Has anyone noticed a decline in forums?

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Joe Blow

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I just think this could mostly be solved by the developers supporting two separate default themes. One would be a theme like the default theme is now, and one would be a new theme with a more modern, intuitive and simpler interface that takes the best from Facebook, Reddit, Discord, and from traditional forums and creates something new and exciting that is slick, easy to navigate and mobile focused.

In the end, all we are doing is storing and retrieving content to and from a database and displaying that content in a user interface for end users to read and interact with. The time has come to do something new and exciting for those who aren't enamored with the traditional old school forum look.
 

Forsaken

Well-known member
I just think this could mostly be solved by the developers supporting two separate default themes. One would be a theme like the default theme is now, and one would be a new theme with a more modern, intuitive and simpler interface that takes the best from Facebook, Reddit, Discord, and from traditional forums and creates something new and exciting that is slick, easy to navigate and mobile focused.

In the end, all we are doing is storing and retrieving content to and from a database and displaying that content in a user interface for end users to read and interact with. The time has come to do something new and exciting for those who aren't enamored with the traditional old school forum look.
Offering a completely new user experience would be like offering a completely new version of XenForo; they would be having to maintain it separately, and it is not as simple as just 'making a new theme'.
 

Joe Blow

Active member
Offering a completely new user experience would be like offering a completely new version of XenForo; they would be having to maintain it separately, and it is not as simple as just 'making a new theme'.

Fair enough. I'm not a developer or a designer, I'm just picturing something in my head that looks like an alternative mobile based user interface. What I see is probably different from what someone else might imagine.
 

bottiger

Active member
Offering a completely new user experience would be like offering a completely new version of XenForo; they would be having to maintain it separately, and it is not as simple as just 'making a new theme'.

Yeah xenforo is already optimized for mobile. The changes that xenforo probably needs to do go far beyond making it more "mobile".
 

djbaxter

Well-known member
I just think this could mostly be solved by the developers supporting two separate default themes. One would be a theme like the default theme is now, and one would be a new theme with a more modern, intuitive and simpler interface that takes the best from Facebook, Reddit, Discord, and from traditional forums and creates something new and exciting that is slick, easy to navigate and mobile focused.

In the end, all we are doing is storing and retrieving content to and from a database and displaying that content in a user interface for end users to read and interact with. The time has come to do something new and exciting for those who aren't enamored with the traditional old school forum look.

Request a custom style if that's what you want. There are several excellent designers who could do that.

I have zero interest in what you are suggesting and zero interest in paying more to make it a Xenforo core feature to make you happy.

You want it? You pay for it with a custom style.
 

FreshFroot

Well-known member
Request a custom style if that's what you want. There are several excellent designers who could do that.

I have zero interest in what you are suggesting and zero interest in paying more to make it a Xenforo core feature to make you happy.

You want it? You pay for it with a custom style.
I think what is is trying to get at is that if XF doesn't adapt and change with where things are going online in terms of community. That it will impact XF and other forum tools out there.

Question is... do forum companies survive after another 10 years.
My guess right now is that they probably won't only because things are going to change again past social media.
 

Mike Creuzer

Well-known member
Question is... do forum companies survive after another 10 years.
My guess right now is that they probably won't only because things are going to change again past social media.
People have been saying this for years. The landscape has changed that much is obvious, but online communities and forums are alive and well being independently run. Sure there is a movement to buy them up, Google is essentially pilaging your data as a forum owner and taking for themselves, and many other tragedies, but they will survive as long as there are groups of people who want to discuss, debate, socialize with their own people.
 

Digital Doctor

Well-known member
That sounds nice, but will this ever work?
I mean what about the custom add-ons, will they work with a generic XF app?
For example Tapatalk is a very nice app, but there is no way that it will work with custom XF add-ons.
The app will have to support some key addons. But a very select few.

Will you be able to download any addon and expect it to work? No.
 

Amaury

Well-known member
It really depends on the industry. In general though yes the overall popularity is declining gradually but some industries it's just fine still.

That's what I said in my post, too, basically. For example, forums for video games just aren't that popular anymore. Video games themselves are, but the forums for them, not so much. Now, a forum like this is going to always be "popular" since it's a support forum.
 
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Wesker

Well-known member
I think it's worth noting that Facebook are doubling down on Groups, and it's clear that they see Groups as a major part of their future growth. Whether we like Facebook Groups, use it ourselves, or think it has a future is completely irrelevant. It has been taking away from forums since it was introduced and will continue to do so. Some forums more than others obviously.


