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I miss forums


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"Boards" as they're known 'round these parts.


Non-threaded and topicalized stuff, Twitter, Discord\Slack\Teams, are terrible for compartmentalizing.

Reddit and other heavily topical sites (StackExchange) are terrible for getting to know folks.


Like the WGB used to be I often think the sign of a healthy board or forum is when most of the posting is in the off-topic channels. Means folks are engaging with each other and not just engaging with the content. Creates community. Which makes things good.


Modern web kinda prevents this.




I miss WGB being active. I miss forums.


Modern web is kinda trash.


Anybody got any forums they'd recommend? I sometimes hit up herogames.com/forums but that's pretty niche. ;D

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It probably shows my age, but I still participate in several games discussion fora, and in the comment section of a couple of blogs where each blog post and its associated comments work a bit like a forum thread, usually starting focused, diversifying and wandering aimlessly if the thread lasts long enough, before being abandoned, either because people stop writing, or because they are focusing in the next shiny thing / thread.


Most of the participants are of a similar age, and got started in e-mail discussion boards or regular digests of such posts. So the forum architecture is familiar and allows enough time and space for reasoned posts and measured responses, even if at the end of the day most posts are knee jerk responses and there are a reduced series of conversation attractors that any long enough thread will visit, from space exploration to distribution of power in the Roman republic, depending on the people involved. Here it tended to be futurism, exotic food and bathrooms, among others, but clearly they do not attract us any more.


People have been trying other platforms, and other grognards (grumbling veterans) have tried and even enjoyed inventions such as Twitter, Facebook Meta, Slack, and whatever is the latest promise of lots of signal and little noise, and without putting your wallet or soul at risk. I am an old dog, and even though I tried to enjoy all those newfangled inventions I tire of them in a week or two, and somehow manage to retain my interest in fora. I suspect it is some OCD switch in my brain, or the fact that usually you have a lot to read in the old archives of a long lived forum. It gives me a certain guilty pleasure to quote what I wrote in 1995, or even 2004, but that content is misplaced in the case of the previous incarnation of the WGB.


I am around Slitherine games forums, and also Chaosium, as bother are mostly populated by people with similar ages and interests to me. The comments section of Charles Stross blog gets toxic relatively quick but is worthwhile reading and participating in the first three hundred replies. I also lurk and participate in the comments of A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry. I even take part in the Steam discussion pages of certain games I enjoy, but that is half way to reading Reddit or panning for gold in a random river. Lots of effort for a few gold nuggets. I also used to haunt several webcomics comments or fora, but I have quit that filthy habit. Too much showering required.


I also check here once in a while, but I estimate you need 5-10 participants to keep a thread going, and probably at least ten times as many to keep a forum varied enough to visit daily, so I am resigned this will just remain in a coma till the owners decide to disconnect the respirator and let it go and rest in peace.

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This all seems cromulent and quite congruent with my experiences, also showing my age. ;D


Twitter and Slack and Discord being non-threaded are just incomprehensible unless you're *there at the time* when whatever the thing is starts.


Very much agree about reading\rereading old threads. But surely that's almost exclusively the domain of old heads.


I'll have a look at the Chaosium forums...


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I would not blame anyone, unless it would be WG changing his media sharing habits. A forum requires a critical mass to function, some hundred frequent posters and a dozen or more daily posters. Otherwise it becomes just a series of one on one converstaions and that is better suited to other media. So no single person is to blame. Even a quite heroic effort by Minx and Heavyboots was not enough to make this one take off, mainly because we had no new influx to balance the daily wear and tear.


I have to blame myself for not adapting to slack, that seems to work well with a lower headcount. As I come and go, I really need some kind of threads, and possibly why the only parts that work for me are those slow moving ones that actually work like one of the old megathreads.


The problem with all the remaining fora I have joined is that they are not very friendly to off-topic threads, even if they do have a subsection for that. I wonder if we will see a sudden influx of people when the TV series comes out.

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  • 1 month later...

I have been coming here but not logged in and not noticing new posts :lol:


Not ignoring you all. We have a decent Slack these days, but of course it's an insider group. I have been hoping The Peripheral would bring some noobz here, but it seems not. But with Twitter Muskifying, who knows? it could happen!

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  • 3 months later...

My food geek forum is pretty dead anymore (most people have gone to instagram I think?)


