One of my favourite things online are message boards. I’ve always thought that their importance is underrated, and I believe it’s because so much of their content can lie in long threads that nobody will read unless they’re a regular on the board, and sometimes all the content on the board is completely hidden to people who aren’t logged in.
Another thing is that the general navigation of most message board software is kind of bad – when you first show up, you often see 10-20 different forums, and you have no clue which are the juiciest ones. Quite often, the most interesting stuff happens in the off-topic areas, or some random thread will go on for years in a section that isn’t the most popular.
To me, there is nothing I have ever enjoyed online more than a couple of message boards I used to frequent where a decent amount of the users were smart, and funny, and would start making fun of something, or someone (often some guy who showed up looking to cause trouble). It’s hard to really describe without sounding dumb, but it really is one of the best things online.
Anyway, I don’t want to write a whole big essay about forums, this is just something I think about sometimes – how underrated they are. There’s one in particular I don’t go to anymore, but maybe once a year I check back in and there’s always so much hilarious drama going on – there’s almost always some longtime poster who decided to use his social goodwill to ask other members for money for something or other, and then has done something dumb with it instead of whatever his pretense was. Quite often these are things like “Guys I’m temporarily homeless, I need to borrow money for 2 months rent”, etc.
Now and then I think about starting some sort of board, but I think it’s very tough to just start one and have good people join. It’s somewhat random as far as what boards just get a good combination of users, and I think you need to have a pretty defined topic. I’ve seen a few people over the years say “I’m starting a message board, and it’s only going to have cool people I know” – that’s a big mistake, I think you totally have to get a bunch of random people also showing up, to keep things interesting.
Okay whatever, just some thoughts, this is not a very interesting post, sorry.