Can a new forum software still enter the market?

BartVB

Bokt.nl
Joined
Oct 20, 2004
Messages
728
zappaDPJ has a good list of features. But:

The better question: "Is there a technology or platform out there that provides a unique experience that would compel people to switch platforms?"
That's indeed the better question. Building another UBB clone really won't cut it. Discourse/NodeBB/Flarum are on a better track, but still not quite there if you ask me. It's still primarily a forum where the community aspect is much more important. I still haven't been able to find any decent (affordable/open source) options for a community platform. A platform where you can really connect with people that share your passion instead of bickering about the same topics over and over and over again.

There is always room for something innovative but the 'bulletin board' space is quite full.
 

djbaxter

Tazmanian Veteran
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
10,485
Given that many/most forums are declining as potential users flock to Facebook and other social media, I doubt that there's much incentive to put in the effort to create new forum software - and, as has been said, it would have to have some significant innovations to supplant the current ones.
 

Pete

Flavours of Forums Forever
Joined
Sep 9, 2013
Messages
1,658
There is still one space in the forum market that is untapped: niche forum systems.

Generic forums, done. Q&A forums, done. But there are forums out there that don't have actual systems to support them as first class citizens.

I'm biased. I forked a certain free forum and have been reworking it for roleplay uses. Sub accounts as a first class feature for example. Yes, you can get mods for this, but having it in the core and tuned to suit because I can't imagine a roleplay forum that doesn't have some idea of subaccounts as a requirement.

There's other things that have existed in mod forms for various platforms, e.g. dice rolling, but again, making it a first class feature.

There are other use cases where forums can be modified to support it, but there is also room for the forum market to support a dedicated, if niche, product.
 

Pete

Flavours of Forums Forever
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Messages
1,658
Neat idea.
Are they private sub accounts ?
ie. no one knows another person's sub account ?
Um, not really, but that's kind of the point. When you're doing roleplay with other people, it helps to know not only which character but who the writer underneath is.

There are times this might turn out to be relevant though, so maybe that could be a thing for specialised use cases - we have plans to run Mafia games in the engine too, where it might be highly relevant to not know who the underlying poster is unless you're the moderator for that game.

This is really the kind of problem you do have to solve at core feature level, though...
 

Sal Collaziano

Womanizer
Joined
Jan 1, 2004
Messages
886
In my view a new forum platform could do more than compete, it could see off some of the competition but it would need to meet the following criteria:
  • Optimised first and foremost for mobile devices.
  • One touch registration i.e. Facebook or biometrics.
  • Push notification.
  • Activity stream lead (death to nodes and sub-forums).
  • Simple editor with focus on image insertion.
  • Social groups.
  • Released now.
I'd like to ad "Network Connectivity" to this list. Allow a group of forums to connect and share access so that activity from across the entire network can be seen in the activity stream. Get enough forums to link-up and theres your Facebook competitor.
 

Pete

Flavours of Forums Forever
Joined
Sep 9, 2013
Messages
1,658
In my view a new forum platform could do more than compete, it could see off some of the competition but it would need to meet the following criteria:
  • Optimised first and foremost for mobile devices.
  • One touch registration i.e. Facebook or biometrics.
  • Push notification.
  • Activity stream lead (death to nodes and sub-forums).
  • Simple editor with focus on image insertion.
  • Social groups.
  • Released now.
While I don't disagree with the general sentiment of reviewing functionality, I'd question the value of doing all these things at once in a new forum.

The focus on image insertion is great for very social communities, but not all communities need or want that.

But the one I most strongly disagree with is the death to subforums angle. For a number of communities, probably more than most people think, one of the strongest values a forum has over, say, Facebook is the fact you can find things.

Activity stream focuses on the now, the current, and the implied transience of content. In a very social environment, sure, what's relevant now is the key thing. But for a decent amount of forums, the ability to categorise content, and thus potentially able to find it later on is a really huge thing.

It's not a common case that I need to go back to find a post on Facebook that I made a year ago. But finding content I made a year ago? Five years ago? Sure. And Google doesn't always help, especially if the content wasn't public.

Honestly that's the one area I see forums thriving, when the subject matter has a focus on non-transient content.
 

zappaDPJ

Administrator
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Messages
6,974
While I don't disagree with the general sentiment of reviewing functionality, I'd question the value of doing all these things at once in a new forum.

The focus on image insertion is great for very social communities, but not all communities need or want that.

But the one I most strongly disagree with is the death to subforums angle. For a number of communities, probably more than most people think, one of the strongest values a forum has over, say, Facebook is the fact you can find things.

