Looking at creating a General Discussion forum

Ashley S

Adherent
Joined
Jul 16, 2011
Messages
385
Hello all,
I am looking at creating a new Discussion Forum yes I know there's a lot of them out there and a lot of them are dead communities. I had one a few years a go which I let go when work got in the way but now I am self-employed and have spare time on my hands so I've decided to create a new Discussion forum.

I've always enjoyed visiting General Discussion forums simply because they have a lot of different threads to discuss about were as if you go on a gaming forum it's basically everything about Gaming. General Discussion forums can be discussed about anything. :)

What are the main priorities on creating a new forum?
  • Don't create a lot of board categories
  • Before advertising the forum have a lot of topics/threads for new members to post on
  • Have a moderator or two to help out with posting
  • Do post exchanges with other forum owners
  • Stay active, Stay positive in bringing in new members/visitors
That's all I can think of what do you think?
Since I've been away from forums for a while I am not sure what forum software to use which I will have to decide on.
 

fixer

I'm In My Prime
Joined
Jan 28, 2010
Messages
2,062
Good luck on your new endeavor , when you are ready add it to the register and we will try to help get you some traffic
 

fixer

I'm In My Prime
Joined
Jan 28, 2010
Messages
2,062
Invision is a no brainer, follow the innovators
 

Noble

Participant
Joined
Oct 1, 2019
Messages
63
I really don't know why people would even consider VB at this point its dead in the water.
 

sbjsbj

Fan
Joined
Feb 9, 2015
Messages
639
To be frank with you (no offence), it is a waste of time. Don't even think about starting a "general discussion" forum.

You can always have a general discussion node in your niche forum, general discussion forums died 10 years ago.

To answer your question, none of the priorities you listed above should be on top of your list.

The most important priority is content. No content, no forum. Your priority should be this:
  • what kind of content you want to serve,
  • how to attain that content
  • and how to display the content.
To be able to get users, Google must index your site. To be able to index you, you need content. And to have any kind of retention, you need content which someone finds valuable.

Google is de-ranking chit chats day to day. You have to provide useful information if you want to survive.

If you still want to run a forum, think about stuff you are interested in and build a forum around your interest. You must provide some kind of expertise in order to have a meaningful website on the internet. And your best chance is something you already have knowledge about. It can be about playing golf, it can be about washing machines, it can be about sodas. Pick a niche, build around that.

I am saying this because you will soon lose interest in your general discussion forum. I am just trying to save you time and a lot of boredom.
 

Noble

Participant
Joined
Oct 1, 2019
Messages
63
Its a waste of time in your view, if everyone took that point of view ( its a waste of time) there would be noting to read.........follow what you want to do and you will figure out what works for you and what you want to spend time on..
 

sbjsbj

Fan
Joined
Feb 9, 2015
Messages
639
Its a waste of time in your view, if everyone took that point of view ( its a waste of time) there would be noting to read.........follow what you want to do and you will figure out what works for you and what you want to spend time on..
I meant it in the nicest way of possible. Of course it is my view and of course he can do whatever pleases him. Did I say otherwise or tried to impose my opinion?

Even if he goes with that kind of a forum, I listed him the most (imo) important things to consider.

Good luck to him.
 

Noble

Participant
Joined
Oct 1, 2019
Messages
63
I meant no offense myself sbjsbj i have done many sites in the past that never made it and a few did,all i was saying is to follow your heart and do what you think is best if it don't work move on that's what i do.....
 

sbjsbj

Fan
Joined
Feb 9, 2015
Messages
639
I meant no offense myself sbjsbj i have done many sites in the past that never made it and a few did,all i was saying is to follow your heart and do what you think is best if it don't work move on that's what i do.....
Yeah, no problem.

