another thing to consider perhaps is that there is already a huge amount of information out there easily google-able. Forums needs questions but if those questions are already answered on 20 other sites there is no need to ask again, especially when a lot of forum users will answer with ‘have you bothered to search for the answer yourself?’ which in some cases is reasonable and others seems a bit off if the entire point of the forum is to answer users questions, even if they do seem simple.
This! Google is now able to answer some of the more common problems before you even open up a search result with their infocards, so often times you don’t even need to visit any site at all. Forums are still really great for socializing and asking “why”, and are far superior to Facebook/Slacks/Messengers because of the ability to speak code (syntax highlighting, long form questions/answers, etc)
Discourse (what this forum uses) is by far my favorite forum software because it’s really good about focusing on the conversation (and also I like liking things )
Either way, I guess the Internet has changed for the worse while I was away…
I’m shocked to see it is so quiet around here, because this website looks professional and SitePoint has articles and books so it is the real deal. But I guess no one finds value in online forums like they did in the past.
What a shame. The people I have been talking to so far on here seem nice, but it seems like you have a very small group of active posters here.
I would also love to know where all the developers hang out. I found forums are getting more and more inactive and I think the two most active forums right now are sitepoint and https://www.codingforums.com/
Also, you cannot compare stackoverflow with real forums.
It looks like the more you are connected to everyone, the less real contact you have. And everyone is isolated, feeding off from the content of the internet
It is hard to say what to think about this.
What do you think? Are there still active forums out there for developers? css-tricks used to have an active forum but it is now also declining.
Before Facebook Twitter and Youtube, a dev forum I used to hang in had a community sub forum used as a “pub” where members socialized in threads of all kinds. It was the most frequently used department with nearly half of all posts.
Old Sitepoint Forums had a similar forum called “General Chat” but it was never the same. I think SPF had too many members to get that personal where you know most of the members.
Maybe that’s what happened, Facebook were able to grow big and still be “personal” with friends in a new way that common forums never could and so lost most of their members to FB et al.
Then Youtube came along as @John_Betong mentioned and also specialized forums started loosing new members.
But the discourse in different fields is still needed, I think. Maybe there is a demand now for a “DevBook” where the personal net is something like LinkedIn but focused on things of interest.
yes i forget how much i use youtube. I don’t tend to use it for coding as i find video of the cursor moving around a screen pretty annoying and it normally takes ages to know if they are going to answer the question i’m trying to answer.
I use it a lot for when i get stuck taking something apart as i work a lot on my cars and house and it is massively useful to see how something comes apart etc rather than having someone describe it.
Another thing to add generally is that there are a lot of templates and frameworks available now with much better documentation than in the old days so perhaps there are less questions as things are easier to setup or find the information from the documentation?
Very good observations here. I would like to add that I notice a tendency to lose interest in programming among people doing web development. Years ago if you wanted to put up a web site you had to learn to program and then you usually would have many questions to ask. Nowadays, web development is done by choosing Wordpress or another CMS and tweaking it more or less. So in this area programming is becoming restricted to a small group of people developing CMS’s and frameworks. I manage a simple server with about 30 sites for various clients and now it’s very rare that anyone would install something other than Wordpress, Joomla or something alike. I feel like one of rare dinosaurs whose all sites are programmed.
I notice the trend of shutting down forums also in areas other than programming. I remember being part of large communities gathered around web sites about certain topics of interest and they were all very alive. Now I see them replaced by boring Wordpress pages and the forums are simply gone. Internet looks like a deserted place in this respect.
Facebook is very popular, I don’t use it but sometimes I have to go there for some information and it really amazes me how user-unfriendly this whole system is - it’s primarily designed for quickly digesting of newest posts from your friends and liked profiles. Its messenger really s**cks.
But it also amazes me how such ancient tools like newsgroups are still alive, maybe not as much as in the old days but they keep chugging along better than forums. For example, PostgreSQL community is basically newsgroups and they are pretty alive. And from a longer perspective it looks like a wise solution because forums and other social communication media come and go every couple of years while newsgroups are there all the time and provide a stable platform for communication.