Not relevant for CDO, but for other sites. Please spread the word if you know of people who may be interested. I’ve posted this on a slew of Warhammer forums, and thought it best to file it on CDO itself for the heck of it:
The reason old forums are dying is because of their lack of easy direct image upload.
This is a great pity, because forums with their rational layout and archive mode are vastly superior to social media with their gone-with-the-wind setup. You cannot find stuff again on social media, so forums should be the natural go-to-place. Accumulating content on a forum over years and years and showing up on search hits should help keep it afloat.
Now there has recently arrived a solution to the woes of forums! We’ve tried it out for 1½ year on Chaos Dwarfs Online and it’s worked well. There have been some child sicknesses, but the technical warts are surprisingly few and have all been solved.
The solution is called Discourse.
Not Discord, the chat program, but Discourse Forum software.
Discourse has a rational layout and archive mode like any proper forum do. A few small features are missing, but we’ve seen some implemented over the last year, so they may show up. And most importantly Discourse has easy direct image upload.
I say it again: Discourse has easy direct image upload. Like social media sites do.
Discourse holds the key to our troubles. It has allowed declining Chaos Dwarfs Online (for whom we’ve fought a drawn-out rearguard battle as a skeleton crew hosting contests and salvaging content) to suddenly resurge in strength. We’re back up in numbers and activity and experiencing a new golden age of membership. We’ve always had good quality of anything on CDO, but now we’re back in quantity as well.
The issue is that you need to reboot the forum. Start all over again with Discourse Forum. From CDO’s experience I can tell you this is well worth it: Just make sure to advertise the resurrected forum thoroughly on relevant Facebook groups and so on, and don’t be shy to mass E-mail forum veterans about it. Be polite, “in case of interest”, and describe in short form the new forum with easy direct image upload and mobile-friendly mode.
Now, rebooting a forum means that the old one with all its content is left hanging. Therefore we at CDO are in the slow sporadic process of salvaging and transferring all worthwhile content from the old site to the new. This will take years, as we have so much membermade content there: Art, stories, army books, tutorials, you name it. But it will happen.
Remember that forums are treasure troves of hobby creativity. They deserve to live.
I wish to recommend anyone rebooting their forum to scan their archives for the best of the best, and salvage them for re-upload to their new Discourse Forum. Don’t let your best gems be lost, folks. It’s however understandable if most of the project logs and so on will have to go. Few are prepared to manually salvage thousands and thousands of pictures like I did back in 2017 during the Photobucket crisis.
Keeping the old forum open in parallell with the new means double costs, but we have a pillar of our community chipping in to help, so it’s managable.
I will end here so as not to drag on longer: The key point is that we finally have the software needed to resurrect forums! Reboot with Discourse if you wish your forum to be revived, and be prepared to spread the word.
Best of luck, ladies and gentlemen.
Recruitment poster for Chaos Dwarfs Online Discourse Forum.