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Old 02-21-2016, 10:10 PM   #1
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Default The future of Forums - and of this one?

Though perhaps my perspective is twisted, I get the impression that automotive online forums - the present one being no exception - are dying. Look at the frequency of posts presently, vs. several years ago. It seems as if the principal technical questions were all debated, answered and archived years ago. The casual banter has meanwhile moved to other venues. Good information and witty remarks are still occasionally posted, but what happened to the rapid-fire discussions, where a thread on VANOS or transmission-oil or whatever would garner 50 responses in one afternoon?

If forums have somehow become passe, whereto has the traffic migrated?

Or am I misapprehending the whole situation?
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Old 02-22-2016, 12:28 AM   #2
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A discussion vaguely similar to this popped up on mye28.com. It seems the Facebook E28 group is more active than the forum. Then again, there's a lot of posts asking questions that could be solved with an easy search on the forum, and many people asking the same ****, so that's forum traffic you wouldn't want anyway.

I don't think it's limited to car forums, though, I've noticed a couple other forums I check seem to be a lot less active than they used to. Forums probably are on the way out. A bummer, because I really like the format. It's a lasting thing, you can search old posts, you can have discussions about things for sale. Facebook sucks, I don't think you can search old posts and people there seem to have no collective memory. It's a good way to keep in touch with people I don't get to see but once a year, but let's face it, so are forums.

How've you been though? I was just thinking about you the other day, talking to somebody about Datsuns and V8 swaps. I want to do another wrenchfest some day. I'm trying to buy a damn house with a garage that'll fit a lift so I can host such a thing someday.
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Old 02-22-2016, 12:29 PM   #3
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This forum specifically about 3-4 years ago was poppin', many posts everyday. You can easily see now that it's fading, and some of the other forums are as well.

With Facebook, it is easier and you get more visibility for items, but you can't beat the organization of a forum. For the more meaningless banter, FB is #winning but if you want more How-To's or you need to research something that's already been grouped together, google a forum and you'll get your response.

I think the FB pages will get to a point where people will respond with "look at the forum, your answer has been posted 30 times already."
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Old 02-22-2016, 03:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QtheGenius View Post
I think the FB pages will get to a point where people will respond with "look at the forum, your answer has been posted 30 times already."
One can only hope. In the old days, it was e-mail lists/BBS/newsgroups, which had a lot of information and discussion, but it wasn't organized and it wasn't easily accessible. After that you had a lot of people publish their own personal websites, which had a lot of information organized and easily accessible, but only if you knew where to look, and of course discussion was nonexistent. Then, you had car forums, which combined the best aspects of both, with an added social aspect, and none of the drawbacks.

Now Facebook has taken over, but only temporarily I hope. Facebook car groups combine the worst parts of e-mail lists and personal websites with very little of what makes a forum successful. Hopefully people come to this realization soon. Maybe what needs to happen is a new take on the classic forum format to make it more attractive to today's more social media-savvy enthusiasts?
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Old 02-22-2016, 05:15 PM   #5
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Yes, we should definitely do another wrenching-session in the spring. This weekend's warm-weather was a welcome teaser! I took the M3 out for a drive. A few minor problems cropped up, but overall it wasn't bad for a vehicle that has the honor of turning 20 this year.

Fashions change quickly, and internet fashions change even faster. But why is Facebook so pervasive? To me it seems like a cheesy and awkward way for grandmas to cut-and-paste inane cloying videos about cute puppies frolicking in the snow, political ads masquerading as helpful advice, chain-letters, endorsements of the latest pop-song.

I remember automotive e-mail lists, starting around 1996. That's when everyone rushed to build their own web page, and there were "web rings" of like-minded enthusiasts. Forums sprung up around 2000, rapidly gaining ascendancy. My favorite automotive forum was for V8 Datsuns. It came out of nowhere in February of 2000, reached its zenith in around 2005, and then slowly started fading away. Today, with its rigorous (Draconian?) policy of searching before posting, it's become more of a library than a forum.

I understand that it's annoying to constantly be fielding the same newbie dumb questions, but learning gets facilitated by entertainment, and if there is the entertainment of social interaction, the lesson is going to stick. I've gleaned much information from passive browsing of forums, but often it feels like a 2016-era high-tech version of a 1980s visit to the local public library... good stuff between the stacks, but an austere quietness and gentle rustling of pages.
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Old 02-22-2016, 06:53 PM   #6
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I hope this forum doesn't go away like Trackaddicts..I always felt outside the clique of folks on there as Im sure others did too.
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Old 02-23-2016, 10:47 AM   #7
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Also, Imgur just announced with won't support forums anymore. At least the larger BMW forums, not sure it we were affected or not.
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Old 02-23-2016, 12:26 PM   #8
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Just look VWVortex. Arguably the largest auto forum in the world.. I've only been on it a couple times in the last five years..
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Old 02-23-2016, 05:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QtheGenius View Post
Also, Imgur just announced with won't support forums anymore. At least the larger BMW forums, not sure it we were affected or not.
Got any more info on this? First I've heard of it. What's the point of imgur if they won't support images on forums?


