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


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#121 Enkidu

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 05:41 PM

This very topic has come up every 6 months or so since Facebook gained traction in 2006. Here we are, many years later and our business is still growing (and those stats from compare.com are way off the mark).


but Matt there is a big difference between saying the interest in forum software is growing and saying that forum based websites are declining. If your business looks healthy that doesn't ensure that website xyz who uses IPB will continue growing forever.

During my stay here I've seen many members, and forums, come and go. Many websites have closed. Facebook is a single website that is growing and comparing that to the concept of forums is not fair. Any webmaster is feeling the bitter of FB taking over that has nothing to do with IPB being popular.

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#122 Con

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 05:41 PM

Boom!
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#123 Sire

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 06:55 PM

I've only read page 1 of this topic so if this has already been mentioned forgive me? :)

I think the real strengths of the social networks are you can customize your information experience with the personal newsfeed (Twitter, or your Facebook default page). Only people, pages, news that you've selected appear but you still have the freedom to browse around anywhere if you'd like.
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#124 Sire

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 08:32 PM

Dated today :
Google+ Gets A New Look With Interactive Navigation & “Timeline-esque” Profiles




Posted Image


That's very sexy! Most of the suggestions in this topic seem to be skin-related really. IP.Board already supports most of these features, as long as you skin it that way to my understanding.
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#125 Cheapy

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 08:58 PM

i disagree that Facebook or Twitter will kill forums, but I do agree that the share buttons should be more visilbe and located at the top of the page.

#126 Marcher Technologies

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 09:25 PM

I am just going to say this once, and only once.
I would not have nearly as much issue with these social media buttons everywhere if they were:
A: Valid HTML.
B: Did not slow any Site down to a crawl.
See, what the OP does not... seem to gather is this:

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yeah... and watch the user, in having to wait, and wait, and wait for that many social "plugin" js widgets to load, close the site.
I have.
I have also setup such buttons for every "item" with only 1 call to the js load.... its the actual buttons themselves being rendered that screeches the page load to inanity in a cascading effect(and I know the share link strip is not to blame for extra loads, I was not using that in this instance).
Header, if possible, should be a simple link... but regardless, note the more of these buttons you pile on with the social widgets, the worse off your page load speeds will be.
There is a balance to be had... and splatting share links everywhere as the OP shows is not anywhere near said balance.
Not at all opposed to moving them... just multiplication of them, from experience, is a move that upsets how snappy IPB 3.2/3.3 is in whole.
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#127 media

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 10:07 PM

I am just going to say this once, and only once.
I would not have nearly as much issue with these social media buttons everywhere if they were:
A: Valid HTML.
B: Did not slow any Site down to a crawl.
See, what the OP does not... seem to gather is this:

Definetly agree... :)

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#128 Lindy

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 11:00 PM

but Matt there is a big difference between saying the interest in forum software is growing and saying that forum based websites are declining. If your business looks healthy that doesn't ensure that website xyz who uses IPB will continue growing forever.

During my stay here I've seen many members, and forums, come and go. Many websites have closed. Facebook is a single website that is growing and comparing that to the concept of forums is not fair. Any webmaster is feeling the bitter of FB taking over that has nothing to do with IPB being popular.


I'm not sure I completely understand your point. Sure, many communities have "gone" -- many more have come. I've seen many leave Facebook as well. Many more have joined. :)

Once again, forum based communities and social media such as Facebook serve two very different purposes, as I see it. Communities have never been more popular, actually. Large companies are flocking to communities for support communities, fan-based communities, etc. Clubs such as auto enthusiasts, medical-based, etc. are creating communities to share information with the community and unite users with common interests. The list goes on and on. The communities that used to consist of 20,000 "lolz"-esque posts are struggling due to lack of subject matter. It's easy to blame that on declining popularity of communities or SEO -- the reality of the matter, however, is people are taking random thoughts and ramblings to social media.

If you have a community with content, you can actually leverage Facebook et al to your advantage by letting your users "spread the word" and in a few clicks, your users' friends can become members as well.
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#129 AJArend

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 11:20 PM

I had someone from a competing site tell me recently that they've experienced a drop off in activity on their site because of Facebook, and because of that, they've decided to start migrating to Facebook.

I brought this up on my site, and asked my site members if we should be integrated with Facebook, and while many liked that idea, the majority...those who use Facebook and those who don't...did not like the idea at all. We have not implemented any of the Facebook integration features, and we probably won't ever because I just don't see the point. Facebook is Facebook. My forum is my forum. It's unique, and I give my users a site that they like to visit apart from Facebook. As someone already stated, if you give your users something that's unique that they cannot find on Facebook, then they will support you.

Interestingly, while the competing site is seeing a drop off in activity, my forum has not, and is as active as before. My new registrations are holding steady. So, I don't think it's Facebook that is their problem. They should look at themselves first.

