What makes a bad forum?

We hosted a discussion on Forum Strategy and explored some answers to questions.

This one was: What makes a bad forum?

  • People who want to “win” or change minds vs. have a discussion
  • Annoying notifications
  • No usage
  • It’s only staff talking
  • Lack of appreciation for contributions
  • Not mobile friendly
  • Dominating voices
  • Stale/stagnant discussions
  • Lack of rich text options
  • Difficult login
  • No responses or reactions
  • Bad search functionality
  • Inactivity
  • Boring content
  • It wastes people’s time
  • Lack of variety
  • Lack of recognition for effort as a poster
  • No leadership
  • Too hard to find
  • Harassment / spam with no moderation
  • Tech is old
  • Bad architecture
  • Google having faster/better answers than the forum

This is a wiki post, feel free to edit this list directly or add a comment. :blush:

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There are plenty of bad forum platforms, so that list is very valid but I think the worst kind of forum are the ones with weak moderation, non-existent boundaries and areas for “unmoderated topics”. Those kinds of communities turn toxic very quickly.

This is a great thread on how poor moderation killed a very popular forum:

https://twitter.com/SA__moment/status/1587588321777451008

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Forums where I agree or disagree with everything feel a bit pointless.

Good to be challenged by people’s posts, but not continuously.

J

3 Likes

Continuing the discussion from What makes a bad forum?:

This is a good laundry list. I would break it into a few sections

Poor Software Capabilities

  • Not mobile friendly
  • Lack of rich text options
  • Difficult login
  • Bad search functionality
  • Tech is old

Poor culture

  • People who want to “win” or change minds vs. have a discussion
  • Lack of appreciation for contributions

Poor Management / Moderation

  • Dominating voices
  • Harassment / spam with no moderation
  • No leadership

Poor Mechanism Design

  • Annoying notifications
  • Bad architecture

Lack of engagement

  • No usage
  • It’s only staff talking
  • Stale/stagnant discussions
  • No responses or reactions
  • Inactivity

Other - May be in eye of beholder or just part of a rich community

  • Boring content
  • It wastes people’s time
  • Lack of variety
  • Lack of recognition for effort as a poster
  • Too hard to find (This may be forum software)
  • Google having faster/better answers than the forum (this may be lack of engagement)
2 Likes