Are Message Fourms better than Social media platforms?

Jubenhimer

Member
Social Media. A modern internet invention that on paper, sounds like one of the greatest ideas ever. Services that allow you to share thoughts, ideas, and moments to friends and around the world. Yet as we've seen over the years, it's been blamed for arguably making society worse by feeding narcissism, shallowness, degeneracy, and monolithic echo chambers, over meaningful discussions and fun. In many ways, that's true. Platforms like Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, etc. have all been known for being filled with vapid content, lame hot takes, obvious clickbait, trashy (sometimes dangerous) content, as well as biased censorship practices and shady backdoor relations with domestic and foreign governments, but we're not supposed to notice that last part ;P.

But back in the wild west days of the internet, the only real way for people to share their thoughts and ideas with friends and strangers online is through either chat rooms, or message boards, aka forums. Message boards don't really need an explanation, I'm writing this thread on one right now. But it used to be one of the main ways people shared ideas and thoughts to each other on the internet in the format's earlier days.

Yet it was only relatively recently that realized that, I myself at least, spend more time on message forums like this, over big, mainstream social media platforms. I hardly ever posted to Twitter, my Facebook account has been untouched since middle school, and the further I stay away from TikTok, the better. It's easy to see why social media is so popular. It makes the concept of sharing and communicating ideas and content to strangers, family and friends easy to use and instantaneous for the masses, and if there's one thing a lot of people want, its instant gratification. But for most of my life on the internet, I've always posted more on small, independent forum sites over social media, and I don't think I'm alone on that.

I think one reason message boards appeal to me is because they're much more fragmented. Big social media in my eyes, tends to be this giant mass of content and filler that just seemingly gets thrown onto your feed whether you want it or not. But with forums, its a lot easier to find what you want to share or talk about. There are many special interest forum sites that cater to a variety of niches. And even within those sites, there's still a lot of off-topic and alternative sections within them. I feel this not only makes it easier to discuss specific topics and events, but being so fragmented like this gives the user more control over what they want to talk about. I think forums also make it a lot easier to communicate more complex ideas or posts than social media. On sites like Twitter, your content is limited by the character limit, so you have to convey your message as simply and straightforwardly as possible, because every character counts. But on most forum sites, there's hardly a limit on how much you can type. This allows you to dive more in-depth into your thoughts and ideas than a single tweet could ever hope to convey.

Now obviously, forums have their big flaws as well. They can be intimidating to newbies used to social media. A lot of garbage communities and sites exist, and many of them have their fair share of blatant censorship and obvious political biases too, just look at ResetERA. And much like how not everything in forum sites is creative or good, not all of traditional social media is utter garbage either. In general though, I feel like message forum sites generally have more compelling upsides than mainstream social media apps. For all this recent talk about restoring free speech to places like Twitter and such. I honestly believe that a better way to encourage more free speech online, is to promote and create more independent forum sites. That way everybody can be happy and we can all have more resonable discourse on the internet again.
 
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HoodWinked

Member
cbc no GIF by Kim's Convenience
 

nush

Member
Yes, because it's segregated from the people in the real world and mostly like minded people gather on them. It's not constantly nagging you with updates and alerts too. I miss the forum culture of the 2000's before the normies flooded onto the internet.
 
They both excel in different things. I don't use any social media though and hate it.

If you want to organize topics and discussion like files in a windows operating system, plainly and neatly, and have full control over how you interact with that, then forums are 10 million x better.

If you want to give a mini-press conference to a large mass of people you never speak to, and you're famous, then I'm sure Twitter is probably worth something. If you want to keep in touch with grandma, then Facebook is for you.
 

Happosai

Member
Forums/Message boards have never really changed and that's just how I like it. Social media is a horribly toxic environment which reveals too much of the individual, is now a platform for defamation beyond 'just the internet' and brings out the absolute worst in people who may have seemed otherwise decent. That last past about bringing out the worst, there are people I respected (prior to leaving social media in 2019) who I 'friended' and had to hear vehement political banters and a number of other things which made me never want to speak to those people again. Look at forums...we have discussion, information, disagreements & handshakes with a basic formatting. There's no doxing, threads (in GAFs case) require posters to stick on topic, moderation is handled better and if you're getting upset with a poster...just ignore. No need to block someone or take it personally. Maybe take ignore off as there can be misinterpretation too in the number of posts.
 
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When done right, forums feel more like a community of people sharing their thoughts on their favorite topics and interests, similar to hanging out at large barbecue or friendly convention. It’s also great when people have different opinions(in order to avoid echo chambering) and they can reach a common ground in talking points.

The worst part of forums is when people treat them as outlets to constantly edgelord out, rant, troll, and piss off everyone. It screams that they are going through rough times and depend too heavily upon the forum for their own mental health, or either lack common decency, or lack social interaction skills, or they think that the forum is their personal screambox. They don’t understand that if you just be a decent human being and treat others decently you might have an infinitely better time and maybe even find some buddies to enjoy your hobbies with.

You just have to be open enough to have uncomfortable conversations, to take a joke sometimes, and to concede points if you lose an argument instead of doubling down to impress others.

I’m saying all of this to state that this can’t happen on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube because they all have algorithms where their sole purpose is to solve your life’s equation and to corner you into your own bubble echo chamber. On forums, if a community ends up in a bubble, it means that the moderation was way too harsh or that the community did it entirely to themselves.

Edit: Also, the minute this entire forum stops treating ERA like the one ex that badly burned them, or like an exclusive club that they are still mad they were kicked out of, and we stop caring and actually start focusing more on GAF only, is when this place will finally evolve like a Pokémon.

