Contributor Showcase: Member Articles of the Month
Welcome to our monthly Contributor Showcase, where we feature articles submitted by our talented community members.
General Chat And General Discussion Forums Are Still Fun In 2023
We are delighted to present Kale's article on the enduring appeal of general chat and general discussion forums, even in 2023. Drawing from her experience as a forum administrator and user, Kale provides insightful observations and compelling arguments for why these types of forums continue to thrive in the era of social media and instant messaging. Her article is a must-read for anyone interested in the evolution of online communities and the enduring value of forum-based interactions.
What sites does she run?
She runs Discussion Block, a welcoming and respectful general chat and discussion forum for diverse members to exchange ideas in a safe space. Join her community and engage in meaningful conversations.
Exploring the Enduring Appeal of General Chat and Discussion Forums: An Interview with Kale
What inspired you to write this article about the continued appeal of general chat and general discussion forums?
Honestly a random shower thought did. I felt as if I've made more friends even if only via the forum. Some friends at the time didn't use Skype, MSN Messenger, etc. I also feel as if these kind of forums tend to be less toxic too.
Can you elaborate on how you've easily connected with people on general chat forums?
Some people would be open to being friends on MSN, Yahoo, and/or Skype. That felt like they liked me enough to add me on other platforms outside of the forum itself. Sometimes we'd even play games with each other too. It is also easy to just respond to topics I like and care about when it can be about anything.
Can you share some memorable experiences or moments on general chat forums that have stood out to you?
My memory is a bit foggy, but here goes. I got the email about Off Topix/Wober reopening and came back after a long time. It was nice to find a bigger general chat forum where people did reply and respond to you even if only a few sentences or so. I also got promoted to moderator there down the line too, so that was a good memory.
Can you share a specific example of a friendship or acquaintance you made on a general chat forum that has positively impacted your life, and how did that connection come about?
Now technically this was a chat room AND forum community, but okay I can. I met somebody who was basically into the same stuff as me back then, and we just hit it off. We met in the chat room, and didn't post on the forum too much. I added her on Skype years back, and after Skype just got bad I lost contact with her since then. It was a year or so ago we finally reconnected on Discord and have been talking off and on. She's gotten busier over the years and is happily engaged now to a woman. I am unsure if they ever married or not as I didn't ask. We used to be such cringe in the chat room all the time, though.
You mentioned that you were able to reconnect with a forum that had been shut down for years and that this experience reinforced your belief that general chat forums are still relevant and enjoyable in 2023. Can you describe what it was like to reconnect with this forum and how it compared to your experience with other online general chat forums?:
About the same as when forums were popping. I found the forum via an email of it saying it was reopened and returned. I got an email and signed up with a completely new username, but then my old account I had years ago was merged into my Kale profile instead.
How do the relaxed atmosphere and approachable moderators on general chat and discussion forums contribute to their appeal?
It hadn't always been relaxed and approachable on any forums back then in my opinion. I feel as if over the years some of the GD/GC forums did tend to go easy on the members. The moderators themselves did vary with how approachable they came off, so honestly I'd say it's a mix here.
Do you think general chat forums have changed over the years? If so, how?
Became more inactive due to the changes on the Internet. We have social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, and even TikTok nowadays for teens and young adults. I feel as if they have less members being active and engaged with their communities than in the past. Forums are not dead, just inactive and in a slump.
In your experience, what are some key differences between general chat forums and more niche-specific forums, and how do these differences impact the overall participant experience?
The users themselves came off more relaxed and approachable on general chat forums. Users on other niche focused forums would come off hostile. I've found anime and gaming forums can have hostile users and staff, same with anime forums. Pro wrestling is a huge offender too and one niche I'd never get into.
What are some goals or aspirations you have for the future discussion block?
Keeping it as alive as best I can. Sadly with the decline of forums I have had to either make sock puppet accounts or hire paid posters.
What inspired you to start Discussion Block, and what challenges did you face in creating and growing the community?
I wanted to give a final chance at running a forum community. The challenge I faced were mainly the fact the forum used to be hosted by someone else so they could easily yank the plug without warning. I also at first did not have access to do daily backups of my forum itself till later by that person. Also at first I didn't own my domain, and did pay the person back as they paid for my domain. Down the road I had been approached by Crystal who had offered me hosting on her VPS and took it. Another challenge is keeping the forum looking active as user engagement fell off a month or two after opening.
What have been some of the most memorable or enjoyable experiences you've had due to discussion block?
Opening the forum and seeing users sign up. I did some posts/threads prior to opening too which I found did help me a bit.
What video games do you enjoy, and why do you enjoy playing them?
SPRGs, ARPGs, JRPGs, and so many other genres. I'd have to say a favorite video game is The Legend of Zelda series. I honestly just love that genre and the Zelda series the most because they can be fun and challenging at the same time.
What is your favorite hobby, and how did you get into it?
I don't really have any hobbies outside of video games these days. I got into gaming thanks to my dad buying the SNES from a friend he knew at work. I got it for Christmas one year and enjoyed gaming ever since.
If Kale were a superhero, what would it's powers be?
Super human strength and flight totally
Thank you for sharing your insights and experiences on the continued appeal of general chat and discussion forums. Your article and interview provided valuable perspectives and advice for our readers, and we appreciate your contributions to our community. We look forward to featuring more of your work in future contributor showcases.