With the recent push of Streamers going to discord chat to run their communities and other gaming sites dropping their forums for chat, I thought it might be good to explain why GRG will always push Forums over chat. Also to talk about the benefits and drawbacks to both and why ultimately we have both. We feel an online community such as ours, gaming or not needs both.
This really comes down to what the goal of the community is. Is it simply an extension of the chat stream from your personal Twitch stream? Are you looking to personally connect with other people within a specific field like Gaming? Or, are you looking for something entirely different. Community is a pretty broad term that defines itself as a group of individuals coming together over a specific topic. For GRG that is people over the age of 25 that like video games.
Forums are outdated not “live” and generally lack the instantaneous feedback that you would get from say Discord Chat. This is the general thought among people today, especially the youth. Now chat lacks is the ability to step out of the here and now and get into full conversations and discussions with other people that are not currently in front of their chat window at this possible moment. When you sign into chat there could be any number of conversations going on that you just jumped into the middle of. Do you care about any of those conversations? Are you going to spend the time to scroll back through the wall of text trying to figure out when the conversation started and try to follow it as its mashed in between other conversations. I know I won’t. Meaning i just missed out on maybe some good conversations that I could have participated in. That is not taking into account any conversations that started and ended before you even entered the room. Forums allow you to focus in on a conversation. Take the time to provide a full thought out response.
What chat is great at is that instantaneous feedback for things like grouping up in a game at this moment and the general ass-hatery that we drone on with during our workday. Its great for quickly getting out a statement or sharing a video with the people that are online at this moment.
The general feel with forums is that they are not “live” in that it takes to long to get a response, i have to refresh the page and its much simpler just to spill out what I what to say into a chat window for all to see. When we found Discourse we knew we had to make it work and create a site and community around it. We feel, as the developers do that community thrive on making bonds with its members online. They only way I understand how to do that is with be able to create in depth conversations with the entire community which I do not see happening with chat. I simply cannot understand why a chat program alone can drive a community. Its sole purpose is for the here and now and unfortunately for the society today that is what everyone wants. Instant gratification instead of the more in depth connection. One other great benefit that allows Discourse to bridge that gap between old school forums and chat is that it updates in real-time. No need to refresh your page. So you can have that instant gratification as well as keeping your conversations separate and allow everyone in the community be able to follow and contribute to that conversation at any time.