Drew Wilson has an important announcement about the future of the official forums. He is asking for your input on them.
Back in October of 2018, Freezenet introduced the web forums. The idea is to allow a dynamic place for you, the reader, to hang out with other readers and discuss whatever you wanted. Since the closure of Slyck and ZeroPaid, Freezenet basically became the only place left where refugees of both sites could go and keep the discussion going. It is also a place where new readers could meet each other and chat.
We spent a great deal of time and effort maintaining those forums. After creating a fully customized approach to handling spam, those forums have remained pretty much spam free for three and a half years (and can very easily keep going). I also make regular postings to seed discussion (well over 2,000 posts, actually). After all this, we’ve been assessing how the forums have been doing.
Honestly, things haven’t been that great. While every other feature has been thriving, the forums have continued to lag behind. In all, since its inception, posts not made by myself have totaled 12. The last legitimate posting was made well over a year ago. According to internal data, traffic to the forums accounts for roughly 1.5% of the overall site – and a vast majority of the traffic can easily be accounted for by my own activity.
Recently, an internal update wound up breaking a few critical features of the forums including the ability to post or edit anything. A simple fix is to basically update the CMS and, as anyone who maintains a PHPBB web forum can tell you, updating that is an absolute royal pain in the rear. It left me with the question: is this even worth my time and effort? Honestly, I’m not really sure about that at this stage. Literally, every other feature of this site offers a much bigger bang for my effort buck – and as I’ve found out the hard way, no one else has any interest in lending a helping hand to make this site better.
So, I want to hear from you: do you want Freezenet to keep these web forums? If you want me to keep this, please comment below. Otherwise, I’m leaning towards shutting this feature down. For me, a lack of response is an indicator that there is a lack of interest in keeping this. I like the idea of keeping the concept of open discussion alive, but if no one wants to use it, what’s the point? So, you’re feedback on this matter is hugely important.
I’ll be leaving the forums open in the interim while a decision is being made.