You guys shackle yourselves by the ankles because you constantly talk about a place that doesn’t care about you. So why care about them?
 
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LiquidMetal14

hide your water-based mammals
As long as it's not a woke triggered forums like one we all know, yes. I don't like the structure of how FB or Twitter works. Terrible place for discussion.

Instatham and Snapchat wouldn't be included as I look at those as primarily pic/video apps.
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
Forums are better assuming you got enough people to take part in it.

Also, forums have more detailed discussion. Not everyone likes reading giant novels or posts, but you can do it on a forum. On social media sites, it's more like drive by quick hits of info or something stupid like someone on Twitter wants to do a lengthy message but has to break it up into 4 parts due to limitations.... 1/4, 2/4 etc... Looks retarded. I forget what it was about, but one time someone I saw did a 20 part tweet.
 

-Minsc-

Member
The different platforms have different uses with their own pros and cons. People above have done a good job of laying things out.

I realize a dream of mine is to set up a forum for my local community to use. A forum where I don't hid myself behind an alias. Convincing people to use it over Facebook would be the hard part. Or maybe, people would take to it far easier than I believe?

A lot of garbage communities and sites exist, and many of them have their fair share of blatant censorship and obvious political biases too, just look at ResetERA.

Edit: Also, the minute this entire forum stops treating ERA like the one ex that badly burned them, or like an exclusive club that they are still mad they were kicked out of, and we stop caring and actually start focusing more on GAF only, is when this place will finally evolve like a Pokémon.

You guys shackle yourselves by the ankles because you constantly talk about a place that doesn’t care about you. So why care about them?
I have to agree with March Climber March Climber

It has been what, five years since the split? ResetERA is another forum that exists out there and I believe it's best to let them be. I wish that community the best for their future. NeoGAF carries its own brand of dumpster fire so it's best not to look down on another forum. May NeoGAF continue to grow in improve in its own way.
 
Yes, because it's segregated from the people in the real world and mostly like minded people gather on them. It's not constantly nagging you with updates and alerts too. I miss the forum culture of the 2000's before the normies flooded onto the internet.
The iPhone killed internet culture.
 

lachesis

Gold Member
I like the fact that forums don't have length limits... but at the same time, it actually encouraged to have the posters to really think about what they write and how, in order to reach the readers to avoid TL;DR.

A lot of quick jabs at the social media is just thoughtless, and tasteless. I'd rather take on good ol' platform flaming war which at least have some thoughts put into it than just sheer anger and name calling.
 
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DeafTourette

Older than air but younger than the foundations of the earth
I found family members on FB that I never knew I had. I found my biological father through it. My actual friends are on there.

Message board forums USED to be great and for actually meeting people and becoming friends. Nowadays... Not so much.
 

dr_octagon

Banned
Social media is a faucet left running until the bath overfills, then the house gets damaged.

Only the warped wooden of what is left of the kitchen floor. The living room carpet now a distressed and oversatured sponge.

I just remembered I left the oven on.
 

-Minsc-

Member
Forums are better but social media has actual impact on the world.
I believe forums do have an actual impact on the world. For example, I'll use solar power. Over the past couple decades hobbyists would have used numerous online discussion forums to connect from over the world to share their love of DIY solar. Thanks to these hobbyists, neighbors would have seen these cool solar systems and helped to slowly increase awareness and demand. Sure, social media has been a major factor in slapping solar in peoples faces. Government funding has helped solar spread by giving people the incentive to pay another to install a system. The forum is where the magic outside the mainstream happens.
 

nush

Member
Message board forums USED to be great and for actually meeting people and becoming friends. Nowadays... Not so much.

Forum meets were great back in the day, you'd tell people that were not part of them that you'd be going to some pub in London to meet "people from the internet"and they would look at you like you were crazy because it could be dangerous. The reality was it was a bunch of nerds from all walks of life getting drunk in a pub in London.

20 years later those "People from the internet are dangerous" types would be having sex with people from the internet thanks to apps like it was nothing.
 

Esca

Member
I've always enjoyed forums. Sense of community and actually able to make friends by getting to know each other. Get to know the person and aren't judging them by anything but by what they say/ act so a lot of bs is removed
 

64bitmodels

Reverse groomer.
yeah, social media is inherently designed for people to say dumb hot takes or say provocative shit to get the most amount of likes, retweets, or whatever
don't feel like GAF is that much different though when the exact same thing happens a lot here. people make troll threads, say inflammatory stuff, or respond with quick and witty one liners/GIFs in the chase of getting that gold
and i can admit i've done that too with that horrendous thread i made on Monday. The only difference is that GAF is a much safer and much more familiar place, you're more likely to encounter the same few faces in a thread rather than see some bunch of people you don't know. On social media you have to follow a person to see wtf they're doing. on GAF that's less necessary.
 

BadBurger

Is 'That Pure Potato'
Yes, definitely. Discussion forums are a god send compared to other social media.

I used Reddit heavily from about 2012 until shortly before I signed up here (was a mod on a 60k-ish sub, at least at the time). I also used Twitter heavily during that period. Forums are more personal, the conversations tend to be deeper given the nature of how they work compared to other social media, there's less restrictions on when it comes to posting content, and the moderation is often far more personal in a sense. Social media is also plagued by the millions of rude drive-by antagonists that is almost never, ever curbed by moderation.
 
Granted I don't really use much 'social media' but I feel like it's more the common person getting online and the corporations monetizing everything rather than the underlying format.

Message boards have gotten shittier too after all.
 
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EverydayBeast

thinks Halo Infinite is a new graphical benchmark
I use to use social media I thought I had to, soon as I found out how much time it wastes I was out I’m good.
 
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