Is the internet getting boring?

Zelda

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I appreciate that you aren't trying to sound arrogant, so please accept that what I'm saying is likewise not intended to offend.

I can tell your post took a very short time, as it was far more rambling and repetitive than it could have been had you taken the time to collect and organize your thoughts. There's a lot of unnecessary verbiage and some parts of your response don't really say anything. Your post may have been quick for you to type, but it forces more effort on the reader to work out what you're trying to say. Whatever your intention, that's just bad communication. Best practice in communication is to take whatever time is necessary to make your message as clear and unambiguous as possible.

Your post also perpetuates a common misconception that has become prevalent among many who "grew up" with computers and the internet. No matter how many times it's stated or by how many people, your brain doesn't process information any faster or any better than the rest of us.

We all deal with things one at a time. That doesn't mean we can't keep track of many different things, we just queue them up for processing. I'm an old guy, but in my working life, I routinely handled 15-20 projects concurrently, as did everyone around me. However, I only ever worked on one at a time. When you say "I can process multiple conversations simultaneously with multiple people without skipping a beat or losing the depth of the conversation, and the meaning behind everything be said." what you are really saying is that you can keep track of multiple things and switch tasks quickly, which is a common feature of human cognition. The difference between people is
  • how many things you choose to keep track of, and
  • how much time or effort you put into each one at any time
This brings us back to the "slow pace" of forums.

What you are describing here is a lack of patience, another common human failing. It is easy to quickly deal with a large number of small conversations as they happen, clearing the way to take in more things. It takes more cognitive energy to deal with a discussion that occurs over time and reduces the number of other things you can process. Not everyone likes that, just as some people prefer to read short stories that can be finished in a sitting, rather than novels that can take weeks or more to read.


I haven't misunderstood. And please, don't confuse quantity with quality. You can jump onto various platforms and interact with many people in a short period of time, as any of us can. That doesn't mean you are communicating effectively or clearly. In the end, clear communication is what everyone is after.
You do not understand. Imagine, if you will, someone who broke down their sentence by saying each word five minutes apart. How hard would that be for you to follow along and remain engaged in that conversation? I am certain you could do it if you put your mind toward it. Humans are capable of many things, and so it would be possible yet difficult. Patience would have nothing to do with it. If all you believe is patience is the problem, I admit I do not have the communication skills to explain the larger picture.
 
Last edited:

mysiteguy

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Zelda

As I read through your previous long post, I saw one red flag after another. The thing about posting on this forum is there are many people who have been around forums and dial-up systems for decades, some far longer than you such as myself, and there are some older than me here with their experience dating further back.

Take this as constructive criticism:

When you give a campfire chat about the old school days, be careful about telling tall tales, many can see through it.

- ASCII art pre-dates your birth by about 15 years.

- "BBS" also predates your birth, it's not a term you saw arrive on your watch and you have the timeline of the verbiage completely wrong. The term BBS started in 1978 using CBBS that ran on CP/M systems. Pretty nifty then, along with RCP/M. It may have started even earlier, but it's the first documented case I know of. It was probably late 78, early 79 when I connected to a CBBS for the first time but it was long ago so I don't recall exactly, but anything you could connect to was pretty rare. Even then, Ward Christensen was a legend between CBBS and modem (later called xmodem).

- If you used the Arpanet in anything more than a cursory capacity, you'd remember Usenet and it was threaded discussion.

- Your post was over 1000 words long. The fastest typist in the world holds the record at 216 words per minute. Most typists consider even 100 wpm quick, and you do not type 1000+ wpm. At 5,418 characters, you would need to type 96+ characters per second to complete that post in under a minute. If you want people to believe you, stick to fibs within the realm of possibility.

Maybe the reason you do better with younger people is they didn't live through the period so they can't spot the red flags. I suggest you step back from the humble bragging and "be real". I think you'll find your long-term experience here to be much more pleasant if you do!
 

