Forums are dead


Well-known member
What do you think?

I think forums have gone or are going the way of the little magazine of the 60s and 70s (and 80s). Dying, slowly but surely.

You can create the most bodacious forum software out there, but the "users" that remain--far and few between--won't give a rat's ass. Forums are dead. Nobody cares.

The NSA stuff hasn't helped any of this. Even before Mr. Snowden, though, forums were on their way out. Somebody show me a new forum that has its wings, and I'll eat my words.

Go ahead. Make my day.
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Well-known member
A ton of things have an end of life lol. Doesn't mean forums are dying. I do think that a lot of people don't know what they are. When half my friends want to start a discussion they automatically think of a group chat on facebook :p I think of a niche forum lol.

I've introduced forums to a lot of forum virgins and they like it. What they tend to like is the organized discussions. Go to a category and find the specific topic you're interested in as opposed to facebook and myspace where it's a little more cluttered. I find twitter users are easier to attract since they're used to looking for specific discussions but in a different way... *hashtag use*

BUT that's all the social network/community route. If we look at it as a support tool it's still very popular. Many large companies are implementing it. Most of my googled questions are answered in forums.

Forums may not be exactly what they were when I started lurking and joining communities, but nothing stays the same for long.

If they were completely dead I don't think any of the forum software companies would be in existence. Perhaps we're all holding on to a sinking ship, but I don' think it's dead. You just need the right topic and a good plan. Of course if you base your topic on something like short term like one specific car... you're likely going to run into some deadddddd time after the car is no longer in production and not on the used market. Some car forums see a kick in activity when a lot of the cars are being purchased used but after that it gets pretty dead again. Not everything is made to be permanent :p


Well-known member
I half agree. I think the traditional "forums" platform is dead. I think this is where Xenforo got it right by being modern with their UI. Alerts on the board is a major, major, major feature. Try going back and talking on an old forum such as vB or phpBB and look at how it does not really make you engage with the community. Xenforo seems to have built a software where the software and the community interacts and keeps the user engaged with the site.

Keeping things nice and neat is important and if you have good information on your board it will do well. I think if Xenforo keeps improving the UI and adding things that keep the user engaged without being overbearing it will serve as a great platform for years to come (which it already does now).

EDIT: I forgot to mention, the only thing in my opinion that Xenforo got wrong is the user profile pages. I think there is something that can be done to them to make them used even further. But I guess this is just a styling issue. The horizontal navigation is very annoying.


Well-known member
check the listing here of big boards

and this is not all some forums missing like avforums and digitalpoint
I think you proved the point. 26 million is small in today's terms.

IMO forums can always have some useful function. However, social networks are the future. The question really is, does size equal value? If I have a small active forum of people who enjoy using it, is that not worth it in itself? Just because it does not touch 10 million lives does not mean that it is not special to the few who use it.


Well-known member
I think you proved the point. 26 million is small in today's terms.

IMO forums can always have some useful function. However, social networks are the future. The question really is, does size equal value? If I have a small active forum of people who enjoy using it, is that not worth it in itself? Just because it does not touch 10 million lives does not mean that it is not special to the few who use it.

I think all that matters is your share of members in the niche. Facebooks niche is networking, not specific information. This is great as it will appeal to the entire planet. Someone who runs a forum about cars appeals to a smaller group of people. Someone who runs a forum on pixel art appeals to less. I think the way to base success would not be money or the amount of members compared to forums in general. I would say success is how well respected and how many members you have based on your niche total.

So if you have a niche and there are a total of 10,000 people in the world who have interest in it and your forum has 1,000 members, it is a very successful forum.

Jake Bunce

Well-known member

Jake Bunce said:
Are forums becoming obsolete?

Forums are not becoming obsolete. There is no other application that enables discussion on a web site like a forum does. But let's address the core issue that always inspires this question, and that is Facebook. Facebook is often blamed when a forum community fails. This is an overly simplistic view.

