Route 50 has been around for many years now, and the Forums are by far the oldest parts of the site. Unfortunately, the Forums are also the least active areas of the site, largely due to the Stream . So as an executive, as a Routian , I want to save our Forums.
Why I care about the Forums
I like the Forums. No, I love the Forums. I like message boards in general: organization of threads, the page layout, the posting interface, being able to restore deleted content, etc. I like being able to continue conversations over extended periods of time. I like the feeling that I get when refreshing and seeing a new post. I like signatures and post counts. I like how our Forums look.
Yeah, I know I sound like I'm lost in nostalgia, like I miss an older era of the site's history or something. But actually, the forums were quiet when I first joined, too. Aside from the RPs. IIRC , when I posted LotE here, I was a little worried no one would read it because people seemed to have stopped using the forums.
The truth is, I've always liked message boards, but I always seemed to miss out on the times when our Forums were active. That's why I want to save the Forums.
Why Forums Matter to Newbies
New members and returning old members have very different perceptions of how active the site is.
See, we active members know that the site is alive because we're following each other's Streams. But what about people who just joined? What about people who are still deciding whether or not to join? They can't see our Streams. They don't even know if the site is alive.
In contrast, returning old members often show joy that the site is still active. They can see the Stream, so they know the site is active. The site is indeed alive. It's just that the Forums don't reflect it.
The Forums were mostly used for the same purposes that the Stream is now. The difference is, newbies and guests can see the Forums. If the Forums are active, they know the site is active even without following anyone's Stream feeds. They know they'll get something worthwhile out of making an account.
Why the Forums still have a purpose
Still, I don't want to make people use the Forums just because I say so.
Some have said that message boards are a dead medium. But this isn't true. Plenty of message boards still thrive across the internet: tech support boards, anime boards, sports boards, etc. Message boards aren't dead; they've just evolved, gained new features, and become more accessible. The Gearbox message boards are a good example here.
Yes, Stream has largely replaced Forums in the last few years. But Stream has many weaknesses that the Forums more than makes up for. Stream posts can't be edited, and they're hard to find again. Forum data is easier to find again. Our Forums can be useful again. They just need to evolve.
So, I would like to ask everyone on Route 50: What can we do to improve the Forums?
- Recent Threads box on the home page (Possibly as an expansion of the Roulette)
- Heartable forum posts Implemented. All praise Nav!
- Forum posts will appear in the Stream feed the way forum threads do now
- "New account" Stream posts will appear on everyone's Streams.