Zelda

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We all deal with things one at a time. That doesn't mean we can't keep track of many different things, we just queue them up for processing. I'm an old guy, but in my working life, I routinely handled 15-20 projects concurrently, as did everyone around me. However, I only ever worked on one at a time. When you say "I can process multiple conversations simultaneously with multiple people without skipping a beat or losing the depth of the conversation, and the meaning behind everything be said." what you are really saying is that you can keep track of multiple things and switch tasks quickly, which is a common feature of human cognition. The difference between people is
  • how many things you choose to keep track of, and
  • how much time or effort you put into each one at any time
I want to revisit this point. Can you type a message on your phone in your left hand while typing a completely different message in your right hand while talking to someone directly across from you, simultaneously? Because the growing amount of people who can is what you should be focused on.

You said earlier my message was gibberish. I say it was compressed. In it, I provided a basic understanding of my childhood growing up while incorporating the experiences of having technology around me at a young age, how that impacted me, just as it impacted those younger now, and the difference it has from those who did not have this experience. And I did it with few words, compared if I had done so in a lengthy novel - providing just the simplest summaries. My only struggle was trying to make it wordier for you to follow along and perhaps grasp what I was saying, just as I am now in my reply.

You say that a lot of folks on social media type short one, two, perhaps three lines. I would argue a lot more is said sometimes in those short lines than in the lengthy paragraph you have come to expect. I can define full messages, along with a depth of emotion, reason, and thought of form, in a few short sentences. In contrast, you need me to sit here and write out long-form compound phrases and paragraphs.

I know my reply to you will sound ignorant and arrogant, for that, I do apologize. I sincerely do not mean to offend you or belittle you or put you or anyone else down. It is simply that our world is a lot more different. I recognize those differences and sincerely would like to bridge the gap. A gap that I only recognize is growing ever more vastly as time moves on. I am not the first person who has tried to reach out; I presume I will not be the last (I hope).

My initial intention was not to come here to compare the human psyche or experience. It was initially only to point out that adding all your obstacles hinders growth and development, concerning why so many forums today struggle. But as we continue this conversation, it becomes clear that I cannot avoid talking about the human condition and where it is progressing; since unavoidable, I keep cycling around the mindset and the flow of communication.

Again, this post was written quickly, and I struggled to slow it down; perhaps it will be lost on you, perhaps not. Nevertheless, I wish you could understand it is not patience that is the problem. I am, after all, taking the time to reply and attempt to form a dialog and communicate my meaning. If I were the impatient individual you imagine I were, I would not have bothered to be here or even reply the first time.

But ultimately, I fear DigNap15, is correct. Repeating myself is not going us any better, and I fear we have gone way off-topic from the initial topic's intention. If you wish to continue this conversation, please do send me a PM (personal message). I would be willing to entertain the idea of trying to bridge the gap.
 

Zelda

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Messages
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Zelda

As I read through your previous long post, I saw one red flag after another. The thing about posting on this forum is there are many people who have been around forums and dial-up systems for decades, some far longer than you such as myself, and there are some older than me here with their experience dating further back.

Take this as constructive criticism:

When you give a campfire chat about the old school days, be careful about telling tall tales, many can see through it.

- ASCII art pre-dates your birth by about 15 years.

- "BBS" also predates your birth, it's not a term you saw arrive on your watch and you have the timeline of the verbiage completely wrong. The term BBS started in 1978 using CBBS that ran on CP/M systems. Pretty nifty then, along with RCP/M. It may have started even earlier, but it's the first documented case I know of. It was probably late 78, early 79 when I connected to a CBBS for the first time but it was long ago so I don't recall exactly, but anything you could connect to was pretty rare. Even then, Ward Christensen was a legend between CBBS and modem (later called xmodem).

- If you used the Arpanet in anything more than a cursory capacity, you'd remember Usenet and it was threaded discussion.

- Your post was over 1000 words long. The fastest typist in the world holds the record at 216 words per minute. Most typists consider even 100 wpm quick, and you do not type 1000+ wpm. At 5,418 characters, you would need to type 96+ characters per second to complete that post in under a minute. If you want people to believe you, stick to fibs within the realm of possibility.

