Interesting Bob image

2015-03-18

Why Are Online Forums So Popular?

Why are online forums so popular these days? I seem to spend hours on forums every day, far more time than I can really afford to waste, but they are very addictive, at least I find them so. I currently visit four forums, and they are all completely different, even though with some of them there are a number of people who are members of one or two of the others.

If you have actually had the willpower to read all my rants and rambles on here, you may recall that I had an unpleasant experience on a UFO forum, which turned from an open minded group of people, accepting all points of view, to a closed minded group of UFO believers who simply didn't want to hear any opposing opinions. I was rather hacked off about the whole thing for a while, having spent a lot of time building the site which housed the forum. I wanted to express my anger, even if nobody ever read it, and this site is the result. I had my grumble, under the title 'Some advice on How To Screw Up A Perfectly Good Forum - which you own', and I've got it out of my system, which was the whole idea.

I missed having somewhere to chat to people, not necessarily arguing about UFO related matters, which no longer interest me much anyway, so I had a look through the list of forums on ProBoards, and there are currently 15,341 listed! I fought my way through part of the list, and settled on some that I thought would be interesting.

The first was The Tolkien Jewel, a small, nice looking forum, sadly lacking in members. Being a huge fan of JRR Tolkien's books, I signed on as a member, and have tried my best to help the forum grow, unfortunately with little or no success so far. I still visit daily though, and try to post something now and then, because I think it could become a very interesting forum, if only it could gain a few more members.

The next forum I tried was Discussion Time, a very well supported forum where absolutely anything can be discussed, in theory at least. There are a lot of games, amusing competitions, and so on, and there is a lot of enjoyment to be had, but my overall impression of the forum is that it is basically serious. I could be wrong but that's my feeling, not that there's anything wrong with being serious, of course.

Some of the members on there have links to their own forums, and that's how I found another forum I regularly visit, Gibby's Place. Gibby's Place is a more fun oriented forum, at least that's how I see it. Serious subjects are discussed, but overall it's more like chatting with mates in a pub. Maybe the fact that the forum owner is female results in a slightly gentler overall feeling. I don't suppose everyone would agree, but that's the impression I get.

The other forums I visit regularly are Emerald's Isle, Friendly Faces, and Sunny Daze, all of which are also very friendly, fun based forums, but each with its own look, and its own distinct 'feel' which I have realised is very important.

Between those forums, I get pretty much all I need for a 'forum fix' three or four times a day. None of them is 'better' than the others, they all offer different things, and that probably explains why forums are now so popular. No matter what your interests are, there is bound to be a forum out there that would interest you.

(Revised and updated 2015-08-20)