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IP.Board & The Forum Will Be Dead Within 5 Years


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#1 Lase

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 09:15 PM

... unless you guys rise to the play.

I'm sure most of the people here, however long their boards have been running are feeling a real pinch from Facebook and Twitter.

... and I'm not saying it's right. Twitter is only useful as a tool to raise awareness, but it has made the internet surfer lazy and acquiesce to the notion that their broadcasts are limited to 140 characters. This is a plus for IP.Board and the forum because the functionalities provide much more freedom in their scope, but the forums still losing the battle.

Incidentally my forum is very new. Had I set it up 10 years ago, it would be a bustling community I'm sure, but now in 2012 it's a real struggle. This is a positive though because it allows me to see the inevitable that the more established forum administrator might be hoping goes away.

IP.Board as a company is in for a very rocky road if significant changes aren't made pretty quickly let’s face it.

The new update 3.3 was great, with some reasonable new features, but you aren't stepping up to the play I'm afraid. The way things are going the forum will be dead within 5 years.

I loved the prospect of the bigger share buttons for topic starters on thread creation...

Posted Image

... but the above ain't good enough I'm afraid.

Like it or not Facebook and Twitter have, and soon Google+ will have a massive domination over the internet. IP.Board isn't riding off their success enough.

How many people actually notice those buttons as their attention diminishes on approach to the bottom of a forum topic?

How it should look :

Posted Image

That's at the base of the header-post, then the replies start, and again at the bottom of each page of replies the options to share should be highly visable.

And look at the way websites are constructed now. It's best practice to have share buttons at both the bottom and the top of any webpage. As we know not many people actually make it to the bottom of any page. So in addition each thread should look like this :

Posted Image

They also habitually read the header post, three or four of the replies, (perhaps they found the topic content interesting, but didn't like the way the comments were heading or the comments lacked interest) and scroll back up. On exit it would be great if they noticed a method to share.

I've also incorporated share buttons at the top of the board index :

Posted Image

But this shouldn't be up to the administrator. A more professional looking widget such as what Mashable.com has should be default on each forum :

http://mashable.com/


These are just images I've quickly spliced together in 10 minutes. You'd naturally have all the most dominant share methods embedded. (incidentally I'm still amazed that LinkedIn, one of the top ten / top 15 websites in the world is left completely uncatered for)

Having the IP.Board look like this would put you well on the way to rescuing yourselves from the inevitable, but there are other methods I can think of that would turn the tables somewhat. I'm left wondering though "Should it really be up to me to do this companies thinking for it. I'd imagine they pay people to exhaust avenues like this, maybe I should be paid." Would I reel off ideas simply for the sake of my own board? Probably not.

What you're about to see is websites such as Twitter and Facebook incorporate more and more of the functions which make IP.Board a better format as time goes on until ultimately they'll be the new forum... and it would be a sad outcome.

Adapt or die.
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#2 Ryan H.

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 09:33 PM

I mean no offense, but I think you vastly overestimate the role of social media. With some exception, for the most part social media and communities simply fill different niches.

Major social networking sites have been around for quite a few years now, and yet forums are still there.
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#3 Rhett

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 09:36 PM

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FB will be dead in less then 3 years... so see.. we all have opinions... Remember myspace?
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#4 Lase

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 09:38 PM

I mean no offense, but I think you vastly overestimate the role of social media. With some exception, for the most part social media and communities simply fill different niches.

Major social networking sites have been around for quite a few years now, and yet forums are still there


OK I hear what you're saying, and I can see the differences, but I'd draw your attention to my last paragraph.

These sites are gradually going to incorporate and strive to achieve this community aspect.

"When watching television your conscious mind doesn't really have to take much of a hold on it because it has no say in the matter. It's the subconscious mind they want it to work on because whatever the subconscious works on will ultimately work on you. It just takes more time to settle itself like jelly poured into a mould." - Lase.
 


#5 Lase

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 09:41 PM

I do remember Myspace, I was using it at the time. What they did was completely overhaul the layout though in one fell swoop. The changes made it much more difficult to use. Youtube would probably have a similar outcome now but it's so huge, and it caters for the users ego so well. It's also ran behind the Google worldwide engine so it could probably never suffer the same fate.

"When watching television your conscious mind doesn't really have to take much of a hold on it because it has no say in the matter. It's the subconscious mind they want it to work on because whatever the subconscious works on will ultimately work on you. It just takes more time to settle itself like jelly poured into a mould." - Lase.
 


#6 Rimi

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 09:49 PM

Wow.
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#7 Joe D

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 10:09 PM

FB will be dead in less then 3 years... so see.. we all have opinions... Remember myspace?


