Author Topic: Revitalizing the forums, some motivation  (Read 3938 times)

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williewillus

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Revitalizing the forums, some motivation
« on: May 06, 2023, 05:20:11 PM »
TLDR

  • Forums are important because
    • The community is self-determined instead of at the mercy of Discord/Reddit/IG/Twitter
    • Long form discussion boards are a healthy addition to ephemeral communications like Discord
    • They allow historical archival of what the fandom was like
  • Revitalizing the forums only takes a few active people. I will be active here and responding to any new posts daily, and I invite you to do the same.



This post is not really a direct call to action to improve the forum, but meant to lay out
why I believe forums are more crucial than ever to a fandom and community, even in 2023
where we have Facebook, IG, Twitter, Tiktok, Reddit, Discord, etc. I hope to send and
circulate it around the community to encourage more activity here on the oldest forums in
the west, MoTK.

What Are Forums?

You're looking at one right now! Common in the 2000's and into the 2010's before the
dominance of social media, forums were websites hosted by fans that acted like message
boards. There are a variety of subboards for various topics, and members can start new
threads of topics. For example, a thread for discussion about the new game Touhou 19 as it
comes out, or the Touhou World Cup matches that are happening soon. Other members can then
post replies, which bumps that thread up to the top of the list in its subforum.

There is no ranking of posts or "algorithm", for better or worse.


Why Does It Matter?

Self-Determination

This website has been run by fans and for fans for nearly two decades. Transfers of
ownership have happened, but it's always remained in the hands of fans. This means that we
can chart our own path and set our own vision of what our community should be like,
instead of what Reddit or Twitter (gross) or (insert next viral social media network) wants it to
be like. It's hard work, but the benefit is well worth it.

Tangentially, I'm also really grateful we as a community have congregated around a
self-determined wiki, TouhouWiki, instead of using a garbage hosted wiki on
wikia/fandom.com. The Minecraft wiki hosted on fandom.com has devolved into an unusable
mess, at the mere whims of these large companies who care nothing about our specific
community, just that you use their service. Being standalone and independent is vital in
this regard.

Long Form Discussion

Forums encourage reading your community's messages and composing thoughtful longer-form
responses. It's a slower and more distinct vibe than the fast-paced, more chaotic and
ephemeral vibe that a chatroom like IRC or Discord gives you, but one that is
necessary. Ever since forums and Facebook groups have declined, there really isn't a space
for this anymore in the broader internet. Reddit comes closest, but its algorithmic
ranking system usually means whatever art that was posted most recently is at the top, and
long-term long-form discussion about e.g. gameplay just gets buried immediately with no
comments.

I'm not saying we should all quit Discord, just that a short form chatroom like Discord
should be paired with a long-form discussion board like forums.

Historical Archival

The most important point of the three, in my opinion, is that forums allow open historical
archival.

It is incredible when you have a long-running community forum that stretches back for
decades, what sorts of things you can see by going back and looking. For example, on MoTK
v2, we have history going all the way back to the launch of UFO. You can go there right
now, today, and read how people felt about those games when they came out. This is
precious and valuable history about our community and fandom that should be and is
preserved.

Nowadays, all discussion happens in locked-down, scattered, and fragmented Discord
guilds. Not only does that discourage thoughtful discussion as mentioned earlier, it's
also impossible to archive -- Google and Wayback Machine have no way of reading a Discord
guild's chat logs. If a message is not pinned and is older than 3 days, it may as well not
have existed. I see this happening especially in the Touhoufest Discord. There is a "2023
highlights" channel, which is just pictures and videos posted in the channel. What happens
if Discord ever dies? Or Touhoufest concludes and the guild is wind down? All of those
memories would be lost. History is something that is written down, and if we lose those
records, then future fans will have no idea how things were like.

This is the most important reason why I long for the revitalization of old-style forums,
for communities that I really care about.

Great, How Do I Help? These Forums are Dead

I admit that currently MoTK is a bit dead outside of occasional news and the Party Games,
but revitalizing forums only takes a few active people.  MoTK still receives some
amount of lurkers every day, and just a few active posters can encourage those lurkers to
themselves be active, and a healthy cycle can proceed from there.

