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Author Topic: Let's talk about FORUMS!  (Read 3232 times)
wrinkledlion
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« on: June 22, 2022 @169.90 »

Hey all~

This is an appreciation thread for the general concept of forums! I'm curious to hear what forums you guys frequented back in the day, and equally interested to hear what active forums you frequent now. I'll start-

I got my start posting on the internet back in 2003, on a LEGO Bionicle forum called BZPower, which is still around today actually, though a fragment of its former size. It was huge back then, with a devoted community and a very strange, specific culture. They had a relationship with the main writer of the toyline, who would answer fan questions, but he was only allowed there by LEGO if they didn't allow any links to social websites outside BZPower-- nothing with so much as a comments section under an article. So it was a strange, insular place, but with an incredible flourishing of art, LEGO models, and long-form fiction. A lot of incredibly deep, abstract nerd conversations about whether free will existed in the universe of the story, or whether destiny predetermined everything. We were daily bugging the writer with questions like that, which I'm sure he never expected from his toy-writing gig.

As the userbase began to hit their teenage years, people started forming "illegal" secret forums and handing the URLs out to friends, so they could form their own private little free speech hangouts. (A few of them tried to stage cyber-attacks against the mother site, which I always thought was a dick move-- though it was exciting to watch the drama unfold.)

Some online friends and I formed our own little invisionfree forum called The Horrors of Bionicle, or HoB, based initially around our shared HP Lovecraft fandom. That became my online hangout all through middle school, trading memes and roleplaying with the other HoBos. Good times...

Over the years I also spent time on a homestarrunner fan forum, the forum for a webcomic called "Hello Cthulhu" that parodied Hello Kitty, and the forum for a website called Bogleech, which is still around, though the community got swallowed up by tumblr around 2010/11. (Naturally, once they migrated to tumblr, everyone started fighting all the time.)

~~~

These days I'm just rediscovering webforums after a long absence. I've recently started posting on Dream Views, a site dedicated to lucid dreaming skills. What other active communities are you guys aware of?
« Last Edit: June 26, 2022 @13.34 by wrinkledlion » Logged
wrinkledlion
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« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2022 @709.05 »

Well, there's no answering whether you have a bad habit-- I can hardly answer that for myself. But what I do love about old-style forums is that time flows really differently than the modern web. You might spend a long time crafting a post and then not get an immediate response, but you might get a really thoughtful response two months from now. Things move a lot slower than reddit or instagram.
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« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2022 @719.50 »

I didn't engage with a lot of forum sites back in the day (mostly cause I was extremely young during the height of their popularity), but a site I visited frequently when I was twelve is Warrior Cats RPG. It goes by Feral Front now and all the threads are archived and that honestly makes me so sad. For real though, I was honestly way too young to be on that site. Whenever I tried to roleplay with anyone, I only used one or two brief sentences while everyone else was writing paragraphs upon paragraphs. I think I'd be better at online roleplays now that I'm an experienced writer.
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« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2022 @969.00 »

I got my start posting on the internet back in 2003, on a LEGO Bionicle forum called BZPower, which is still around today actually, though a fragment of its former size. It was huge back then, with a devoted community and a very strange, specific culture. They had a relationship with the main writer of the toyline, who would answer fan questions, but he was only allowed there by LEGO if they didn't allow any links to social websites outside BZPower-- nothing with so much as a comments section under an article. So it was a strange, insular place, but with an incredible flourishing of art, LEGO models, and long-form fiction. A lot of incredibly deep, abstract nerd conversations about whether free will existed in the universe of the story, or whether destiny predetermined everything. We were daily bugging the writer with questions like that, which I'm sure he never expected from his toy-writing gig.

~~~

These days I'm just rediscovering webforums after a long absence. I've recently started posting on Dream Views, a site dedicated to lucid dreaming skills. What other active communities are you guys aware of?

Ohhhh, time to get nostalgic and a little embarrassed. I lurked on quite a few forums without joining back in the early 2000's. A Naruto forum whose name a can't recall comes to mind. My two big mainstays were both cartoon-focus: A Danny/Sam forum for Danny Phantom (also in 2003!) and a Codename: Kids Next Door a bit after that. Both are definitely defunct by now. I remember the Danny Phantom forum was called "Invisable Love". Yes, misspelled exactly like that. It had a purple animated stars background that I thought was cool as hell and definitely would mess you up if you had any photo sensitivity issues. I still think animated star backgrounds are cool as hell, won't lie. Love the way this forum looks.