Maybe the reason you do better with younger people is they didn't live through the period so they can't spot the red flags. I suggest you step back from the humble bragging and "be real". I think you'll find your long-term experience here to be much more pleasant if you do!
Some of those may indeed predate my birth and doing a quick Google search, you're right; they do. But experience is subjective based on the passive of time. You may have experienced ASCII in the 1960s. I, on the other hand, was not alive then and experienced it in the 1980s. The first home computer was around before my time, too, in the 1970s, but that does not mean it was widely used or adapted into people's homes, right out the gate. Experience and time are subject. My experience and personal timeline are I had access to technology and information as a child, and I was very privileged to do so. Had the technology come around sooner, perhaps you would be telling the tale.

I do not know where you are obtaining your information about typing speeds. I am a pretty average typer. You can test your "skills" (?) here if you like. I don't even rate that high compared to anyone else. https://www.typingtest.com/
 

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truthingtotruth

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I saw that post above about typing with both hands and using some sort of other communications device and I thought about those switch board folks that process information and devices in all sorts of rushed ways and I am not clear how they would have been able to truly understand any of the humans they were talking to other than processing the immediate information they were receiving and responding to the specific requests they were hearing. I mean, the speed they were doing their work didn't mean they actually "understood" any human's mind any better than if they were sitting across the room in a comfy environment and having a slower chat.

I think I'm not getting that speed thing and using all ten fingers and talking and all that and where that comes into play on the understanding part of the human interaction.

Well, the talking part can help because we catch tone and such, but I didn't know we had moved into any talking aspect of the speed of the Net in communicating. I erred there, yes? We are not yet into any talking stuff, are we? Just fingers typing, yes?

And I also remember back when I was on active duty and flying choppers. I flew fixed wing before and after, but they needed chopper pilots back then. Now the chopper is different than a fixed wing bird in the challenges involved and we had to deal with multiple issues as well as communicating with the tower or others in a formation and our own crew and being able to do all of that didn't really help me really understand a given happening until I got over the post-flight and log book entries and any debriefing needed and then I might start to process other information, especially if something had gone wrong.

I'm just searching for a correlation between speed of doing things and truly understanding what is going on. Actually, I think I was more like a sort of machine rather than a human. True understanding didn't come until maybe being in the O' Club and going over events either in my own mind alone, or with others.

But that was a fair bit back and maybe I'm missing something or forgetting. I'm trying to learn here how that Net speed stuff can help us better understand others.
 

Pete

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In fact, if I can't see their face I am probably having more trouble understanding them.
Yes, this is normal. Depending on who you listen to, between 80% and 93% of all communication between two people is non-verbal, whether it is body language, tone of voice etc. etc.

On the one hand, you're getting a post that in theory was able to be constructed with time and patience, but on the other hand that invariably is time spent by the writer to construct their point, not by someone intending to be understood; it is not without reason that there is a world of difference between bloggers and journalists - because there is an artform in writing to be understood that most bloggers haven't learned (though some have clearly understood through intuition). Most people on forums are not 'writing to be understood', and it is a special focus.
 

DigNap15

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I'd say that mostly depends on what unique, independent content you're looking to consume/create.

I'm over in what is possibly the most interesting niche I've seen in years: roleplay. Every site is wildly different, with themes ranging from the beautiful to the eclectic to the visual horror, with content ranging in all different lengths and styles and so on. But it is a deeply creative niche where there are no shortage of sites but finding ones you mesh with is not necessarily straightforward and once you do, it is about collaborative storytelling, something really not for everyone.

The upshot of which is that if you find your groove in such a site, you can quite happily engage with people producing new content every day.

But to your underlying point: has the internet gotten boring? Yes. Too much commercialisation squeezing at the hobbyist market that existed 15-20 years ago, not to mention unsocial media chipping away at it.

I think part of the problem is that running your own stuff is harder than just posting on FB.
Yes, setting up and running your own webiste or forum is so hard
When you can just start a Facebook group in five minutes
That is what we should be addressing

In my home country there are very few forums left, and many of those that are left are very slow (as in not many posts)
Lots of blogs though.
 

mysiteguy

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I do not know where you are obtaining your information about typing speeds. I am a pretty average typer. You can test your "skills" (?) here if you like. I don't even rate that high compared to anyone else. https://www.typingtest.com/

When you're in a hole, stop digging. Doubling down makes it worse.

