This is about IMDB's forums where they talk about how they miss it since they closed it years ago. This thread was created hours ago.
I fished out for you those messages relevant for us to make a point.
As you see, this is how the population sees us, this is their perception:
If you think "but this is just 1 thread, it is not representative", well you can find similar threads like every week on there saying the same thing, for example 1 from 3 months ago:
And the 2nd highest comment on there is:
You can read the replies to it if you want, they all say the same thing.
and so on...
What we can learn from these discussions over there?
How do we make forums popular again? I think we need a centralisation of some sorts but this is just utopia with how slow we progress. Not gonna immerge in that.
If we can't make forums popular again, maybe we can make them great again? So at least if somehow people land on our sites, we can at least offer an excellent user experience so they visit again.
If you analyze those discussions over on reddit, you can clearly understand what forums need to do in order to be great. If you read the IMDb boards situation everybody is talking about there, then you get the gist of what was great about it.
No, they don't talk about how great the moderation was, how awesome the administrating tools were, how shiny username colors were, no.
The quintessence is that every movie has had its dedicated own section and how great it was that after years people still got a reply and could see old threads.
But how did they land on there in first place? They visited first IMDb itself (their words) which is a database/wiki for movies. So each wiki page of a movie had a discussion place attached to it.
Maybe in over 100 posts here or on TAZ I explained what forums need to do in order to be great. This is the magic trick. A forum should be the by-product of the core content. Just like how the message boards were the by-product of IMDbs main wiki pages.
So, we have the message boards unlike IMDb, but we don't have what IMDb has: a database/wiki/main content delivery system.
XF offers a nice product. We all can create a message board immediately with the moderating tools, the administrating tools, but we lack massively in tools to create content. So, what we need are tools for content creation, delivery, crawling, uploading etc. (article system, wiki system, filtering, parser, php scripts, calculations, mass uploading etc.) and the discussions should be attached to that.
Unless you fall under the "service forums" category then your content is already created for you by a manufacturer like Ford, Apple, LG etc. But even then you benefit from having a database of some sorts as curating your own information is always beneficial.
Do you agree with my assessment (why not) or what would you add to it? What is your take based on that I linked above?