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Has foruming changed, or is it just me?

Discussion in 'Whatnots' started by Arctic Daishi, Mar 2, 2013.

?

Which is it?

  1. It's not just you, small communities like that are much harder to come by nowadays.

    81.8%
  2. It's just you, those kind of small communities are still popular.

    18.2%
  1. Arctic Daishi Gems: 6/31
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    Through rose-tinted glasses, I cannot help but recall the heady days of my youth. The days when there were tens of thousands, if not millions, of small internet forums out there over a wide-variety of subjects. Often times these communities would be hosted on free internet forum sites, such as InvisionFree or ProBoards, likely because most of these forums were created and maintained by high schoolers, or even middle schoolers.

    I remember a lot of these forums may have only had about 12 active members, but they were still very active communities and everyone knew who everyone else was. Today it seems like such places no longer exist on the internet, there are no longer small, "secret" nooks and crannies on the internet that were untouched by everything else. Either that, or having grown up, I am no longer privy to the existence of such communities.

    While being a member of a large forum such as this one, with nearly 14000 members is nice, it just feels as though something has been lost with the disappearance of small boards with only a handful of dedicated members; boards that are largely ignored by all but a few good friends. Perhaps it's because the people who ran such boards in the previous decade have moved on, and the "current generation" has little interest in forums (instead focusing on things like Facebook and Twitter)? Or perhaps I've just become out of touch with such networks that, by their very nature, are hard to find if you're not connected to the right people?
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2013
  2. Arkite

    Arkite Crash or crash through Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    It's just an ongoing evolution of communication, could count the number of people on one hand in your region who could access a BBS, let alone know what it was back in the day. As technology became more widespread and user friendly, more people got involved, not sure if you're old enough to have heard it, but news programs used to love dropping the term "internet chat rooms", and almost always it would carry a negative connotation. As ICQ(and other instant messaging programs) and IRC waned in popularity and facebook/twitter/blogs took off, now we have the media talking about what is trending, the blogosphere, likes, followers, tweets, as opposed to the old views that the internet was populated with evil genius weirdos, cooking up plots in their chatrooms, and by gosh you better fear for yourself and your children (cue screeching dialup noise and sounds of somebody tapping at a keyboard, aligned to a silhouette of a man hunched at a computer). It's just amazing to me how quickly it all changed in the last 20 years.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2015
  3. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    This is one of those small intimate forums. The move nowadays seems to be towards the megaforums that cover everything. In Sweden there is one giant forum with subforums for pretty much everything that has almost an monopoly of the forum niche.

    Independent gaming forums seem rare nowadays as well, most of the traffic seems to get sucked up by the official forums. I have been looking for forums such as this one for other games but not come up with much. Our BG forum is still more active than most non-official forums for newer games.
     
  4. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    These boards don't really have 14000 active members. A better statistician than me will be able to give you % figure on that, but it will be pretty small. High on quality though, of course.
     
  5. 8people

    8people 8 is just another way of looking at infinite ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran

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    [​IMG] From personal experience I'd say those small free-forum communities died off for very good reasons :lol:

    Aside from often having very young members they were also playgrounds for trolls, spambots and people with darker motivations.

    A community needs more people to thrive and work, if only because frequently only a small proportion will be active at any one time. Forums where there are small numbers who are active all time time frequently stagnate if they don't have a specific purpose, and those communities are often closed off from casual browsers anyway.
     
  6. Merlanni

    Merlanni ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Companies want more control over fora. Bioware was a trendsetter until it got too large.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2013
  7. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Like a few of the others have said, BoM pretty much is one of the communities you're looking for. Like with most gaming forums, the active user base is relatively small compared to the number of registered users (most people come with a specific question or two and don't come back after that). The segment of return users that actually participates actively (instead of only reading/lurking) is smaller still. So if you hang around for a few weeks, you pretty much get to know everyone who's active here.

    The trends have changed a lot since I started SP, though. There was way, way less competition on the forum scene and no time sinks like Facebook where most young people now spend their days at. Fansites for anything but small/obscure titles are pretty much a dead concept and have been replaced with wikis, supplemented by large official or unofficial download repositories for mods. Every developer runs and actively promotes their own forums now and none of them bother venturing outside of them any more, so most gamers wind up there and/or one other big forum community covering all the other games at best.

    Plus, most games have been dumbed down to the point that people just don't need to come seeking much help (if any) from forums to get through them any more.

    In a sense what's happened was the same thing that happened to small mom & pop shops when malls started opening next door. Eventually, pretty much all of them go under (or downsize to next to nothing) because they can't compete on the same level. Independent forums that present any kind of competition to the official forums and the dozens of large, commercial gaming websites/forums are an exception to the rule.

    I guess this is what you'd call "progress".
     
    Arctic Daishi likes this.
  8. Vorona

    Vorona Shadow-Whisperer

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    I've always been able to find quality, independent forums for all of my interests. I wouldn't call them small or "secret". I don't think I'd be able to find the secret ones anyway.

    I think the point Arkite had is valid: as the internet as a whole has become more accessible, so have forums. So, more casual people are joining briefly to ask a question or two as Tal mentioned, while others stay to chat, and the dedicated community evolves from those members rather than ALL members.

    I couldn't vote honestly in the poll, though, since I never found any of the small secret forums in the past, so cannot say whether that's a change or not.
     
