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Radical changes coming

Thread title: Radical changes coming
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06-24-2017, 06:42 PM
#21
derek lapp is offline derek lapp
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Another POV: Slack has basically killed forums. It progressed the symbiotic problem forums had vs social media groups 3-4 years ago:

1. Slack is incredibly easy. It was designed to replace mundane emails / bloated inboxes, which when you think about it, is a pretty solid parallel to a forum thread. It did that and more. You can join an infinite number of teams, so with the app you have a single-sign on experience no web platform can rival.

2. The tech crowd has embraced it because of the the above: If you want to contribute to a framework/platform like Bootstrap or React, or you've signed up for an online course or workshop, you don't join a private forum, you just apply to the slack team.

This create a paradox for a platform like this: Old member have left the platform and will be unlikely to return; and new members will be dissuaded to join based on that missing presence.

--

I'm going to extend this, actually: Forum problems have been compounded by the above plus professional growth. By that I mean you either outgrew the platform, or it outgrew you.

When you were learning, you were just screwing around. Trying to see if design or dev was actually for you. You tried bad affects, bad UX decisions, bad coding techniques, bad plugins, etc. You were just trying to figure out what works and what doesn't.

You outgrew the platform
You figured it out and transitioned towards doing commissioned work, which is doing a specific piece for a specific use. For legal reasons you can't just show off WIP and you become less active. A market place becomes useless to you because you're selling a service, not a product, which is contextual and subjective – IE I was commissioned to design a hockey uniform for a US Under-18 team a few years back, because I love hockey and I understood the culture. I'd never be able to do another sport, or even a European hockey team because of culture - ad space, etc.

The platform outgrew you
You figure it out and now you have an inventory of designs/templates you want to resell over and over again. Forums aren't a marketplace, they're ultimately about discussions, so eventually the novelty of selling a template wears off and you leave it for ThemeForest or CodeCanyon. Then npm came along and undercut everyone trying to sell code snippets.

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06-25-2017, 03:58 AM
#22
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Hey Derek,

Love the parallels you are drawing, but I only half-agree. Comparing Slack to forums is quite a stretch. Slack is an email killer, not a public forum killer. If anything, Google and social media is more of a forum killer than Slack. Having said that, I do understand and agree with your assessment that in addition to time, people who have transitioned into specific jobs have gravitated away from the playground such as a forum.

Now that we mentioned collaborative team communication apps, I've used both Slack and Flock for various projects and I must say that I think I prefer Flock. It is faster and easier to figure out. Slack has an awesome look and deeper integrations (and seems to be more widely accepted), but I find that more people I've used it with have struggled to understand how to use it. Flock is more intuitive imho.

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06-27-2017, 10:01 AM
#23
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Good luck with everything Artashes - I think what you've outlined is very much what's needed so I hope it all goes to plan!

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06-27-2017, 04:52 PM
#24
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Originally Posted by cpr View Post
Good luck with everything Artashes - I think what you've outlined is very much what's needed so I hope it all goes to plan!
Great to see you, cpr, and thank you! I am looking forward to reclaiming our community by bringing it down to basics and serving the interests of professionals in select markets only.

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07-07-2017, 02:39 AM
#25
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Just to update you guys that Discourse turned out to be a real challenge and we faced a number of issues, but looks like we are ironing them out and getting closer to release. Cannot yet provide a specific date, but we are talking about just a few days.

We are just going to throw it out there and continue with the modifications as we go.

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07-07-2017, 07:30 PM
#26
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Originally Posted by Artashes View Post
Hey Derek,

Love the parallels you are drawing, but I only half-agree. Comparing Slack to forums is quite a stretch. Slack is an email killer, not a public forum killer. If anything, Google and social media is more of a forum killer than Slack. Having said that, I do understand and agree with your assessment that in addition to time, people who have transitioned into specific jobs have gravitated away from the playground such as a forum.