There isn't a human being on this planet capable of 96 characters per second. It's physically impossible. Its not even possible to move that fast with random characters. To put this in perspective, the fastest guitarist does about 600 bpm sustained (there are short bursts faster), and their fingers are a blur at that speed.
 

Pete

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Yes, setting up and running your own webiste or forum is so hard
When you can just start a Facebook group in five minutes
That is what we should be addressing
Because there are no instant create a forum services? Proboards disappeared? Jcink? CreateAForum.com?

The problem is not this - there *are* services to create a forum in a time period comparable to FB.

The problem is that you need to drive people to it, and that requires some actual work - that Facebook does for you somewhat by design. Facebook is designed around keeping users in the ecosystem as much as possible to keep showing you those ads.
 

Nev_Dull

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You do not understand. Imagine, if you will, someone who broke down their sentence by saying each word five minutes apart. How hard would that be for you to follow along and remain engaged in that conversation? I am certain you could do it if you put your mind toward it. Humans are capable of many things, and so it would be possible yet difficult. Patience would have nothing to do with it. If all you believe is patience is the problem, I admit I do not have the communication skills to explain the larger picture.
This is a straw man argument. It's a completely unrealistic scenario. None of us would be likely to engage with someone like that, whether in person or online.
Exception: I have had conversations with someone with a cognitive disability which made communicating verbally extremely slow and difficult (and no, I don't mean they were Scottish;)).
 

Joel R

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Yes, setting up and running your own webiste or forum is so hard
When you can just start a Facebook group in five minutes
That is what we should be addressing

The overwhelming majority of community-based companies, from Discord to Reddit to Facebook Groups to vbulletin to Vanilla to IPS to Salesforce, are all offering cloud / instant group creation. Cloud / instant creation is the norm now.

There are very few "install and administer" community systems left.

In any case, moving on ...
1. This convo devolved pretty quickly into ad hominem attacks. Some of you need to declaw yourself and learn to discuss ideas, not people.

Also: literally no one cares if you know ASCII, or what your first experience with computers are. Really. Talk about smart ideas on how our forums can better compete, and then we will listen.

2. There are two universal truths that I think everyone can agree on:
- Communities are eternal.
- Communication is eternal.

The need to belong is a uniquely human social trait that as long as we are humans, we will have a need for communities. There will also always be a need to express ourselves to others.

Will communities + communication necessarily happen on forums in the future? No, probably not ... and I don't think we should be heartbroken. Communication has evolved from cave paintings to hieroglyphics to handwritten letters to digital typing to images to videos. That last evolution has happened in only a couple of decades, the fastest change of communication in the history of humanity. We should be thrilled that we can now express ourselves - the entirety of ourselves with our facial emotions, our gestures, our bad dance moves, etc - in videography.

Forums are / were appropriate for the period of time when digital typing was dominant, but are they appropriate for videography? For imagery? For augmented reality or virtual reality? The forum system who can evolve to embrace those future forms of communication are the ones who will thrive.

For those of you who think social media is too fast and we should return to the "art of forum posting" that's so much higher quality (yeah right), so much more thoughtful (yeah right), and so much more articulate and eloquent but also concise and grounded in facts (yeah right), how come you don't complain about handwritten letters to communicate? Or about the American mall or town plazas as places of belonging?

The reality is that the world is changing. Our expectations in how we communicate and where we gather are changing. For those of you who want to wax poetically about the art of forum posting, feel free to cling to the rose-colored glasses of yesteryear until the only view left is your own obliviousness. That gets us nowhere, and doesn't help forums stay relevant.

3. What should forums do?
Forums will need to re-envision an entirely new template for image communication, for video communication, for text and emoji communication, for real time communication, all together. That is what's going to save forums.

Forums are going to have to get smarter in identifying, surfacing, and highlighting great content to attract and retain users. Facebook and Instagram only show you 15% of content of what you follow, which tells you that the majority of what people post is total trash.