The C:KND also had a direct line to ask questions to one of the show runners! We would send him emails and then post the responses to the forums. No idea in retrospect if it was legit. I can't image someone who's making a Cartoon Network show having so much free time to respond to randos on the internet or the freedom to respond to the kind of questions we asked with about zero over site. But who knows! It was a different time. That forum actually had a surprising spread of ages on it -- there was at least one popular poster on there who was an adult woman, married with elementary aged children. I was in my mid/late teens by then and honestly I'm a bit embarrassed to have been that old and that into KND.

And of course there was Gaia Online. That was truly the place to be for me and my high school friends. Sometimes I think about going back and making a new account, as the old one has very much been purged. I'd still be there mostly for the avatar dress-up, though.

Can't say I know of too many current communities. Yesterweb has one I know, but it still seems to be getting off the ground. Dream Views sounds really cool! I've lucid dreamed about 5 to 8 times in my life. I should check it out later!
« Last Edit: June 23, 2022 @970.08 by Jollyswoosh » Logged



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« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2022 @906.19 »

Of course big social media sites took away users from the message boards in general. But some message boards are still there and have interesting discussions. So they survived as a technology, luckily! Because being able to host a forum is at least possible as opposed to hosting your own Facebook. Which wouldn't scale anyways, because these companies need big numbers for their business. So they have addiction mechanics in place to keep the big heap of users interested. Message boards can be small on the other hand and don't require psychological tricks to manipulate the users.

I'd like to point to a particular beautiful forum software: Acmlmboard. It actually looks very similar to Melonland, but with more, maybe even too many, options. One example that uses Acmlmboard would the ROM hacking message board kuribo64.net (https://kuribo64.net/board/).

My first message board experience was with a site called TCGS, where Yu-Gi-Oh cards could be traded with other users. How practical. The most interesting boards however were those, that had groups of computer enthusiasts on them...did you know, that there is a browser war going on for Windows XP? That old operating system from 2001 still has active developers! Can only be found on message boards.

Long live the message boards, source of knowledge, source of inspiration, source of the niche, source of freedom, also the freedom to flame and being flamed (might get extinguished, might not). Message boards are an important technology to have around.
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NacreousDreams
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« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2022 @941.05 »

Oh man, this is such an in-depth topic that I think I'll save it for an article on my site, but I'll go into it a bit here!

Has anyone here heard of Terraria? Well, its developer, Redigit, actually made that game right off the heels of a fan project called "Super Mario Bros X", or SMBX for short. It was a full-fledged UI for building Super Mario Bros-style levels, and even full games (called episodes), with flexibility reminiscent to even RPG Maker. I used to go to a forum called "Cloud's Forum", which was dedicated largely to SMBX content, and I loved it there. People would post their levels, and even the occasional episode, there. They'd post graphics, music, works-in-progress, and just casual posts whenever they felt like. It had a chatbox- and I love chatboxes, man, because they integrate real-time interaction with the forum itself. I'm browsing the forum? Let's check the chatbox and see who's online! It was a great way to get in touch with people, especially before the days of Discord. I've had a good chat with a lot of people over it, talking about recent events and what's up with everyone and all!

Sadly, the community of Cloud's Forum faded away after the owner, Cloud, merged it with a rival forum called "NSMBX" and everyone left or transitioned. It came back as "Cloud's Observatory" later, and still had a section for SMBX, but it just wasn't the same.

In high school, I joined a roleplaying forum called the "Omniverse". This was a cool one- basically, it's a play-by-post RP forum where you can choose just about any character from any genre of fiction, including OCs, and play in a large realm controlled by an all-powerful deity known as Omni. It has eight realms to explore, ranging from lush forests to scorching deserts, the beaches of the Vasty Deeps to Coruscant itself. A lot of the most prominent primes in the world are characters you may recognize, with the original two being Palpatine and Aragorn. The mechanics of the world are flexible, allowing for a high degree of creative liberty and only relying on stats for the sake of believability in the story. It's about creating a story, as much as it is partaking in the world, which is probably why I've always liked it more than more rigid RP experiences like Fallout New Vegas or D&:grin:.

