Can forums come back?

Talk about anything here. ANYTHING.

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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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Guacamole
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Re: Can forums come back?

Post by Guacamole »

Great subject for an internet case study.
Forums are a pre-2010 internet age relic (he posts while using one :lol:). There's a forum for just about everything but there's also a facebook group, twitter group, subreddit, etc for nearly all hobbies. Even with silicon valley's respective userbases becoming stagnant for the past few years, most "normies" still use them since they're geared towards that market (same argument of coke/pepsi vs RC cola... aka "brand recognition"). If forums make a comeback, first the internet as we know it now has to somehow return to the pre-2010s or be de-normalized from modern society. I'm grateful Jaxed hasn't just nuked scoobytruck out of existence. Unless the silicon valley giants somehow manage to lose a majority of their respective user bases, forums will remain in the backwaters of the post-2010 internet.

...basically forums are the nerdy schoolkids who no one wanted to hang out with and just kept to themselves, weird how things have come full-circle isn't it? [smilie=happyspin.gif]
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Ben Staad
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Re: Can forums come back?

Post by Ben Staad »

Well I am weird and still love forums. I'm fairly active on two book collecting forums and peruse multiple others every week. I suppose I'm in the minority who stopped using FB and have never been on twitter or whatever other ones there are these days.

Heck I turned in my smartphone two years ago and couldn't be happier going back to a flip phone.
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Guacamole
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Re: Can forums come back?

Post by Guacamole »

Same here- don't use any social media and my phone is "as seen on TV used by William Shatner", but we're in the minority of the population.
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ltdan12a
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Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:25 pm

Re: Can forums come back?

Post by ltdan12a »

I hope forums come back... They are still my first stop when I have a tech question. And on older cars like these, 9 times out of 10 whatever the issue is has already been covered.
Larry Chase
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Re: Can forums come back?

Post by Larry Chase »

Interesting question. I just joined this forum an hour ago ... why? Because the answers are here. Thanks to all who have gone before me, asked questions, gave answers, shared knowledge. My hat is off to all of you who make this worthwhile. Long live communications like this!!! Larry in Boise, Idaho (with my first Baja ... tweety Bird).
Ben Staad
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Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2020 5:35 pm

Re: Can forums come back?

Post by Ben Staad »

Welcome to the forum. Hope you find the answers you need and enjoy the Baja!
Larry Chase wrote: Sun Apr 25, 2021 4:25 pm Interesting question. I just joined this forum an hour ago ... why? Because the answers are here. Thanks to all who have gone before me, asked questions, gave answers, shared knowledge. My hat is off to all of you who make this worthwhile. Long live communications like this!!! Larry in Boise, Idaho (with my first Baja ... tweety Bird).
Felipe420
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Re: Can forums come back?

Post by Felipe420 »

I hope that forums or something very similar can make a comeback. The Facebook groups and Reddit threads leave a lot to be desired for people who are interested in accessing information with a social element. I learned to wrench on old VWs with the help of the forums and accumulated knowledgebase, was really disappointed to see how things migrated to Facebook, and find myself using the forums when I need specific answers. The Facebook groups are so difficult to search because the algorithm is designed to get you to engage not give you answers. The Facebook groups are interesting because they do provide a more real-time experience for like minded people and you can imbibe a much higher quantity of personal experience or anecdotes but these forums are the places where accumulated knowledge is best stored and disbursed.
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