Forums, good or bad?

Picking up on a post BIG D made on his blog, I’ve lately been wondering about the meaning of forums and what comes with it. Some may also remember my previous posts about forums: “10 Things that annoy me about people on internet forums” and “How many forum members does it takes to change a light bulb?”

I’ve been active on various forums for years and so far I’ve not seen a single forum that hasn’t got problems or is full of people that just ruin it. Be it due to staff differences, members that are just overly argumentative and can’t accept that their are other opinions apart from theirs or just the sometimes difficult relationship between forum newbies and longstanding members.

Extracts of BIG D’s post:

It’s started to feel like a Job and it’s not even just the Forum I’m a Moderator on either. I use to love going on forums, I liked finding out people’s view’s on different stories, games, etc and liked discussing how things could be that much better.

However over the last weeks I’ve only found one resource for my forum habit and it’s not even my true love as it where (Xbox 360), it’s a Mac Forum, even though I like my Mac I can’t talk about it that much at the end of the Day it’s just a Computer like the Rest. I’m just wondering whether it’s worth calling it a day and just leave, give myself abit of space and really decide what I like and what I’m enjoying.

I agree with a lot that he said in that post.

Let’s take a look at some of the forums I’m currently visiting or used to be on:

Forum A: Used to be on this forum for over two years. Mainly gaming orientated and mostly frequented by newbies and a bunch of regulars that were divided into several groups. Agreeing with one of the poster’s opinion in any thread immediately caused you problems with others, just because you agreed with them. It was worth it for a while, as some of the regulars were top people, but just got too tedious at the end.

Forum B: I was on that forum for about a year. It’s a massive gaming community, but hold back again by newbies, fanboys and girls and just generally people that think too much of themselves and prefer to argue rather than share their opinions and debate.

Forum C: Again, gaming related. Great forum, loved the community. Well, the community you can see on the forums. There was just so much underlying bitching, endless msn conversations why this member is so crap compared to that one and it was quite nasty.

Forum D: A general forum. This forum sadly died after a big argument in staff that leaked over to the members and created many groups and the admins decided to call it a rest. I’m happy to say that I am still in contact with some members [Josh, if you read this, feel free to comment for once!] and there may be a new project round the corner for some. Keep me posted.

Forum E: A forum I had to leave recently due to time constraints. At the end it didn’t have many regular posters left and there wasn’t much point to it any more. At least there weren’t too many arguments.

Forum F: A forum I staff on which is full of arguments. Many members only post to argue and don’t post at all for weeks if there happens to be the lucky time of no arguments for some time. Staff is divided, regulars leave or stop posting. The forum is over run by people that only joined a little while back and are now creating more and more of an atmosphere that no one really wants to be part of.

Forum G: Another forum I’m staff on as a favour to a friend. The forum is film related and I never realised that film fanboys and girls are a lot worse than gaming ones. There are people madly in love with Tarantino and call him their god. No, I’m not joking. I myself wish I was.

That’s just a selection though, I’ve come across many forums in the last years. So, what happened with all of them forums? Different topics, different languages, yet most have the same problems: Arguments.

  • Why are some people so intent on constantly causing arguments in cyberspace? What is to gain from being the winner [are there ever really winners in online arguments?] of an argument on a discussion board?
  • Why can’t most people just simply welcome new members to the forum? It’s not like they’re trying to take something away.
  • Why can’t people accept the fact that there may be and I know this may be hard to understand that there are other opinion to theirs? Surely it’s about the civil debate/discussion instead of all following like sheep in a herd?

This only applies to normal members though. Staff on most forums do generally try their best and have the best interests of the forums in mind, yet even they can be completely opinionated and completely ignore others.

So what are the alternatives? Create a private forum with intelligent people that can accept other opinions, like a good debate and are no fanboys and girls. Exactly, that number is small. And aren’t you going to end up with everyone sharing the same opinion therefore eliminating any kind of debate?

Change the forums that I’m on? It does feel like they’re too far gone….

Opinions, please?

Cat

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13 Responses to Forums, good or bad?

  1. thebigman87 says:

    I reckon you should stop stealing my Blog Posts :P

    I suppose the main problem, I find is people’s ego, it’s almost as if someone has to leave the “conversation” with the upper hand. I’ve also found a stark comparison with the lack of Gaming News and Basically people’s Online Behaviour.

    Take this one lad, he’s a good laugh on Games and that, but when there is nothing happening on the Forums. He is one annoying Son of a….

