact, around 2010 it began to bite. If you look at some niches/hobbies you also see the same trend in the downward spiral, fish are a good example of this.

    Keeping fish can be expensive, i work within the industry and know alot of people in it, most will tell you there has been a huge decline in the money being spent on keeping fish. Like most hobbies that cost money and dont really provide much, they get left behind in hard times, so its no surpise that fish forums for example are declining as the hobby as a whole is. I honestly think once things pick up the Aquarium trade will respond again (maybe its a fashion thing as well), as things pick up i hope Aquarium forums pick up as well.

    Many years ago i ran a very big Aquarium site (around 1997), we got rid of it around 2005 and at the time it was growing well. It was common to have maybe 800 posts a day, a few weeks ago i went back to the same forum. I hadnt visited it since 2009 and was shocked to see that it had only had 4 posts in nearly a year!

    After i sold it it was brought by a marketing company, they dont seem to have done much with it and despite being absolutely full of content no one is there to answer questions anymore. Ironically at the time i sold it another had just started up, i have been and looked at it and its doing well. Different people seem to be on it though, back when it first started it had very few members for a number of years, but is doing ok at the moment.

    Anyway my point is sometimes a economic down turn can adversely affect a hobby and therefore associated things like forums go down too, it is also a flooded niche at the moment, alot of fish forums and most are pretty meah.
     
  10. CMOBOSS

    CMOBOSS All About Da-Cookies.

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    I gotta be honest here, and It's possibly someone said it already, but the truth is as long as their is someone around to ask if forums will someday die, then forums will not die...
     
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  11. Digital Doctor

    Digital Doctor Tazmanian

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    Online communities need more than threaded discussion.

    Reddit makes large threads readable with a proper thread view and showing more liked areas over less liked areas.
    Making threads more readable on mobile devices is very important.
    Very little innovation here.
    Does forum software help the admin know who the immigrants are ?

    FWIW .. I think forums have sucked since Day 1.
    It's just that in 2000 they were the best game in town.
    Now they aren't .
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2016
  12. pierce

    pierce Habitué

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    Give examples.

    Facebook is one giant forum where people create a thread and friends post comments... If anybody bothers. But Facebook prefers video content over small text posts... And also decides what your interested in to prevent information overload...

    Twitter is one giant bowl of soup with little organisation. But it's made the most impact on TV. Imagine 100 years later if Twitter is dead somebody will have to research what Twitter was in order to understand TV footage. They would most likely be able to get that information from forums.

    Redit is a bunch of nerds. Mostly. They also only recently established a need for mobile interface.

    Imgur is redit pictures for nerds.

    So every thing above is a thread containing posts categorised somehow.
     
  13. CMOBOSS

    CMOBOSS All About Da-Cookies.

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    The entire internet is a thread.
     
  14. pierce

    pierce Habitué

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    oh forgot wordpress...

    Every blog post really is just the first post of a thread with posts (comments)

    Blog posts (the thread started post) is organized into a category and/or tagged.
     
  15. CMOBOSS

    CMOBOSS All About Da-Cookies.

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    Or you could use the city grid concept to visualize the structures of dbs/threads/tables/... at the end of the day each computer or device connected to the network becomes a table with any number of threads in that db..with a multitude of threads of information... Now ask yourself why anyone would be interested in knowing what's in your thread, cell, notepad, smartphone... etc
     
  16. pierce

    pierce Habitué

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    Information and knowledge is power.

    Maybe people will get thirsty beyond clickbait and actually investigate a topic which will probably lead them to a forum or a blog or a website dedicated to the topic.

    Look at.. FPN network (fountain pen network), most people probably couldn't care about $1,000 pens, but it turns me on... I don't think Ive ever seen a facebook post about pens on my timeline.
     
  17. CMOBOSS

    CMOBOSS All About Da-Cookies.

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    Check my signature. Feel free to register if you are interested, maybe we can work together.
    general layout.png
     
  18. Douzeper

    Douzeper Aspirant

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    I have no answers but I do know my forum is dieing very slowly because of Facebook. The category of our forum is such a way that it is used by older people. A lot of whom got on to the internet via their iPad, which of course has Facebook already built in. I could go on for hours on why I think FB is crap for information, but we all know the reasons why Forums beat Facebook hands down for info.

    But a lot of people want to be drip fed these days, they don't want the work of contributing, they want to see a picture and move on. Our forum software developers are releasing a Forum Software update which will be PHP7, HTML5, Retina Display and a host of others things, in January 2017. They say it will be a revolution in forum software, I hope they are right, I am hedging a lot of bets on the fact it may give us a new lease of life. But I fail to see how we can keep fighting Facebook.

    My forums will exist for a long time to come because of it's niche, also because of its loyal members, but I can see a day were a new format will be required.
     
  19. agandl

    agandl Fan

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    There is a FPN FB Group though https://www.facebook.com/groups/fountainpennetwork/
     
  20. pierce

    pierce Habitué

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    It's closed group.

    But my argument is that your not likely if ever to see stuff off the beaten track of clickbait and video junk. It simply doesn't reach that critical mass to be considered important by Facebook.
     
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