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    Thread: Hot Question in Hot Summer : Are Online Forums inching towards inevitable... Death ?

    1. #1
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      Hot Question in Hot Summer : Are Online Forums inching towards inevitable... Death ?

      Mercury is hovering around 40, in some places higher, in some places humid.

      Some of us friends were having a debate over cold cup of coffee. One of them brought up this topic, that Automobile Forums are slowing fading away. there is so much of information overload. There is also a overload of social networking sites, every one discussing almost same topics. most interesting is most automobile forums have same set of people in different roles. the friend even commented that all the noise across india in automobile forums is made by some 100 odd members and rest are all mute readers or followers. He also mentioned that on an average, life of a forum member is 1.5 to 2 years, after which he become silent.

      So i thought why not ask this question to the members of the automobile forum.

      What do you think ?

      Are Automobile Forums still relevant ? Are they adding value to your Car Experience ?
      What benefits you see in being a member in such forums ?

      Hope i do not get answers from only same highly vocal members. one of the way to assess the answer is how many responses this thread would see.

      Last edited by Nomad; 25th Apr 2016 at 11:09.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Nomad View Post
      Hope i do not get answers from only same highly vocal members. one of the way to assess the answer is how many responses this thread would see.
      LoL - now I dont know if I should answer - or I shouldn't!

      Everything has a shelf-life... everything. About a decade back forums were a nice way to share knowledge, meet like minded people etc. The average shelf life of a member used to be around 3-5 years - and then priorities change, interests change, and participation reduces.

      You can have a repository of information - but who is interested? We are in the era of instant gratification. We want instant noodles, instant coffee, instant answers - no one is interested in spending time on research, waiting for a reply etc. Now a days, with the proliferation of 'instant' mobile networking options like WhatsApp etc, bulk of the action seems to have moved onto those platforms. I personally am a part of a few groups and I see seniors (as in old-timers) discussing more subjects there than they do on forums. Earlier all this would have happened on the forums (including meets etc).
      Last edited by kb100; 25th Apr 2016 at 12:03. Reason: Typo - What Else!
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      I think What's App has taken the biggest hit on Forums, since it's easier and quicker to message a person directly and get all the details you need and also have a continuous conversation without any time lag.

      That said, I don't think forums will DIE anytime soon. I still constantly read Gearheads and DIYMA whenever I get the time. I may not post much, but being a mute spectator isn't a bad thing at all.

      Just a few days ago, I had a client walk into the shop and tell me that he wanted his Creta install to be done like a thread he had seen on Gearheads and proceeded to show me the link. He didn't know that I co-founded Gearheads. So yes, people still look at forums for these things I think.

      Like Sujit said, every member has a shelf life on Forums during which period their posting activity is at the highest. And then they either fade away or move onto other things that may interest them. I've been an "active" member on forums since 2004 and there are times I feel like taking a break too and I have on some occasions in the past.

      Quote Originally Posted by Nomad View Post
      the friend even commented that all the noise across india in automobile forums is made by some 100 odd members and rest are all mute readers or followers.
      This is not just true of Indian automobile forums, but this is true of any forum worldwide.
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      Quote Originally Posted by mclaren1885 View Post
      He didn't know that I co-founded Gearheads.
      your online name is more famous than real name, that is a benefit you have reaped by being a member in these forums. You are a self made person on-line (an offline as well )


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      Quote Originally Posted by Nomad View Post
      Are Automobile Forums still relevant ? Are they adding value to your Car Experience ?
      Yes, automobile forums are still relevant. It does help a lot to have questions/doubts/suggestions on the forum.

      Quote Originally Posted by kb100 View Post
      Now a days, with the proliferation of 'instant' mobile networking options like WhatsApp etc, bulk of the action seems to have moved onto those platforms.
      These are less intrusive than things like Whatsapp. I am member of Tata Safari Group on whatsapp, I have left that group once, but was added once again. It is so noisy there. Un-necessary messages from members. Though one can mute a group on whatsapp, a forum is still like old age newspaper, where you can read on leisure, rather than whatsapp which is like watching live-tv and all that junk breaking news.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Nomad View Post
      There is also a overload of social networking sites,
      A reason for forums to exist, in fb any one with a fb account can comment on a issue. So the quality or relibility is questionable.

      Many websites allow users to comment on their sites using fb account, one can read a lot of crazy reviews.


      Quote Originally Posted by Nomad View Post
      rest are all mute readers or followers
      This has to be blamed on our schools, nobody will comment even if they know something. People are timid to give opinions or even ask questons.

      Now i know how teachers felt when students keet silent when asked a question.


      Quote Originally Posted by Nomad View Post
      Are Automobile Forums still relevant ? Are they adding value to your Car Experience ?
      Yes.
      Quote Originally Posted by Nomad View Post
      What benefits you see in being a member in such forums ?
      It helps me not get my purse ripped off by the ASC .

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      IMO, yes Whatsapp has taken some action out of such forums involving one to one quick discussions. But people who don't tend to be lending ears to one persons view (like me) still sought other sources like forums. The amount of learning I had with GH is something I cannot forget & so is my contribution to the forum here.

      To put it in simple terms, those folks who create an account just for the sake of getting information & becoming a daemon user is a trend happening for a while. But there are some folks (do not wish to name only a few as there are many of them) who regularly contribute to the community. Personal & official commitments may keep them apart for some time. But they do come back & provide their contributions whenever they could.

      And no such communities won't die. Am sure

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      I was discussing this topic with sriharsha yesterday. Looks like Nomad can read my mind.

      Coming to topic, Instant messaging clients and social networking sites have made discussion easier and convenient. And the number of mobile users increased. No wonder forums don't get much active members these days.

      For me, the software used to run forum plays important role in participating forums. I tend to like WBB,Discourse,Xenforo powered sites more. VB,Mybb powered sites don't look good in mobile for me (compared to new platforms).
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      Forums are threatened by new breed of Q/A websites. But they are not replacement of forums, as yet.
      - Quora - I spend a lot of time reading interesting Q&As and comments on them. But it is just too general purpose. Topics range from Bollywood to Space Stations. An automobile question for example can easily be lost among the 'popular' and 'latest' topics.
      - Stackexchange - (Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair Stack Exchange is closest to automobiles) - I have learned a lot from several sites in this network of websites for professionals. But outside one's area of expertise, you feel like noob and are treated like such. They are just too specific about their content.

      Forums are specific and general purpose at the same time. That's their beauty. One forum can replace another, but forums won't be eliminated completely.

      And remember there will always be much more reader than writer. Look at Twitter most tweets are retweets. This seems normal and universal.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Nomad View Post
      Are Online Forums inching towards inevitable... Death ?
      There is no way a whatsapp can match the grievance section of gearheads Long live forums, particularly those forums which have grievance sections
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