I agree, we have security and they do not. In time, I believe people will come back to the secure, more laid back forums.
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#8 Nevo

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 10:14 PM

As much as your entitled to your own opinion, just because you like all those social garbage websites, doesn't mean others do. The less of that garbage i have with my IP.Board's, the happier i will be.

Although you have good ideas and i agree with you regarding your suggestions that if they were implemented, it would be better... Saying that this software will die in 5 years if it doesn't have these changes is just hilarous. This software is over ten years old and if you were using it for all those years, you would have never ever said that this software can at any point in time die.

This software has gone a long way since it first came out and it has introduced features and functionality that other content management systems could only dream of so if anything, this operating system is going to live long and prosper and possibly take over the internet because of its fantastic design and programming.
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#9 Lase

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 10:29 PM

I agree, we have security and they do not. In time, I believe people will come back to the secure, more laid back forums.


Possibly. Or will a new entity that's comprised of a mish mash of all elements rise from the sump pit.

This lads got the right idea. IP.Board should be incorporating almost each and every feature that gives rise to these websites successes.

But how would this be achieved, through an email? or in-site. It touches on one of the other brainwaves I had frankly.


  • just because you like all those social garbage websites, doesn't mean others do.
  • The less of that garbage i have with my IP.Board's, the happier i will be.
  • Although you have good ideas and i agree with you regarding your suggestions that if they were implemented, it would be better...
  • Saying that this software will die in 5 years if it doesn't have these changes is just hilarous.
  • This software is over ten years old and if you were using it for all those years, you would have never ever said that this software can at any point in time die.
  • This software has gone a long way since it first came out and it has introduced features and functionality that other content management systems could only dream of so if anything, this operating system is going to live long and prosper and possibly take over the internet because of its fantastic design and programming.

  • I can't stand them mate. I don't use Facebook, and I set up a Twitter account to assist with promoting awareness of the boards creation. It's a fact of life that I have to utilise it.
  • Well you're probably reasonably established. But ok. Again though, it's just a fact of the internet that the vast majority have been suckered into it all.
  • Yep.
  • OK.
  • I have been using it over those ten years, only not in an administrational capacity. I must have faith in it's qualities or I wouldn't have shelled out money for it.
  • Can't knock your optimism mind. Have to be honest when I say, I wish I could share it with you.

"When watching television your conscious mind doesn't really have to take much of a hold on it because it has no say in the matter. It's the subconscious mind they want it to work on because whatever the subconscious works on will ultimately work on you. It just takes more time to settle itself like jelly poured into a mould." - Lase.
 


#10 surferboy

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 10:44 PM

Huh, an eye catching topic title for a topic whose entire treatise is the placement and visibility of social media share icons? No way ... you need to come up with something better than that before you close with something so jarring as 'adapt or die.'

If you addressed something similar to the kind of big picture topic that I posted, about the need for a wiki-like summary of answers, but for some other major shortcoming that the social network sites offer and that IPB does not offer, yeah, okay, I would be inclined to consider your warning about 'adapt or become less useful.'

I do agree that people on the internet are very impatient for answers. However, your treatise can easily be remedied by either a mod or a skinning effect, and that I would guess, is what the management of IPB will suggest in response to this topic.
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#11 rbiss

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 10:49 PM

I saw an article by one of the analytic gurus (possibly ComScore) that claimed almost everyone who "likes" a page on Facebook will never visit it again.

Twitter is primarily where some find solace in attracting as many other spammers as they can. Yes it's good for popular public folks to connect with fans and get their message out to the media, but the average folk gain nothing from it as a communication tool.
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#12 Windwalker222

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 11:24 PM

I'm actually seeing a resurgence on my board, and seeing some General Discussion forums that the owners had migrated to FB return and start the forums again. I think in time, that FB will lose some of it's appeal. People really like the privacy and personal touch that a forum brings. Just my 2 cents.
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#13 jackflash

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 12:18 AM

Lase has raised some interesting ideas here, some I agree with. A "research firm" wrote me some time ago asking if I'd participate in a pilot program - moving my community to their site, in which they would provide board software, etc. In effect, a free space for my forum, no server fees and nice ad revenue. Clearly, this has been though about by the major "search engine" and likely others too.

This Facebook kick is everywhere and supported by a lot of content providers. Maybe to their demise or to their fortune: will they gain or loose traffic?

As much as I don't like to, I have to agree that the share icons could be better and IPB could take the next step with sharing amongst the community somewhat better for future improvements.

Live from the Motor City


#14 Maksim

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 12:50 AM

If you have a weak site, with weak content, niche, sense of community, yes, your forum may be dead.

