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  1. #1
    Senior Member krystof's Avatar
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    Are online bulletin boards destined to go the way of ichat? I think large forums like WebhostingTalk.com could not be replaced by blogs. However, in many cases, the reasons for which a webmaster used to decide "I want a forum," are perhaps better realized by a 'blogging community."

    One thing I like about blogs. Sometimes the "comments" evolve into a serious forum discussion, with the best points summarized by the blogger. Better than a forum thread in being summarized and structured.

    On the other hand, when blogs have many comments, they became unreadable. I experimented with putting a full subforum thread list at the bottom of a blog. However, with the advent of "threaded comments," I see little point to bothering with my "forum-blog." People can comment to a comment. I can also "sticky" the best comments. I can also edit the main blog article at the top.

    I recently bought a Xenforo license, the ultimate online forum. But now that I have some Wordpress experience I am wondering, is the forum necessary?

    Pros and cons of replacing forums with blogging communities.

    Cons.
    1. Blogs are not efficient for asking for help or inviting discussion.
    2. Probably Wordpress can not handle a whole lot of "threads" as efficiently as Xenforo.

    Pros.
    1. Better SEO value. Because a blogging community can spontaneously generate innumerable serious well-edited site content pages of lasting value.

    Currently, for my blogging communities, some forum-type interaction is needed, but I plan to experiment with not having a discussion forum. I will not even use a forum plug-in. Instead, I will enable discussion blogs which invite members to discuss in the comments. If more forum-type discussion seems needed, I will use a forum plug-in.

    I think it's obvious that large forums like WebhostingTalk.com could not be replaced by blogs.

    However, I think it is also clear that in many cases, the reasons for which a webmaster used to decide "I want to start a forum," are perhaps better realized by starting a 'blogging community."

    Any thoughts about the different reasons for forums vs. blogging communities would be appreciated. Thank you.

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  3. #2
    WDF Staff Wired's Avatar
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    No. With blogs, only a few can start a conversation on said site. On a forum, anyone can start a conversation. Your blog alternative sounds just like a messy way to do the same thing.

    Many sites do both, and do it well. example: www.hardocp.com. A set list of editors do the main site / blog, but the comments link for each entry is a forum thread (vBulletin). The forum's still a forum of course, so there's tons of posts created by users. Sometimes certain threads / posts are highlighted on the front page, but it's not a copy/paste job or anything, it's more of a note by the editors saying that people should check it out or something.

    Sidenote: Pretty sure someone posted a similar thread around here a couple of months ago.
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  4. #3
    Senior Member krystof's Avatar
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    Thank you Wired.

    Hardcop.com is interesting. Their intent seems different from my idea of what a good forum or a good blog does best. It seems to me, they are basically using the forum as a way to shuffle large traffic under the carpet, not a sincere effort to invite serious discussion. (Also their reverse colors are murder on the eyes.)

    But I think I agree with your main point. I think it's obvious that large forums like WebhostingTalk.com could not be replaced by blogs. Also, blogs are just not very practical for starting discussions or asking for help.

    I am going to edit my post above to make his more clear.

    However, I think it is also clear that a 'blogging community" is a new option that in some cases might be better for certain goals than the forum, which in the past was the main vehicle for those goals.

    Thank you for helping me to sort out this idea in my mind.

  5. #4
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Man, you gotta learn to shorten up your questions. It took me three tries to figure out what you were asking.

    Just to take care of something in your first "Pro", the SEO value of a site doesn't come from the nature of its software or what type of site it is, and when you think about why, there's a very simple reason...the software only has a positive impact on the quality of a site in the absence of a negative (e.g. the software isn't so bulky that it slows the site down). What does influence the quality of the site is the quality of the content and design, and Xenforo is just as likely to allow you and the users of your community to contribute quality content as Turdpress will.

    As far as online forums being a dying breed, similar logic applies. It applies strictly to the site and the community it represents. There are forums out there that are dying, and quite a few of them, but they're more a case of owners that found they spent too much time for too little return, and you really can't blame them for that (particularly in the SEO community...most forums now are just rehashed garbage from 5-10 years ago).

    So as far as which to emphasize, I'd lean toward using Xenforo as a base if only because Wordpress is eventually going to go the way of most volunteer projects and get too bloated and begin to collapse under its own weight (hi, Firefox!) But I wouldn't say one is better than the other for what you're trying to accomplish. What you need to figure out is how your community wants to interact with the site and work backwards from there.
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  6. #5
    Senior Member krystof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGAME1264, post: 224304
    Man, you gotta learn to shorten up your questions.
    Yes thank you for reminding me of this problem. I have edited it again. (Caution, more words coming. Somewhat edited. Whew. ops

    Quote Originally Posted by TheGAME1264, post: 224304
    ...the SEO value of a site doesn't come from the nature of its software or what type of site it is... What does influence the quality of the site is the quality of the content and design, and Xenforo is just as likely to allow you and the users of your community to contribute quality content as Turdpress will.
    Game, I hope you watch Real Time with Bill Maher. He similarly talks about "****** Bank" and "Skank of America."

    For the "average" site member who does not do much thinking--I agree. Xenforo <>=<> blogs x 1000. I kind of felt so, and thank you for reinforcing this feeling. You have encouraged me to start Xenforo!

    But... You can't say that a forum = a serious blogging community for SEO value or any value. Check this out...

