I’m pretty excited about it, I’m a fan of forums, this is no secret!
But I’ve also been troubled by such a focus on third-party and social platforms, it’s been a huge challenge for communities to build intentional conversations within their own spaces.
When we overly rely on the social platforms it becomes harder to build community, to maintain it in a way that we want them to be exist and crucially to create them in a way that is sustainable to us a community builders, founders, and organisations.
I’m hoping that in the addition to the overwhelm and often the lack of moderation on social platforms we can start to see more growth, emphasis and appreciation of forums.
And even, perhaps we can explore forums more creatively. I just think there is so much opportunity here with the added attention of Google Search results.
I want to know more about what they mean by “forum” before I get excited about this. The examples shown in the news story are Reddit (arguably a forum, but a highly centralized one) and Quora (is this a forum? ). Both of those are basically massive “meta” forums, i.e. they cover a huge range of topics, and let people basically create their own “forums” as sub-areas of the parent. Surfacing those kinds of things is a far more trivial thing than actually and effectively parsing and rating the quality and value of smaller forum communities and discussions like this one. I would love if it this change meant we’d see more small forums running on Discourse, IPB, and others surfacing in this “Discussions and Forums” area, but I remain skeptical until I can test the feature myself (I don’t see it yet, anyone else?).