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Am I a Jinx? Or is this just NOT the year for forums?

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Moderators: HarDra, Birthe, Beaj

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Dragonlair
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Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:10 pm
Location: Indiana

Am I a Jinx? Or is this just NOT the year for forums?

Postby Dragonlair » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:09 pm

What is it for this year?

So far, 3 forums for which I was a member have shut down this year. Two were sudden disappearances and the 3rd was planned. Now I read that another series of forums is due to shut down later this week. What is going on?

First, Ellen (at my recommendation, I do admit) shut down the EMS cross-stitch board.

Then, the Sanman forum just disappeared. Both of these were because of illness with the owner.

The other day, I accidentally clicked on a book mark for a Techy type board that has not had any posts for years but I was a member and a moderator. It was GONE. I had done the same thing a week or so ago and it was fine. Then this weekend, it was gone.

Now, I read in the Amazon Kindle Help forum that Amazon is shutting down the discussion forums this Friday (Oct 6). Some people are seeing pop-ups announcing it but I haven't seen one. It's not clear if the Help Forums are considered "discussion". They've already removed several forums on the Amazon site as well as IMDB and maybe on GoodReads (both are Amazon companies now). Some of this latest activity may be because of a rash of spambot postings with fake phone numbers (10 - 15 pages worth). The site is not well moderated. Even the Kindle help forum gets more posts from non-kindle questions (like where is my order, why am I being charged for Prime ...) than actual kindle help questions.

For several years, forums haven't done too well because of social media but 3 this year in about 6 months and now more this week?

Am I a JINX??????? NO:) OOP:} :)]
There's no such thing as a stupid question!
Diane
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Lyudmila
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Re: Am I a Jinx? Or is this just NOT the year for forums?

Postby Lyudmila » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:20 am

From my point of view, there are several reasons for this phenomenon:

1. Money. As far as I know a forum is a website, so someone has to pay money for that, right?

2. Facebook and other similar places take over. Look at cross-stitching.com. I remember it was more active and overcrowded than craftbubble.com. Now there are 5 people a day and a couple of posts and that is it.

3. Many people come to read not to post, so what's the use- then the owner closes the forum.

4. Like love and friendship, forums are born, grow, flourish, start getting problems, become boring and die. Just remember the last days(months) of EMS' Forum proper. One post could sit and wait for weeks till someone else posts a reply. If not for the freebies and gallery, it was de facto very passive. Now dont stone me, please, because we all know this is true, no matter how much we loved that place.

5. Many people lose interest- when forums were new, it was unusual, exciting, etc. Now people find something else to spend their time on.

6. Some forums degrade to such extent that no one would come there again. I know one ex-cross stitch forum which despite a large (old) gallery has turned into a site where a few ladies discuss their home affairs, health problems and weather.

7. Most of special forums, like cross stitch ones, do not fulfill their expected function- to help people develop in lets say cross stitch. If you come and show a piece of work and everybody out of the fear to hurt your delicate feelings keeps praising your work to the Moon and back, instead of cross stitch talk using "wows" and "ohs", - will you improve?
No one discusses what to do to improve, if criticism shows up, it is usually not constructive ("I dont know what is wrong, I just dont like it").

8. People have to be a community of like-minded to make a long living forum. Look at any forum- some people come, get registered and leave for good the same day. And so they travel from forum to forum because they are just bored and are looking for something they have no idea what.

Conclusions: 1. We are lucky we have this place as it was created by the team, not strangers, it is a community which did know good and bad times but was a friendly and caring and understanding community for years, and we really all love our craft and love to talk about it. I mean as the Romans said, It is people that make a place, not vice versa.

2.Of course, very much depends on how the foum is run. With Bea and her team, with Birthe working like the Sun tirelessly making our mornings, with you all who may not have time to post daily, but are here when something important for someone happens- and one can always count on understanding, support, advice, friendly word and even prayer.

3. Everybody here wants this place to be a happy one, so the atmosphere is such that we keep coming here. If you knew how busy (not with housework) I was earlier today, you would be surprised to hear I did visit here first thing in the morning. Gi{{ This says it all, right?
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Dragonlair
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Location: Indiana

Re: Am I a Jinx? Or is this just NOT the year for forums?

Postby Dragonlair » Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:01 pm

One point -- Ellen's forum was one of the few forums that allowed NO advertising. She paid for that entirely by herself.

One of the major hindrances for success in forums now is social media. Everybody seems to have to be "connected" all the time now and it is much easier with social media (like facebook, twitter ...).

Some people are uncomfortable with posting and so are lurkers.

