Do You Post In Forums?


I’ve covered the subject of forums before in, How To Set Up A Community ForumWhen Does Forum Moderation Become Censorship?, and How to Start Your Own Internet Forum. But do you like posting in forums?

With social media practically taking over our lives nowadays, the question of whether forums are as popular as they used to be is still being asked, with the general consensus being that forums are a dying medium. Actually, I couldn’t disagree more, because from what I can see, forums are still springing up and they are particularly popular when specialised. Quite often I hear people say, “Oh, I’m tired of forums, it’s all just too much bother!” or, “It’s just easier on Facebook/Twitter, etc.” The fact remains that it doesn’t take any more effort to sign up with your favourite crochet or baseball forum than it does in any other social media platform.

Which Forums Do You Post In?

Dave’s Computer Tips has its own forum and it’s a great example of a specialist area where members can ask questions and find answers to their technical issues, especially since many of the DCT authors regularly post there due to its specialist nature.

Over the years, I’ve joined countless forums, many of which I’ve visited maybe two or three times without returning because the vibe wasn’t right, or there wasn’t enough new content. I’ve now whittled the list down to a handful because, like social media, there’s only so much of you to go around, so to speak. The forums I now post in are limited to creative writing, gaming, technology, and travel.


Creative Writing

I tend to lurk around one or two writing forums so that I can pick up publishing ideas, marketing tricks and general tips on writing skills.

I’ve settled on one forum in particular, Writing Forums, because it covers a vast range of writing topics, including showcases for authors’ successes, critique and more general topics on getting your book noticed.

Gaming

There are hundreds of thousands of gaming-related forums and since I have so many games scattered around my PCs, I tend to subscribe to developer support forums to vent my spleen over technical problems, most of which I only visit if I absolutely need to. On the other hand, and since I’m a big Tomb Raider fan, I do contribute to Tomb Raider Forums, as it’s been going for nearly twenty years and has vast resources for modding, patching and everything else TR related. It is a little clique so I don’t post there very much, and if I need a Tomb Raider walkthrough, I use Stella’s Tomb Raider Site.

Although not a forum per se, it does link to other forums such as Lara Croft Online, which is small, yet very friendly. For Half Life related content, I go to Black Mesa Source and for a purely British angle on gaming, PC Forums. Finally, for Forza racing games, I go to Forza Motorsport. It’s pretty dull to be honest and incredibly slow to load, which is surprising, considering it’s owned by Microsoft.


Technology And Geek Forums

Again, there are so many tech-related forums that, eventually you need to make a choice on the most comfortable surroundings to pull up a chair. For me, it’s TechPowerUp, which is not only a forum but a portal for tech news, driver updates and the home of GPU-Z.

 

The forums are friendly, populated by fellow geeks and contain a wealth of experienced hands for everything PC related. It’s been going since 2008 and since we’re encouraged to post pictures of our rigs and components, it’s a lot of fun looking back to what we were all using back then. I’ve given and received some very useful advice at TPU covering topics such as DisplayPort cables to thermal paste. It’s pretty much my go-to tech forum now.

Travel

Over the years I’ve done a fair bit of travelling and for the last 20 years have been a British expat living abroad– the last 13 of those living in Argentina. Good expat forums are far and few between with many failing due to a lack of interest and momentum. When I first moved here I settled on a well-known expat forum for a very long time, was banned for questioning the rules, so in 2014 I set up my own expat forum at Argentina Expats.

I created the forum with an ethic of friendliness and made it clear that questioning the rules is not a punishable offence, private messages would not be read and all in all endeavoured to create an inclusive community with a very wide range of topics, not just expat related. Last year I moved the forum over to new software and hosting and although our number count is relatively small, the forum is growing as a very viable alternative where I live.


