Are Forums Killing Forums?

Discussion in 'Managing an Online Community' started by The Sandman, Jun 22, 2017.

  1. Omri Amos

    Omri Amos Neophyte

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    Maybe you can't report a comment to moderators, but you can report it to the "super-admin" ;)
    This is another good advantage of facebook groups, spammers etc' are actually moderated by facebook itself - if they post something problematic they might be blocked by facebook without you even needing to moderate it... You are also able to easily block people, hide posts/comments...
    You can also decide if you wish to get notifications from friends only, everyone, or highlights (trending) posts only... and if you want to see posts from the group in your newsfeed or not, and/or filter specific people.

    Oh, and did I mention that if your group is public you can super-easily get exposed to new audience? Sharing posts from a facebook group is very common, while sharing external links to specific topics on external forums/websites is... less common (and gets less exposure from facebook, intentionally).
     
  2. Lisa

    Lisa Chaotically Proportional

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    From what I've seen, you can't. You get the option to Hide, then an option to Report - if you click report, it only gives the option to report it to Facebook itself but not the admin - you have to actually send them a link via message or tag them. (I also run a few groups and members complain about not being able to report comments all the time).
     
  3. The Sandman

    The Sandman Administrator

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    I can't help laugh at the irony - forums trying to be more like facebook while facebook is trying to be more like forums.
     
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  4. Omri Amos

    Omri Amos Neophyte

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    Yes, that's what I meant :)
    Facebook is your "super-admin"...
     
  5. Lisa

    Lisa Chaotically Proportional

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    Yeah, but that's not really helpful to the admins on groups, is it :)
     
  6. The Sandman

    The Sandman Administrator

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    No matter how hard they try I don't think facebook will be like forums. And no matter how hard forums try they won't be like facebook. It's two different things.
     
  7. cheat_master30

    cheat_master30 Moderator

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    Yep, it's why Twitter, Snapchat, etc are so popular on mobile devices. Because their format is absolutely perfect for it, and doesn't require a lot of typing or formatting.

    That said, there are still a lot of changes that could be made to make them usable on mobile, and it's possible a lot of forums could eventually adapt to shorter post lengths in order to more closely mirror other social sites of the era.
     
  8. Digital Doctor

    Digital Doctor Tazmanian

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    Or make adding content to communities easier.
     
  9. Bikenut

    Bikenut Enthusiast

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    I created facebook groups for each one of my forums. It helped because I share great posts from the forums into their facebook groups and it drives traffic back to the forum. It really works on the older established forums that I have,

    But the forum that I started last year, the facebook group gets twice as many posts ea day than the forum does.

    So, I have looked at it hard, day and night. I mean days and nights. I really mean, months of days and nights studying the problem. Looking at data like time of day, days per week for posts/facebook posts.

    I even held a poll on the forum, why do you post on the facebook group instead of here? The most common answer was, "because im already on there all day".

    then I started to notice something. Whenever someone would post in the Facebook group, I would get a notification on my phone, and yes, it draws me in and I read the posts and reply. Before, I would get annoyed, "gret another wasted fb group post".

    But then it dawned on me. Maybe my forums just need an app in the app stores. Maybe I could even charge a buck for it, but hold contests and give a few away each month.

    So now, I'm looking into an app solution for my forums. I think that forum notifications popping up on the member's phones all day would solve alot of problems. We need to be able to reach people like Facebook does.

    Facebook groups are hurting and even killing some forums. But, I think that properly run apps are the answer.

    I predict that forum app services will overtake Forum theme services in the near future. Smart programmers should be working on this, day and night.
     
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  10. pierce

    pierce Habitué

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    Yeah those forum apps that have shut down due to apple issues?

    You can natively send alerts on most devices other than iPhone...
     
  11. MarkFL

    MarkFL La Villa Strangiato

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    This thread has a lot of food for thought...you know I had always blamed the decline in the popularity of forums, and thus in my mind the decline of the internet as a whole, on social media, smartphone users, and more generally on a generation of youngsters who don't appreciate the internet because they have never known a time when it didn't exist.

    a2static4.fjcdn.com_comments_Kids_today__f34fef8800ba0f8fc7fd55bb5d517993.jpg
     
  12. Xiammes

    Xiammes Aspirant

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    The over saturation of forums is certainly a issue and I think is the biggest cause of people moving away from. The beauty about a forum is that you don't need thousands of people logged in at any moment to have a satisfying forum experience. Once you start getting into those numbers the beauty of the forum comes apart, too many people to build a community, its why Reddit can shine as its format is better for thousand of users on any particular niche.

    So it should be easy to have a thriving forum, but the issue is with over saturation. I can look up Zelda forums on google and find 5 different forums on the first two pages, but none of them have more then a dozen or so users logged on, they are all ghost towns. The fanbases don't have a destination to call home. This should be coupled with the fact that just advertising a community can be hard as hell, the type of people who want forums are also the type of people that takes to things being advertised so openly in front of them.

