You know, for how revolutionary these new forum scripts supposedly are...

Discussion in 'Community Forum Software' started by CM30, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. CM30

    CM30 Regular Member

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    I've never actually seen one that's booming with activity on a regular basis.

    I mean okay, Discourse lists some forums using it on its site, but activity wise, not a lot of them (outside arguably Stack Overflow and its spinoffs, which doesn't exactly use the main release version) are actually that popular with people online.

    Same goes with most other new or supposedly revolutionary forum scripts. They look nice, they might somewhat have an active official support forum, but practically speaking, the following facts are true:

    1. Very few people/sites use them, so no one knows if they're going to 'save' forums.

    2. Those that do generally don't see a significant benefit. At least, can you name any new sites springing up with these scripts that are getting thousands or millions of members in record time? I can't. Can you name any existing ones converting that are seeing a big increase in activity? I can't there either.

    So where's the proof any of this is catching on or is going to catch on? Where's that evidence that all these new and supposedly revolutionary forum scripts are actually going to 'revive' the forum market in some significant way?

    Cause I don't see it. And as a result, these new forum scripts and design ideas are looking about as convincing a 'revolution' as 3D glasses were.
     
  2. AWS

    AWS Administrator Admin Talk Staff

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    The other day I ran across a Vanilla forum with over 15 millions posts. Being how hard it is to get a new community rolling it could be a few years before you see any of the new forum software with millions of posts. None of them have any importers so established forums couldn't convert without hiring someone to do it for them.
     
  3. Adrian Schneider

    Adrian Schneider Regular Member

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    I think the misconception is the rapid growth you seek.

    vBulletin took 15 years to gain market share. XenForo has taken a few years, and I think that can largely be attributed to vBulletin's recent failure, and its ties to vBulletin.

    Discourse is a 5 year payoff. It just takes a few big names adopting, and everyone underneath them will take them more seriously - one install at a time. Discourse may be somewhat of a unique case as well... if you look at its mission statement, it's not to be the next forum software. It's to not suck. That's where the bar is set at.

    And it's set there because the technology we're all stuck with is seriously old. PHP 5.2 (if you're lucky) is several years old now. Good development standards and processes have caught up now, but the software we're using does not have it yet. That means the development community around those systems are going to be weak or dated.

    I think XenForo's success can also be attributed to them using Zend Framework, with a slightly more modern spin on how things operate. It lowers the barrier to entry for software developers, and helps people migrate and build systems on top of it. Systems that you don't want to replace for several more years.

    I could rant about this for hours, but let me leave a good example. A client of mine is running vBulletin 3.8. He can't delete or reply to large threads. It crashes the process. Why? Because the software isn't built to optimize for fast req/res cycles. It does everything at once, and that everything can't possibly be done with a user waiting on the end of the request. It could instead just mark the thread as deleted, and run the deletion in the background.

    Discourse is built around infrastructure to handle these cases. Message queues, different databases, etc. it's all there for a reason. It's also built on Rails, which is candy compared to the crap we've been put through with PHP. (Disclaimer: I hate Rails, but by comparison to the current bar, it's magical). And the barrier to entry here is slowly being lowered: you can now install Discourse on a $10 Digital Ocean droplet.


    I don't mean to praise Discourse at all either. I don't think it is anything amazing, but it is a large effort with good people behind it, and that's what matters. Good technology, good vision, and people that can actually execute. Give it some time for the community to grow around it, and it'll be a viable option in the future.
     
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  4. s.molinari

    s.molinari Regular Member

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    :D ROFLMAO!!! Hehehehe.....do they really have that in their mission statement? *me goes looking*

    Scott
     
  5. s.molinari

    s.molinari Regular Member

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    Hmm...I think I just went blind going from the Problem to the Solution section of Discourse's "About" page. God, hope the person who thought that was a good idea with the black background doesn't do any other Disourse design work..LOL! But I also missed the "It's to not suck" premise.

    Hmmmm....oh, wait. I see what you mean. They say in a roundabout way, something more like "Discourse is being made to not suck like forums suck today and how they've sucked for the past 10+ years, with no real change or innovation." Right?

