Have you noticed a decline in forum activity?

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development

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Poll: Have you noticed a decline in forum activity? (235 votes)

Yes 71%
No 10%
see results 20%

Used to be much more active years back. Been here more lately and noticed a distinct drop in forum activity. If I scroll down a bit I see posts from 10 days ago on the first page of General Discussion results.

I think it's because only blogs are featured on the front page now, and the only way to access the forum is through the top navigation buttons, which I literally don't use otherwise, and never look at, thanks to all the content being pretty much on the main page now.

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development

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#1  Edited By development

Damn I can't edit the OP? I meant to say ***"I used to be much more active"***

also this isn't meant as a shit-talking post or anything. I just hate to see a good community get forgotten about if it's entirely preventable. Could also just be me!

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liquiddragon

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I feel like the drops been very noticeable this year, even last year was much more active comparatively. The new site's designed to even further minimize forum discourse. Idk, they just don't give a shit about this part of the site and maybe even dislike it. Next time out, I can see it being completely done away with.

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development

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#3  Edited By development

@liquiddragon: That would be a bummer. Yeah it kinda has to be intentional, right? I used to love to come here to talk about whatever new game I was playing, but lately I'll come here and see either zero posts about a week-old game, or 1 post from 30 days ago talking about pre-release shit. Makes it hard to be enthused enough to start my own thread.

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OurSin_360

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I completely stopped gaming and visiting game forums for like a year, when I came back it seemed like everybody else did the same. I don't even see the same mods anymore. This was before the new redesign and after that it seems to have dropped even more.

It could just be the cultural shift to social media over message boards.

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ConfusedOwl

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Giantbomb's forums are definitely less active. It used to be my main forum but the level of discussion isn't enough to keep me coming back anymore. We still have a large community but discussions are had either on Resetera or Reddit. We still have activity on the site but it's mostly through the comment sections and the live chat.

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development

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@confusedowl: That's what I've noticed, yeah. Like rn i'm sure the Nancy Drew chat is gonna be 1,000+ people having a lively good time, but that just doesn't happen on the forums anymore.

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Rahf

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#7  Edited By Rahf

Because people leave, or grow out of it, but the younger generation doesn't come in. Nobody wants to express themselves in paragraphs, rather fragmented sentences.

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Nev

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Yeah, I gave up and just started using ResetEra, and visiting the thread there. It's felt dead on the forums here for a while.

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development

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@nev: Damn. Guess I'd go there except I have no access to a paid email address. They don't accept gmail and that is so, so stupid. There are plenty of anti-spam-bots that can take care of spammers rather than gatekeep. Hell, I can make one. Resetera hire me.

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#10 rorie  Staff

I think about this a lot and I don't have necessarily any great answers. I know for sure that this isn't the only gaming forum that has dropped in overall activity, e.g. you can see the active users on Shacknews going down over time even though they basically use their forum as their comment system for homepage articles. In our case the amount of comments in the forums have been dropping over the last few years, so it's not just tied to the redesign (although I'm hoping to get the latest comments module back on the homepage after GOTY is over). I know personally I find myself spending more time on Discord than forums lately and that's coming from someone who used to be diehard against the concept of chatrooms.

I don't have as much time to spend on the forums since I've started to do a lot more video editing and social media stuff lately but I'll try to be better about posting good blogs/topics to our Twitter and Facebook. I can't guarantee that anything will reverse what feels like a shift to Discord/consolidation of forum traffic to a couple of huge sites (Reddit is also a huge impact on smaller sites like ours) but I still enjoy seeing what goes on in the forum here!

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Nev

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I honestly don't think a lack of interest in message boards is entirely the issue, really. The Giant Bomb threads on ResetEra are some of the most popular topics on that site, from what I've seen, at 17 threads made since 2017. (Meaning the previous 16 threads reached literally 300-400 or more posts and were locked.) People post in the thread regularly throughout the day, and I'd even say it stays largely Giant Bomb related the majority of the time. Right now we're arguing about the Shenmue Endurance Run!

I think the forums here were kind of always an afterthought. None of the staff ever seemed to care enough to post here, sticking to Twitter/Tumblr. Rorie can only do so much, and it's very much appreciated, but there isn't much to drive people here. I lurked here regularly for a long time, but I just gave up eventually. Ironic that the one time I've visited the forums in a while I ran into this topic, heh.

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Shiftygism

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#12  Edited By Shiftygism

As much as I despise some of the stuff that creeps up in the comments section maybe Giant Bomb should direct feedback from all content on the front page to a corresponding forum thread. Would likely need to hire a few more mods, but it would drive up traffic. That or the rest of you consider getting into wrestling because that thread is always movin' and shakin'.