I think Facebook and other social media sites are just going to accelerate the weak players from the strong players. Unless facebook makes their own forum software, it is not going to happen. Just like email did not kill the paper industry, neither is facebook going to. In fact, learn to embrace facebook to drive traffic to your forum community, don't be afraid of your people leaving to go to facebook.
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#15 surinp3

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 12:58 AM

I think we see this phenomenon all around the world.

Bigger companies take over smaller businesses and grow even bigger.
Being the biggest in a country is not enough anymore. Big companies need to be big even internationally today.
But you still see the specialized, local shops in the villages and towns all around the world. :)

Same with the forums vs. social sites like Facebook and Twitter.

The biggest threat to Facebook and other social media is the fact that they do not have a niche.
The grow bigger and bigger and loose the meaning of the site.
I agree the social sites are very useful for many people, like myself for example.
I live in a country 8500 km from my relatives and friends. I use FB often. But its more a means of communication.

And therefore the biggest upside of forums, is just the same. Niche.
A forum today, with a strong niche and the market for it, will beat FB and any other social site easily.

So in my opinion you cannot compare the two.
It is like comparing a phone or email to your hobbies, interests or passions if you will.

Yay forums. :D
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#16 Ocean West

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 01:11 AM

Not that i agree wholesale i too see a major shift to how many view social sites. And that how forums in general are in nature snapshots conversations memorialized in a ridged hierarchy. Where as the emergent ethos is a more organic stream of life -

I have on occasion here posted to such effect before - that the way the content is consumed and created are very different depending on the user familiarity with a site and their investment into the topic, theme or discussion..

Twitter and Facebook have made us all ride the stream of information as it passes thru the hour glass of life in and cast a stone in at any point --- forums on the other hand required users to navigate a ridged subject based topic hierarchy to first find a forum that is particular to their attention at the moment.

I would say that many people's first visit to a forum site is probably a deep link from a goggle search to a particular forum thread, and most likely not all that current. And they must then navigate back thru the structure to figure out how to step their toe in the water.

I don't know how many newbies have started their first post on my forums with an apology, not sure if its the correct forum to make their post. Where as i don't recall any apologies of this nature on Facebook - they just ask a question and their collective posse of friends and friends of friends who care to respond do so, very organic.

There is something to be said about the structure of a forum on a site that has very different topic based forums - for example I know one member here has a forum about Ford cars a single forum could be about X model car and in that case that ONE forum becomes the central stream. If they have no internets in model Z of the vehicle they never enter that forum.

Yet then there is the noise to quality ratio of the stream - random thoughts and distractions ( games ) that sometime make me feel like i am running a digital visual hurdle race having to jump over in most cases "crap" .

But in a community where the entire site is dedicated to ONE general theme and separated by many elements it suppose to make it easy to try to corral like topics together.

I had at one time created a GENERAL POST HERE FORUM and put it smack #1 forum where noobs could just post because it seems they just couldn't aim and hit the broad side of the barn to get any post in the right forum. So for a while I was filing them after they posted. But that was tedious being a curator of topics.

I think the real trick would be to get forums to allow users to create a thread and as the topic starts being discussed with TAGS and perhaps with a little AI who knows the topic could be cross referenced in many different Structured forums - so when someone searches they can get a much higher quality of a result - If that is how that site is used. - I'd image in some forums that are social in nature search is pretty much irrelevant. Where as a technical site that is offering assistance for some product (like IPB ) the structure is necessary.

I know in my site it is sometimes very difficult to figure out where a post goes because the issue or solution may cover so many different topics.

But for me the driving method to consume content on a forum is the incoming stream to be able to see posts as they are made where ever they are made - if tools existed that allowed people to tag subject content so that it is curated by the community - So subsequent visitors can find stuff in a timely manner.

Not only does the stream help in greeting newcomers it helps to make sure that topics don't go with out replies - some times i seldom navigate to a forum from the forum index. unless i've been a way from the computer for awhile. (hence why i wished the View New Content, would allow me to step back in time day by day {have made many posts about that }

I look down at the social like and see DIGG still there - are they still around - people are fickle - they jump from one passing fad to the next, and one bad release - or bad press from a vocal minority - of a product and people exodus en-mass.

The latest newcomer to take center stage these days is Pinterest - yes its largely imaged based and a cross between a pin board, a external public/private bookmark list it is also compelling for the un-engaged to consume or window shop ideas. Will some enterprising programmer make it possible to integrate something like that into the gallery? one could hope.

Will forums be around in 5 years? Will there be a December 22? most certainly!

I am glad that IPB seems to be the ONLY company in the forum game that seems to be moving in the forward direction.

I know I whine a bit a times but I humbly think they have their finger on the pulse of the internet. And are able to adapt to the shift in perception to the needs of their customers.

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#17 miraclesun

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 01:23 AM

This is a really huge assumption to make. And I can't say I really agree with it.

