Jump to content
Invision Community
Nukeproof Mega

Are forum communities dead?

Recommended Posts

Hello all,

As forum owners and runners I wanted to know what your thoughts are on the future of forums and communities these days?

Im finding more and more now that forums are a far quieter place these days than ever before and wondered if this was down to the likes of the social media sites like Facebook & Twiter, and though we try to link into these sort of sites we just don't get the hits that we used to do?

Whats your thoughts on this and how do you think this could be improved to help us communities struggling to get the activity we once had, I appreciate in a lot of cases it's down to the topic of the forums too!

Regards,

Paul... 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think "forums" and "communities" are different things. I do think general forums are and will continue to take a backseat to other mediums, like Facebook. Communities, on the other hand, still have exponential value if leveraged appropriately. People tend to misguide all of their focus on things like SEO, plugins, arcades, etc. People finding your site is obviously important, but content is still king. You need something to hook people and to keep them engaged -- nothing else matters. Chatting with friends can be done on a Facebook group - you need to have value to your community.

This is a good topic because IPS4.2's 'theme' will be user engagement. We have a lot of admin-level stuff out of the way for now, but we want to focus on improving the user experience on your community -- improve the flow between applications, engage your members and keep them engaged. More to come on that at a later time, but suffice to say, I'm excited. :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Martin1980 said:

Hi Paul, 

Interesting topic. What promotion tactics have you used to promote your forum? 

We as a gaming community we used to use the official PS & XBOX forums primarily and it always proved very useful but now PS have dropped the promotional forums and that's no longer an option.. The official XBOX forums still have this facility but doesn't seem to be used or draw traffic as much as they used too! 

We also have a front page and I am constantly checking our SEO, we have left the  front page a little over the Christmas period but most of our new members are finding us via Google search these days! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i think just a "stupid" forum is going to die.. you have to provide your users services which aren´t provided or pissible by facebook. i think fb is our all biggest competitor.

you have to specialize on several topics and provide unique features.. for example i´m hosting a motorcycle forum which is special for a small regional area, not specialized in a brand like BMW, Yamaha or so.. my communities goal is to bring people together with their passion and share their passion with others, discuss about technical stuff, plan rides, meet together and make new friends.. i don´t want to have that big forum which covers all areas from germany.. cause this would frustrate the users when they don´t find someone to ride ..  

 

just my 2 cents :-)

Edited by Adam84

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's hard to believe, but when I registered here I was just shy of 14. I'm almost 28. I'm user #306. These forums were very different back in 2004, and attracted a lot of cool people. Those very people have moved on with their lives (as have I).

Forums boomed from 2002 through 2008 because there simple wasn't an alternative. 2009 marked a turning point for many technologies. The financial panic created a "shake out" not just on the Internet, but in the physical world. People looked at budgets and looked at alternative tools.

Communities utilizing forum software will always be around, but general forum software is definitely in a bear market. People use Facebook/twitter/reddit for a range of things that used to be individual websites hosting forums.

I remember iKonboard and vBulletin 2.x, and thinking how cool those things were. Those days are over, but I still reminisce. 

From 1998 through 2008, the tech world was "stable": dominated by IE6 and Microsoft. People viewed the Internet through a browser and conversed using forums. From 2009 through probably 2019, we'll look back and notice the world dominated by a more chaotic mix of Apple/Android devices and desktop experiences. There's much more variety on the Internet today.

Edited by princetontiger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't say communities are dead but they are less of a close knit, clique, communities of old. When I first started running forums some 17 odd years ago (using old DC Board on a flat file/perl setup!) you mainly had a community that was made up of mature, sensible, individuals. Mainly because in the UK back then it was still dial up and you wouldn't dream of lettting your kids use the computer back then. So forums were sensible, well managed, never spammed, never trolled etc.  Depending on the type of forum you would possibly have meet ups outside of there (still do in some instances) - these days they are still busy. In the case of the football forum community still very strong.. however the posting on them very different. The advent of social media and 24/7 news channels means everything is discussed on a variety of platforms. 

Lets all go back to 1999 and comic sans.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IPB is great, forums are great. I would never, in a million years, change forums for Facebook as an user.

I have a IPB board since 2007 with 220.000+ users that one day was VERY active, but now, every year that passes I have less activity and less registrations.

From what I see in my niche, people are going to Facebook groups, because everybody is already there. It's easy and convenient even for the most inexperienced user.

I think that the way search engines see forums is not helping our cause either. After panda algorithm, a lot of content in forums are considered "thin content" and content is king for better positions on search engines, but you can't control what 220.000 users wrote in the past 8 years (or will write). You can't block people that can't write useful topics and all topics can't be carefully manipulated by the owner in a busy forum. The majority of content in most busy forums can easily be considered as "low quality" by Google and this affect the whole domain, even the good content. (read google's guidelines)

Seo matters if we like it or not :( Less visibility in search engines = less traffic = less people knowing your forum exist.

I think that if forum companies don't come up of something new, we all know what will happen with forums in the next years :(

Edited by FabioPaz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This again? :lol: I hate to say this but this was discussed once before, back when IPS3 was first released, about the long term viability of message forums. When I first started using the internet, when the government opened up the internet for web browsers, I remember when BBS (Bulletin Board Systems) were first introduced, back in the 1980's. One of the first BBS' that I participated in was ISCABBS. Back then, there was a huge following for text-based message forums.

