Web Forum Life-Cycle.
Web forums have a life-cycle. They are born, and they live, and they die. Sometimes they spawn new ones as the users leave for other platforms, but mostly they just end in spam and junk and rot.
In stage zero they struggle to find users. Most of them also die in that state. Stillborn. You have never heard of almost all of the forums that died in stage zero. Probably actually all of them.
Some however get traction. They pass into stage one. An interesting, fun, creative, and intelligent crowd gathers. The forum finds active users. Those users have amazing conversation and the forum prospers and becomes popular.
But once a forum becomes popular, the crowds come and with them the idiots and sycophants, the conspiracy theorists and racists. With them the advertisers and spammers. The snake-oil salesmen. The trolls. The bullies. The bots run by corporate and national agencies. They enter Stage Two (A). Where the conversation becomes more stupid and the interesting, fun, creative, and intelligent people drift off.
That’s not the only fate of a forum. There are other things which can end one. People may move to another platform, or it may fail for lack of new-blood, everyone getting to know each other so well there is nothing left to talk about. Or people may just grow out of it, no longer interested in the TV show or band or whatever it was centered around. They enter Stage Two (B), and become insignificant.
All forums end. Either as empty tumble-weed littered deserts like stage 2(B) or crowded bot and spam filled idiocy like stage 2(A).
Which means you may know me from one forum (or even from real life!) and wish to find me as we surf the crest of forum-advancement, leaving dead forums in our wake as we catch the conversational wave across platforms.
These are the social-network/forum identities I am currently prepared to admit publicly are me. I hope there are currently others where the conversation is so amazing I don’t want you and the masses you bring polluting it yet frankly. I aim to keep this page updated until I’m as dead as a ten year old forum, so bookmark it if you want. Come back and find me in 20 years.
https://boing.world/@pre – My profile on the boing.world instance of an activity-pub federated network of twitter-like micro-blogs. The activity-pub “fediverse” (universe of federated forums) is in that zeroth stage really. Finding the users. But doing so in a new and decentralized way. My guess is I don’t even know about the most interesting activity-pub forums. That one is for me and my friends. Let me know if you’d like an account.
https://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=pre – HackerNews is a geeky forum for talking about tech and startup-company news. I read WAY more than I post. Unless you are a tech or business geek, they do not want you and they will deliberately try to be boring to you. They have avoided Stage 2(A), to the extent they have, by aggressive and strict moderation. If your comment isn’t geeky enough, it’s down-modded very quickly. They shadow-ban without remorse. They are stage 2, but not yet failed. But it’s more read than write, and there are few friendships being made there for they are too big.
https://twitter.com/revpriest – Twitter is definitely in a trolls-and-spambots stage 2(A). It requires careful management not to get sucked into boring spam-bot land. Relevant mostly because it’s so public and the journalists watch it and use it to let the world know about their journalism.
https://www.reddit.com/user/newPre – Reddit has sub-forums which are vaguely interesting, but filled with trolls and idiots. Some better than others. The first many-many that you find will be in their terminal stages already. Interesting to ponder if they could evade the final stages of the life-cycle by the way they have fractured into millions of sub-reddits. I read WAY more than I post. Stage 2(A).
https://www.facebook.com/revpriest – Facebook is an evil spyware company with malicious intent. I keep an account here only because so many friends do, and I’m sure they also keep an account there only because so many friends do. It is *way* past it’s peak, but holding on because of network effects. Heading straight for zombie-forum zone. I hope all my friends leave so I can leave too, but I hope they tell me where they go.
https://dalliance.net/likes.xml – A machine-readable RSS feed of things I’ve bookmarked. Mostly coz I like them. Sometimes coz I want to read them later. You can feed it to your reader-apps. There is no human-readable version.
https://www.youtube.com/revpriest/ – Youtube is the cheapest video-hosting out of all the video-hosting by infinity because it is free. I do subscribe to a lot of youtube channels, and this one is for just random song videos or animations I make that don’t fit anywhere else.
https://www.youtube.com/tentaclesorguk/ – My cartoons go into a video channel.
https://tentacles.org.uk/ – My cartoons. Not much happening there lately. I mean, a lot happening slowly behind the scenes, and there will be a flying-saucer cartoon again soon, but they are rare.
https://dalliance.net/ – My blog/website. I mean. You’re reading this now, so you presumably know about it already. It’s been here for 20 years. Nobody else gets to post, so it won’t get filled with spammers.
Where are you?
Do I know you? Do you know me? Do you know of an interesting online place where fun and creative things are happening? Do let me know. You can still contact me on the oldest social network of them all, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ve been reading that one for more than 20 years. It’s quite rare genuine personal email gets blocked by my spam-filters I think. But there is certainly a lot of spam to block these days so it’s very hard to be sure.
Places I don’t have accounts.
I do not have an account at these places, for these reasons:
LinkedIn – Spammers, the company send spam. Not their users, the company themselves. They make it impossible to avoid their spam without registering. I have their email blocked.
Instagram – They are owned by Facebook, and I will not exit Facebook for more Facebook.
Tumblr – Too hard to opt-out of their spying cookies. I’ve never managed to get past their “Privacy consent” form, for I do not consent, and they appear to be breaking EU law by not letting me opt out.
SnapChat – Never really saw the point in pretending messages could be ephemeral when in fact they really can’t be.
TikTok – A spying platform is not improved by being owned by the Chinese.