FB is slowly moving towards the same position as MySpace, and in a couple of years if it keeps going it will also become irrelevant. I can't even begin to count how many times FB has changed its layout and user interface just since 2008 - and that's the year I joined it, not even the year it began.

Also - Twitter sucks in regards to moderation. I keep seeing dozens of fake, spam and hateful accounts that have been around for months and no matter how many times the report button gets clicked by many different people, I don't see them gone. Forums have a huge advantage in this sense. It's easier to handle accounts and content. In fact this could very well apply to FB pages & tumblr blogs.

Forums have a community feel. Forums bring people of a common interest together. FB, Twitter, etc are just social networks. They're not forums. It's just not the same.

Social networks have much stricter limitations on how much / what kind of things you can post, too. Because again, they're not niches. They're for everyone. And they have to keep the rules as tight as possible.

The simple thing here is that forums will always have something that social networks do not. And I don't see them dying any time soon. Rather, social networks are fads. They come and go. Forums don't.

Xanga, bebo, hi5, livejournal, myspace....they were huge back in the day....these are now either dead or rarely used. Right now it's FB, Twitter and Tumblr. Google+ had hype for a couple of months, and almost everyone I knew just stopped using it all of a sudden. Same thing with Path, the iOS app. People were raving it about for a month. Then no one cared. Same thing with Ping, and sooner or later, people will stop caring about lastfm too because of the growing popularity of streaming sites/applications like rdio & spotify and their connection with FB music. I've even noticed people are barely even mentioning iTunes like they used to.

All of these things are trends because bigger and better things come forward - they offer a similar service, but its features, design and overall usability are 10x better.

But the forum will always have a place.
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#18 Sandi_

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 03:02 AM

Have to totally disagree. Frankly I detest FB and only use it to keep in touch with family and a few friends. In fact I came this > < close to closing my account a few days ago because the "Timeline" addition was nearly the last straw in things about it I dislike.

The best way to lose members to FB and others, is to add links and likes to social media on your forum.
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#19 Ichirō

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 03:20 AM

I disagree that IPB forums will be dead in five years. I also think thats a very flippant comment to make, i mean its only your personal view...

I agree that the social like buttons need some work on IPB forums, they are too small , maybe adding them or having the option to add them below the signature of each post would be better, with bigger buttons too maybe.

I also agree that people clicking the socail buttons raises awareness of the threads.

I disagree with the way you have approached this thread, I disagree with your personal views that have no factual backup whatsoever.

If you wish to have something changed on IPB for future releases theres ways of going about things properly, rather than trying scare tactics!

#20 Telemacus2

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 03:57 AM

I think superficiality has gained ground, no question about it. But the future of forums remains bright. In fact, I think they will experience a "renaissance". Every community and even every educational institution should have one, what better way to teach kids about democracy and to express their opinions? I'd make participation mandatory! It is possible to keep, say, a school community perfectly under control using a forum. Now, can you do that in the facebook jungle?

People should also participate more often in political decisions. A forum is the ideal place for that. Can you imagine doing something like that in facebook? :D

I can't stand facebook. I've tried playing some games there, and it's such an incredible pest! I mean, they tell you you're gonna play a wonderful game, and after you give them all kinds of permissions (Why TF do I have to give them any permissions??) the game takes for ever to load. I mean it!! and then they tease me with this repetitive "invite your friends to take part". And then they want my money!! And then, everytime I play, they tell everyone about it using my name!! and there's publicity everywhere. It's horrible!! ###### them!
Install an arcade on your forum, nice, clean, quiet, fast.

I've tried creating different profiles on facebook. But people I don't want to talk to always find me. It's got to do with the way facebook works and uses algorithms which have to do with your name, your email, the school you went to... just a small piece of data is enough. I want to have an account which has nothing to do with my professional profile, and this is basically impossible unless you lie. Which of course I do, but it's a pest. I hate it.

A lot of forum admins use twitter, facebook, g+... but they're still admins.

The content which you come accross in some forums is so far superior to 140 letters thougths... (ok, not always, lol, but you know what I mean). Hey, I like to read stuff that people have invested a little time on, and if I can integrate all the twitter crap in my forum if I want to, all the better.

I hate the limitations to express myself on sites like facebook, twitter, and many others. It's just a different universe... not even a parallel one!! :D

And also... do not forget the growing mass of people who really hate facebook´s shallowness, commerciality and growing privacy invasion . It's a force not to be understimated... it's a force to be reckoned with.
Evil must be destroyed!

I do like meetup.com though. Pretty useful and really socially oriented. (and hey, I also like twitter).

I do agree that Invision (and others) cannot sleep on their laurels though...
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