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Are web forums in general on the way out?


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In my opinion forums are not out in the least bit. I do not think forums will ever be out. FB (Facebook) is a trend and with all trendy things there is always a trend killer. For what ever reason, what ever it may be, trends die. I think members of FB are starting to understand the security risks when using FB and other sites such Twitter. Forums are a little more private and I think over time, people will see this and move on from FB. In truth, FB is just a beefed up blog site with gaming and other little apps that people seem to find cool. Create a forum, integrate a few paid games and some cool apps, your ready to go. :)

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General, unfocused forums serve little purpose. Topic-driven communities are busier than ever.

Note the difference between a "forum" and a "community" here. Are "forums" dead? Perhaps. Are online communities? Not at all. Think beyond just the forum :)

 

​Exactly.  

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Did you ever read those App agreements?  Most all of the ones I have read, if used, you allow them to copy almost everything on your phone.  I have shut almost all of mine off.  Some day and I will bet sooner then later.  People will start carrying about their security.  Just read those agreements and what you allow them to do.  I think it is pretty ridiculous.  I mean, I download radio station, music or news app, why would they need to copy my contacts, texts messages.  It is none of their damn business (please excuse the language, sometimes it's the only thing that fits).  People don't even read them, they just accept and continue on.

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My forum doesn't pillage their personal information. 

I think communities will be the only thing of value. 

Valuable connections will be / are worth more than numbers. 

Why should I build Facebook's client base? How do I monetize an audience someone else owns? 

The suite represents Forums maturing and become more than siloed nerd dens. 

 

 

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There is a lot of talk about being a niche for success. Even this doesn't always work. in my particular niche a cooperation has gotten into the game and placed their fancy facebook clone of a site online. It has the familiar endless feed. Everyone thinks it's so great !! (gag). Their website is really gaining total dominance to a point where it's barely worth it for me to stay in the game. :(

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My big worry once I move to 4.0 is how to get an app.

I strongly disagree with IPS's policy of pushing the "Mobile Responsive Website" as the solution.  Having your site listed in the Apple AppStore, Google Play, and Microsoft Store is a big big big deal. It is one of the few chances I have to be listed next to the big names in automotive reporting since I will never rank there SEO wise.   

I am using forum software, but I am moving away from the forum as the primary focus of my site.  I have been very IP.Content heavy for a few years now and I only see that increasing.  I need to get an app that will work with all of the aspects of IPS. Tapatalk is not the answer either (unless they do a complete re-design). 

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My big worry once I move to 4.0 is how to get an app.

I strongly disagree with IPS's policy of pushing the "Mobile Responsive Website" as the solution.  Having your site listed in the Apple AppStore, Google Play, and Microsoft Store is a big big big deal. It is one of the few chances I have to be listed next to the big names in automotive reporting since I will never rank there SEO wise.   

I am using forum software, but I am moving away from the forum as the primary focus of my site.  I have been very IP.Content heavy for a few years now and I only see that increasing.  I need to get an app that will work with all of the aspects of IPS. Tapatalk is not the answer either (unless they do a complete re-design). 

Why don't you try ForumMob?

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I really would not worry too much in the drop in members. FB (Facebook) and others are doing themselves in by allowing links to forums. You can use Facebook against itself by using there own features against them. Register an account using your own screen name as 1st name and your forum as last name and post and like content about your site. FB as I have said is a trend, all trends die in time for various reasons.

Personally, I can't stand FB but use it to promote my sites as long as its there. Otherwise, I have no use for it. Why not USE it as long as it USES me right?  Nothing wrong with using it as it uses me. 

Edited by CP
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I know I can say this, after being with forum software's since 2003, its been a striving industry. From a small town community to a large company, in the end, a forum is a engaging community. You just got to remind the visitors that it's more then just a forum, its a support group for whatever your content is aimed at. 

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I think that facebook is here to stay. It is here like google. Main problem is that forums are designed to be used with desktop and laptop computers. How ever now people are using mainly mobile phones and tablets. If you compare user experience if you are using mobile phone then Facebook is really far ahead comparing forums. How?

Just open facebook group wall. One load and you see latest messages and topics. Unless you would like to see previous comments you don't have to load even single page! So with 30 sek you could check all the latest messages! How about with forums? You get latest topics or post. You will miss first message or last message. You have to load every single topic just to see it. So with 5 topics minimum 5 page loads! Dude with facebook group is ready before you have downloaded that first topic's last post! So which one you would use if you have 30sek time to check latest post? Jep, that is why we are losing this battle!

We would need a new way to read forum posts. Otherwise we have to work hard to create good content. Don't we see this change?

Edited by Sebbo78
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I can say that having run "forums" since 2002, that the they are certainly not dead.

I ran a successful forum from 2002 until 2011 when it died a natural death, the members all had facebook accounts, groups started and to be honest. It was scene that had it's day (still alive, just not as alive and it has other mediums for discussion and was pretty centred to user within Scotland and to some degree the rest of the UK.

The current forum I started to help out with in December 2013 and we made the switch to IPB Jan 2014 as I had the licences for it and PHPBB has had it's day (in my view) many years ago and vBulletin has never been a choice of mine (simply don't like it). If you have a community of people who are like minded and like the same subject, then it certainly helps to create a thriving community. 

We still use "forum" I don't mind the terminology for it - although community does fit better. The beauty with FB and Twitter etc, is the API's that suites like IPB can utlising and allow owners of the suite to branch out to those social media sites and get participation going. 

I'm not a fan of the reddit style system (is that an age thing?) - simplicity for new members is key in my view, to many sections and categories can put them off very easily but diversity is also key to retaining existing and long term users.

Forums haven't had it's day, just the opposite.

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I've only just got into this myself, but as someone who is more of a user than an owner, I will say that content will always be king. If you have a reason for me to visit your website, I'll visit your website. If you do the same thing five other websites do, I will invariably compare your website to the others and see which best fits my needs as a user.

After content, I'm looking for a comfortable design. If I'm looking at your website for a long period of time, I don't want to be looking at something that makes reading difficult or distracting. If I see a well-designed website, I'm far more likely to stick around because it tells me that the website is cared for and is worth someone's time and effort. Then of course, the only reason to contribute to the website is because the community is willing to engage with new users. If I don't feel like a useful member of the community, I don't see the point in interacting with it.

Personally, I don't use Facebook if I can help it, but I use Twitter daily. If I'm looking for informed opinion, I find forums specific to the subject are usually best structured to provide what I want fairly easily; with the added bonus that multiple posters offer a more varied perspective of the subject in question. I don't think that forums are outdated or less popular; technology has simply advanced to the point where forums no longer cater to everyone's needs as perhaps they once did. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter offer far more immediate commentary on a plethora of topics, so naturally, people go there to get an instant response to whatever it is they're looking for; and because you can customise what you read by following what interests you, Twitter and Facebook essentially offer their users a constantly active micro forum with an incomparable global community.

It's understandable why the older forum owners find it hard to feel relevant; you can't compete with social media. But these services are only micro forums; they only cater to a specific audience themselves. If you want a more in-depth discussion on a niche subject, you'd not go to a platform where you can only get 140 characters per post and need to scour multiple pages/profiles to get the complete dialogue. Social media doesn't offer in-depth conversation without fragmentation, so if you have quality content, on a well designed and easy to read website, with a friendly community that knows what it is talking about, then even the most frequent social media users will take advantage of what you're offering.

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