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JoeDangerous

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Huh guess I never noticed a decline; then again, I'm a very casual visitor. I appreciate the posts and threads people make. Especially the ones focused on positivity given some of the fandoms these days. (I'm constantly trying to do better myself to ensure I don't fall down a similar hole)

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#14  Edited By Humanity

This has been discussed many times in various threads here and it’s a lot of issues that ended in people leaving. The redesign certainly didn’t help but there were a lot of other problems. I haven’t spoken to people that left directly but there were grumbling about moderation issues in the past. I know I personally had some weird encounters that made me question whether I wanted to continue posting here. As mentioned above the fact that the staff seem to prefer posting on literally any other website than their own doesn’t help. I saw Vinny posting on Reddit to clarify some statements from the Beastcast and you know, it would have been neat to see a thread about it here. Sometimes I see the staff post in comments but it’s not that often.

Either way I’ll continue posting here because I like the site. If I have to be painfully honest then with all due respect to people who worked on it, the site redesign has been one of the worst things to happen to the website. It launched in a near broken state and looked extremely amateurish. Issues persist to this day and bugs seem to get fixed at a snails pace. Embiggen was introduced in a broken state and it remains broken a month or more later. The forums are really outdated compared to places like ResetEra and overall usability of the site is poor.

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Wemibelle

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I definitely feel like this is the case. It seemed to start going down severely once the newest topics moved off the front page with the new redesign. I know that it made me check on the forums less frequently, since I have to use the top bar to get into the forums at all AND since you can't just get a list with the most recent topics across the board anymore.

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cikame

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The Escapist all but died once they took active forum topics off the front page, and the same is happening here, it was an incredibly stupid decision but one i saw coming. The entire crew has spoken before of their dislike of comments sections and by extension forum discussion, but one of GB's goals was to create a community driven Wiki for games, they wanted community interaction but have kicked the forum into a dusty corner and i really don't understand it.
Because of the awful redesign i made the forum my GB home page, and since doing that i've used it more than ever.

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We've been missing some key features in the forums for a long while now that tended to be a big draw for me. Can't speak to anyone else who doesn't use the forums as much, but a centralized way to track followed users' comments and status updates as well as a way to view all the new blogs across the site were core components to posting here. Those are gone now, and maybe with the way Sea Serpent was designed it can't be easily re-implemented. I don't know. But it would certainly help encourage new bloggers, I would think.

Rorie's great work on the forums and community aside (and it cannot be stressed enough how much he does for the user side of things, even if it isn't always visible), it doesn't help much that much of the comments from the staff about the forums are largely negative. Plucking some positive comments from videos and the forums maybe would help encourage those kinds of behaviors, as opposed to focusing the light solely on the negative.

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Fobwashed

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I jump back in here from time to time to see what's going on but I've definitely stopped blogging as much as I used to. I haven't noticed any loss of features or anything and it's mostly just a time thing for me. I find it's a lot easier and faster to pop into discord or twitter for more immediate conversations and I don't think the dumb stuff I think about or post about over there is worth starting an entirely new thread here. The forum format lends itself better to larger conversations or lasting thoughts which is just something I don't have the time for lately. The weekly Community Spotlight usually gives me my fix of what's going on over here and fwiw, it's still one of the only forums on the web that isn't just a toxic mess of people shouting =]

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Onemanarmyy

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#19  Edited By Onemanarmyy

On one hand it's a shame that they don't use the forums, on the other hand i totally get it from their point of view. The likelihood of people being shitty or it being generally a waste of time is greater than the likelihood that interacting with the forums will lead to something valuable. Like right now, when people want to do or create a truly cool thing that involves GB in some way, that stuff still reaches them on twitter, tumblr or through the mail. They're not really missing out on anything by not using the forums. Unless you believe that a thriving forum userbase will lead to more premium subs in an age where people watch their content from a dozen places that is not necessarily a webpage. And that crewmembers posting on the forums occassionally is enough of a draw for people to be like ' yes, i will now put my time towards the GB forums now that there's a chance Jeff will see my words'

Let's imagine that they all start using their own forums and suddenly it's like 2011 and the forums are booming . Now some sort of huge controversy in the GB scene appears on the forums and people know that the crew is not engaging with that, while they still post on other threads on the regular. It would lead to people keeping track of their post behavior, wondering why they not come out one way or the other way on this issue. It creates the expectation for them to engage in popular forumdrama and whether they do or don't might become a huge issue to some folk. All that stuff is just not very productive for them to do and only leads to internet people-fatigue, misguided expectations and angry faces. Also, that popular forumdrama could just be a case of 5-6 individuals being very upset at something and the rest of the people shrugging at it, yet that's still the hottest thread of the day.

