Longform text, in my opinion. Every other platform struggles with this, for a varying number of reasons. It also lends itself well to games modding, particularly when the file sizes are small enough that limited hosted can preserve files in perpetuity (especially when the competition is ModDB, which is a site in sore need of a bunch of overhauls).
That was a new word for me and I think you hit the nail on the head, people do come here to read (and write) longer texts on a topic. I recently made a metaphor (or at least tried to) in a NESing
forum about what our games and threads are and in many ways they are there as tiny colonies in space, able to be visited many hundreds of years apart (often when the inhabitants are already dead).
Versus big media the answer is simple: diversity. With big media engaged in censoring whatever they dislike, the problem there is obvious. Privacy too, as big media and and does spy more on users.
Versus decentralized options? Diversity in a different way: it's easy to join a forum and go there occasionally. Doesn't require much of a person. It's asynchronous communication. Live messenger or zoom require simultaneous availability, require that the people know each other to start with. So a forum gets much more diverse people.
Which, in both cases, makes it an interesting medium. Forums still have a future.
I like the idea that is behind this, but in many ways it is a question of scale and dedicated focus. General platforms like Facebook and Reddit are easier and more interesting to "control" specifically because they are general platforms.
The only reason I put it up with the others is because of its huge size where everything is connected to everything. Which seems to point to a reason why people go here for Civ-related stuff rather than to Reddit, our site and forum simply has more stuff even if in scale we are much smaller.
Discord is nice, but leads to my main point on the value of forums. You post and read at your own pace. Active Discords are really fast. It's hard to have real discourse there except in smaller private servers.
I have very limited experience with it, but it also pointed to the same thing, its meant to be read constantly and once people loose track it either makes them want to leave or, if they stay, diminishes from the "story flow" of whatever subject people are trying to read on. In other words it is geared to "whatever is here and right now" generation.
Organization of information.
A lot of the competition to forums operates from a more ephemeral standpoint. Facebook excels at sharing what just got posted. If you want something from a year ago, you have to scroll a lot. Discord has search, but (usually?) users can't create their own topic/channels, unless they are administrators. As lymond mentioned, this means busy ones have lots of text, and topics can get intermingled. Discord is also very poor at web discoverability, since everything lives inside an instance that isn't web-searchable. If someone's looking for Civ IV information on the web, they might discover CFC and the answer to their question. They won't find the answer if it's posted on a Discord server. Discord puts information into siloes that outsiders are likely to never learn about.
Thats a perfect reason!
It requires another feature of forums to be well-developed, i.e. having a member base who are knowledgeable about their "treasures" and where to find them, but it works. It a way forums are books in the world of (quite literally) scrolls of FB, discord and other "of the moment" stuff.
A side question might be, what are forums doing wrong to make people go elsewhere? Obviously part of the reason for their relative decline has been the marketing and convenience of newer alternatives.
Which fulfil only several
of people's needs, leaving others hanging in empty space.
You're never going to be able to find information in the middle of that thread, and the topic could swing wildly from one page to the next.
Thats very true, but thats where the members with their insider knowledge come in. As well as inter-forum search engines.
But IMO it discourages participation by those who haven't been involved the whole time.
Exactly! Just as in our forum games and so on, people have to be welcomed once they join, because when people hit that register button they are already ready to move on to the "interactive" stage of a forum. They must have been forum readers before that.
Rant that ties into this: 90% of the English-language internet SUCKS. Try to scroll through content? Page reloads, or videos that play automatically, or some other kind of popup nonsense.
90% of the internet sucks now
. It didn't use to and I think the good stuff is simply being buried under all the new "content" through "forces of nature and history." So, another point for the forums would be "quality information".
At least in Cfc I doubt you'd be banned for sharing a different view, as long as you phrase it in a way which includes some intended (regardless if picked up or not) comedy (?) ^_^
And the final piece is community and moderation, which is a unique feature that is only possible either amongst a very polite community or amongst enthusiasts that want to keep their house/streets clean to get on with their job/hobby.
The pros of a forum, from what I can see now, is quality information, stored and managed by an enthusiastic fan community who has to be friendly to (nice) new members and to each other. This throve of knowledge is as timeless as a book can be timeless and is as good as the amount of work that people put into it.
Advantages of a forum compared to modern mass media as such that the mass media is fleeting and "of the moment" where one has to be hooked onto something all the time to be a part of something.
I got it guys and gals. We are a space port
I was pondering what forums can offer to the new generation and I think there are many good reasons as long as we're able to invite them in and keep them around. As far as my gaming ideas go, I think the games should move onto more "always on standby" feature so that it is possible to weave the community around them again.