You are right -- Ellen's forum was working downhill. Part of it was her illness and therefore lack of interest in keeping it up to date with software. We had not updated the software in about 5 years and were several versions behind. Some of the software just didn't work right anymore. That doesn't count all the headaches I was having with the emails because of a spoofing incident almost 2 years before that.

Another issue is just age. Ellen's board was one of the oldest out there. In it's heyday, we gained 50 or so members a day. When we switched to the newer "brand" of software in 2005 and re-opened after the hacker attack, we passed the 1000 members mark in less than one day! There is one board that had a thread on how long to reach that milestone. No one was even close to that record.

The Sanman board was in a similar state to EMS. It went days without any posts at all. Sandy became ill and it had to go. Her illness was sudden so the demise was more sudden. Tracy was not able to give the warnings that we gave to the EMS family.

One advantage that Bea, Birthe, Jeannine, and Liz have here is they aren't hitting this board blind and new. They all have the "training" of being staff at EMS. They KNOW what is needed. >}[ Birthe was one of the 3 moomins and Bea, Jeannine, and Liz were moderators with Bea and Liz both moderating the exchanges. All 4 have the advantage of the 12+ years of EMS in it's more recent form.

The Amazon boards I mentioned have the disadvantage of being part of a very very large organization. Amazon doesn't realize how much income is generated by the discussions. One person might mention one book or something else and others pick up on that and follow with a purchase. That will be going away. It's poorly and very spottily moderated. They've dropped forums before and this seems to be an extreme case. It may be prompted by the spam posts that have shown up the last couple of weeks. They seem to think it's easier to just shut it down than delete the threads involved (most are blatantly obvious). The real users will be those who use the help forums the way they should -- for help. I've gotten tips on problems with my fires from there. Other users know more about the kindle and fire and other devices than Amazon Customer Support does. Most of the CS responses are "de-register/re-register" which loses ALL your personal content on the device. With almost 4000 books, that's not very feasible or fun. It takes a week to get it all back in!

I have to make this point -- I got such a giggle out of it. Many have seen "Microsoft" spelled as "Micro$oft". This past few weeks, I've noted several times "Facebook" given as "Fakebook" for its fake news. That is one of the most appropriate purposeful misnaming! Gi{{
There's no such thing as a stupid question!
Diane
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Beaj
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Location: Saskatchewan, Canada

Re: Am I a Jinx? Or is this just NOT the year for forums?

Postby Beaj » Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:52 pm

Thank You Ladies for your most expert analysis of all the above. I really have no more to add to what you both have given us information about.
Now what I do have to say is this. When EMS was closing I had heard and read so many mentions of what were we to do. Where could we all go to keep enjoying the friendships that we enjoyed on EMS. I felt the same way as them and wonted to continue the friendships I enjoyed as a Moderator and one of the Exchange organizers. I checked out a lot of boards and they were either by designers selling their designs and not really a meeting place to just feel at home and among friends. I thought that maybe a board set up as a meeting place would work and with offering the treasure trove of Birthe's freebies we would all feel more at home.. I am not a designer ...which I believe was the main attraction to EMS which was Ellen's awesome designs. I have a son whose expertise set this board up for us. I was lucky to have the help of Moderators who when I asked were willing to work so we could have this place.
Our growth has been slow...but I am happy with the participation that we enjoy and I feel we are doing a good job. @};-
" A laugh is a smile that bursts"
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Dragonlair
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Location: Indiana

Re: Am I a Jinx? Or is this just NOT the year for forums?

Postby Dragonlair » Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:27 pm

Bea,

Oddly enough, the one site I might have suggested that had anywhere near the same level of "family" we happily experienced at EMS was Sanman! Under the circumstances, I am very glad I never brought up that idea.
There's no such thing as a stupid question!
Diane
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Beaj
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Location: Saskatchewan, Canada

Re: Am I a Jinx? Or is this just NOT the year for forums?

Postby Beaj » Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:09 am

To your Headline...Am I a Jinx? Or is this just NOT the year for forums?
My answer to that one is.. NO:) you're not a Jinx and I 'm sorry for the closure of the forums but unfortunately...it is what it is and life goes on. There will be new ones to discover and that's just the way it goes. ;;}( @};-
" A laugh is a smile that bursts"
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Dragonlair
Posts: 123
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:10 pm
Location: Indiana

Re: Am I a Jinx? Or is this just NOT the year for forums?

Postby Dragonlair » Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:34 am

Maybe I'm not such a jinx as I thought I was.

There is an announcement with the Kindle help forum now that says that Monday (October 9th) at 9 AM PDT, a new set of forums is starting up with better features. The earlier message about shutdowns on Friday seem to be gone. Maybe they'll drop the old ones on Friday and use the weekend to finalize the new setup. They may even bring back the general support forum.

I can hope!
There's no such thing as a stupid question!
Diane

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