The future of Tech-Forums

Trotter

Grandfather of Techist, , ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Staff member
Messages
32,947
Location
The South
There is an ongoing conversation in the mods' forum regarding the current state of TF and where we are going. I am going to share a bit of that here and solicit the input of the members of the community.

In a nutshell, TF is suffering from the same malaise that is afflicting most other computer-based forums and that is less and less traffic. Desktops and laptops are not dead but the majority of tech is moving more toward mobile computing and all that comes with it. Computer forums are floundering while mobile focused sites are exploding.

So, what does that mean?

From where I see it, it can mean that we remain just like we are and slowly dwindle until no one is left but a few devotees and the site shuts down. Or it can mean that we move to stop the hemorrhaging and refocus our efforts. Personally I am much more inclined to the second option.

So, again, what does that mean?

Almost everyone has a mobile phone today, and the vast majority of those are smartphones, whether they be Android, iPhone, or a Windows phone. And what is a smartphone? A smartphone is basically a tiny computer that has mobile connectivity and a phone app when you really get down to it. The various ecosystems differ from the traditional PC but the similarities are definitely there. Most here know computers and I wager that many also know mobile computing and phones as well.

We are looking at working to move the focus of the site more toward the mobile side of computing. That does not mean that we will abandon PCs, but it does mean that we will consolidate what we have in order to help facilitate the changes. New forums and areas will be created to allow users to participate in discussions involving new interests. There will other changes as well, but I do not want to speak beyond what I can safely share at the moment. There is a basic timeline but it is subject to change for now.

So, what do I want from you, the community?

What are your thoughts on this? What are your interests in this direction? What would you like to see? What do you not want to see? This could be a major endeavor and I want you all to be a part of it, to take ownership and pride in what we accomplish together. Give me your thoughts, your ideas, your suggestions. I do ask that the discussion be kept on this general topic so we of the leadership team can better follow it and glean from what is shared.
 

mikee

Fully Optimized
Messages
4,173
I say put more of an emphasis on smartphones, tablets and in general mobile devices. That should be front and center. Keep the existing hardware, software, gaming etc sections but maybe consolidate that under a heading of its own like desktop computers, laptops and building.

I am basically reiterating what you went over. I think its a great idea. Also maybe make an off topic tech talk area and see where that goes and allow for ideas for new sections and topics to come out of the discussions on that area.

I really don't want this forum to become like anythingbutipod. That site is a ghost town now since the general public doesn't buy mp3 players anymore.

I am thinking more in terms of the mobile section where maybe people could ask what sort of phone or tablet they should buy.

I feel out of the loop when it comes to tablets and phones. I just buy what ever is cheap and doesn't totally suck. Also something that has good custom rom support. Also windows tablets, I know nothing of that market although I want to possibly invest in a windows tablet in the future maybe once windows 10 comes out. So hopefully we have some members who are knowledgeable in these areas to help people out.

Hopefully we can keep this forum afloat.
 

carnageX

Private Joker,
Staff member
Messages
25,007
Location
South Dakota
I say put more of an emphasis on smartphones, tablets and in general mobile devices. That should be front and center. Keep the existing hardware, software, gaming etc sections but maybe consolidate that under a heading of its own like desktop computers, laptops and building.
IMO that'd almost be too condensed.
 

Oreo

-Deactivated-
Messages
5,723
Location
England
Sounds fair enough.

Not sure why it's assumed desktops are dying, though. Perhaps in general they are, but PC gaming is growing year on year so I don't see how that could result in anything other than an increase in people building / buying gaming PCs.

PS

Create a VR subforum, looks like it will be pretty big deal within the next few years ;)

Consider the fact Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Sony, Samsung and HTC all have products in the pipeline. Probably more too that just haven't announced anything yet.
 
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c0rr0sive

asdf
Messages
9,175
Location
asdf
IMO, we should start working more towards the mobile generation, and we should trim the excessive fat.

For me, when I come here, where I am a regular I can view the boards with ease as I know where everything is. But viewing another forum as large as this one, throws me off, I have no idea where things really are, and it keeps me from desiring to post there, or even signing up.

So we should honestly consider an archive, and kill off forums that aren't often used, and possibly relocate some, such as the Car-Talk forum, into a sub-forum of OT, with an Archive the entire thing should be "Read-Only", I have doubts we have enough traffic for some of our more... interesting boards like Enterprise to really keep them open sadly.