The Omniverse is actually still around to this day! Though it's now known as the ReOmniverse, since some drama in the past led to the original owner, Omni, no longer maintaining the original site. That community is now split between ReOmniverse, which functions almost exactly like the old site, and Multerra, which is a rival site which elaborates on the systems Omni created for his game. I'm thinking of playing on Multerra some time in the future, but as of now, I'm still playing on the ReOmniverse. If any of you are interested in joining, I'd love to see some of you folks there!
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« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2022 @868.53 »

Well, I have met my current girlfriend on the German Minecraft forum (that has since shut down) and we are still together after more than seven years, so yeah, I appreciate forums a lot! :loved: Haha.

 

Has anyone here heard of Terraria? Well, its developer, Redigit, actually made that game right off the heels of a fan project called "Super Mario Bros X", or SMBX for short. It was a full-fledged UI for building Super Mario Bros-style levels, and even full games (called episodes), with flexibility reminiscent to even RPG Maker. I used to go to a forum called "Cloud's Forum", which was dedicated largely to SMBX content, and I loved it there. People would post their levels, and even the occasional episode, there. They'd post graphics, music, works-in-progress, and just casual posts whenever they felt like. It had a chatbox- and I love chatboxes, man, because they integrate real-time interaction with the forum itself. I'm browsing the forum? Let's check the chatbox and see who's online! It was a great way to get in touch with people, especially before the days of Discord. I've had a good chat with a lot of people over it, talking about recent events and what's up with everyone and all!

Sadly, the community of Cloud's Forum faded away after the owner, Cloud, merged it with a rival forum called "NSMBX" and everyone left or transitioned. It came back as "Cloud's Observatory" later, and still had a section for SMBX, but it just wasn't the same.


Oh my God, hi!
I just joined this forum but... well, I was part of the SMBX community for my entire teenage years! Remember the Knuckles98 (or whatever his name was) split, where there was big drama between the dot-org forum and Knuckles' offshoot? Remember when GFX Requests were closed for five years? :grin: It's so cool to find someone here randomly who remembers SMBX.
We're still around, by the way! Wohlstand's custom platforming game engine has practically reached maturity and is a super solid alternative to SMBX now, and there are several redevelopments and binary hacks of the original SMBX now that gained traction that can do cool shit with scripting and custom powerups and all. Almost noone plays the original anymore.

God, I need to check my old GFX and episodes... haha. Thanks for this trip down memory lane. I think your name rings a bell too! Were you at any point part of SquishyRex's CGFX pack?
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« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2022 @936.26 »

i love reading everyone's forum experiences... very strange that these splintered bionicle communities would start attacking BZPower O_o i was actually completely bored by forums when i was little. all my forum experience is from the last ~5 years. i want to join more forums but active forums are hard to come by these days : (

i like the animal crossing forum The Bell Tree Forums, they have really fun events! i use it less lately due to disinterest in ACNH and a lot of forum members i liked posting less. i really recommend it to any animal crossing fans though, they have a big yearly event coming up! and i like Gaia Online but i'm mixed on the forums. the moderation seems kinda poor and i see a lot of trolls not getting banned for a long time / making tons of alt accounts. it stinks cuz the game is so fun!

i was also on the Cookie Run: OvenBreak Forum a little bit before it shut down. the users were mostly kids/young teens and i thought it was interesting how they used the forum. i feel like it was treated more like discord. i assume it is a large part of why they shut down the forum and made a discord server instead. i've noticed similar things on the game Everskies. lots of threads with vague titles ("So...", "Um" ":grin:omg:es anyone else", etc), threads about the same topic on the same page, threads made to just post 1 image or 1 phrase, and so on... they're big peeves! is this a trend with newer forums?
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« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2022 @941.33 »

lots of threads with vague titles ("So...", "Um" ":grin:omg:es anyone else", etc), threads about the same topic on the same page, threads made to just post 1 image or 1 phrase, and so on... they're big peeves! is this a trend with newer forums?