Now that we mentioned collaborative team communication apps, I've used both Slack and Flock for various projects and I must say that I think I prefer Flock. It is faster and easier to figure out. Slack has an awesome look and deeper integrations (and seems to be more widely accepted), but I find that more people I've used it with have struggled to understand how to use it. Flock is more intuitive imho.
I just wanted to throw that POV out there. Slack as a replacement is a stretch, but that specific group was on the far end of the spectrum, so it worked.

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08-04-2017, 11:15 PM
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Look forward to it

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09-13-2017, 06:49 AM
#28
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Originally Posted by Artashes View Post
Just to update you guys that Discourse turned out to be a real challenge and we faced a number of issues, but looks like we are ironing them out and getting closer to release. Cannot yet provide a specific date, but we are talking about just a few days.

We are just going to throw it out there and continue with the modifications as we go.
Hope you manage to pull off the transformation Artashes. I also occasionally pop by here to see if TF has risen from the ashes. I agree with a lot of what you have said about forums and their decline in general - you only really need to look at vBulletin as a company to see how forums in that traditional format have fallen into decline. I think you still have the core of a solid community here though, and the people who occasionally pop back to see what has happened are testament to that. I think one of the hardest parts to getting any community off the ground is getting that good initial core - but I think you still have that, so you should use it.

Your honest thoughts on why you believe your initial TF transition failed is interesting, but in the world of IT I think it happens all the time - one thing I have learnt is to never give any expected dates with regards to IT projects!

A good read on how to help mitigate against the planning fallacy https://hbr.org/2012/08/the-planning-fallacy-and-the-i

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10-31-2017, 07:55 PM
#29
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I was just telling one of my friends that TalkFreeLance used to be an amazing forum. I'm certainly looking forward to it's rebirth.

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11-01-2017, 01:50 PM
#30
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Originally Posted by Big Zee View Post
Hope you manage to pull off the transformation Artashes. I also occasionally pop by here to see if TF has risen from the ashes. I agree with a lot of what you have said about forums and their decline in general - you only really need to look at vBulletin as a company to see how forums in that traditional format have fallen into decline. I think you still have the core of a solid community here though, and the people who occasionally pop back to see what has happened are testament to that. I think one of the hardest parts to getting any community off the ground is getting that good initial core - but I think you still have that, so you should use it.

Your honest thoughts on why you believe your initial TF transition failed is interesting, but in the world of IT I think it happens all the time - one thing I have learnt is to never give any expected dates with regards to IT projects!
Originally Posted by SenseiSteve View Post
I was just telling one of my friends that TalkFreeLance used to be an amazing forum. I'm certainly looking forward to it's rebirth.
@Big Zee and @SenseiSteve, thank you both for your words of encouragement.

The reason why the transition failed half-way (I say half-way because initial transition was successful, in terms of filtering and cleaning the database), are strangest technical complications with the migration itself. We've installed Discourse a few times on a test server, but something doesn't work once migration is performed: either the server becomes unresponsive, or suddenly everything gets erased, for an unexplained reason. I had two developers that specialize in forum software tackle the issue, including one that is officially recommended by Discourse itself. Initially we thought there was an issue with Ruby, then the fact that we lacked server RAM to run it properly. Both were addressed reasonably, but various errors still appear.

To give ourselves the best fresh chance, I found a brand new technology partner www.iozoom.com that is kindly providing the community with a powerful and fully managed Cloud VPS. In the next few days we'll be moving to a brand new server, after which we will give it more attempts. The community itself has been ready for the move and we've been in that migration state since, but I am not going to release something half-baked or with no confidence that the software will run well. I need the developers to be completely happy with that notion first.

And I completely agree. I usually don't like predicting, thus I realize I shot myself in the foot by giving an expectation date and/or time frame. What keeps the fire alive though is knowing that the core community here still believes and looks forward to changes. Trust me, I really want this to happen as well, and not only because of time and resources that I continue to invest in this effort.

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