Of course one can follow his heart, but to save him from a broken heart, I am just giving him a friendly reminder not to do it. Of course if he succeeds, I am gladly accepting being wrong but over time I have seen hundreds of people opening new forums. How many of them still exist? If you want to follow your heart, at least do it with a plan. It is a grinding game, it is not enough anymore (for 10+ years now) to have a forum software hosted on somewhere with having created some nodes on it. It is as if it doesn't exist. It will be a ghost town for a long long time. And because of smartphones, everybody is leeching, so nobody will create content for you.

If one wants to follow this through, you must provide content yourself. Before you start a forum, think about what kind of content you want to serve. Wikis are a good start for example. But that takes so much time and grinding until you have wikis which are valuable to people where they can look up things.
Post exchanges, advertising, moderators, shiny themes, all can be considered in your 3rd year if you survive that long.

Look at these numbers from a big board. It is a tragedy, really. The nose-dive of the numbers will tell you how the participation of users are these days. Scale his big numbers to us small forums, it basically means ghost town for all of us. Even TAZ is barely active, only thanks to handful of same people who create interesting topics it has some action.
 

Joel R

Fan
Joined
Nov 24, 2013
Messages
780
Hi Ashley S

I wish you the very best in starting a general discussion forum.

Will you have any features, content, audience, or anything that is superior to the social platforms of Reddit and Facebook? Are you more humorous than others? Do you have a pipeline of exclusive social content? Do you create funny gifs, memes, or vids? Do you have better reporting on news worthy events? Do you offer a different take on news events?
 

Solidus

Stupid machines!
Joined
Jan 23, 2012
Messages
604
I'll quote my post to the same thread you posted 2 years ago.

Don't waste your time.
The niche is saturated and you have nothing else to offer.
I know you still went ahead and created that forum, where is it today?
A newly created general discussion forum will only ever be populated by a group of friends, see: forumbanter.com and previous forums by Gemma at Xenforo.
There is no incentive for me or anyone else to join a general discussion forum to talk about what I ate today or what my favorite movies are with total strangers, no matter how popular the forum is. This is what social media is perfect for and you can't beat them.
 

haqzore

Devotee
Joined
Dec 6, 2012
Messages
2,273
I immediately remembered the same thread you posted 2 years ago (as Solidus did).

Facebook is already a general discussion forum, and most of Earth's population who want to "generally discuss" are already on it (billions).

What is your clearly defined plan to pull users away from Facebook and onto your forum? Without that, you will fail. Guaranteed.


Have fun and do it as a learning experience. That's about the best you can hope for.
 
Last edited:

LeadCrow

Apocalypse Admin
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
6,540
You'll have to make quite a few choices to succeed.

- main audience: classic computers or mobile/touch ? This paradigms strongly affects content creation, especially textual.
- audience: oldschool users or savvy whiz kids ? thrifty or liberal spenders ?
- creators/topic starters or content consumers ? A too great unbalance could impose a significant cost for content creation on the forum's webmaster.
- quantity or quality ? Homely communities need only a small, better userbase, not a massive number of leeches whose greatest contribution ever is a single post few will read.
- funding for fun or seeking profit ?
- activity is limited to the website, or planning to expand to other services (youtube, instagram, facebook...) ?

Software selection is not that important anymore nowadays as they mostly look the same whichever you pick anyway. If you can handle the upfront and ongoing cost, IPB will probably give you the greatest margin maneuver while feeling fresh for people not used to participating IPB forums.
 

overcast

Adherent
Joined
Mar 17, 2019
Messages
423
Think about monetization too. Because forums take up time and also hosting resources. So unless there is a money involved at some point, it may die eventually.
 

Ingenious

Fan
Joined
May 4, 2011
Messages
730
To be frank with you (no offence), it is a waste of time
I agree, the world has moved on and general chit-chat is now far too well served in other places (social media, Reddit etc) for an independent forum to survive. As others said above, specialising in a niche is possibly the only way forward these days.
 

zappaDPJ

Administrator
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Messages
7,126
I have to agree with the general consensus here. Your best chance of succeeding is to pick a niche, something you have an interest in and populate it with rich unique content. If and when that starts to gain traction then you can focus a little on general discussion which will only come from within an existing community.
 
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