I remember SitePoint forums from 10-15 years ago as a bustling community. Today it seems that the activity and energy is largely gone. What happened? Was it the transition from vBulletin? Something else? I must say that I find it very sad. I’m curious about the causes.
Actually activity has been up for the past several months to higher traffic and activity than what it has been for the past several years.
in all honesty, around 4-8 years ago maybe longer, forums were taking a big hit in traffic. The use of them unless niched was largely in a decline and still is. As such, we’ve moved to a new platform to permit us to tie into other Sitepoint services, from Article integration, Premium, and who knows what else!
Either way, the forums are actually seeing an upswing right now, not a decline, which is great!
It does get a bit to get use to the new platform but I don’t think that the reason is there. Even with vBulletin, we sometimes struggled to build the community spirit.
I guess that there’s a lot of room for improvement on our side but it is also that the forums have changed because people have changed. Facebook, twitter and other social media gather all the attention while years back all the jazz was in a forum.
I do think that, from my humble point of view, people have become more selfish in the sense that they come, ask whatever they need, and leave.
The forums are growing though and the numbers look good, better than ever. And we still have quite a few people helping and sharing. This is not as dead as you think but yes, that air of curiosity and exciment… sometimes, it is hard to find.
It’s good to know things have been on the upswing, at least lately. As a former forum owner, I share the frustration that Facebook et al have sucked the oxygen out of many community websites, but there is certainly still a place for community websites that require deeper and more lengthy discourse.
I read an article not long ago about how every website is starting to look the same, and that this is a good thing for usability (if not creativity) because people are familiar with most websites they visit, even without having been there before. I imagined that this software, being unfamiliar to most people, would psychologically be a turn-off, but am pleased that SitePoint is doing well in spite of—and perhaps because of—it. I confess, however, that I find it more difficult to really internalize the community, in contrast to the way that vBulletin (and now xenForo) present information.
Just some thoughts. Thanks, all.
It does have its advantages though. Even if it takes a bit of time to get used to it.
It would be interesting to hear a bit more about that. Is it just familiarity with the interface that creates a seeming barrier, or something else?
That’s interesting, and like @ralphm, I’d love to hear more on that, primarily because after spending a year on Discourse and Flarum, I have the exact opposite problem. I can’t stand vBulletin or XenForo forums. I find them much harder to navigate to the topics that interest me or creating a list of topics in a category that I’m interested in. Discourse seems to really simplify that. I also find it far less cluttered and I can focus on what was written versus the surroundings.
Maybe that is because I’ve been using it for over a year though. I don’t know, I’m definitely biased, but I really do not miss vBulletin at all.
Some of it may be the familiarity aspect, yes. Another part is, I believe, that this software requires me to think more. For instance, on the main forums page there are two columns of avatar images. They don’t really serve a purpose unless I were to spend time time trying to figure out who they represent. (vBulletin had this problem too.) The timestamp column is also difficult to interpret because different units are used. Some timestamps are in minutes, others in hours, others in days, etc. This all requires brainpower to compute. Perhaps a bigger point, however: I’m not sure where to look for overall forum stats. How do I know how many people are browsing this moment? Or how large the forum is?Without this info front and center, I have no concept of whether this forum is actually popular or how much information is actually at my fingertips. Maybe I just don’t know where to look, but that’s part of the problem too then, I suppose.
Why is this important? Does really knowing how big the forum is benefit you as an end user? Or knowing who is online? Especially when you can see how many topics were answered in the last hour, last 10 minutes, or within the last couple of days?
I think this is an interesting point. I don’t disagree, that you have to interpret it and that requires some brainpower, but I feel so does a full date. January 26th 4:00 PM, versus January 26th 7:38 PM. I still have to read it.
I feel like this would be a lesson you only have to learn once though… though I know other Discourse instances have played with this and arranged things differently. By design Discourse actually has 5 columns of users, not 2. We simplified ours.
Maybe the mobile version would be better because it is has less avatars?
Select the mobile version from the top right “hamburger” icon, scroll to the bottom for the mobile/desktop versions.
Tapped tentatively on a tablet.
Unless it’s me, the only way I know of to get to mobile view from desktop is by appending
?mobile_view=1 (one of many “discoverable power user” features)
to the URL
I do see a “desktop view” in the hamburger menu when I’m in mobile view, but not the other way around.
I will see if the toggle option disappears when I am back on the desktop and also for future reference, make a private note of the url parameter, “that others can’t see” in my settings. I do like that feature:)
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