Words by c.z.robertson

Forums

2000-01-15 01:00:00 UTC

This is also interesting. Yishan Wong has observed that I linked to his site a few months ago. (Yishan, this would be a perfect opportunity to set up an infinite loop of observations. What do you say?) Anyway, I seem to have slightly worried the folks in his forum with my offhand remark that it was cliquey, for which I feel a bit guilty, so here are some general thoughts on forums:

I've been observing these things for quite some time now and I have noticed that all public forums, whether they are in the form of newsgroups, mailing lists or web-based forums, end up consisting of posts from a small number of regulars. This happens whether the forum was intended to be for the general public or for friends only. If the members of the forum are friends and the posts are largely friendly chatting then it inevitably appears cliquey, since there's no way that an outsider could join in on the same level. There isn't really anything wrong with this for a forum that has no mission to get contributions from everyone, but for a forum intended for the general public it's a stumbling block that will almost inevitably be encountered.

As someone who has spent my entire life feeling like an outsider to all groups, I've probably spent more time thinking about these sorts of things than I should...

Btw, be sure to read Yishan's thoughts on the AOL Time Warner merger.