And finally, as the world gets flatter and winners take all, it's even more important to become the best in your field. That means you need a community platform that fits your niche and style. You can't use a generic off the shelf platform that tries to be a support community, and a Q&A community, and a solo creator community, and a fan community, and an ideation community but does none of it well.
 

DigNap15

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The overwhelming majority of community-based companies, from Discord to Reddit to Facebook Groups to vbulletin to Vanilla to IPS to Salesforce, are all offering cloud / instant group creation. Cloud / instant creation is the norm now.

There are very few "install and administer" community systems left.

In any case, moving on ...
1. This convo devolved pretty quickly into ad hominem attacks. Some of you need to declaw yourself and learn to discuss ideas, not people.

Also: literally no one cares if you know ASCII, or what your first experience with computers are. Really. Talk about smart ideas on how our forums can better compete, and then we will listen.

2. There are two universal truths that I think everyone can agree on:
- Communities are eternal.
- Communication is eternal.

The need to belong is a uniquely human social trait that as long as we are humans, we will have a need for communities. There will also always be a need to express ourselves to others.

Will communities + communication necessarily happen on forums in the future? No, probably not ... and I don't think we should be heartbroken. Communication has evolved from cave paintings to hieroglyphics to handwritten letters to digital typing to images to videos. That last evolution has happened in only a couple of decades, the fastest change of communication in the history of humanity. We should be thrilled that we can now express ourselves - the entirety of ourselves with our facial emotions, our gestures, our bad dance moves, etc - in videography.

Forums are / were appropriate for the period of time when digital typing was dominant, but are they appropriate for videography? For imagery? For augmented reality or virtual reality? The forum system who can evolve to embrace those future forms of communication are the ones who will thrive.

For those of you who think social media is too fast and we should return to the "art of forum posting" that's so much higher quality (yeah right), so much more thoughtful (yeah right), and so much more articulate and eloquent but also concise and grounded in facts (yeah right), how come you don't complain about handwritten letters to communicate? Or about the American mall or town plazas as places of belonging?

The reality is that the world is changing. Our expectations in how we communicate and where we gather are changing. For those of you who want to wax poetically about the art of forum posting, feel free to cling to the rose-colored glasses of yesteryear until the only view left is your own obliviousness. That gets us nowhere, and doesn't help forums stay relevant.

3. What should forums do?
Forums will need to re-envision an entirely new template for image communication, for video communication, for text and emoji communication, for real time communication, all together. That is what's going to save forums.

Forums are going to have to get smarter in identifying, surfacing, and highlighting great content to attract and retain users. Facebook and Instagram only show you 15% of content of what you follow, which tells you that the majority of what people post is total trash.

And finally, as the world gets flatter and winners take all, it's even more important to become the best in your field. That means you need a community platform that fits your niche and style. You can't use a generic off the shelf platform that tries to be a support community, and a Q&A community, and a solo creator community, and a fan community, and an ideation community but does none of it well.
Joel R
A great post
Some great concepts there.
Eg our need for communication.
And the fact that the average person can now express themselves in video etc

The fact that you wrote a whole medium length article on this subject, and the fact that I read it, gives me cause for optimism for forums in the long term.
 

Pete

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See, I see what you're saying, it's just... where I sit, not nearly so much of it applies.

Let me put it this way. My site requires filling in a sort of profile/biography before you can start posting. This is well within what is normal in my niche; approximately 60% of all sites of my type of site have a similar application form. It can take *weeks* for these to be completed and approved. This is not so normal, but it's because there is engagement in the interim that means people who might otherwise bounce off the community don't because we stay engaged with them on Discord etc.

For some context: all of my characters have these application forms, and mine are in the 1200-1400 word range. (Yes, even Albus Dumbledore has one, his is under 1200 words.) This week I had someone submit a 5000 word application. For a character that was just starting at Hogwarts, i.e. an 11 year old child character has 5000 words of backstory and profile information.

This is more than we want, but completely normal for some sites; I've seen sites that would like 10,000 words or more *just to join the site*, and this is not even completely atypical.

Then when we get into the posts themselves, the majority of my posts are 350-500 words, some reaching towards 750. Other people write more. Almost no-one writes less on my site.