    There is no real solution since we can't tell people to stop making forums and we can't remove old ones. I've pondered over this and I think one of the things that might have a actual effect is to have a directory for active forums. Find forums that interest you while cutting through the crap. Have it well curated, no illegal forums, no ghost towns. In order to not stifle new forums, have a directory for budding forums, where they can advertise themselves.
     
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  13. Soulwatcher

    Soulwatcher Devotee

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    My personal opinion is the reason why forums are dead is it takes 1 second to google anything you desire. If you want a review on the newest call of duty there are 75m reviews that come up and if you want to know what someone thinks all you have to do is search youtube. And there are 2m personal youtube reviews. And if you want to look up something crazy like how to rebuild a model t engine 980k websites come up. So in other words everything that use to be discussed on forums can now be found in a 1 second google search. Which leaves nothing to be discussed on a forum.
     
  14. Xiammes

    Xiammes Aspirant

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    Forums themselves offer a community you can't really get anywhere else online. There is still a market for these people, facebook, reddit, youtube all of these are based on the upvotes or liked content to sort the hundreds of thousands of people posting. For most people this is fine, its quick, easy and convenient. A forum is not based on such a system, a actual community can be built and there is a level of satisfaction that only be gotten from a forum community.

    The biggest issue lies in over saturation. Its hard to find another forum to migrate too when yours died, I've been through that several times, it sucks. Its easier to hop over to the like of 4chan or reddit as those have big active communities that are ever present. Forums have other issues that can be tackled to improve user experience and the ever present threat of a community getting so tightly knit that it actively repels new members, but these should be considered secondary.
     
  15. Soulwatcher

    Soulwatcher Devotee

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    Like I said the biggest reason why a forum dies is because some one on the internet had posted the answer to what someone use to look to find the answer on a forum ill give a example. I just looked up "how to replace a broken starter bolt on a 2005 ford taurus" and 102k websites popped up with two youtube videos walkthroughs being the top search results. And I can guarantee that every broken starter bolt scenario can be found in the first 5 websites. So there is no reason to sign up to a form to ask questions. Which means the person is never going to come back to your website and ask questions. Because everything you need or want to talk about can be found in a google search.

    P.S. look how dead the official Playstation and Xbox forums are. People don't ask many questions or talk about new games because everything a person wants to know can be found in a 1 second google search.
     
  16. Xiammes

    Xiammes Aspirant

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    You assume the biggest reason why people join a forum is to find solutions to a answer. I disagree, its a draw but in of itself it don't cause retention. Those types of forums were going to get beat out by other sites with better ease of use, forums themselves are not convenient to the average person.

    Forums are a great place to store and organize information, but that will always be a draw, it will rarely cause retention. As its easier to regoogle the site and find the info the it is to become a member of a site and get involved in it.
     
  17. Soulwatcher

    Soulwatcher Devotee

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    Ok my question to you is what other reason do you have to join a forum if your not going to start off with asking a question? And you say forums are to discuss? What is there to discuss if I can find 4m people on youtube talking about the same subject that I want to discuss on a forum? You want to know 'Are you enjoying your Dell XPS computer. There are 4m people on youtube talking about how much they like their Dell XPS computer. And its instant you don't have to wait for someone to login and post on a forum. People want instant satisfaction = dead forums.

    P.S. I am by no means hating on forums I am just being a realist.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2017
  18. Xiammes

    Xiammes Aspirant

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    I join a forum because I have interest in the subjects being discussed and the community it has gathered, however I don't join every forum I find interesting as its hard to maintain presence on multiple sites. Usually I stay on one till its dead, the only reason I am here is because I am interested in the higher functions of forum management in order to improve my work elsewhere.

    I enjoy the community aspect of forums, its why forums are not completely dead. No other form of social media has the same community experience a forum can generate. Reddit strikes close with the sheer abundance of niches you can find, but it ultimately adheres to the upvotes type system, which filters content.

    You don't need millions of people or even tens of thousands of people active to have a satisfying forum experience. You can't appeal to the average person, because the average person doesn't have the time to invest in a community, you have to appeal to internet dwellers.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2017
  19. Soulwatcher

    Soulwatcher Devotee

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    This is what I have been saying over and over and over. How many internet dwellers do you think there are out there? Not many and that's why forums are dead.
     
  20. Xiammes

    Xiammes Aspirant

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    I disagree and agree, internet dwellers are few in comparison to regular internet users, even still you don't need a massive number of people to have a successful forum experience. I would say such large numbers are a detriment to a forum, if you have 100 thousand active daily members on a forum, can you really say it would be a fun or satisfying forum experience? Even at 10k actively daily members, you would have a hard time moderating all the content.

    The forum I moderate is averaging about 3.5k posts per day, which is far down from out peak of 22k posts per day, but I am still having fun and there still is a large community that leaves me satisfied. I'd love to get it back to 5k or 10k posts per day, but I'd also do some kind of monkeys paw wish to stop it from every dropping from the 3.5k if something were possible.

    The issues isn't internet dwellers don't exist, far from it, the problem is saturation. There are too many forums and you can't find one that is for you. Your real competition isn't facebook or twitter, its reddit, deviant art, tumblr and the thousands of dead forums that will pop up anytime you try to search are making it difficult to find alternatives too them.
     
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