    I am not sure what I get as a "contributor." But SeekingAlpha gets hub status. I don't know if SeekingAlpha uses Turdpress. If they are, it's modified. As soon as my baby, Planetary Investing.Org, achieves 1/1000 that level of traffic, I know who I can call for advice or partnership.

    Just for the record, I might be mistaken, but I believe Wordpress is not a nonprofit organization. Wordpress is an OS and benefits from volunteer labor. But Wordpress.Org has no "donate" buttons and appears a highly successful promotion for its corporate owners through Akismet, Wordpress.COM and other kickbacks. Relatively speaking, Wordpress.Org provides excellent value. But I am open to a better blogware that is nonprofit.

    What I mean by nonprofit: board members may have up to $500,000 salaries. (Though I'd be happy with $50,000.) The rest goes to charities and to give cash loans for medical and financial emergencies for customers and volunteers: the people should get some money who have supplied the money! Just imagine if all the money that Google sucks out of people went back to people. How do we set this up legally? With a nonprofit. Charities are allowed to run lotteries. And this is less than a lottery. We do not "promise" or "claim" to pay anything. We just quietly do it, as required in our charter.

    If this works, you have assured customer loyalty. You will hesitate to start a Walmart if someone might start a PeopleMart that gives money back. It is difficult to compete with nonprofits if you are required to give profits to shareholders. Same goes for Facebook, Amazon, Ebay. Of course, the selection process is somewhat random, and not many people will actually get money back. But the same goes for lotteries, and lotteries are popular. And lottery money never helps people when they most need it. Imagine if it did. (And if nobody needs to buy a lottery ticket.)

  7. #6
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Actually, yes I can say that, and here's why...the tool by itself doesn't contribute to the value of the article. What makes the article worthwhile is simply the fact that the article had a lot of thought put into it. I know it had a lot of thought put into it because I can't understand a word of it (partly because it's Sunday and I'm half-distracted by my Cowboys beating up on the Bills).

    Ask yourself this question...if you had taken the same article and created a static HTML page for it, would it have the same value? Or if it had been a forum post with discussion? Or a forum post with the thread locked to new replies? None of these things in and of themselves would impact on the quality of the article.

    If anything, one might make the argument that using a Wordpress or a Xenforo or a vBulletin is a slight negative from an SEO point of view based solely on the abuse of the tool. It's not a strong argument by any stretch, and I'll admit that. But if you can argue that the tool creates SEO value based on the usage of the tool, the opposite argument also exists (splogs, unmoderated forums, sites that get hacked, etc.)

    As far as "better blogware", I think that eventually the blog in and of itself is going to die an Internet death...it won't ever really stop being used, but it'll go the way of say a Myspace or classified ad submission or free hosted personal pages. The blog will always have its loyal crowd long after something better comes along, but it will never be the same. So "better blogware" won't necessarily be a blog script or some other tool, but it may have a blogging element to it.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

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  8. #7
    WDF Staff Wired's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krystof, post: 224287
    It seems to me, they are basically using the forum as a way to shuffle large traffic under the carpet, not a sincere effort to invite serious discussion.
    What are you talking about / what do you mean? They get crazy amounts of traffic.
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  9. #8
    Senior Member krystof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wired, post: 224365
    What are you talking about / what do you mean? They get crazy amounts of traffic.
    I was not implying they don't get traffic. I was saying I don't like the way they handle the traffic.

    My "forum blog" idea limited visible comments to one or two sentences. So it is feasible to skim hundreds comments. When you find an interesting comment, you click and find a discussion thread, the first post being an elaboration of the comment. If many comments, two columns can be displayed: Latest Comments and Most Viewed. So important information rises to the top over months and years, instead of buried in a useless mass.

    I.e., my idea is to use an entire subforum to replace large numbers of "comments." Hardcop uses only a single thread. I don't find this any different than an old fashioned blog comment list. This might be a lot more profitable than my way of doing things, but I just don't like it.

    (Although I didn't spend much time, so maybe I have the wrong impression. The reverse color hurts my eyes.)

    Quote Originally Posted by TheGAME1264, post: 224339
    Ask yourself this question...if you had taken the same article and created a static HTML page for it, would it have the same value? Or if it had been a forum post with discussion?
    Few people (aside from myself) are nutty enough to put as much thought into a forum thread as into a blog post. And even when they do, it doesn't get spontaneous external references to the same degree. Do a google now for "best ezine hosting." Three of the top results are my forum messages on this subject, three years ago. Darn good discussion. But nobody references it. (I checked. The only reason this does well in Google is no competition for this phrase.)

    Quote Originally Posted by TheGAME1264, post: 224339
    As far as "better blogware", I think that eventually the blog in and of itself is going to die an Internet death...
    Good point. I hadn't dared to think of that. But now you got me thinking...

    A few years ago, who heard of "facebook"? It was myspace, myspace, myspace.

    Someday, some teenager will invent a new kind of blog called the flog or kegog or weehoosy. And nobody will use the word blog anymore. And good riddance. Except the new word is likely to be even uglier and stupider. Although that's hard to imagine.

    -> For more ranting see "Never say Blog," by Krystof, May 17, 2007.

    ‘Weblog’ was the original term. Was this not short and technical enough, ugly and obscure enough? With any measure of humanity, how might ‘weblog’ ever have been eclipsed by ‘blog’?
    PS. One good thing about Wordpress, at least it's not called blogpress, thank goodness.


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