This is, again, relatively normal in my niche. You see sites advertising to each other based on whether they have minimum word counts for posts or not; it is less trendy these days to demand a formal word count but some sites still do it, some expect 500+ words per post, every post.

Now, I realise the collaborative writing - aka RP - scene is weird, but forums are the perfect venue for many of us. It's not ideal for the demographic that's about 'rapid fire' back and forth; I would generally suggest something like Discord would suit better for the ebb and flow, but forums absolutely can and do support this. Morrigan is proof positive that this works out well.

And here's the other thing... new RP forums are starting *regularly*. They also *close* regularly, too, putting some definite closure to 'community is eternal' because for a number of them, they're really not. For every Star Army out there that's got 20 years of history and backstory, some have lived their natural life in six months and don't stop because they gave up, but because they got to a natural end to where their stories were going.

But back to the 'new ones are starting regularly'. This is where you get into mind-blowing territory. The *vast* majority of RP forums go live on Jcink, which is a modified IPS forum-as-a-service host. You sign up, you get a new site with a subdomain, you either have ads or you pay $9.99 a month (and the vast majority do because that also allows them to have adult content in the sense that they can actually write adult stories including violence and/or sexual references), and these people go *far* further down the styling game than normal forum owners do. They have entire Discords, multiple just that I can think of, around styling these things.

More intriguing: there are people who will happily join new forums to participate but will outright refuse if you're not hosted on/using Jcink. They know where everything is, they know how to drive it, and they don't want to learn anything new. Fair play to them (even if it makes my grand plans harder)

Realigning this back to conventional forums for a moment, I do not believe this assertion that forums 'need to realign'. I simply don't, sorry.

It makes some serious presumptions about how people interact and how people *want* to interact. Yes, there are times that images work better than text, and there are times that video works better. Can forums do this better? To some degree, though your hosting is your single biggest limitation there.

The question though... should they? I'm not so sure. I don't see the majority of posts on this forum being images - and I don't believe that's because images are soooooo hard to embed, but simply because *it's not relevant*.

Please let us not retread the tired grounds of 'we need an app' because I really don't want to have to argue about that yet again about why forums being decentralised can't have a centralised app, or why it is so complex to actually implement. Because the problem isn't really the lack of an app, it's not even really the lack of a friction-free posting experience.

A number of the places I follow on Facebook are really just using it as a springboard to their Patreon or Substack or wherever else their content is - and everyone else is just people I know sharing memes/news/debates that are short term, fleeting and in no way intended to be eternal, or referential.

Social media is all about the now. Forums are explicitly against the 'now' in favour of being so much more. The problem is that living in the now rather than for posterity is hard work and people don't want to put the effort in, in a significant number of cases; being a consumer is easier than being a producer.

Forums don't need to embrace video or images. They need to embrace *people* and tapping into what makes people thrive. What makes them creative. What makes them *produce* things for people to talk about and share and refer back to.

And that brings me back full circle to my oft-stated mentality: I think forum software needs to diversify.

Facebook plays to its strengths: producing an ever changing stream of now to keep you there and looking at their ads; everything else is secondary. Forum software needs to do the same: pick a type of community, build for it. Play to its strengths, not the general idea of what 'everyone's' strengths are because everyone's different.
 

Nev_Dull

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Messages
2,291
I want to revisit this point. Can you type a message on your phone in your left hand while typing a completely different message in your right hand while talking to someone directly across from you, simultaneously? Because the growing amount of people who can is what you should be focused on.
No I can't. And neither can anyone else. What you're describing is the ability to quickly switch tasks. They are simply spending a few seconds at a time on each task. I've experienced the frustration of sitting across from individuals like this. They are, in my opinion, the embodiment of entitlement, believing they are so important they cannot devote their valuable attention to one thing at a time. The reality is, they end being all but useless in every task because of their lack of focus.

Additionally, this is not a new phenomenon or something that has emerged with the internet. People have been doing this forever. It's baked into our genes from early times when we had to track game for food while watching for predators and other dangers around us. It's only now that we have so much leisure time that we can spend it practicing retweeting useless memes with both hands.

