I wonder if web forums are dying? Where with this rabbit trail lead us?
I think it was a lot easier in the early 2000′s to get a forum popular. This was before we had instant social media taking over. It was also easier to gather crowds because there weren’t so many options. In the past you would find forum about Cars. Everything from tuning to fixing. Yet now it is narrowed down to something like a car make and model forum, such as Audi TT. Topics are less encompassing.
I don’t have any web forums I visit anymore. I think it’s strange because I used to visit them all the time and was quite active. I even got proud when I reached certain post counts. To me forums seem a little bit dated these days.
Besides all of the above points, I think my #1 reason for being dead on forums is because of StackOverflow. If you are trying to program anything, StackOverflow has come up atleast 100 times with the question you have. It’s almost too good of a system to be true. The answers you get on there are rich in quality and questions are often answered within minutes.
StackOverflow has many sub-sites as well covering a huge range of topics, yet none as popular as the original. And they still have great momentum on the sub-sites. They’ve been quickly active for me. StackOverflow is written in C# on the MVC framework, or .NET.
The co-founder Jeff Atwood of the StackExchange has a new project on it’s way called Discourse. This looks to me like a very promising alternative to web-forums. It’s a cleaner real-time application you would likely expect in 2013.
The system will cost something. I think that’s fair. I’ve purchased Invision Power Boards and I wanted something above the standard freebies with a million addons. I think good software is worth a price, and this looks promising.
Another downside may be that the application may require technical hands to get the Discourse system up and running. The application is written in Ruby. You would not being using the super-popular PHP that comes with every web server, rather you’d install it by installing Ruby, Ruby on Rails, and any other needed Gems to your server. I’m sure they’ll have instructions to make it easy for us non-ruby folk.
Ironically, I have a forum for this site.