    Well, Discourse doesn't cut it either IMHO.

    I see the issue as not being the discussion format, but rather what can be discussed or rather, what data format the "discussion" can be about. We are all locked into threads, photos, blogs, events, shop articles and that is about it on a higher level. People online (as a whole group) need to be able to discuss anything, anytime, anywhere. When they can do that (as a whole group) and their converstations also stick to specific topics and are shared among others with the same interests, that is when online communities will get really interesting.;)

    Scott
     
  6. GTB

    GTB Regular Member

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    It's like when XenForo first came about, everybody who liked it hailed it as being this great new forum script that would rejuvenate forums using it back into being active places again, or anybody starting a forum with it would see miracles happen. It's all fluff to promote a product, same thing that's happening now in a way with this Discourse. There is no miracle site script that will get you members and posters.

    Stackoverflow - I wouldn't be surprised if they pay Google to get ranked high on certain keywords. Because they do get ranked 1st for pretty much everything you type in Google search related to "coding". Try typing in a word in google search that includes "coding" in it, see what happens. Because when I do it I keep getting stackoverflow listed first most times.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2014
  7. Adrian Schneider

    Adrian Schneider Regular Member

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    Parapharsing... but I see it a lot on various forums, Twitter, etc. He's openly arrogant about it all over the place.

    Agreed. I think Atwood misses the ball here a little because of his own bias. He is a celebrity blogger, so I imagine his experience of building community is quite different than the rest of us. I just don't see how someone like that can fit naturally into a community anymore. The dynamic changes too much.

    This shows in Stack Exchange as well. His goal with SE was to replace the knowledge base aspect of forums. He has done that. But there's still the other huge gap of people want opinions, or want to share everything else WITH community. Otherwise they'd just be blogging. Like he does.

    Now, that's not to say his contributions won't help the greater forum world. They can (or rather, they will), but his vision doesn't exactly align with most of ours. And that's okay.
     
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  8. s.molinari

    s.molinari Regular Member

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    Absolutely.;)

    Scott
     
  9. Aliraza149

    Aliraza149 Regular Member

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    As far as I am aware you simply cannot. It uses Ruby which I don't think most shared hosts support.
     
  10. mikegt

    mikegt Regular Member

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    Discourse (built with Ruby on Rails) will easily run "in the cloud" on a $10/month DigitalOcean, Linode, AWS and probably Rackspace VPS. I set it up in about 30 minutes on DigitalOcean (but I do have some Rails experience from other projects I've been developing). All of these providers now use SSD drives for lighting fast response time versus a majority of shared host providers that are still on physical Raid hard disks. Ruby on Rails is also probably better at utilizing memory and CPU resources than most PHP built apps.

    Given that DigitalOcean is a favorite of the Rails community, it shouldn't be long before they (or someone) has a ONE-script install to get Discourse running on DigitalOcean.
    I can vouch that both Linode and DigitalOcean are cheaper than AWS and you can easily scale to a very large server without too much fuss.

    I'm in the process of launching a forum and evaluating the major providers (Xenforo, IPS, woltlab, vBulletin & Discourse). I appreciate the info I've learned so far from this site (and others) and look forward to joining the community of Forum owners.
     
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  11. mikegt

    mikegt Regular Member

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    I agree that Atwood is a bit boastful, but seems to be moving in the right direction with OpenSourcing Discourse. I'm just not sure if I like the UI compared to more traditional forum software.
    Like all communities, StackOverflow shares a bit of the same problems that Forums do. You should this guy's perspective (not me): http://michael.richter.name/blogs/why-i-no-longer-contribute-to-stackoverflow
     
  12. AWS

    AWS Administrator Admin Talk Staff

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    That's the reason I don't participate much at any of the stack sites any longer although I still use as a reference when I am looking for an answer. Can't take the quality of answers away from them.
     
  13. GTB

    GTB Regular Member

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    Do you honestly think a new forum script coming along will change things for communities?
     

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