I was having a private chat with Sandman, on the subject, and thought it might be productive to bring the core idea out for public scrutiny. First, I haven't been very active here lately, I used to be quite a bit. My forum experience is mostly related to our one very big site, http://www.abovetopsecret.com. We have more than 20 million posts on more than 1 million topics that span over 4 million pages as indexed by Google. There's a massive list of headaches associated with managing a discussion community of that size, many of which are technology related. We are seeing a gradual drop in overall traffic from new users. It's not yet alarming because we still get good spikes from hot issues in the news, and social media. However, I've been seeing lots of formerly decent boards fade away, if not disappear entirely. I'm sure everyone here has noticed the same, and is concerning. I know why The primary issue is that the UX (user experience) of discussion forum software has not kept pace with the rapid evolution of the broader user experience expectations of the modern digital user. For the most part, every major forum software provider is still relying on the core UX and information architecture first conceived in the 1990's. From a user experience perspective, discovering new and interesting content takes an effort, and this is the problem. Sure, there have been some improvements in the front-end design, but it's just polishing the turd. When you compare the overall user experience of popular digital products (especially mobile) like Uber, Facebook, Instagram, Pandora, Evernote, Twitter, Trello, and FitBit, discussion forum software is insanely confusing and complicated by comparison. This makes adoption by contemporary digital users highly unlikely. To me, this seems obvious. And we've simplified our UX over the years to keep step as much as possible. So why haven't those with an invested interest (forum software vendors) kept pace with modern UX sensibilities? This is the problem. And anyone using their software is suffering from it.