My Radiohead forum is pretty quiet although I think most of us visit at least once a week...but things only get busy when there's new Radiohead-related music/tours, now. Some of it I think is twitter (it's funny bc I was an early adopter among that group and now I don't go, but they're not interested enough to try Mastodon) and some is facebook and some is that they don't have time in their grown-up lives to hang around with internet weirdos, I suspect.

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As you can see I still come around, though less often. I still enjoy a few RPG and wargame forums which are doing still quite well, though real life is quite busy for me right now.


Recently I have been browsing Slack because I expect to meet ArkanGL next Sunday, to see how things are with the old WGB crew, and it still does not click. I have a few free hours every two-three days, not a few minutes every day, 


The Peripheral watchers are not forum people, so they will set up their own discussion zones.  And they go unnoticed by the dinosaurs.


My empirical experience with those forums that still work remains the same I said above. A dozen (or more) of people that post at least daily, a core group that know each other by name and style, around 40-50 people, and two-three times as much infrequent posters that are needed to keep the forum from running in clircles discussing the same things time and time again. Add moderation and mobility, so trolls are con-trolled and people move between the three groups so populations hold steady.


I do not think we can get those numbers again. And what made the WGB so special was the fascinating and huge Random Thoughts. Most forums have that but it is a big minority of the discussions, rather than the main purpose, and discussions outside the main drive tend to sputter and die in less than a dozen replies. That unique behavious probably arose from the light nudges of our host, as we knew he was looking on us benevolently, and we wanted to do right, and the general awesomeness of some of the frequent posters that energized some discussions and placed a high quality benchmark that made the rest of us strive to be worthy of it.


Awesomeness seems to be in short supply right now...


I still exchange e-mails with a few WGB people, twenty years later, and even reached out to a guy I had not met (or written) in seven years once I knew I had some free time in Nantes. But every year I write less, and they reply less, and the nostalgia gets stronger, even if it is impossible to return.

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  • 3 weeks later...
"I write less, and they reply less, and the nostalgia gets stronger, even if it is impossible to return."

Ain't that the truth. It's very sad.

To which point, I have decided that I need to resurrect the ancient art of letter writing. I have a fountain pen collection that needs exercise and I need to keep my calligraphy hand in. I recently wrote to a couple of non-WGB friends and found the practice remarkably calming and sustaining. So who wants a missive from your truly, written on actual paper, probably in a shade of ink referencing colour finishes on Gibson Les Paul guitars (or whatever other obscure Diamine ink I have to hand)?
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I did have a flurry of letter writing between 2004 and 2006. In the past, written letters were a kind of compromise. I send you proof of what I mean and my feelings. Now, in a way, the electronic is proof of trust, as it is easy to resend and distribute, while a handwritten letter is mostly private and difficult to share with others. That made it the right way for one on one communication. But it is so much work...


So I stopped, or the replies stopped coming. 


However I lost some e-mails from some people, a combination of computer change, bit rot, broken servers and moments of melancholy, while I keep full correspondence with some people, with the negative that all that has survived is what I share also with Google. At the same time I still keep one sided traces of long and I suppose brilliant written correspondence, as I have no real idea today what I wrote, only what they wrote back. 


I always mused that I should keep a copy of my letters, but I felt that was not the point, as in that case, just write an e-mail. Written letters are like hostage exchanges, and you have to trust the other side to take care of your children. Letters also allow the exchange of other things. Images, gifts, old style music.


The letters mostly started because exchanging music CDs requires an envelope, and that requires at least a short written letter. I have tortured a few select people with my own musical tastes since 2003, and I continued in some cases till 2015, though the last wide sending was in 2008. And with some people the exchange of words became the point. Because at least for me to send a physical letter engages a different set of revision than an e-mail, or a social media message. And it also has a degree of permanency. I may prepare a draft, but once it is written it is written, and unless it is horrible, the words on the paper remain, and they are sent.


Possibly I stopped doing so when I realised I lost more acquaintances through letters than e-mails. Because the letter is also taken more seriously. And the consequences are real.


Conversely, to write of love, ink on paper conveys feeling in a way pixels on a screen cannot do.


I am preparing a 20 year anniversary music compilation. The music is ready. I feel I have been composing it the last 14 years, sincethe  last one I mentioned, the soundtrack of those lonely years. Now the problem is the physicality, the image, the accompanying text. And the last obstacle will be the accompanying letter. Some people will be easy. But I know others will be extremely hard.

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