PhpBBin the age of Facebook.

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PhpBBin the age of Facebook.

#1 Post by Technic[Bot] » Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:46 am

I have had this small rant in the back of my head from a few days now. It is tangentially realted to the community and it is a bit meta. And since i have nothing better to do i decided to post in here.
Spoiler!
After finishing reading Twokinds, a week or two ago i decided to come here to chat with fellow fans. I have not really joined a traditional forum in over 5 maybe 8 years. But i was a relatively active user in several other forums back in my younger days. The really "archaic" UI and system of this page reminded me of those earlier days and how things have changed or haven't . Despite the danger of sounding like a 80 year old grandpa reminicing of the 'good old day's' here are my two cents on it.
Right now, as far as i am aware of, most 'classic' forums, like this one, are a rarity. The forefront are plattaforms like amino and discord wich let you intereact in real time with people of common interest. Yet most people (i know of) use more "traditional" methods such as Facebook, Twitter and some weird people use Tumblr, for some reason. Neither of those are similar to 'classic' forums.
I remeber when i was on junior High and you wanted to chat with someone about you favorite, tv show, sport, anime/cartoon etc. You simply talked to other people. Well you did that in case there was someone who shared your interest in a "geographically" convenient place. If, for example, you were the only Lacrosse fan in you city/town you were pretty much screwed. And a lot stuff, like anime, videogames, some sports did not become mainstream or even 'popular' until the turn of this century. Much less if you happen to live outside the US, mea culpa.
As we all know internet shortened distances. Now you could mingle with people the other side of the world (if language was not a barrier). Now if you were the only African music fan in you side of the world. You could simply log in and find an appropiate site and chat away!
Back in those days the web was really experimental everyone was still figuring out how to do anything. The infraestructure was already there so the sky as the limit. Most people took to chat romms and some fórums. Like this one where you gathered with liked-minded people to discuss about common interest.
You will probably say : “So what? today we do the same thing! And You do sound like a 80 year old grandpa “
Bear with me: Right now the most popular plataform this side of the Atlantic is Facebook. And yes you can still find a group of similar minderd individuals to discuss DIY cardbooard dolls or whaetever you want. But there is a difference.
When you log into a fórum, like this one, you are set on doing ONE particular thing. Chat with fellows about something they all had in common. You also do that on Facebook or Twitter, but not quite, firs of all fórums are not in real time.
In facebook you chat ,you check the news, you se viral videos, you figth with trolls, procastinate, try to get you crush to notice you, rant about stuff. Etc.
This “holistic” approach makes it so you spend a lot of time on site. But i think the quality of human interaction is minor. Principaly because Facebook interest is to maintain you attention the most time for you to click ads and make money., not to Foster significant human interaction.
Even on large fórums, minecraft fórums comes to mind, if you stayed long enough you expected to get familiar with the regulars, the admins and people who have spent far too much time into the community. To get the in-jokes and references, the games and relationships between different users.
I remember being closer with a lot of forumites back in the day than I am with my average Facebook friend. Not counting persons i know in real life. Since the fórums were by desing meant to encourage interaction.
Of course nothing has ever been just roses, Facebook trolling seems like a problem now, but even back in those days people argued, intensely, to say the least, about much dumber stuff. Like wich slash/ship story is better or what is the best way to make a toast. But it felt like you were fighting a person, not some abstract entity which you Will probably never interact with ever again.
Of course there is still places like that. 4chan and Reddit come to mind. But the first has become a bit toxic for the average person and Reddit UX is someting out of a bad nightmare. Leaving most people to idly chat over Facebook and twitter with people they do not know not care to get to know or understand them. In a fórum you had to make peace with some people not liking you, and viceversa, because unless someone got banned they were not going to go away. And moderation is still viable, no matter how hard you try curating every Facebook it is not gonna happen.
Sooo.Where was i going with this?
Oh yeah i think “modern” forms of web-based interaction promote content to drive “engagement” and ad-revenue. Meaningfull interaction, is left in favor of viral content, rants and trolling. This has proved to be more financially succesfull than old time phpBB based forums so they have been slowly drifintg into oblivion.

Don’t you think?
That was way longer than i expected.Just to say i like this type of communities more. Hope you find my mental verbiage interesting enough.
Hope you find my mental verbiage interesting enough.
Happy foruming!

...Please don't ban me for this...
There are three things that motivate people: Money, fear and love.
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Twokinds [of] data
PhpBB in the age of facebook

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Re: PhpBBin the age of Facebook.

#2 Post by amenon » Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:42 pm

Yeah, I've had very similar thoughts! Though the angle I tend to take is that social media is driving the Internet to hell in a handbasket :P (And the scary thing is that it isn't even by design, in the sense that nobody set out to make Facebook or Twitter what they are at the moment -- it's all unintended consequences and self-reinforcing metrics.)

There indeed used to be this feeling that the 'net was bringing people together, precisely because you would run into folks wildly different from yourself in places like, well, this, and people would discuss a wide variety of things. I've done some diving here, and this place was pretty amazing in it's heyday, nebulously around 2008-2010 or so. Certainly better than any forum I was ever part of.

I think the magic ingredients are good moderation and, not unrelatedly, community size. Both because the effort required to moderate scales with the number of people (and probably faster than the number of people) and because past a certain point, I think the whole idea of a 'community' breaks down and you end up with a sea of strangers. Contrast living in a small town with living in a big city.
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Re: PhpBBin the age of Facebook.

#3 Post by Technic[Bot] » Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:51 am

amenon wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:42 pm
Yeah, I've had very similar thoughts! Though the angle I tend to take is that social media is driving the Internet to hell in a handbasket :P (And the scary thing is that it isn't even by design, in the sense that nobody set out to make Facebook or Twitter what they are at the moment -- it's all unintended consequences and self-reinforcing metrics.)

There indeed used to be this feeling that the 'net was bringing people together, precisely because you would run into folks wildly different from yourself in places like, well, this, and people would discuss a wide variety of things. I've done some diving here, and this place was pretty amazing in it's heyday, nebulously around 2008-2010 or so. Certainly better than any forum I was ever part of.

I think the magic ingredients are good moderation and, not unrelatedly, community size. Both because the effort required to moderate scales with the number of people (and probably faster than the number of people) and because past a certain point, I think the whole idea of a 'community' breaks down and you end up with a sea of strangers. Contrast living in a small town with living in a big city.
I would argue it was kinda by design. Early forums barely had any ads and most were easily blocked or ignored, the idea behind them was to encorage user retention via providing a plataform of meaningful engagement. Your average forum post is/was longer than your average facebook post. On the other hand when your goal is to to get people to see and click on the most ads possible meaningful human interaction tend to take a hit over viral videos, rants and trolls.

The forum UI inspired my whole rant. And indeed it looks like it was a very interesting place to hang around. Not that it is a bad place now but it is way quieter than i expected. Imagine most "newer fans" people hang out over Tom patreon or something. Never been a fan of those sites...

I think you can even have large comminities and decent human interaction. A few years ago i was part of the official minecraft forum. And despite that place being massive ,still is, probably even bigger, most discussion was civil and i get to know quite a lot of fun and interesting people. But it did needed at least one moderator per board. There were like 25 of them give or take.
There are three things that motivate people: Money, fear and love.
Links to my ramblings:
Twokinds [of] data
PhpBB in the age of facebook

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