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June 22, 2009 / jadettman

The Decreasing Utility of Forums

I love input and reading forums has been a big source of input for me for the last decade or so. I don’t start, or participate, in threads much (i.e. I am a lurker) because [A] I discovered early on that I want to spend a reasonable amount of time thinking about what I want to say and by the time I’m ready to say something the conversation has moved on and [B] I frequently feel that I don’t have much to add to a conversation.  So, I spend a fair amount of time just gathering information on forums.

In the past, this has meant that I’ve been able to keep up with the goings on in the gaming industry such as what new game is coming out when, whether a product has been delayed, and what the opinions of a good-sized group of people are when it comes to the more widely available gaming products.

Lately, though, I am less interested in new products and the movements of monetized gaming output.

In part, this is because I no longer own, nor dream of owning, a gaming store. I no longer need to know about new products and their availability so that I can pass it on to others.

For the other part, it seems to me that there is an endless retreading of well-trod ground. I no longer care what the favorite superhero RPG of the populace of RPGnet is or who has most recently jumped on the ‘D&D 4e is a tabletop MMO’ bandwagon.

So, I’m going to try to take a break from forums. Maybe I’ll do some writing with that time.

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One Comment

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  1. Eric Martindale / Jul 2 2009 7:50 am

    Good reflections on a tool that’s over 20 years old now. “Bulletin Boards” have been around since the darkest days of the internet, but I think they’re here to stay.

    For example, some folks utilize more modern forums, like one of the sites I run, to actually run their games much like the more familiar “play by email” RPGs. It’s a “play by post” format, and I’ve seen nothing but growth over the past 10 years.

    Forums as a place for news? Not so much, especially now that the best source for this information (blogs and RSS feeds) has reached its peak, come and gone, and we’re moving on to more real-time versions of news and communication, like Twitter.

    I’m glad that you’re able to set some time aside for writing, though. Maybe when you’re done with your next work, you should swing by one of my forums and share it with us. 🙂

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