I honestly don't see Facebook and Google eating up everything on the internet, and if they do, it would only be because WE, independent forum, website and blog owners let that happen. We independent forums and websites and blogs are what make the internet what it is, and we'll continue to be that way unless we all have the defeatest attitude of: Give up now, Facebook and Google will eventually take over everything anyway.

I am not a big fan of this "Let's just move everything to Facebook" philosophy. Seems dumb to voluntarily give one company all that power.

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#130 Dmacleo

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 01:49 AM

I see them as enhancing each other, neither one fits all bills but utilizing tools available they can be symbiotic.

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#131 Lase

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 03:31 AM

I see we've still got Facebook on the brain.

I am just going to say this once, and only once.
I would not have nearly as much issue with these social media buttons everywhere if they were:
A: Valid HTML.
B: Did not slow any Site down to a crawl.
See, what the OP does not... seem to gather is this:

yeah... and watch the user, in having to wait, and wait, and wait for that many social "plugin" js widgets to load, close the site.
I have.
I have also setup such buttons for every "item" with only 1 call to the js load.... its the actual buttons themselves being rendered that screeches the page load to inanity in a cascading effect(and I know the share link strip is not to blame for extra loads, I was not using that in this instance).
Header, if possible, should be a simple link... but regardless, note the more of these buttons you pile on with the social widgets, the worse off your page load speeds will be.
There is a balance to be had... and splatting share links everywhere as the OP shows is not anywhere near said balance.
Not at all opposed to moving them... just multiplication of them, from experience, is a move that upsets how snappy IPB 3.2/3.3 is in whole.


I possibly don't gather the above. I wouldn't try and knock this advice I'm sure you're much more knowledgable than me regarding things of this nature. However I've installed the 5 share buttons on my board index, I'm on 50kb/s and any slowing is barely noticable. With the doubling up, which is what in an ideal world I'd have If someone built hooks that would accommodate, I can't comment. Some people seem to be doing it there was a member on page 3 I think.

There must be a way around page load times, if I buy into it. The additional load-time of these buttons can't be that much or the blogs and websites such as 'Mashable' and 'Wired' that are taking more than their share of traffic and establishing their dominance through using these buttons wouldn't have embraced them as they have. How much longer is the Human race even going to be talking about 'page load times' ?

I'm really sorry to sound like a broken record but we're still talking about Facebook. Which is geared towards children, or adults who act like children. And I totally understand the motivation with promoting Facebook; It's a giant distraction, It's existance is keeping all the animals on the farm etc. I'm under no illusions about the benefits of using forums over sites like Facebook.

Facebooks the 'Sunshine Club Variety Coach' of websites. LinkedIn however is populated with serious people, and I want to tap that demographic more. Frankly, I'm not really arsed about the Facebook buttons.

What I think doesn't really matter though. In fact what any admin thinks doesn't matter. You've got to arrive at your own decision points based on what people en mass are doing.

See the share buttons the way they are? I love'em, they're neat and unobtrusive and bigger more prominant ones will have the board more messy, but it isn't about what I want. It's about what potential membership is doing and what my board as an entity wants. I can't argue with what my board is telling me needs attention.

I just think we're a bit behind.

And is anyone applying their mind to how Pinterest can be utilised more (another site I don't use). Is it just a consumer tool? Is it something that should at least have a presense within a board's gallery?

I found an interesting article* dated today on who uses it and why.

1. It is simple, clean and fuss free. This makes browsing delightful and easy: two main components to marketing success. Because of Pinterest’s visually appealing layout, consumers just see a picture with very little text. Facebook on the other hand is very word heavy and can turn off potential consumers.
2. Marketers have an open window into consumers’ interests. They can easily see a gold mine of information on potential customers. For example, an interior design marketing team can see who is influential in the ‘home decor’ section. They can then start following and see what trends people are repining and liking.
3. It’s relaxing. Pinterest creates a curated experience for its users in a fairly anonymous way. No constant updating of feeds, no overload of people’s lives. On Pinterest it’s about enjoying your hobbies—not having to like someone’s status or wish anyone a Happy Birthday. It lets users share experiences in a negative-free zone, briefly comment and move on without the weight of Facebook etiquette.
4. Brands have found cool ways to use it. Martha Stewart Living and Kate Spade are pinning like crazy with overwhelming response by adding more than 19,000 and 34,000 followers respectively. Kotex even has bragging rights for hosting one of the first Pinterest campaigns. The brand found 50 “inspiring” women in Israel and looked at what they were pinning on Pinterest. Then, Kotex sent the women a virtual gift. If she pinned the gift, she then got a real one in the mail that was based on something she had pinned. The result: success—nearly 100% of the women pinned and commented on their gifts.


http://www.forbes.co...ember_107709792


* - From LinkedIn. Bringing another idea to mind which I'm sure has been thought of- Would it be possible to have a hook that the admin could load URLs into providing the user with news items day to day, like LinkedIn has? :

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This method is dangerous in that it navigates the user away from the board, but positive in that you'd essentially be providing a more centralised home feel that the user would come to rely on. Either way it would be a nice thing to try out.