Have the Mobile forums close to the top of the page, and possibly, depending on how TF owners feel about it, allow talk of modding Android devices, and allow members to create guides for those devices. This should help bring in a good amount of traffic...

Site News
Mobile
-Android
--Samsung
--HTC
--ZTE
--Major Brands mostly, have one for unlisted brands or just the OS in general
-Apple
-iPhone
-iPod
-iPad
Desktop
(keep this the same as it is now IMO)
-Networking
-On-Topic computer talk
-Off-Topic Discussions (non-computer)


As for registration, is there a way to make it easier for users to be capable of posting without needing a mods approval?


Hope my ideas aren't too bad... 0.0
 
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Oreo

-Deactivated-
Messages
5,723
Location
England
IMO, we should start working more towards the mobile generation, and we should trim the excessive fat.

For me, when I come here, where I am a regular I can view the boards with ease as I know where everything is. But viewing another forum as large as this one, throws me off, I have no idea where things really are, and it keeps me from desiring to post there, or even signing up.

So we should honestly consider an archive, and kill off forums that aren't often used, and possibly relocate some, such as the Car-Talk forum, into a sub-forum of OT, with an Archive the entire thing should be "Read-Only", I have doubts we have enough traffic for some of our more... interesting boards like Enterprise to really keep them open sadly.

Have the Mobile forums close to the top of the page, and possibly, depending on how TF owners feel about it, allow talk of modding Android devices, and allow members to create guides for those devices. This should help bring in a good amount of traffic...

Site News
Mobile
-Android
--Samsung
--HTC
--ZTE
--Major Brands mostly, have one for unlisted brands or just the OS in general
-Apple
-iPhone
-iPod
-iPad
Desktop
(keep this the same as it is now IMO)
-Networking
-On-Topic computer talk
-Off-Topic Discussions (non-computer)


As for registration, is there a way to make it easier for users to be capable of posting without needing a mods approval?


Hope my ideas aren't too bad... 0.0
I agree, but people on this for are incredibly anti-Apple. I hope we can get over that when pushing towards being a mobile forum.
 

Yami

Lady Techie
Messages
8,105
Location
UK
Making a greater focus on mobile devices, and interesting new avenues such as VR as kman said, or perhaps steamboxes, I think is the way to go.

Also, as hardware becomes less and less accessible to us due to the popularity of thin+light devices, I think perhaps a slightly greater focus on the software side of things might be a good idea too.

One of the larger issues nowadays is that a lot of tech forum-type content is built around communities where its leaders are producing content, typically the YouTube types like LinusTechTips. They produce reviews, unboxings, conference videos and such, and none of that content ever ends up pointing here, as they point their subscribers to their own forums. Those subscribers never really have a reason to leave those forums and communities.

I think without some sort of official content production to bring in new users I think we're destined to wither away entirely.
 

PP Mguire

Build Guru
Messages
30,380
Location
Fort Worth, Texas
I think the problem that isn't being addressed is sites like these are becoming less popular because people are going to places like Youtube more where they find a guy like Linus or the NCIX dudes and then frequent their forums. The success of places like Hard or TPU come from being consistent with content that's hit up frequently, like the rumors in tech news, big time reviews like Titan X and others. They also have newer boards with newer features that people can use like a Facebook login for the guys who don't want to take the time to register. Not a whole lot of down time either. If TPU goes down they are usually back up in maybe 10 mins or so. In the mobile sense I don't think we could ever compete with a place like XDA, and since any kind of piracy, torrent, or emulation talk is forbidden we don't have much of a grasp on that area either. The constant inter user bickering also puts new users off. I'd hate nothing more than my thread to be mucked up by 2 pages or arguing.

I'm at work so I can't say a whole bunch but those are a few of my thoughts.
 

zaka100

W͂Oͨ̍̍̒̈́͛̕
Messages
760
Location
Birmingham, UK
I think the problem is the website design. It just looks very old and 'default'. Have a look at websites like stackoverflow and tom's hardware! They have a good, modern design and it makes them look more lively and updated! If a first time visitor had a look at Tech-Forums, he/she will think that the website was abandoned years ago!
 

borstarhymes

whats high score mean
Messages
5,639
Location
new york
i know this is a serious thread and all I post in is in the gaming thread that being said could the master race be dying off, just like the gods of olympus
 
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