  9. The Magpie

    The Magpie Balance, in all things Veteran

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    [​IMG] Personally, I feel that the distribution of forums has changed; for my :2c: though, it's Facebook that's been the game-changer. Facebook's ubiquity, and the ease of setting up groups, has largely made obsolete the need for separate discussion groups, especially micro-sites, like the one described by the OP. Generally, to survive nowadays a site has to have either official backing (with the problems that can entail); be attached to a large, popular content creator/aggregator (e.g. Skyrim Nexus); or be part of a popular gaming website (although some of these use integrated Facebook commenting instead of proper forums, nowadays).
     
  10. Urithrand

    Urithrand Mind turning the light off? ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    SP is that forum for me. Going back many years I could name almost every active member from memory. It's gratifying that coming back after all these years I still recognise most of them :) It's these small yet well established communities that have lasted, and imo will continue to last despite the onset of the FaceBook revolution.
     
  11. Frog Gems: 12/31
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    Just poppin in to say hello. IIRC the last time I posted here, the only game forums were the D&D infinity engine games. I made this account when I was in high school after the release of Baldur's Gate II.
     
  12. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Ooh, my 10 year anniversary on the Boards O'Magick is coming up soon. Unbelievable. Where did that time go?
     
  13. Barmy Army

    Barmy Army Simple mind, simple pleasures... Adored Veteran

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    This is definitely one of those 'small and personal' communities. But having been here so long it's fascinating to have watched how it's changed. When I first joined, I got the link from a copy of PC Gamer, which is a huge publication. At the time SP was heeyuge. You could make a thread, check an hour later and it's been buried by 10 pages of other threads (then you got in trouble with Tal for bumping it ;)).

    Over the years SP has got smaller and smaller as the content it hosts and the main core of games people came here for got older and more irrelevant. There's not many sites that could have survived such a turnaround I think and I honestly feel the majority of it is due to the main core of users that have kept this place unique. Mostly, the 'core group' of active posters are all genuinely great people, and not only do they keep each other coming back, they also keep a lot of the other 'part timers' coming back. It really is a rare kind of place and the guys here are the reason I keep coming back, as I'm sure is true of others.

    That's how I feel about this place anyway, not sure what the big man Tal thinks? :)
     
    Taluntain likes this.
  14. The Magpie

    The Magpie Balance, in all things Veteran

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    Yeah, I wouldn't classify SP as a "micro-site", although the level of traffic has certainly decreased from when I joined. Those kind of forums I associated more with University halls of residence, schools, workplaces etc. where everyone new everyone "irl" anyway. Those micro-sites are the main casualty of Facebook, as their function has been entirely absorbed into FB's bloated, amorphous mass. :evil: (I'm not a fan - can you tell?) :p
     
  15. Jutterstub Gems: 1/31
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    Angry members

    In addition to the previous discussion, doesn't seem that there are more and more angry members in forums? It seems that every other post is a user that's lamenting game play, technical issues, or is asking for a change in the way a game works. What happened to assisting each other and asking for opinions and wisdom from more experienced players/users?
     
  16. Gaear

    Gaear ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful

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    Stay away from RPG Codex ... home of the Angry Gamer. :mad:

    (You have a good point though. I never understood how gaming and anger could go together. If you have the luxury of playing games, but also the spite to be angry about that in some way or other - not just occasionally frustrated but mad/hateful/antagonistic - then you need a couple laps around the world to get your priorities straight. ;))
     
  17. Jutterstub Gems: 1/31
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    Angry members

    Love it! Did 10 miles yesterday and it took the antagonistic right out of me! :D
     
  18. The Magpie

    The Magpie Balance, in all things Veteran

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    Well, it still happens here. That's why SP rocks. :cool:

    I've asked/been asked for help more times than I can count. That fact that SP's rules keep those with the intelligence & anger management skills of the average Premier League footballer away, only helps. People can discuss things here sensibly. Even in the Alleys ... Well, most of the time. Sort of. :p
     
    Jutterstub likes this.
  19. Nakia

    Nakia The night is mine Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    I voted "Just You" but it is a qualified vote. There are plenty of small forums. but they often specialize in something. As has been said you can't go by the number of members but look to the active membership. I am listed on several sites I no longer visit. They specialized in games I no longer play. Had a lot of fun with them but life changes. BoM is rather unique in that we keep coming back. I am active on a couple of really small sites partly because I am a staff member and partly because the more active members are good friends.

    Joining in the debates and discussions in the alleys is a good way to get to know people if you have a thick skin which obviously you do. :D I have several people that I have debated with that I consider friends. The role playing forum is another great spot for making friends if you can find a good on going game.

    I consider SP or BoM my online Hometown. The first forum I got really active in and I can wander off to do something else and come back to find a warm welcome.

    Ten years this coming June.:D
     
    Harbourboy likes this.
  20. Déise

    Déise Both happy and miserable, without the happy part!

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    I'd agree with Tal and Joacqin that the purposes of the small micro forums have largely been consumed by larger forums and wikis and the like. I'd just like to point out that you do get small communities in the big forums that correspond to the micro site. Boards is the main Irish site and I obviously wouldn't know everyone on it. I'd have a good idea of the people who post about hurling (our native sport) though in its subforum. And I'd know all of my fellow Deise men who post on the Waterford team thread. There'd be much less of them than there would be posters on a micro site like this.

    The fear of legal action has driven many of the micro forums here to close. Too many people were posting stuff that they'd never be able to prove in court and were leaving the forums too open to being sued for defamation. And the amount of modding needed to control all the trolls can get too much for a small site. I'm not sure if this is a consideration in other jurisdictions though, our laws are regarded as much strictier than elsewhere.
     
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