You said earlier my message was gibberish. I say it was compressed. In it, I provided a basic understanding of my childhood growing up while incorporating the experiences of having technology around me at a young age, how that impacted me, just as it impacted those younger now, and the difference it has from those who did not have this experience. And I did it with few words, compared if I had done so in a lengthy novel - providing just the simplest summaries. My only struggle was trying to make it wordier for you to follow along and perhaps grasp what I was saying, just as I am now in my reply.
I didn't say your message was gibberish. Perhaps you need to slow your reading down too. I said your post was rambling, containing verbiage that didn't forward your point. With some thought, you could have gotten your point across using fewer words. That is the crux of what I'm saying: fast does not equal effective.

Clearly, you pride yourself on being able to read and respond very quickly.
It is that we have a hard time interacting as slow as some of you do. We think faster, absorb faster, understand faster, and comprehend in-depth faster, and I would argue sometimes more efficiently.
While it may give you some sense of accomplishment, you haven't demonstrated it makes anyone a better communicator. Nor is it supported by the science. Our cognitive ability to take information in and process effectively remains largely unchanged from our beginnings. Certainly, there has been no mental leap over the last generation or two. Evolution doesn't work that way. What has happened is that those who grew up with the internet from an early age have started to believe the hype that was started by journalists who suggested the "internet generations" would be smarter and better than the rest of us. It sold lots of papers and magazines over the years, unlike the responses explaining the reality.

I do agree there are lots of younger people who find the pace of forums far too slow for their taste. That's just fine. There are plenty of platforms and sites to go around. Many others don't enjoy the character limits of Twitter or the corporate practices of facebook. However, we mustn't put the blame on the technology because it doesn't suit every user.
 

Nev_Dull

Anachronism
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
Messages
2,291
Forums will need to re-envision an entirely new template for image communication, for video communication, for text and emoji communication, for real time communication, all together. That is what's going to save forums.
It's difficult to agree with this.

On one hand, forums absolutely need to do a better job of incorporating images and video to allow for better presentation. For that matter, we still have only the simplest tools for presenting text. On the other hand, forums aren't YouTube or Instagram; nor should they try to be. As soon as you try to build something that is all things to all people, you've lost.

Forums do exactly what they need to do to facilitate discussions within a group of people. There just isn't a better method of doing what they do. Even Facebook acknowledged this when they decided to create Groups. There's plenty of room for improvement in the way forum software works, but the basic function of discussion is solid.
 

Zelda

Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 25, 2021
Messages
123
I will have to beg your forgiveness, though I will admit, I do not have the right, given my deception. You see, if it is not obvious, though I presume it should be, my last few replies have been made with the intention to troll (or at least, my best effort to troll). I did not mean nearly a word of my previous replies, but they did serve a purpose.

I wanted to demonstrate that quality content is not enough. Before my simulated rant, replies to this thread were days apart, and this thread continued to drop from the front (index) page. But after my hysterical nonsensical trollish reply, engagement in this thread for a brief moment was only hours and sometimes even minutes apart. Currently, the thread has more views, too, over 4,000, for a community with perhaps less than 100 active members.

Is the internet getting boring? No, I do not presume to believe the internet is getting boring. Forums have become more orderly and more fine-tuned, managed (if not, micro-managed) like well-oiled machines. This very community (The Admin Zone) a fine example of upstanding individuals congregating together to share their collective knowledge and experience among like-minded individuals, allowing everyone to share that collective wisdom into a single repository for fellow site administrators. Drama-free, informative, and knowledgeable, quality content.

How forums define quality content is often knowledgeable and informable, but it often lacks humanism and true social stimulation for engagement. I beg your forgiveness for my little attempt to play the community troll in my last few posts. I thought it best to demonstrate that quality content (as often defined) is not enough. I could have attempted to argue this point, but I believe nothing could speak louder than having you, being the participant, and by doing so, proving through example that quality content is not enough.

I want to end this reply with a simple question. How do you each define quality content?
 
Last edited:

Pete

Flavours of Forums Forever
Joined
Sep 9, 2013
Messages
2,251
That depends what the forum is about.