    Like

  2. Cat says:

    You said you were fine with me taking it and I did link it to your blog, so shush!

    It’s all about the upper hand. I don’t get it.

    That’s the other problem. Take this one forum, no one seems to post anything new. I mean it says a lot that a thread about my cat having kittens is one of the most viewed and most replied to threads on a GAMING related forum. I mean, come on?

    As for who you’re referring to, I can only guess….

    Like

  3. thebigman87 says:

    Like doing the other person over…not even considering the other person’s view.

    Did I tell you I went on some VBlogs on YouTube and they are even worse for arguing on there…Lol. Why am I replying on here, your on MSN and I’m talking to you.

    This is how stupid Blogging/Forums Comments have got…lol

    Like

  4. sulz says:

    mostly i think forums are formed with good intentions but the participants who are selfish, self-centred and inconsiderate make it bad.

    Like

  5. judyb12 says:

    I have stopped posting any help on a certain support forum, restricting myself to the Off Topic and Ideas communities there, because i grew tired of the rampant snippiness. I mean, good grief, it’s software support, not oneupsmanship.

    The only other forum i am involved with on a regular basis is for people in a certain life situation. It provides help and advice with dealing with culture shock, paperwork, etc. I am one of the moderators there, and for the most part i enjoy it. The community is genuinely open and helpful, and we have a good group of regular posters. There are two people who like to stir up trouble every once in a while (i happen to have discovered they are boyfriend & girlfriend), but most participants have learned not to be baited by them.

    I think the difference between the two forums is that the one i no longer particularly like is for people looking for help with something that, when it comes down to it, isn’t all that important, while the one i do like is for people who are dealing with real life problems and really need community support. The former breeds argument, because nothing is at stake. The latter breeds real support, because a lot can be at stake.

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  6. BlueHoopedMoose says:

    Don’t look at forums as somewhere you *must* go, hence saying you should “quit them”. They are simply places to pop in and out of, catch up with some gossip and have a bit of a laugh.

    Once you approach it like that you find yourself distanced from it and it all becomes quite laughable – I used to be a right forum whore for some places (a footy one, a gaming one and a…errr.. horticultural one) and I used to get sooooo wound up by things people said. Then I realised I was acting like a teenager who was boasting about there Level40 in Halo – it’s NOT REAL!!

    Forums allow people ways to express their views (good) but some of them aren’t too practiced at coversing with people with such a different spectrum of opinions (bad) – it’s a sad reflection the world in general really!

    Moose

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  7. Gaskin says:

    Moose > all

    Like

  8. Josh says:

    You called? Here, I am.

    I agree with many things. Shame that congregation failed, but it was inevitable. There is a lot happening soon especially something concerning you and your little idea. But I’ll see you next weekend anyway and we’ll talk about it then. ;)

    Like

  9. Cat says:

    @ D: I don’t read comments on YouTube and hardly watch videos over there. Worse? I don’t think it can be.

    @ sulz: I completely agree with you.

    @ Judy: That is an interesting take. Effectively arguments don’t really matter as nothing is at stake. And it all comes down to the community, that as long as they’re open/firendly it’s ok. Just sometimes feels with certain forums that they’re gone too far. To much caught up in themselves.

    @ Moose: A horticultural one?! :P And yeah, good point really, it’s like the real world and it’s not real. I think now I’ll have a bit less of an incentive to go on forums as I’ll actually be busy again. :)

    @ Gaskin: Of course! ;)

    @ Josh: Sure. Give me a ring. :)

    Like

  10. joandcindy says:

    I’ve been lucky with the couple of forums I’ve run. They’re small and the people on them are great. I like small forums, because you’re a little less likely to run into the people who want to argue with everyone and cause trouble.

    Like

  11. Cat says:

    Yeah, that is true.

    I think it always depends on what the forum is about and what happens to troublemakers. Take for example this new forum I’ve created, if there is anyone on there continuously causing problems, I will ban them. It’s not ideal, but will change the situation.

    Like

  12. Elin says:

    Now let me put it short – forums suck!
    Seriously, the worst arguments I have are the ones in forums.
    I decided to quit doing forums this summer.
    My social life is ruined by forums and now my only friends are virtual.
    They are not ‘real’, and I cannot see their true identity.

    Like

  13. Cat says:

    There arefar too many spam comments for this post, so I have closed the comments.

    And Elin, you have to find a healthy mix!

    Like

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