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Forums vs. blogs vs. social media

Posted: Fri Jun 14, 2019 5:30 pm
by admin
The title of this thread could be appended with 'vs. wikis vs. Q-and-A sites vs. mailing lists vs. chat' and so on.

All these systems are fundamentally similar. They all let us put content online, so they're all usable for publishing and discussion.

They all have their defining peculiarities which make them more or less appropriate for certain sorts of publishing and discussion. But forums have declined in popularity while certain alternatives have thrived. I will argue that the forum format has certain advantages, and it's a bit of a shame that they're a dying species. But they are dying for specific reasons which are worth discussing.

Here's an important essay for background reading: ... ws_racket/

It discusses online content about games, but much applies to other topics. This was written when the online space of writing was spread over various forums, blogs, and news sites. Before centralised social media's present utmost dominance.

One question for here is: what combination of which features of forums/blogs/email/messenger pigeons/etc. should I use to make Operating Space the best possible place to read about and discuss technology? This is a matter for not only theorising, but research and development. I'll build stuff and run experiments.

Hacker News is a fine site, an uncomplicated community blog for tech news and various interesting topics. But one important distinction I want for here is: one thread per topic. HN has repeat threads, which is dumb but hard to avoid when posting a reply doesn't necessarily bump an old thread up to the top of the HN frontpage. A forum doesn't necessarily enforce a single-thread policy, and not all forums even have this as a strong rule or custom. But a forum makes it a reasonable possibility. This also touches on the issue of moderation, more on that later.