Has anyone noticed a decline in forums?

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bottiger

Active member
Just wondering for any of you old forum goers or owners whether you've noticed a decline in people using forums over the years. It has affected us and it seems to have affected the forums here as well. Many people seem to be preferring to use other platforms and consider forums to be old school.

I've even noticed that League of Legends has even shut down their forums in favor of Reddit and Discord.


What do you all think about this? Is there a way for Xenforo to combat this by adding threaded discussions? Or is it just a few niches that are suffering from the exodus away from classic forums?
 

FreshFroot

Well-known member
I've been wondering myself too.

I was thinking of starting a forum using XF.

But, I have been hearing that the new crowd now wants to use discord, reddit, telegram and other new means of communication.

There is one downside though to those other platforms.
As far as I know, they are all private meaning NOT indexed in Google.

At least with a forum, you have the ability to have your content indexed.
Hence, better chances that someone searches for something and lands on your site.

Also, I know some people do not want to have to download various apps.
Or visit reddit and telegram and discord, they rather have one area to go too.

So, I am on the fence right now on if I should go the XF route. (not that there is anything wrong with the XF platform or anything).
 

FrancescoL

New member
The issue is quite complex. In decline is not the forum itself as a technology, as a concept. The old forum structure as we know it is in decline, both as a monothematic forum setting and as a layout. In my humble opinion, administrators should work on some fronts to relaunch the forums: layouts suitable for mobile, with a more social setting and, in the case of forums dedicated to a single topic, work on editorial quality. Which is not always the case. But those forums that do, are still very successful.
 

nicodak

Well-known member
We must not hide our face, no new forum will have more than tens of thousands of members, the golden age of forums is over and the new generations have little taste of this technology from another time...
Even if your forum has information that cannot be found elsewhere, it will only be used by most Internet users for consultation purposes, but very few will register to participate actively. The example of League of Legends is crying out for truth... Forums are the 90s at best...
 

nicodak

Well-known member
Frankly, the average age of members on XF is how much? 40/45 years I guess... Minimum.

How many XF-based forum less than 10 years old has been successful? I'm speaking in statistical terms... tens of thousands of members? Millions of threads ?
Okay there are some great new forums that are doing great with their small community, the administrator is happy, having fun, but hey it's just a hobby and it will stay that way, it will never become more a huge membership machine with millions of threads...

I would love to manage a big community like I had created with vB in the early 2000s with 30,000 members, we were talking about motorcycles and scooters... But I am convinced that this is no longer possible... All the major themes of life, society already have their forums which have unchallengeable monopolies. Maybe there will be exceptions but I doubt it...
 

jake87

Member
Forums are boring places because of mostly text only content. Tapatalk makes forums more engaging because there are small images in thread list pages. Unfortunately Tapatalk sucks otherwise.
 

Mr Lucky

Well-known member
Forums are boring places because of mostly text only content.
Disagree GIF
 

sixlxvi

Well-known member
I understand the utility of using Discord. But I don’t see how people are willing to use it as a replacement for what was once a forum. Discord is great for a lot of things but finding valuable information isn’t one of them, IMO.

Threaded topics are still better for enthusiast stuff. In my case, I can’t see a Discord for Tacoma owners being that useful besides being able to ask fast questions and getting fast replies.
 

jake87

Member
You can disagree but the fact is that Facebook groups has a lot more interesting images and videos. It is a lot easier to post photos, screenshots, etc. into them. Forums have mainly reply gifs. Those who are used to browse forums are ok with mainly text only content but most people find forums boring.
 

briansol

Well-known member
You can disagree but the fact is that Facebook groups has a lot more interesting images and videos. It is a lot easier to post photos, screenshots, etc. into them. Forums have mainly reply gifs. Those who are used to browse forums are ok with mainly text only content but most people find forums boring.


I've been saying this for years.

we need an app that allows native sharing from the phone to a thread/group/whatever just like you can with fb, ig, and all the rest fhat are destroying out livlihoods.

from what i've seen of every app available, including the latest from audentio, it misses that mark completely.

I don't need another viewer.
I need a content enabler.
 

Digital Doctor

Well-known member
we need an app that allows native sharing from the phone to a thread/group/whatever just like you can with fb, ig, and all the rest fhat are destroying out livlihoods.

The fact that an image can't be a thread is very dated.
The idea you need a separate media gallery is bad.
The lack of image sharing from posts to the media gallery is another huge shortfall.

This was obvious when flikr was popular
 

Digital Doctor

Well-known member
Forums need to create better structured content than the competing social media platforms.

It's super easy really.

Your forum's content needs database structures. If you run a forum about the Boston Red Sox, you need to be able to create an editable list of the players, and their numbers, positions, etc.

I should be able to reference players by their name / number.

Members should be able to add the structured data they want to.

Members should be able to create their own forums. And their own pages.

Forums are just poorly structured chit chat and that's more fun on Twitter / discord.
 

Ingenious

Well-known member
Yes. I have a 20+ year old forum and have been seeing first a plateau in most of the metrics starting about 5 years ago (some changes to Google seemed to affect traffic initially) and lately the first signs of decay.

It's worse for a couple of competitors in my niche, one had a single online member active (the owner!) last night, another had just one new thread in the last 4 weeks.

Meanwhile Facebook groups are booming :(
 

Digital Doctor

Well-known member
de
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one is useful the other is complex. You can't even see add image on the first screen. Just terrible UI.

The UI for uploading picture is a farce.

Example: Images should embed by default. This whole .. Insert -> Full image is just unneeded steps. You don't cater to niche uses for burdening the main goal. For the rare situation someone wants to turn an image back to thumbnail then allow that later.

I'll leave in the image duplication mistake as an example of trashy UI.
 

briansol

Well-known member
Even that flow is backwards.

My camera -> Share on ... [fb, ig, myboard, ...]

Anything else continues the death of forums.

MOBILE FIRST.

not my.com first
 

Digital Doctor

Well-known member
My camera -> Share on ... [fb, ig, myboard, ...]

Anything else continues the death of forums.

Probably impossible.

Good idea though.

One other huge issue is ownership of the forum. It somehow should be shared between members, not owned by a guy who uploaded the xenforo files.

Why would I as the second member, just work for your board's benefit ?
 

Digital Doctor

Well-known member
Even something that should be easy like adding a link.

E8DEFD83-7BC0-4CEA-8F96-B4F4B640A987.jpeg



Results in the link being highlighted after ...

CEE932C8-54DB-48F9-B526-18FCA11A34E3.jpeg


what the hell for ?


Now to prevent myself from deleting it, I have to get lucky and perform the awkward thumb press at the end of the line.
 
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