For forums like Xenforo to stay relevant, the pace of development and innovation will have to increase. We have to give the user what they want, and as much as I like the software and think it's solid I just don't think we're doing that. This is especially true among those under 30.

Saw them advertising it the other day on youtube. Not sure how effective that marketing was but Facebook has unlimited amounts of money to spend. Sadly if they wanted to do it they could crush all forums they have billions to spend and there isn't anything XF can really do (sadly it's the same for our industries as well) - https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/28/facebook-hits-trillion-dollar-market-cap-for-first-time.html

In our industry, they closed all our groups. It's quite dangerous to build your future on Facebook as they could shut it down anyday. Obviously it depends on the industry. No company is going to build their forum on their website through a facebook group.

I personally think it depends like forums like ign are doing really well but others have died out

If you created a facebook group it would be the same result.

A forum needs years to reach a nice audience, plan your content, create a good staff (people reach people), sponsor your site (pay for Ads), elaborate a good strategy for differenciate and dominate your nice.

Running a forum is a business. If you are trying to have fun open a Discord server or a Facebook Group or Telegram.

This is right. It's actually the people running it that's the problem. If you want your forum to succeed, you have to be patient, build it up and do something different than anyone else.
 

It’s Fait

New member
Saw them advertising it the other day on youtube. Not sure how effective that marketing was but Facebook has unlimited amounts of money to spend. Sadly if they wanted to do it they could crush all forums they have billions to spend and there isn't anything XF can really do (sadly it's the same for our industries as well) - https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/28/facebook-hits-trillion-dollar-market-cap-for-first-time.html

In our industry, they closed all our groups. It's quite dangerous to build your future on Facebook as they could shut it down anyday. Obviously it depends on the industry. No company is going to build their forum on their website through a facebook group.



If you created a facebook group it would be the same result.



This is right. It's actually the people running it that's the problem. If you want your forum to succeed, you have to be patient, build it up and do something different than anyone else.
When I think back I had a Facebook page that no one cares about so you are not wrong about that one,

but I have learnt nothing good happens over night gotta keep building it up.
 

OverHere

Active 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).

1. nowadays, I think the domain name used for new forums must be descriptive itself, could be something like travel.pics or earn.money or trade.forex etc. I think new forums with domain extensions .com or .net would not be so effective in the future

new domain extensions may make an active, growing forum a takeover target

2. XF is by far the most simplistic forum script to run, and is generally the best - I am sure XF script will only get better and better.

3. and i do not think it is possible to start a successful forum on a single, niche, individual subject - all topics one can think of are all already covered somewhere and somehow - I think the secret is how one would present his forum with its target and aim easily distinguishable... with targetted market in mind

This is my view
 

bottiger

Active member
No company is going to build their forum on their website through a facebook group.

There are quite a few companies that have decided to not have a forum, and just point people to reddit and discord/slack. For example, League of Legends, which I pointed out in my original post.

For example, forums for video games just aren't that popular anymore. Video games themselves are, but the forums for them, not so much. Now, a forum like this is going to always be "popular" since it's a support forum.

No one is arguing that certain niches will survive to the end of time. But the point I'm trying to make is that Xenforo style forums overall are losing badly in the competition for users. It is not just gaming that is suffering this change. Gaming is just filled with people that are quick to adopt new trends, but the trend is real and will probably soon affect niches that haven't felt anything because they are filled with 40+ year olds that are slow to change.

Nearly every forum I've scouted out has dropped in users/activity compared to a few years ago while the number of internet users keeps going up and covid lockdowns have caused an unprecedented surge in online activty.

This forum itself has gone down in popularity a lot itself. Anyone that was on these forums years ago can remember that it was a lot more populated and responses used to come in every minute.

https://web.archive.org/web/20140730163611/xenforo.com/community

Total: 522 (members: 102, guests: 367, robots: 53)
 

djbaxter

Well-known member
There are quite a few companies that have decided to not have a forum, and just point people to reddit and discord/slack. For example, League of Legends, which I pointed out in my original post.



No one is arguing that certain niches will survive to the end of time. But the point I'm trying to make is that Xenforo style forums overall are losing badly in the competition for users. It is not just gaming that is suffering this change. Gaming is just filled with people that are quick to adopt new trends, but the trend is real and will probably soon affect niches that haven't felt anything because they are filled with 40+ year olds that are slow to change.