Conclusion

The Internet vies for everyone’s attention in so many different ways. I enjoy being connected, but many people either don’t have the time to post online or the very idea of sharing their thoughts publicly in a forum simply doesn’t interest them. In fact, I’ve asked my wife to participate in my expat forum, but it really isn’t up her alley and hardly ever posts to Facebook, either. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make the bugger drink is probably one of my favourite expressions and as far as forums go, is very apt indeed.

About the Author

Marc Thomas

Marc is an avid traveler, motorcyclist, entrepreneur, and gamer from Buenos Aires, Argentina. His interest in computers and technology began in the early 1990's when he was introduced by a friend to a Zenith Data Systems computer running DOS. In the years following he has experienced all versions of the Windows operating system, built hundreds of systems, and fixed many more for his customers. Marc also has an interesting forum you might like to check out at Argentina Expats

16 Comments

  1. I agree, forums are alive and well and thriving. I frequent several regarding my various hobbies and interests and they are a wealth of knowledge. I don’t use “social media” as it doesn’t lend itself to historical searching and the level of detail I’m looking for.

  2. I seldom visit a forum unless I need help. Then I usually do a general DuckDuckGo search and find a forum or two with promising answers. Other times, specifically for questions about various graphics programs I’m learning, I go straight to forums dedicated to that software.

    In gratitude for the help, I usually look for a fresh question or two that I can shed some light on and contribute or expand on an answer.

  3. I don’t have a Facebook account or a Twitter account, and I don’t want to go there. I do post on forums and hope that option never dies out. I use tech site forums and writing forums. When I feel up to living dangerously, I participate in political forums.

  4. In the past, I posted on several forums, but sadly most of them faded away. Also find it frustrating that to ask one or two questions one needs to go through a registration process which can time to vet. Having to remember the user name and password on these once in a lifetime (more but almost true) forums is difficult, as why remember something which was used as a disposable account.

    Currently you might say I only post here at DCT, but do visit others just to read comments and obtain information already sought and resolved by others.

    Do have one major beef about the forum here at DCT, one never gets an email of a comment as done on the Blog, Mindblower!

    • Many forums allow you to sign up through Google, Facebook and other social media, which is far less tedious and much faster.
      In fact, in my own forum I’ve added third party sign up for that very reason, Mindblower. Also, I believe that WordPress forums allow a similar sign up process, where you’re given the choice of using your own Gravatar as well.
      As a forum admin, it’s my job to make the signing up process as painless as possible, but I do take your point.

      • Most forums seem to require Facebook or Google, leaving many of us mute. I can post where Disqus is used or sites that have their own setups.

  5. Here’s an idea for managing forums you flit in and out of: LastPass password manager. Richard Pederson listed LastPass as one of his trusty Must Have Apps. I use it constantly. It’s worth the small investment to upgrade to Premium to support them, although the free level is entirely adequate.

    When all the stuff hit the fan about Facebook last year, I was especially glad I’d never, ever used Facebook to log onto any external site. I don’t do Facebook apps either. Think about it. Why would they let you do that? Why would another company tumble for that log-in route? THEY BOTH TRACK ALL THAT DATA! That’s no secret. Ditto with Google.

    Aside from privacy concerns that not all share, my primary concern is security. If Google password ever leaked out via one of those other sites, everything from my email to my Blogspot blog would be compromised. I’ve considered setting separate passwords for various Google services, but that’s a bit over-the-top.

    LastPass. Install it. Use it. Life gets easier.

  6. Here’s an idea for easily managing obscure forum memberships without the risk of using Facebook or Google: LastPass, the free password manager. If I recall correctly, LastPass has been favorably mentioned and recommended several times on DavesComputerTips by different contributors. I use it constantly.

    Facebook and Google don’t provide convenience for free. They track and share data with log-in partners and vice-versa. So what? you may think. Everyone tracks everybody. Okay, but think about security. What if one of those log-in partners was hacked and your password for the main app leaked out? That could be far more dire. Beyond Gmail and my blogspot site, there’s Google Contacts, Google Calendar, Google Photos, my YouTube and GoogleMaps tracks …

    Keep things simple and secure as they can be: Install and use LastPass and carry on with peace of mind.