I will say that the Choose our adventure feature was a very cool back & forth between the crew & the community. Like you had people campaign for their obscure FMV game of choice and genuinely convince people to see those games being played by the east crew. And the crew never had to straight up engage with the forumpeople apart from seeing the top choices. A game like Sentient would otherwise never appear anywhere and i would not have this great avatar.

The Steam Request streams are pretty great collabs between the crew & the community as well.

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nutter

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Forums are antiquated. I stay away from social media as I generally dislike bullshit drama, so this is kinda my online presence, these days.

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Blu3V3nom07

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I miss the days when we had great off topic conversations, idk.. And tbh, I think once new games come out that are popular enough, that’s when people start making threads. That, and console launches eventually next year would help.

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liquiddragon

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@onemanarmyy: I don't think expectations are anywhere near that high. If we saw a post to a thread from the crew members once or twice a month, that'd be plenty encouraging.

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mellotronrules

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yeah, the state of the forums is a bit of a bummer. one of the original selling points for the site (to me) was some downright pleasant and helpful interactions that demonstrated this was a unique place on the web. in a similar vein- i don't frequent waypoint- but you gotta hand it to them, they created a welcoming space that catches people that don't post anywhere else.

anyway- forums withering isn't unique to GB- but it certainly seems like they won't miss them when they're gone, which is a shame.

there's a sense that someone shrugged their shoulders and decided "i guess reddit will pick up the slack." which is an additional bummer because reddit has such a distinct culture that i don't find particularly warm or enjoyable.

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shorap

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I might be misremembering past forum activity but I haven’t noticed a significant dip. The site’s forums have never been very robust.

If I ever had a question or wanted to talk about a game I would go to gamefaqs and then eventually reddit because of those site’s increased population.

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Onemanarmyy

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#25  Edited By Onemanarmyy

@liquiddragon:

But that's already happening i feel. Not in the forum section but Brad , Alex, Ben, Dan or Vinny popping up in a comment section for a quicklook / podcast / review to adress something feels like a monthly happening to me. I feel like Alex pretty much always answers some questions about his reviews in the comments and i recall Brad asking the folk where he spoiled Death Stranding.

I guess i just don't understand what value it brings to the table for them to regularly pop in a forum thread to say whether they're excited about Shenmue 3, which game from this year they loved but hardly anyone else cared for or which song is forever tied to a game for them. Well, i can see why that would be fun to know, but that could just as well be podcast email material right? Is the thrill of the possibility seeing a comment from a crewmember enough to energize people to get out of their discord groups and resetera threads? Will the youtube / app crowd venture out to the website in the hope to get a comment from a crewmember?

I do recall them doing a reddit AMA a few years back , but again, that had a clear value for them. A bunch of people that might not know about Giant Bomb suddenly see their name pop up in their feeds & see a bunch of people ask questions about how Giantbomb operates, what kind of stuff they make and how they come across in conversation. That value is not there when you're doing it on your own website with people that are already in the know.

Personally i post here mostly to just work through my thoughts but also because there are a handful of people that seem to be cool. To have the crew read stuff as well would be neat, but i don't see why they would benefit from that in anyway. Especially when it's clear that they are not necessarily interested in doing that out of their own desire.

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liquiddragon

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#26  Edited By liquiddragon

@onemanarmyy: come on man, again, you're taking it to the extreme. Of course it wouldn't automatically revitalize the forums. I'm not talking about waving a magic wand, turning back the hands of time. It's just a bit of a bummer they make at least some effort everywhere else, including on other forums but not the one on their own site. I check out the comment sections on some videos sometimes and it can be way more of a shit show there. I don't understand why the forum users are the ones left to feel like we're the undesirables.

Anyways, just saying it couldn't hurt to pop in here every once in a while. Again, not saying it's gonna solve anything but I disagree it'd have zero value. And I hope they don't only do stuff they deem beneficial or sees as having value or worth for themselves.

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development

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#27  Edited By development

I guess I'm old, then? I don't use Discord because I literally have zero friends that play games (and I think that's why most people use it? I also don't enjoy hearing people w/ bad mics speaking so if there's an audio element I'm out). Glad this sparked some good discussion, at least. Clearly some people have some thoughts about this. Good to hear things might change a little after GOTY.