Nearly every forum I've scouted out has dropped in users/activity compared to a few years ago while the number of internet users keeps going up and covid lockdowns have caused an unprecedented surge in online activty.

This forum itself has gone down in popularity a lot itself. Anyone that was on these forums years ago can remember that it was a lot more populated and responses used to come in every minute.

https://web.archive.org/web/20140730163611/xenforo.com/community

So are you suggesting you're just going to give up on forums?

Fair enough if you decide to do that.

I don't see the point in going on about how forums are dying and we should all mimic Reddit. Not going to happen. And not all forums are dying.
 

bottiger

Active member
So are you suggesting you're just going to give up on forums?

Fair enough if you decide to do that.

I don't see the point in going on about how forums are dying and we should all mimic Reddit. Not going to happen. And not all forums are dying.

It is quite simple.

I'm suggesting/bringing to light that forum software needs a fundamental paradigm shift. The current status quo is not sustainable. Perhaps investigate whether or not the lack of tree style comment layout or some other missing feature(s) is the issue. I have noticed that while reddit and facebook copy more and more forum features, the reverse is not happening.

Xenforo can either accept the suggestion, or refuse to acknowledge it and be resigned to only selling a few licenses to the 1% of niches that survive.

And yes if Xenforo doesn't do something about this then people will likely give up on Xenforo. If they were to take it seriously as a business as you detractors keep saying to do, they will do the calculations and see the massive audience they can get at reddit/fb/discord and still be able to monetize it without slapping ads on it or selling user upgrade subscriptions.

And not sure how many times I have to say this, but when giant forums related to forum administration like digitalpoint and this forum itself are dying and not Joe Schmoe's XYZ car model forum, this should be a clear wake up call.
 
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Max Taxable

Well-known member
Xenforo can either accept the suggestion, or refuse to acknowledge it
Pretty sure they're not going to consider any "suggestion" that isn't actually a suggestion, as in, posted in the suggestion forum and in the form of a suggestion we can all upvote if we agree. This is merely a discussion thread, it calls for no action from anyone.

Do it right. Lay out your case succinctly as a real suggestion and see how many upvotes you collect. If you're really serious about "saving" xenforo.
 

bottiger

Active member
Pretty sure they're not going to consider any "suggestion" that isn't actually a suggestion, as in, posted in the suggestion forum and in the form of a suggestion we can all upvote if we agree. This is merely a discussion thread, it calls for no action from anyone.

I don't have a concrete suggestion for them, otherwise I would.

Planning the fate of this forum software is entirely up to Kier. Maybe I'm wrong about what features need to be done. Maybe mobile optimizations are all that's needed. But this is their business and most of the thinking and planning is up to them, not me. Unless they want to hire me to research/think about a solution to this problem. Forums are not my career, but it is for them.

And I'm quite sure they are aware of this thread, given that it's been going on for several weeks already and one of their employees has talked in this thread. And given the google trends and the decline of former giants like digitalpoint has been happening for the last 5 years, I've probably not told them anything they don't already know. I started this thread just to inform others.
 
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djbaxter

Well-known member
I don't have a concrete suggestion for them, otherwise I would.

Planning the fate of this forum software is entirely up to Kier. Maybe I'm wrong about what features need to be done. Maybe mobile optimizations are all that's needed. But this is their business and most of the thinking and planning is up to them, not me. Unless they want to hire me to research/think about a solution to this problem. Forums are not my career, but it is for them.

And I'm quite sure they are aware of this thread, given that it's been going on for several weeks already and one of their employees has talked in this thread. And given the google trends and the decline of former giants like digitalpoint has been happening for the last 5 years, I've probably not told them anything they don't already know. I started this thread just to inform others.
...who didn't need informing.

Anyone running forums is aware that there has been a decline for many forums and we are also aware that some of those were long overdue to disappear.

If you want software that mimics social media, and you think that's going to save you, you are dreaming. Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit and several others have a huge head start. Chasing after their members is a losing battle.

Offer something that is wanted by those who prefer forums using forum software and you can still have a reasonable shot at some success and some income. Forget general chat forums - they were always pointless and social media does that much better. Offer substantive content - and information and discussions - and then be patient and put in the time and hard work to make it a success. The days of slapping up a phpbb site and making money from AdSense are long gone.

Xenforo doesn't need major changes. It does what it does very well and if you want tweaks there's a thriving community of addons to choose from.
 
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