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#132 Lase

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 05:13 AM

At the end of the day look at a thread like this one with 4220 views. How many of those views are by registered users or guests, guests with an account who haven't bothered logging-in etc.

Had there been more visablle share buttons strategically located prominently, would this thread be on 4220 views or 10,000 or 25,000? Could a thread being Tweeted 3 or 4 dozen times mean the difference between a thread being viewed 4000 times and 50,000 times? In this case higher views might be a bad thing my wording might not have been as considered as it should have been to begin with. But then, how many of those visitors would say "... Could do with an account here I think." and after reading two or three posts run through the registration process. How many of those visitors can't be bothered to register on your board but are happy to Tweet a topic on to a network of 400 followers who perhaps can?

To me there's no debates about these really, and like anything, it's options; you don't want them don't have them. Sometimes I see ideas shot down by people who can't see said idea being applicable to their own game. Vote nothing down if people are persuing a change that'll promote diversity according to their requirements promote it, then when it's default, use it or don't use it.

"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.
 


#133 Enkidu

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 05:23 AM

I'm not sure I completely understand your point. Sure, many communities have "gone" -- many more have come. I've seen many leave Facebook as well. Many more have joined. :smile:

Once again, forum based communities and social media such as Facebook serve two very different purposes, as I see it. Communities have never been more popular, actually. Large companies are flocking to communities for support communities, fan-based communities, etc. Clubs such as auto enthusiasts, medical-based, etc. are creating communities to share information with the community and unite users with common interests. The list goes on and on. The communities that used to consist of 20,000 "lolz"-esque posts are struggling due to lack of subject matter. It's easy to blame that on declining popularity of communities or SEO -- the reality of the matter, however, is people are taking random thoughts and ramblings to social media.

If you have a community with content, you can actually leverage Facebook et al to your advantage by letting your users "spread the word" and in a few clicks, your users' friends can become members as well.


The point was this: If forum software business is expanding then it doesn't guarantee my forum will expand. When I compare facebook I compare it to others as a website not as a concept of social networking.

In others words, we're not comparing the concept of forums vs the concept of social networking but rather a website, such as mine, vs facebook. Surely facebook has caused many forum based websites to become obsolete.

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#134 bfarber

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 09:04 AM

This weekend I was searching for a movie I watched in my childhood. Didn't know the name, the names of any actors, and only vaguely recalled some of the plot line.

I took to Google and started searching various terms I thought might help me figure out the movie. I ultimately did find the name of the movie that I've been looking for for quite some time.

Know where I found it? In a "What's this horror movie?" thread on a forum hosted by a horror film fan site. The thread was still being actively posted in. And I would have never found the name of this movie on Facebook.

I've had dozens of other similar experiences. And when I want information on a subject, I will head to a forum about that subject. Not to Facebook.
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#135 Enkidu

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 09:25 AM

This weekend I was searching for a movie I watched in my childhood. Didn't know the name, the names of any actors, and only vaguely recalled some of the plot line.

I took to Google and started searching various terms I thought might help me figure out the movie. I ultimately did find the name of the movie that I've been looking for for quite some time.

Know where I found it? In a "What's this horror movie?" thread on a forum hosted by a horror film fan site. The thread was still being actively posted in. And I would have never found the name of this movie on Facebook.

I've had dozens of other similar experiences. And when I want information on a subject, I will head to a forum about that subject. Not to Facebook.


I do agree but posting a response in a forum would only take minutes. What do you think people would do afterwards? I've seen people spending hours on facebook ... hell I've seen girls spending an entire day on facebook.

Yesterday, I told my members that the server is going to be down for maintenance and they were like: oh well, we will spend the time on FB.

No doubt forums are rich in contents but we also need high level of activity so we can generate more money from advertisements.

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#136 Con

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 10:50 AM

... hell I've seen girls spending an entire day on facebook.


Yeah, they're just being social butterflies. :D
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#137 Rimi

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 11:26 AM

If more girls spent more time on forums, forums would be more popular.
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#138 Nevo

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 11:32 AM

If more girls spent more time on forums, forums would be more popular.


Haha, taking the Facebook approach? :P

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#139 SubStrider

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 11:41 AM

The web is moving towards simplicity is how I see it.

Maybe someone can make mod which shows a button in the header like the xenforo login button. Clicking on that will bring down an ajax based thread posting form. You can enter the title, select the forum, add tags maybe and enter the thread body before submitting.

People will ask whats the point as the that can be achieved by visiting the forum and clicking the start new thread button. Well usability is all about achieving more with less scrolling and clicking.
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#140 Daniel Chiuchiarelli

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 06:15 AM

I don't know if anyone has posted this yet, but some hard evidence rather than an opinion: http://www.google.com/trends/?q=forum

Of course, this doesn't take into account other meanings of the word "forum", but I don't see those changing in popularity too much, so it seems like this would be pretty accurate.




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