Can forums come back?

Talk about anything here. ANYTHING.

Moderator: cliffhanger

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Acro2pilot
Scoobytruck Master
Posts: 227
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:39 am

Can forums come back?

Post by Acro2pilot »

I posted something similar on another car forum I am on and it started an interesting discussion. Forums like this one are at a small percentage of the traffic of ten years ago. But they might be poised to return to health if the current opportunities are capitalized on.

Some things don't come back, I ran a BBS and it was a hugely successful one, then trumpet winsoc came out and ISPs started up and withing 90 days BBS traffic died and it was over. Forums saw a slower decline as people left for social media like facebook. I never much liked facebook and it was clearly inferior in terms of retention and retrieval (from a user point of view) but that is where the activity was. People stopped listing for sale stuff and exchanging information in forums and it was all on facebook.

I think forums are in a position to recover. Not totally to their glory days, but recover to a healthy level of traffic and a higher standard of discourse. The last year has seen a mass departure from facebook/instagram/twitter etc and that departure accelerated with the purges and censorship through the election. I signed out of facebook last spring and never went back. It is like shopping at walmart, once you realize there is nothing there you need or can't find elsewhere you are free from the experience of returning. I don't think this is a pause, I think many people are tired of being censored, spied on, mainstream topics being forbidden, and the low quality of it all. And pretty much everyone has cyberstalked their ex's and hooked up or not. After a while I started digging out the forum logins and some are total ghost towns and some are doing OK with a core group still active. There is a huge opportunity now days with all of the people leaving or being forced off of social media, they just need to know the forums are still here and make them welcoming.

So what do we do about it?
1. Clear out the dead wood by pruning and simplifying categories.
2. Delete irrelevant and dated content but retain quality info, get some more mods in there to help.
3. Unlock everything, no special access or pay to play stuff.
4. Scrap low quality advertising, especially the stuff inserted into posts.
5. Email inactive membership with a re-launch
6. Create some incentive for referrals
7. What do you have, I am just one person thinking out loud!
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