Let me give you a practical example: https://floo.network/index.php?topic=83.0

Would you, objectively, suggest this is “quality content”? Answer, probably not. Subjectively, absolutely (I hope!), as it is a thread that kicks off a community event, sets in motion some site-wide things and brings a number of current participants together.

Even better: https://floo.network/index.php?topic=85.0

This thread brings together the rest of the community such as it is (different overlap to the above) whilst also pushing forward site wide goals. But objective good content as is normally defined, hell no.

But I will freely admit my niche is out there, so let me bring it back towards normality.

I submit that any forum site has at least two goals, though how firmly it proceeds in either or both is up for debate. The first goal is to produce content to satisfy a need (whether it is shared storytelling or forum admin advice, purely for example), the second to produce a space for a group of people to collectively share and feel at home with each other, namely to form a community.

Purely informational sites or very business focused sites will trend towards the first goal, and sites that are otherwise will likely spend some effort on the latter for all the spaces in between the content. Though this secondary act of “building a community” does not explicitly have to occur on the forum (though I suggest it is better if it can). My “community” is split between the forum and Discord for that reason; other sites in my niche also do this for much the same reason: build the community part where the people are, build the content where the content is and its tools are.

But this really brings me back to the point about tools: having the right tools for the job and using them well.
 

Jeremy8

Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 7, 2007
Messages
183
It's difficult to agree with this.

On one hand, forums absolutely need to do a better job of incorporating images and video to allow for better presentation. For that matter, we still have only the simplest tools for presenting text. On the other hand, forums aren't YouTube or Instagram; nor should they try to be. As soon as you try to build something that is all things to all people, you've lost.

Forums do exactly what they need to do to facilitate discussions within a group of people. There just isn't a better method of doing what they do. Even Facebook acknowledged this when they decided to create Groups. There's plenty of room for improvement in the way forum software works, but the basic function of discussion is solid.
Forums also offer something that videos, streaming, Discord servers, etc. don't: permanent and easily accessible discussions over long periods of time, essentially acting as their own archives, that anyone can access or participate in decades later as long as the bills are paid.

I don't think we need to assume that forums will completely die off just because their golden age is gone. The only reason that time period existed is because the forum (aka bulletin board) was the best tool for the things we couldn't do yet.

Reddit is basically a forum and it's one of the most popular websites on the internet. Why would someone spend the time to join an independent forum that hasn't been updated in a decade or only has 2 active members when they can join one that works on their phone and has an active community?

I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with the forum as the basis of an internet community. It's simple and organized. There are also plenty of very active forums in 2021, many of which are even more active than they were a decade ago.

I feel that the problem is more due to forum owners not doing a good job at making fun and interesting communities, or that they don't want to dedicate the time needed to grow one. I don't think we need to blame anyone for that because it's a lot of of thankless work, but I don't follow the idea that people will one day not use the internet to go to a website's category and write something down for other people to read and reply to.
 

Nev_Dull

Anachronism
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
Messages
2,291
How forums define quality content is often knowledgeable and informable, but it often lacks humanism and true social stimulation for engagement. I beg your forgiveness for my little attempt to play the community troll in my last few posts. I thought it best to demonstrate that quality content (as often defined) is not enough. I could have attempted to argue this point, but I believe nothing could speak louder than having you, being the participant, and by doing so, proving through example that quality content is not enough.
Whether serious or not, this was quality content in my view. There was a relevant topic and arguments presenting different sides. It did not devolve into rants or ad hominem and provided both engagement and something for readers to think about. Those are all positive things for a forum.

Good content isn't just bland fact or long expositions. The "quality" of content comes from how it engages people and aligns with both the topic at hand and the subject of the forum.
 

DigNap15

Fan
Joined
Sep 14, 2019
Messages
589
My forum is a general and mainly political forum (it just turned otu that way)
There is so much good quality political content out there from all sides of the aisle, and from all over the world.
Forums are lucky in that we can click on links to other content and then comment on them, (at the moment)

I am trying to get some quality original content on my forum, but its not easy.
 
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