What makes a forum popular?

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Insinuator
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What makes a forum popular?

Post by Insinuator » March 28th, 2011, 12:44 am

Hello. Fairly simple question, really. I've been on a few different forums and there is a marked difference between them. For instance:

1. Forum of a commercial strategy game produced by a medium-sized European company with a global market. About 240,000 forumites, focus on retelling played games in dramatic fashion, tech support. Paradox Interactive

2. Forum of an RPG produced by a tiny, American, three person company. Little over 7500 members, relatively inactive, focus on helpful hints, opinion polls. Spiderweb Software

3. Forum of a free strategy game produced by a small international team of developers. Over 17,500 members, focus on making more content. Guess...

Just curious what draws people to one forum over another, I guess. And please don't say your lovely personalities. :P Just kidding.

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scienceguy8
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Re: What makes a forum popular?

Post by scienceguy8 » March 28th, 2011, 2:01 am

Obviously it is the services that the company supplies besides the forum that brings in forum users. I doubt anyone on this forum has not played The Battle for Wesnoth, or anyone on the Giant in the Playground forums has not read the Order of the Stick webcomic, or anyone at the Ambrosia Software forums has not used one of their utilities or games. The more popular the service, the greater the number of registered and active forum users.
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Zerovirus
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Re: What makes a forum popular?

Post by Zerovirus » March 28th, 2011, 2:06 am

The easiest answer is how popular the game is. Commercial games are more popular than open-source games are more popular than tiny games made by three people. From there you can extrapolate what the forum is focused on based on what the game is about.

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Re: What makes a forum popular?

Post by Pentarctagon » March 28th, 2011, 2:11 am

well there's not much fun being part of a virtually inactive forum. and while large forums are fun, they are fun because nothing that happens on them is taken seriously (any threads attempting to be serious get trolled hard). wesnoth falls nicely inbetween where its still active, but i can still get a serious response to a serious thread.
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Re: What makes a forum popular?

Post by Velensk » March 28th, 2011, 2:18 am

I think there must also be things for the community to do.

For example, I was a great fan of Ambrosia software from a young age and have fond memories of Cythera, Ares, and Ferazel's Wand in particular. However, at the time I was certainly not thinking about modding for any of them, didn't need strategic advice (though some of the puzzles in Cythera were annoying/unintuitive and I might have asked if I had known about the forum), so just about the only thing I would have gone to the Ambrosia forums to do would be for technical problems (of which I had few).

When I discovered Wesnoth, one of the things I noted about it was that it was constantly changing (at the time) and I think if you'll look back you'll find my very first post was some suggestions for ways I thought it might be a good idea for it to change. Later on I took up testing, then modding, and later writing guides/disecting replays. This can keep you quite busy if you find it fun and has kept me on the forum even at times when I'm not playing the game much.

Right now, I play a Starcraft II on an infrequent but steady basis and I rather enjoy it. On the other hand, I really don't have much interest in working on it/modding it/discussing it. I'm a low level platinum league player with a lot of room to improve and not a lot of solid opinions about balance (even playing random does little to give me solid opinions, I've won decisively as each race against each race, lost decisively as each race against each race and when it comes to it I can only come up with a general list of the indvidual match-ups that give me the most trouble but those change from player to player). I was never taken with Starcrafts story and don't have a whole lot to say about it other than that it seems to have gotten even more cliche recently. I don't have a whole lot of interest in creating custom content for it (the new system seems like it would make it difficult to get adequate testing for it). And finally, I generally find the company who plays Starcraft less pleasant than Wesnoth. So although at the moment I spend more time playing Starcraft than Wesnoth, I still don't have any reason to join their forums and I still show up around here.
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Re: What makes a forum popular?

Post by Frogger5 » March 28th, 2011, 4:12 am

Friendliness, helpfulness, mods that actually do their job properly, and the intolerance of flamers and trolls helps.
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Re: What makes a forum popular?

Post by Moribund » March 29th, 2011, 2:33 am

On the forum for the game Cortex Command very few if any of the forum regulars play the game with any sort of regularity, if at all. It really depends on what kind of forum it is.

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Re: What makes a forum popular?

Post by Insinuator » March 29th, 2011, 5:19 am

I've noticed that with several forums. A general rule of thumb is the higher post count, the less time spent playing the game. Which is reasonable. Even Wesnoth can get tiring.

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Kalajel
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Re: What makes a forum popular?

Post by Kalajel » March 29th, 2011, 6:39 pm

Two words; titties and boobies!

…what!?

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Frogger5
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Re: What makes a forum popular?

Post by Frogger5 » March 29th, 2011, 8:07 pm

Arghhh! Ban him! :augh:
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Re: What makes a forum popular?

Post by ShikadiQueen » March 30th, 2011, 7:21 am

Frogger5 wrote:Arghhh! Ban him! :augh:
Arghhh! Ban Frogger5!
I got better!

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Frogger5
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Re: What makes a forum popular?

Post by Frogger5 » March 30th, 2011, 7:54 am

Arghhhhh! :augh:

Oh, and popular forums dont have mods that ban people for harmless jokes. :oops:
No but seriously, its true. I once saw a forum with the most stuck up ban-trigger happy mod who banned anyone with the intention of making a post that contained humour. Not only that, but the mod was previously a major spammer. Not a very popular forum.
It was such a relief to find a forum with fair mods, and where flamers aren't tolerated.
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Re: What makes a forum popular?

Post by Jozrael » March 30th, 2011, 3:31 pm

Insinuator wrote:I've noticed that with several forums. A general rule of thumb is the higher post count, the less time spent playing the game. Which is reasonable. Even Wesnoth can get tiring.
Do you mean on an individual or forum wide basis? There's argument for and against the former, but I would disagree with the latter. While some people are hearts from Bartle's classifications and as such are more likely to want to spend time on the forum, I think that a high postcount can also show great personal investiture in the game. They generally care a lot about the game and feel the forum is a place to express their opinions on the game, especially if such discussion isn't especially productive in the game.

Case in point: League of Legends. Many active players are also active forumites. It's a ridiculously huge forum (by far the largest I've ever been a part of), and has vastly different social mechanics than here.

Insinuator
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Re: What makes a forum popular?

Post by Insinuator » March 30th, 2011, 7:06 pm

Jozrael wrote:While some people are hearts from Bartle's classifications and as such are more likely to want to spend time on the forum, I think that a high postcount can also show great personal investiture in the game. They generally care a lot about the game and feel the forum is a place to express their opinions on the game, especially if such discussion isn't especially productive in the game.
Oh, don't get me wrong, I know it indicates personal investiture in the game and that they care. It just seems that the longer they're on and the more they post, the less they play. It's about time allocation more than disinterest in the game.

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Kalajel
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Re: What makes a forum popular?

Post by Kalajel » March 30th, 2011, 8:57 pm

Frogger5 wrote:I once saw a forum with the most stuck up ban-trigger happy mod who banned anyone with the intention of making a post that contained humour.
Welcome to the AEG forum… well that may no longer be the case; I haven't been there in a while… Also, the official Minecraft forums; you can flame and be a jerk all you want, but for some reasons jokes are not tolerated (I had a 1 week ban for precisely this reason)… go figure!

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