Forums are peerless when it comes to permanent long form content. It’s not unusual to have topics that are five or ten years old to still get replies and have more value added.
I also like that while personalities are not the focus within a forum, the content is; it’s easy to established experienced and helpful people based on the length of time they have been on the community, the number of contributions and their member/respect levels.
I miss Forums when ppl on Discord ask the same questions multiple times . Wondering how you will be onboarding Rosieland members into the Forum vs. Discord server of Rosieland? Or are you going to move away from Discord?
Yes, the long term value for forums is what people seem to have forgotten.
My plan is to use Discord for more casual chat and connection. It’s perfect for reaching out to people to ask if they are interested in doing something together. I’m also hosting audio events there too, which Discourse doesn’t cater for.
Whereas Discourse becomes a somewhat more intentional space. And is also searchable via search engines, which will hopefully bring positive impact with a longer term view.
Of course context matters, but I do think most communities should aim for a chat (e.g. Discord) + a forum (e.g. Discourse) combination for their communities. The tools compliment each other.
I think personality led communities are no different from brand led in terms of people lining up behind an ideology, passion or interest.
Your personality is key to driving this community forwards given that you encompass many different topics with overlapping discussion areas.
The main difference on a forum is that because we are not using an immediate chat format, there is more formality to replies which reduces the level of personality people inject. This allows the topic to become the feature.
Forums are fantastic (indeed, essential) for maintaining access to your content. Live chat platforms are great for that instantaneous connection, but forums give you longevity and allow you to easily refer to older content at any point.
In the WordPress community we have a project-wide policy that discussions can happen on Slack, but all decisions are made on P2 (P2 is the name for our contributor team blogs that serve the same purpose as a forum in our community). This not only helps for ensuring that all decisions are easily recorded and searchable, but it also means that people can get involved in discussions regardless of their timezone.
You identified the problem correctly, but the solution to that problem isn’t forums. It’s making people not “ask the same questions multiple times”. For example one solution might be to find tags in the question, and suggest answers based on some FAQ, or previously asked questions/answers pairs.
Because even on Forums, people might be asking the same question over and over again. So just-in-time search results should help, on both ways of communication.
Notice the expectation to read the entire chat conversation, but not the entire forum?
I think what is lacking is better support for the core issues reported by many, to allow for a natural experience in Chat too. These can be: Bionic Reading, grouping of chats in threads, display of several active threads with priorities for those that are popular, ways to skim through content, summaries based on the timeframe you’ve been away and your time available to get up to date, and many such other experiments until this experience is improved.
Just like forums, chat conversations don’t gave to be consumed from end to end. Especially if you come back to the chat app after days, or weeks. And I think the affordance that causes this anxiety is the damn notification # (which could be completely removed or constrained to mentions only, for example).
I used to use forums a lot! Overtime, I stopped using them. I think the value in a forum for me are the searchable keywords. I sometimes need specific information for a specific issue I am trying to solve, I read or contribute if I have something to add, and then leave. I am not sure I would come back and use them as a conversational tool because it is not the way I have seen them before. But I guess I can learn to use them differently