    • That’s interesting, Sharon.
      However, the forum software would need some kind of plugin to allow LastPass to be used for signing up, or have I misunderstood you?
      I use RoboForm password manager and yes, it does what I expect it do – remembers all my passwords. But I have to sign up at xyz forum first and then RoboForm, or in your case, LastPass, remembers the password.
      Please correct me if I have interpreted this incorrectly.

  7. Marc, LastPass is an online service with add-ons (extensions) for all common browsers. You log in once and stay logged on until you either log off or close your browser. Some browsers keep you logged on until you restart the computer.

    Once you’re logged on, you can opt for autolog-on or at the most, click a small icon in the log-on field and presto! There you are.

    LastPass recognizes when you log onto a site not in its databank and asks if you want to store it. You can add sites manually if you wish. I had a long list stored in Firefox when I decided to move to LastPass several years ago, so I imported that list, then deleted from the far less secure Firefox stash.

    LastPass is so secure that they have no mechanism for retrieving your password, although perhaps that’s been slightly amended. Everything is securely encrypted at their end, and they have no way of retrieving your information. It’s prudent to export your data every month or so to an excel or other file (do a search for instructions), especially if you change key passwords like Google or Facebook.

    When you do change a password, LastPass notices and offers to change it in your databank. You can add or delete entries and edit them manually.

    Another huge advantage is that you can use LastPass to set a secure password of twelve or more characters. Here’s a fresh 14 character one I just set: B11w#&9ypz6T*p. No, you’ll never remember that, but 14 encrypted nonsense characters drawn from a set of 72 would take a super computer at least hours to crack. Plus, with a fresh password for each site, you have no risk of cross-site access if one is cracked or hacked.

    It will take a small amount of effort to move in and perhaps change a lot of passwords to untangle a web of shared ones, but the peace of mind and convenience is well worth that effort.

    LastPass is not the only good manager, but it’s the one I know and have used and hear the most about. I can’t imagine going back to an insecure paper list that could get lost or digital one that could go poof.

    You do need a LastPass password you’ll remember. Write that one down.

    • Thanks for the very helpful explanation, Sharon.
      I have the same benefits with RoboForm, which I use across several browsers as an extension, as you quite correctly point out.
      However, I’m referring to the initial sign-up at a forum, many of which allow sign-up through a third party such as Google, Facebook, Disqus or others.
      Most forums however, use a simple sign-up form requiring name, email and password. This isn’t the domain of password managers at all, as they simply come to the fore once the sign-up has been completed, with a prompt asking you if you wish to store the aforementioned password.
      I think we may be talking at cross purposes here, but I am very pleased to see how delighted you are with LastPass.

  8. Thanks for clarifying your concern Marc. RoboForm is also highly respected. I had not thought of registration for a forum as a big deal myself, but get your point. Come to think of it, I do tend to go first to known sites. Aside from using Google or Facebook, I don’t see a way around that step, and I won’t repeat my thoughts about that route.

    The one advantage of using a password manager at that point is the option of easily setting a robust password. That still doesn’t bypass the need to confirm. That’s usually instant for me these days, but yes, it is another step.

  9. Password Managers are a great tool when you are planning to visit a forum, over and over again. Having to register to post at a forum is a necessary evil (so to say), to prevent abuse. BUT, having to remember or store information which you might never have to use, because you only require to register at most forums, when you want to post, not read, is what I find to be a pain, Mindblower!

  10. I agree with you both, Sharon and Mindblower.
    As I mentioned in the article, I’ve probably signed up to more forums than I could shake a stick at, and will probably only return to most of them if I’m after specific information. It can be tedious signing up, but I would venture that it’s a lot less tedious than it used to be.
    I might also add that forums require very stringent sign up options (for obvious reasons) and then put your first ten +/- posts into moderation. I avoid that kind of dictatorship like the plague.

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