Forums or Chat for Online Communities

June 30, 2017
Posted in News
June 30, 2017 Grex

Forums or Chat for Online Communities

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Forums are outdated not “live” and generally lack the instantaneous feedback that you would get from say Discord Chat.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.



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Grumpkin in Training

Notable Replies

  • I think when I first found this community I was searching for like-minded people to game with and chat about the latest gaming news with.

    I did use Reddit for both of things before, but trying to find people to game with there can sometimes feel like whispering during a Rammstein gig.

    Now I’ve been here a while I’m glad that I found it, since it has caused me to redefine my own definition of community and realise why other people found / join these type of things.

    It was almost humbling to find that some members of this clan have been members for years, especially in the current age of constantly evolving and ever-changing popularity of the various aspects of the gaming community as a whole; everything from indie developers to social media platforms and even news articles that can have thousands of comments one day and be dropped into obscurity by the next.

    To bring back onto the point, I think forums are a central pillar of most online communities but the chat can really bring members together on a day-to-day and help strengthen the bonds formed over common interests.

    It is probably even more important for the PC gamers, since there is no single place for them to congregate that stands out, though there are hundreds of options on how to do so.
    Conversely, the consoles only have a few tools that everyone uses which brings them together naturally.

    I don’t think I have a summarising sentence.

  • People have this preconceived notion that the forums are hard to use. Our forums are not, I use them every day from PC and my phone. It works exactly like chat and updates in real time.

    Members just need to understand the difference and the value of each. Both serve a useful purpose. Chat is more for “in the moment” conversations. Forums are better for more in depth conversations or information that people need to reference over time.

    A conversation on Chat at 8 am will never be seen by Joe User at 5pm. And that’s why you see the same questions asked over and over in chat. Or you don’t get the responses needed.

    I also understand that most people don’t give a shit. They want the instant gratification that chat offers. I get it. I just hope everyone understands the value of the forums. They really are vital to the continued growth of this community.

  • Forums = Information and Scheduling

    Discord = B.S, in the moment Q&A

    I read these forums like crazy when I joined from Reddit. The amount of useful information here is great. I wouldn’t still be here if it was a Discord only community. Discord is great, and I can tag someone I need to get ahold of immediately for in game purposes. Otherwise it’s mostly used for chatting with everyone while I’m on my breaks at work. I love the forums. Everything I need is here thanks to the higher ups.

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