Facebook competes with forums in one area, user interaction. Forums have always enabled user interaction through online discussions, but they have never been dedicated to that purpose. Forums have tried to improve user interaction by adding social features. Compare that to Facebook which is entirely dedicated to user interaction. Facebook has taken that market away from forums. By no means has Facebook replaced forums. Rather Facebook has outdone forums in the specific market of user interaction which was previously a forum market by default more than by design. Forums still dominate in their intended market of online discussion.

Forum applications themselves share some of the responsibility. Forums are often criticized as feeling old and outdated, and they are. Never underestimate the importance of user experience. Facebook provides a superior user experience which is why it is so successful. Forums must do the same. Here is an example of what a good forum application can do to user activity.


Well-known member
All this said, this is a crowd with a reason for bias.
It makes us informed, not necessarily biased. Despite the inflammatory question we've got quite a few reasoned and sensible answers. It's impossible to agree wholly with the original question, because empirically forums are not dead. New forums are popping up every day, and existing ones are still active and, often, growing.

What is true, however, is that social media - Facebook for a lot of us, Tumblr for my community, etcetera - is taking over some of the functions that historically only forums provided. In this new age, we've got to carve out a new niche.for our communities, one that can function in the same world as Facebook et al. And yes, many people now look at their Fscebook feed or Tumblr dashboard primarily when they open their browser. In doing so, they forget to browse their old forum haunts, or find navigating them too difficult in a world of hashtags and the news feed.

Perhaps instead of arguing about how forums are or are not dead, we should instead figure out the reason this argument is being made, and how we can ensure our communities still have a purpose and a niche, and still get the attention of their userbase. It's the only way we'll survive with or without social media.


Well-known member
Surely this is down to personal perception? Facebook has grabbed a lot of potential forum members, but then how many of those people were ever likely to sign up on a forum anyway. In my niche, the Facebook pages and group don't have the same feel, and tend to have a completely different mindset. A mindset which probably wouldn't be at home on a real forum.

Does a forum need to have a trillion posts and a million members to be "successful". My forum is minuscule in comparison to others, but it's lively and has some great members.

People these days have more choice on how they interact online, and forums are just one of many ways available.

I don't think forums are dead, just having to step their game up to compete for customers.


Well-known member
I wouldn't say they are dead. They are just hidden away in the clutter that is the internet of today. Social media has definitely impacted and taken over areas like sports/political commentary.

It's so much easier just to pull out your phone/tablet and post to Twitter or Facebook than to go on a forum, look for a thread and then finally post something. I'm sure there are places where this still works but I don't think people do this nearly as much as they did perhaps 4-5 years ago.

Digital Doctor

Well-known member
yet forums are still here providing top notch content.
I think forums provide terrible content.
So does Google.

Forums are definitely becoming less popular. Ideally Xenforo 2.0 will be community software, whereas 1.x is mostly a forum. It is the best forum, but still "just a forum".


Saying forums will never die and quoting a resource directory and pages as the reason why not ... is quite telling.

If you define forums as a collection of threads (threaded discussions) ... the lack of structure will always prevent good content from being created.

Good content gets better over time ... Threads get worse (less useful, less organized, less informative to new users) over time. A long thread may contain all the relevant information ... but NO ONE will read it. And Google knows people don't want to read a 45 page thread ... so they are not sending as many people to forums.

Ideally Xenforo 2.0 will enable communities to create great content. Pages *need* to be a part of the solution. Xenforo's current Pages (HTML only, AdminCP only, single editor, static pages, not integrated into the forums, etc.) aren't the solution.

Q: What would be a good example of "Content" that Xenforo 2.0 should be able to do ?
A: Xenforo's own documentation (ie. manual) (ie.

If Xenforo could harness the power of us all to create and keep up to date a Xenforo Manual ... we will all be able to benefit from the power of our users.

Community-driven, structured content (such as pages) will help bring online communities to the next level.