I want to thank the JSF members and guests who took the time to give me their thoughts, comments and suggestions yesterday (see New forums to be added? Suggestions and feedback encouraged!).
It’s interesting to note that if I’d asked for these suggestions 10 years ago, almost all of the comments would have been posted to a dedicated thread on the forum (like the thread I started yesterday). These days the way we move information around is much different than it was a decade ago, and the suggestions I asked for were provided in numerous different ways: comments were posted to the blog itself, on the forum in this thread, on Facebook, via email, by PM (both on the forums and on Facebook), by phone and by text message.
I think the diversity by which we communicate these days may be an important clue into why the classic forum structure seems to be falling by the wayside. Everything is very fragmented now. I’ll be the first to admit that for many things services like Facebook are the “optimal” means of group communication, but I do feel that forums are superior to Facebook for many forms of online discussion. For example, good luck finding that discussion about fat loss that took place on Facebook 2 or 3 years ago. Sure, it can be done, but it’s not as easy as doing a quick forum search, or pulling up a list of threads to which you’ve subscribed.
So, while I realize that the popularity of online forums has waned pretty much across the board, I do think they still have a place in the online world.
Your comments and suggestions have given me a lot to consider, and I’d love to hear more. I’m particularly interested in hearing from the thousands of long-time JSF members who no longer post. Please, de-lurk for a few minutes and let me know what you’re thinking (or just say hello!) 🙂