The message forum has continued to evolve since the 1980's and it will continue to evolve. I think the next evolution will come when the message forum system starts to fully embrace animated avatars. IMVU was one of the first of these type of systems, which is where I think the message forum system could end up gravitating toward. But, I think that the message forum system will be around for a long while yet.

The last time this happened, someone started this discussion and pitted it as a war between IPS, vBulletin, xenforo, phpBB and the many other platforms of forum software.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think there has to be more than just a forum. Articles from editors, blogs with long texts by users, perhaps a wiki, integration in social media and yes, also a forum. IPS is heading in this direction - question is, if it is developing fast enough. Wiki funcionality for example is not really there and the blogs miss a lot of features like catageries. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Morisato said:

This again? :lol: I hate to say this but this was discussed once before, back when IPS3 was first released, about the long term viability of message forums. When I first started using the internet, when the government opened up the internet for web browsers, I remember when BBS (Bulletin Board Systems) were first introduced, back in the 1980's. One of the first BBS' that I participated in was ISCABBS. Back then, there was a huge following for text-based message forums.

The message forum has continued to evolve since the 1980's and it will continue to evolve. I think the next evolution will come when the message forum system starts to fully embrace animated avatars. IMVU was one of the first of these type of systems, which is where I think the message forum system could end up gravitating toward. But, I think that the message forum system will be around for a long while yet.

The last time this happened, someone started this discussion and pitted it as a war between IPS, vBulletin, xenforo, phpBB and the many other platforms of forum software.

I agree when you say that forums will be around, my biggest fear is that forums become the IRC of chat systems - It will be used and known ? Yes, but for very specific purposes only :(

If things continue this way, of course (just my opinion).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I doubt it will become an instant chat thing, but I think it will evolve into a feature similar to IMVU where each forum will become its own live chatroom. But, that's probably far into the future. Keep in mind that IPS has been around since 2002, when it was first introduced as its own software under "IPB". The business of the standard message forum as it currently exists will probably be around for at least another decade.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I ran a BBS prior to opening my first forum back in 2002. I have been through many software versions. Wildcat BBS, Yabb, Phpbb, IPS, vB, IPB, and now XF. I don't think it will ever be what it was from 2002-2009. I agree that FB is the biggest competitor. My forum is still around, but it is nowhere near as active as in the past.

Edited by WOFman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7. Januar 2016 at 5:50 AM, Lindy said:

I think "forums" and "communities" are different things. I do think general forums are and will continue to take a backseat to other mediums, like Facebook. Communities, on the other hand, still have exponential value if leveraged appropriately. People tend to misguide all of their focus on things like SEO, plugins, arcades, etc. People finding your site is obviously important, but content is still king. You need something to hook people and to keep them engaged -- nothing else matters. Chatting with friends can be done on a Facebook group - you need to have value to your community.

This is a good topic because IPS4.2's 'theme' will be user engagement. We have a lot of admin-level stuff out of the way for now, but we want to focus on improving the user experience on your community -- improve the flow between applications, engage your members and keep them engaged. More to come on that at a later time, but suffice to say, I'm excited. :) 

User behaviour has changed since a few years: people expect that every in depth information should be free and easy to access, constantly pushed to the user. Very few are investing some effort to find and access them. Coming to the part "interaction", people tend to ask "what's my personal gain?". Just helping other people by sharing information and opinions is not an option for most users.

It's like little kids: you can teach them to play alone, play with you or you play the clown. In this process you have to teach internal and external motivation.

Facebook is easy to register, easy to access and plays the clown with the newsfeed. There is no in depth information, but users tend to think, this is it, there is no more. Using a search engine is more work than flippping on the smartphone and scroll up and down.

So i agree with Lindy: content should be easily accessible on a website to show off. Next step is to engage people and motivate them to interact. IPS is doing a good job on this.

But I am missing a clear statement for users what their personal gain is for interacting on a website. Is it to show off beeing an expert? This can be done all over by commenting blogs or articles.

IPS is a community software: but why should users be part of a community in these days? Ask yourself as an user: what do you personally gain beeing part of a community while it looks like information can be accessed without investing the effort to register, writing a question, answering questions or even starting a discussion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I definetly think: No, they aren't dead, but it is much harder to get users on your site since Facebook has improved it's groups and sites features. It really easy to create a group for e. g. a discussion "board" about BMW cars, but you need much more time and money to create this as a whole site. I think that forums have their place in the internet, even if you're discussion a specific topic.

On 7.1.2016 at 5:50 AM, Lindy said:

This is a good topic because IPS4.2's 'theme' will be user engagement. We have a lot of admin-level stuff out of the way for now, but we want to focus on improving the user experience on your community -- improve the flow between applications, engage your members and keep them engaged. More to come on that at a later time, but suffice to say, I'm excited. :) 

Glad to hear that. It's great that IPS is pushing out information about new developments and what you have planned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/18/2016 at 1:05 PM, Morisato said:

The last time this happened, someone started this discussion and pitted it as a war between IPS, vBulletin, xenforo, phpBB and the many other platforms of forum software

This always gives me a lol when I think about other forum softwares versus IPS:

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×