Activity stream focuses on the now, the current, and the implied transience of content. In a very social environment, sure, what's relevant now is the key thing. But for a decent amount of forums, the ability to categorise content, and thus potentially able to find it later on is a really huge thing.

It's not a common case that I need to go back to find a post on Facebook that I made a year ago. But finding content I made a year ago? Five years ago? Sure. And Google doesn't always help, especially if the content wasn't public.

Honestly that's the one area I see forums thriving, when the subject matter has a focus on non-transient content.
I actually agree with you, that's one of the biggest advantages forums have over other forms of social media. The problem I've found is that a number of factors, including weak search functionality conspire to bury your best content deep within the forum structure.

I'd like to see forums offer alternative methods for categorising and retrieving content such as prefixing and up-voting, tied into more powerful search engines.
 

LeadCrow

Apocalypse Admin
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
6,469
I'd personally like to see a way for a single thread to exist in multiple sections.
Many topics people discuss discussed belong to more than one section, and storing them in one limits their visibility.
 

we_are_borg

Administrator
Joined
Jan 25, 2011
Messages
5,371
I'd personally like to see a way for a single thread to exist in multiple sections.
Many topics people discuss discussed belong to more than one section, and storing them in one limits their visibility.
I only know one person that had something like that, if memory is correct it was Digitalpoint
 

Digitalpoint

Brain
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Aug 29, 2012
Messages
303
I only know one person that had something like that, if memory is correct it was Digitalpoint
Nope, I never had anything like that, although it wouldn't be terribly difficult to build with an addon if one was so inclined. My thing allowed a single forum to existing in multiple locations in the forum category tree.
 

we_are_borg

Administrator
Joined
Jan 25, 2011
Messages
5,371
Nope, I never had anything like that, although it wouldn't be terribly difficult to build with an addon if one was so inclined. My thing allowed a single forum to existing in multiple locations in the forum category tree.
Now that you say it was forum in multiple locations in category tree. It would make sense that a thread can be in more then one location. The move tool could be extended it can leave a link behind to where the topic is but instead of showing its a link it should beheave like a normal thread show with the normal stats. You want the topic be only one so every one can see the same discussion.
 

Sal Collaziano

Womanizer
Joined
Jan 1, 2004
Messages
886
Now that you say it was forum in multiple locations in category tree. It would make sense that a thread can be in more then one location. The move tool could be extended it can leave a link behind to where the topic is but instead of showing its a link it should beheave like a normal thread show with the normal stats. You want the topic be only one so every one can see the same discussion.
Yes, and that "moved" notice could bump up each time the thread is replied to. At least as an option as too many would flood other areas...
 

ManagerJosh

Adherent
Joined
Oct 24, 2004
Messages
331
Slightly off tangent - rather than go after the forum market, I would rather see someone make entrance with a clean rewrite and efficiently designed content management system. WordPress/Joomla/etc. are just miserable to work with.
 

Yugensoft

Aspirant
Joined
Nov 2, 2017
Messages
13
There is still one space in the forum market that is untapped: niche forum systems.

Generic forums, done. Q&A forums, done. But there are forums out there that don't have actual systems to support them as first class citizens.

I'm biased. I forked a certain free forum and have been reworking it for roleplay uses. Sub accounts as a first class feature for example. Yes, you can get mods for this, but having it in the core and tuned to suit because I can't imagine a roleplay forum that doesn't have some idea of subaccounts as a requirement.

There's other things that have existed in mod forms for various platforms, e.g. dice rolling, but again, making it a first class feature.

There are other use cases where forums can be modified to support it, but there is also room for the forum market to support a dedicated, if niche, product.
Precisely.

People shouldn't be thinking of their forum in terms of a mere discussion forum (which is already done to death), but as an app base.

The simplest examples of this have been bridges and integrations with existing services, like gaming. Instead of targeting a niche with just mere content (like everyone else), you target it with features. You offer your users more than just writing and reading. You give them things they can do. Or even things they can be.

I don't think the forum space is being eaten away at at all. Not everyone wants the dumb simplicity of twitter and reddit, reading fluff motivational quote gifs and laughing at cats. Forums could absolutely dominate in the region of app-like extended-functionality communities. Which is partly why I got interested in this space.
 

IggyP

Aspirant
Joined
Jan 11, 2013
Messages
28
i think vbulletin 4 is the new vbulletin 6 :daroldi:

how much for i can install 40 mods and custom styles and call it frankenforum?
 
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