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Is the end of forums near?


PaulaJedi
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Search engines such as google may possibly be responsible for the slowness of forums. Even in "real life" when you ask a question, people say "just google it". I always have to mention that I prefer the thoughts and personal experiences of a human, not Google. Besides, there is TOO MUCH info on the internet -- so much that you can't tell what the truth is sometimes.

 

Thoughts?

 

 

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I think forums like these are doomed to fail eventually. I'm sure the government keeps a close eye on all these forums and as soon as they see any really useful info that they want secret they would shut them down. While having so much access to information is a gift, it is also a curse. I would take talking with a person any day over google.

 

 

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The government attack on these forums is very real. I've labeled suspect candidates as CIA goons. These goons are very easy to identify. They come in spouting nonsense and spreading disinformation. Call them out when you see them. Once their cover is blown, they usually leave in a huff.

 

 

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The government attack on these forums is very real. I've labeled suspect candidates as CIA goons. These goons are very easy to identify. They come in spouting nonsense and spreading disinformation. Call them out when you see them. Once their cover is blown, they usually leave in a huff.

That happens so much it's not even funny anymore.

 

 

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Its a transformation of sorts, BBS boards were around though different than a forum eventually died out. Younger people tend not to read through forums as the platforms are more wide spread these days. Or the interest has waned.

 

Personally i think its age based on the whole, will they survive yes for a while to come.

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Things will never be like they were in the late 90s on up until Facebook and Twitter came around. Those were the golden days of the internet for sure. However, I don't think niche sites like these will ever be completely out of the picture.

 

A lot of forum owners thought Facebook groups were the death knell for small communities like ours. There's a forum I used to visit a lot called The Admin Zone and there's hundreds of discussions there about this topic. Now that those have been around for a while, what I mostly see is "low effort" communities now just spring up on one of those platforms. 20 years ago if I wanted to make an "off topic" sort of forum, I'd have to buy a vBulletin license and figure out how to set it up. Now, any soccer mom can create a group and get some followers. It's definitely an option to go that route for a lot of people (especially those without any development background), but it's certainly not for everyone or every audience.

 

The difference between a site like ours and a Facebook group is Facebook owns your accounts and your community. They can shut you down at any time, and. the owner is left out in the cold with zero recourse.

 

We can play by our own rules, we own our content and we're not subject to the whims of Jack or Mark Zuckerburg. I suppose you're subject to MY whims, but I try to do the right thing based on my own moral compass... Not those of investors.

 

Reddit, for example, just banned about 2000+ subreddits because they "redefined their content policy". I support free speech. I can handle someone else's opinion without daddy coming in to shield me from feeling an emotion I dislike. I never want to be so big that a board of directors and investments from China dictate how we interact with each other here. You'll never get banned just because you have an unpopular opinion.

 

Me and my family run this site. That's the way it'll stay, and you're all like an "extended" family to me even though we'll probably never meet. I love. that I can provide a place like this for myself and others to read the ideas and thoughts you guys share, and I plan on keeping this site alive until I'm dead or my daughters take over.

 

That's just my perspective, but I imagine other people who run other niche sites feel similarly. I know @Num7 loves Paranormalis, and I loved it enough to hand it off to someone I knew would do a great job.

 

There will always be a place for niche communities, though it becomes a question of how well do you curate interesting content and stay "modern". Facebook and Twitter do a lot of things poorly, but they also do a lot of things right. Elements of those should be incorporated in communities like ours so things stay modern, but the reason we're here is something that shouldn't ever be overlooked.

 

 

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  • 1 year later...

There will always be a place for niche communities, though it becomes a question of how well do you curate interesting content and stay "modern". Facebook and Twitter do a lot of things poorly, but they also do a lot of things right. Elements of those should be incorporated in communities like ours so things stay modern, but the reason we're here is something that shouldn't ever be overlooked.

Two eight years later, I'm finally trying to take my own advice.

Edited by Cosmo
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I have wondered lately whether further features modeled after social platforms would increase engagement here or just allow a turn for the worse, e.g. Snapchat/ story features. I'm not on Snapchat but the model is obviously attractive to many users. Another alternative would be a personalized need feed based on followed threads and users.

 

Then again, reinventing the wheel of a social network had seemed to be a fool's errand in the past for those that have tried and would likely be a heavy admin lift. Maybe better just to continue to use social media accounts on popular platforms as a way to funnel new users to the site. It's definitely much more than a forum with all of Cosmo's recent work.

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Invision, one of the other softwares we used, is going hard at the social featureset. That's the one that had the "clubs" feature, and I think xenForo (what we use now) is going to do something similar in the next version. More features is always cool, but If I've learned anything over the multitude of times I've taken forums to the brink, it's that nobody really cares about any of that if there's nothing interesting going on.

 

In the "golden age" of forums, I think it was easier to run a successful site like this because it was harder to find in the first place. By the time you found it, you'd proven you were someone with enough wit to want to talk about something esoteric and spend time seeking it out. Put a bunch of people like that together without much outside interference, and the content takes care of itself. There weren't many other places to escape to, so "brainspace" per site was much higher.

 

I don't think you can do that anymore. Because there's no barrier to entry, we're faced with an Eternal September of people who have many many many other options. I want people to want to be here, and not consider TTI some throwaway option among a sea of options on reddit or Facebook or whatever else. Literally anyone can start a group somewhere, but only TTI has Cosmo (or hopefully you). And that's how we're gonna do it.

Edited by Cosmo
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I was born too late to experience the age when forums are popular on the Internet. By the time I had my first smartphone, Facebook had been the most popular site in my place, I did make an account on it but never managed to merge into their Internet culture. Don't know why, just feel like something's missing and I don't feel the fun.

I just found this site lately, really like it. The first forum I made an account on.

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