And VWVortex is an awful place. Communities need to be a little selective. Mye28 does this by pointing out the idiots, who usually leave on their own after making asses of themselves. Anybody is welcome, but we don't suffer fools.
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Old 02-23-2016, 06:02 PM   #10
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Quote from e46Fanatics.

"This forum has been blocked from hotlinking due to abuse of the Imgur tos, which prohibit using Imgur as a content delivery network. That means that website elements such as buttons, banners, avatars, frames, image libraries, etc. cannot be hosted on Imgur. While we welcome users to share Imgur content with forums, we found that they were in violation of the ToS by Imgur as a CDN, resulting in the block. "

Copied from Bimmerforums

"If you're wondering where your sig is, or why there are a bunch of broken pic-links in threads, it is because Imgur has blocked BF.c.

Apparently somewhere in their terms of service there is a statement that you aren't supposed to use Imgur to host photos for things like avatars, sigs, etc. Sorta understandable since using it for those kinds of things creates/uses a massive amount of traffic/server activity/bandwidth that is unnecessary since most forums will host those kinds of things for you.

It's also highly annoying. But whatever. Imgur has decided t hate us. Unless you're using the app apparently (probably because it isn't using sigs, etc.).

From Imgur.com:
If someone else might own the copyright to it, don't upload it. Don't upload gore, "hate speech" (i.e. demeaning race, gender, age, religious or sexual orientation, etc.), or material that is threatening, harassing, defamatory, or that encourages violence or crime. Don't upload illegal content such as child porn or nonconsensual ("revenge") porn. Don't hotlink to adult content or to file-sharing, gambling, torrent, warez, or Imgur rip-off sites. Don't impersonate someone else. Also, don't use Imgur to host image libraries you link to from elsewhere, content for your website, advertising, avatars, or anything else that turns us into your content delivery network. If you do – and we will be the judge – or if you do anything illegal, in addition to any other legal rights we may have, we will ban you along with the site you're hotlinking from, delete all your images, report you to the authorities if necessary, and prevent you from viewing any images hosted on Imgur.com. We mean it. "
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Old 02-23-2016, 07:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QtheGenius View Post
... Also, don't use Imgur to host image libraries you link to from elsewhere, content for your website, advertising, avatars, or anything else that turns us into your content delivery network. If you do – and we will be the judge – or if you do anything illegal, in addition to any other legal rights we may have, we will ban you along with the site you're hotlinking from, delete all your images, report you to the authorities if necessary, and prevent you from viewing any images hosted on Imgur.com. We mean it. "
I'm not sufficiently computer-savvy to understand this whole issue, but just based on the verbiage quoted here, ought we not to politely tell these "imgur" fellows to take their electrons and shove them up their transistor p-n junction?
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Old 02-23-2016, 07:49 PM   #12
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Easiest way to do that is just not use Imgur, another uploader will come around and steal their market share.

Not that market share in image hosting is worth much.
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Old 03-01-2016, 01:12 PM   #13
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I don't usually post on here but I'm often lurking, reading old threads. There's a lot of good info to be found, especially for someone like me hoping to make it to his first track day this year. Generally speaking the conversations are much more informative and contain less immature BS than just about any other forums I post on.
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Old 03-01-2016, 02:34 PM   #14
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Agreed. I think the forum traffic will settle some, but they won't go away based on the wealth of knowledge.

THAT BEING SAID, forums do cost money to run, and forums with no traffic lose their sponsors which pay for site hosting and the like. If activity dwindles down to nothing, we can only blame ourselves when a forum shuts down.
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Old 03-01-2016, 04:48 PM   #15
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I didn't think about the money thing. Thankfully web hosting is cheap. If it comes down to it, make us aware of a lack of funds. I'm more than willing to chip in.
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Old 04-07-2016, 10:59 AM   #16
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Any good "community" - either online or IRL - benefits when the members get out of it what they put into it. I would say that most of us post on FB, but I still like the idea that private forums provide a relatively closed channel for me to engage with people that share the same interests as me. Personally, the less I need to post on FB, the better.

This topic is brought up I'm sure with most major online forums. Columbus Racing talked about this late last year, but the largest number of users online ever (280 people) was on 1/24/16. For certain hobbies/interests with a high level of content, opinion, and discussion, forums are still a good place to share/converse.
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