I think it is. People are just unfamiliar with the idea of a forum or sitting down at a computer doing something for a few hours on end, honestly. When I look around non-technical people in my own age group and people who are a bit younger than me, they generally don't even use computers anymore except for school. They want to type something up on their phone and get a short answer in seconds. Post a meme for some quick attention in the shitposting channel.
Typing a paragraph, even such a short post such as THIS ONE, would be far too much work for them. Plus remembering to look into the thread later or, lord knows, subscribing to it or email updates? RSS? Get out of here!

I don't mean this too negatively, after all there is a reason why they do what they do. It's just my personal preference to do it this way. Forums are more permanent in a way, more personal, less fleeting. People might look at this very thread in one, two, five or ten years and read my words -- that's pretty cool! They'll never do that with a Discord server or a Telegram chat group. Forums are just a different medium than instant chat, and that's OK.

But this trend has been going on for a long while in forums. Even five to ten years ago we had "funny image" threads in the spam section, and it just bled into other sections from there I guess.
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« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2022 @377.70 »

I spent a lot of time on...

- The Good Charlotte forum. I was pretty young at the time, so I barely remember this one.
- My Ultima Online guild's forum. Thousands of posts, thousands of hours. That place was my life.
- The xkcd forum. Definitely the biggest one I was a regular on, but small enough that there was a definite core of familiar faces.

The UO one actually used the same forum software as this place, so maybe that's why I felt called here. 😅

It's interesting to hear you all compare forums to Discord. It's definitely a slower way of doing things. Does anyone else find themselves having to resist the urge to check forums for new posts too often? Once your brain has gotten used to the small but regular dopamine hits of social media, it's tough to downshift.



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« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2022 @606.24 »

When my system was younger we used to hang around various Pokemon forums, off the top of my head Pokefarm, Floatzel.net (I think), Pokecharms, etc. As a teen we joined a lot of otherkin forums and the only one I can remember is Kinmunity, which is still up. We also played on a lot of petsites as a teen and used the connected forums.

There's a lot of forums I wish I could join, but don't allow multiple accounts or are tied to an account of a game which doesn't allow multiple accounts. It's really uncomfortable to need to sign off constantly.

(Thankfully Kinmunity recently lifted the ban and allows multiple accounts only for systems, so I made an account and I've been using it recently)
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« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2023 @60.90 »

i’ve not really had that much experience with proper forums- i had used the flight rising forums enough to generally know what a forum was and how to use one though and i’ve pretty much always been familiar with the concept (not exactly sure where i first learned of them was though..?). i’ve grown up pretty much after forums were already mostly gone.

my most used “forum” however was transformice cafe, which was a bizarre mix of chat room and forum and was honestly just an overall weird and lawless place. turns out that mixing too-online teenagers with near complete anonymity, 0 public archiving, and spotty acceptable at best moderation ends up with shenanigans to say the least! to be honest i don’t think it was very good for me in the long run but i kinda grew up there, i spent like 4-5 years very active on it (i still check up every now and then to see how things are going tbh), so i have a bit of a soft spot for it and all its horribly concerning drama. also i met my online BFF there soo :D
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« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2023 @379.88 »

I used multiple forums back in the day, though I think the most important was the biggest Finnish Code Lyoko forum which I was a moderator on. Forums can satisfy one's need to discuss in a way other sites, where you could just be screaming into the void, doesn't. Nowadays, forum-like conversations are... maybe Reddit, except +200% the aggressiveness. Yeah, I miss forums. As for active communities, well, I don't know many.
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« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2023 @397.47 »

I think I've mentioned this before but my number 1 forum experience was a Dutch Pokémon forum I hung out on when I was a kid. It was just cool checking in and discussing the games and trading Pokémon and such while the older generations were still new. I know all the past games are still playable but it's not the same anymore... Anyway, I was definitely way too overexcited on there but it's still a website that's close to my heart. Sadly it's defunct now...  :TnT: 
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« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2023 @414.80 »

My parents were rightfully scared of social media (to put it into perspective, even Scratch was a sour subject) so I didn't get into forums as a kid. I do vaguely remember a bad experience on the old Roblox forum, though I don't remember what it consisted of.

By the time I hit my teens forums were sadly being phased out in favor of stupid shit like Snapchat and Instagram. I did spend a little bit of time on a roadgeek forum called AARoads, though it was nowhere close to being my main community.

I've probably done more forum-ing here on Melonland than the rest of my life combined :grin:
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