I'm trying my hardest to post my commentary on recent events in the community on the
forums as well as other things that I might have just dumped on Reddit or in a Discord
channel. I invite you to join me as well. Right now I try to come on the forums at least
once per day and respond to anything, so you might see me a lot on the various
threads. Come say hi! I don't bite.

I hope you can join me to ensure our community continues to leave a lasting written history for decades to come.

williewillus

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Re: Revitalizing the forums, some motivation
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2023, 05:23:31 PM »
Note: This is in TARC instead of Resurrection Butterfly because the latter is not open to logged-out users (for some reason).

Re: Revitalizing the forums, some motivation
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2023, 05:54:28 PM »
I remember some wiseguy saying forums are useless now that Discord is a thing. I laugh at that every time I'm looking through some ancient discussion on MotKII archive.

williewillus

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Re: Revitalizing the forums, some motivation
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2023, 06:02:32 PM »
I remember some wiseguy saying forums are useless now that Discord is a thing. I laugh at that every time I'm looking through some ancient discussion on MotKII archive.

That reminds me, the absolute nerve Discord has to add so-called "forums" to their guilds that are just lists of chat threads. No, that is not a forum lol.

If the message box is a single thin line at the bottom and enter sends the message instead of adding a new line, it's not a forum, it's chat.

Felis-Licht

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Re: Revitalizing the forums, some motivation
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2023, 07:14:24 PM »
I've admittedly been less active here (and overall) due to other priorities, but I agree that I'd like to see the forum have more activity and an archive for people to look up things. I don't like how Discord's so isolated from the web sometimes.

Vance_croowa_08

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Re: Revitalizing the forums, some motivation
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2023, 09:55:26 PM »
I agree, forums have been one of the pillars of the early internet and they should be preserved at all costs! :bigpower:
"Your signature cannot span more than 5 lines"

Literally 1984

Re: Revitalizing the forums, some motivation
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2023, 04:46:54 AM »
With the r/touhou subreddit contemplating whether to lock down the sub for two days next week, I've found myself revisiting MotK again... Still the same chill community I know! :D :bigpower:

Funnily enough when I suggested this forum as an alternative for users who wants to get off of Reddit, another user swoops in and says that this forum is "way past its prime" and should join the Touhou Project Discord instead. :cirnotan: For someone who's supposedly a "well-known Touhou organizer" IRL, it's pretty disappointing to see them just dismiss this forum like that.

Anyway I am one of the r/touhou moderators, and from what I can tell it seems likely that we are going to join the strike. So.. prepare for an influx of new users I guess? :meiling:

Gree

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Re: Revitalizing the forums, some motivation
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2023, 06:12:50 PM »
With the r/touhou subreddit contemplating whether to lock down the sub for two days next week, I've found myself revisiting MotK again... Still the same chill community I know! :D :bigpower:

Funnily enough when I suggested this forum as an alternative for users who wants to get off of Reddit, another user swoops in and says that this forum is "way past its prime" and should join the Touhou Project Discord instead. :cirnotan: For someone who's supposedly a "well-known Touhou organizer" IRL, it's pretty disappointing to see them just dismiss this forum like that.

Anyway I am one of the r/touhou moderators, and from what I can tell it seems likely that we are going to join the strike. So.. prepare for an influx of new users I guess? :meiling:

Alright! I'll try to be a bit more active to help welcome em' even though I'm still a bit of a new comer myself
"High Anxiety" is my middle name

Vance_croowa_08

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Re: Revitalizing the forums, some motivation
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2023, 08:08:37 AM »
With the r/touhou subreddit contemplating whether to lock down the sub for two days next week, I've found myself revisiting MotK again... Still the same chill community I know! :D :bigpower:

Funnily enough when I suggested this forum as an alternative for users who wants to get off of Reddit, another user swoops in and says that this forum is "way past its prime" and should join the Touhou Project Discord instead. :cirnotan: For someone who's supposedly a "well-known Touhou organizer" IRL, it's pretty disappointing to see them just dismiss this forum like that.

Anyway I am one of the r/touhou moderators, and from what I can tell it seems likely that we are going to join the strike. So.. prepare for an influx of new users I guess? :meiling:
Influx of new users? That's great!!!!
"Your signature cannot span more than 5 lines"

Literally 1984