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What makes a bad forum?


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Intelligence Officer

Intelligence Officer

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I had a discussion on Forum Strategy and explored some answers to questions.

This one was: What makes a bad forum?

  • People who want to “win” or change minds vs. have a discussion
  • Annoying notifications
  • No usage
  • It’s only staff talking
  • Lack of appreciation for contributions
  • Not mobile friendly
  • Dominating voices
  • Stale/stagnant discussions
  • Lack of rich text options
  • Difficult login
  • No responses or reactions
  • Bad search functionality
  • Inactivity
  • Boring content
  • It wastes people’s time
  • Lack of variety
  • Lack of recognition for effort as a poster
  • No leadership
  • Too hard to find
  • Harassment / spam with no moderation
  • Tech is old
  • Bad architecture
  • Google having faster/better answers than the forum

This is a wiki post, feel free to edit this list directly or add a comment. 

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Assistant Special Agent in Charge

Assistant Special Agent in Charge

  • [R] RESIGNED SERVICEMEN

There are plenty of bad forum platforms, so that list is very valid but I think the worst kind of forum are the ones with weak moderation, non-existent boundaries and areas for “unmoderated topics”. Those kinds of communities turn toxic very quickly.

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Auditor

Auditor

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This is a good laundry list. I would break it into a few sections

Poor Software Capabilities

  • Not mobile friendly
  • Lack of rich text options
  • Difficult login
  • Bad search functionality
  • Tech is old

Poor culture

  • People who want to “win” or change minds vs. have a discussion
  • Lack of appreciation for contributions

Poor Management / Moderation

  • Dominating voices
  • Harassment / spam with no moderation
  • No leadership

Poor Mechanism Design

  • Annoying notifications
  • Bad architecture

Lack of engagement

  • No usage
  • It’s only staff talking
  • Stale/stagnant discussions
  • No responses or reactions
  • Inactivity

Other - May be in eye of beholder or just part of a rich community

  • Boring content
  • It wastes people’s time
  • Lack of variety
  • Lack of recognition for effort as a poster
  • Too hard to find (This may be forum software)
  • Google having faster/better answers than the forum (this may be lack of engagement)

Also the undo button is missing. Stuff like that is a hinderance, but I know its a thankless job for the administration here. 

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Junior Attendant

Junior Attendant

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For me?  It's probably a list of things:

Poor Design/Layout

Ugly theme

Too many forums/clutter.

Bad staff/lack of interest from staff or maybe they're just too 'full' of themselves

Little to no TOS or rules being enforced

Buggy/broken features not being addressed or fixed.

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  • 1 month later...
Agent

Agent

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Any forum where "arguing" is synonymous with "discourse", but thats probably the old Debater in me speaking out lol.


Other than that, inconsistent rules or moderation can kill things in a hurry in my experience.

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"Do we bend the rules in service to a greater good? And if we do, what does it say of us?"
"Our Creed does not command us to be free. It commands us to be wise."

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Special Agent

Special Agent

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I think what makes or breaks a forum really is how user friendly it is and how nice the community is. The other things matter too but if the forum is hard to get into if you join later in it's life span and the community is unfriendly then most people won't even care about how good everything else is. I remember a forum I tried to join once and though it was an active forum all they did was bash the show the forum was about and anyone that tried to go against them they would spam with hate comments and even cuss them out. I haven't even posted a single post in there because how toxic they were.

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