Otherwise, yeah I dislike basically all of Reddit's culture outside the far-left well-moderated subs, and Waypoint's great but I don't get around to listening to them very much.

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mellotronrules

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I guess I'm old, then? I don't use Discord because I literally have zero friends that play games (and I think that's why most people use it?).

i find myself having this experience as well, but for slightly different reasons. i boot up discord all the time, but similar to a chat room i feel like i'm constantly barging in on existing conversation and waiting for an 'in.' forums are structurally nice that way, because there's the expectation of it being an outward-facing discussion that you can join at anytime- whereas discord still feels like a glorified chatroom with 3-4 people having a publicly-overheard conversation.

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@mellotronrules: Sounds like how I feel about Discord as well. It doesn't lend itself well to just jumping into the conversation, it always feels awkward. I'm an awkward guy just in general so it's a feeling I can't get past so I end up just being a lurker in a large chat room.

When it comes to Reddit I just don't like how that site is laid out, I also kinda resent how it's killed off so many dedicated hobby forums. It practically has a monopoly now and I hate that.

So call me old school but I'll stick with forums like this one and ResetEra until it's not possible anymore. I'd love to post here more if the activity picked up.

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norm9

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I absolutely love forums. Been using them forever. Ever since I got banned on another forum for being a misogynist and racist with a "history" of such behavior, I moved along to discord and reddit. And while reddit is okay, the organization of both the latter platforms aren't conducive to posting. Discord is too chatty, reddit is too game-ified with the upvote downvote system.

Imo, just moving the forum link to somewhere more prominent instead of the end of screen would help with more activity.

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#31 MightyDuck  Online

I definitely miss the active forums here. This is pretty much the only place I post on a semi-regular basis. I honestly don't have much interest heading somewhere else like Reddit/ResetEra. I tried the Unofficial GiantBomb discord for a while, but as @mellotronrules, I feel like I'm barging in on a conversation that's already in place.

Hopefully, somehow the forums will continue to eke out a small existence on GiantBomb.

Now if only the Wiki was back to playing a more prominent role.

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Efesell

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I feel like not having the recent topics on the main page makes this sort of inevitable? I imagine that interaction was always going to be higher if you had a chance of something catching your eye as you went about your usual business on the website. As opposed to having to come specifically to the forums for the sake of posting there.

Feels like if you were the latter and just the forum goer type you probably have chosen something larger than this to be your main place.

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NTM

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Yes and no? Weirdly, I wonder what happened to some people on here. I'm not close to anyone here, but there used to be a person that was super into Halo (John something) and Yumylee who was really into Resident Evil and horror games in general with the Barry avatar. I never see posts from them anymore which made me wonder whatever happened to them. I haven't noticed a drop because I don't pay too much attention to it, but I take people's word for it as I've seen at least one other person that has said there's been a drop. I suppose I have in a way because I'll find a game I'm interested in and go to the forum and see that, disappointingly, there is maybe only one or two threads on the game.

As for me, I still post of course, but I've been doing it less lately; that's more due to me changing my room configuration than anything else though. I no longer have my computer on a table as I wanted to make more room in my room, so now it's on the floor in my closet, and to be honest, my need or interest in gaming sites isn't as high as it was a while back since I actually prefer sitting on my couch watching YouTube on the Xbox One which has a lot of what I want or need. It just doesn't have anywhere to discuss games, which is why I come back here from time to time. And uh... Yeah, I liked it when the discussions were on the front page. I don't post anywhere else anymore; this is the only place I care to discuss games.

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Even just looking at the poll results, in prior years this would have at least a hundred votes but it's not even reached that yet.

Overall, Discord and Twitter have taken the forum's place. Got a problem with what a staff member said? Just @'em on twitter to let them know. Also people get older and move on etc.

Personally speaking, the forums have gotten steadily worse to use ever since whichever redesign borked up how this site handles forum posting and sessions. This isn't a recent thing; it's been like this for literal years and I got tired of making reports to the engineers for little to no effect. I don't even know if this was my initial thread but here's one from 2015

https://www.giantbomb.com/forums/bug-reporting-33/the-csrf-token-is-invalid-1765458/

Why is this boring thing important? Because it flat out ruins posting anything longer than a few lines and is enormously frustrating. I realize it was probably some way to counter the bot spam, but the end result is it made plenty of people fed up and not want to post here all that often. Spend all that time formatting and laying out images and are ready to hit Post Reply? Oops! CSRF Token is invalid my good man!

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Ares42

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From my perspective the site re-design pretty much killed the forums. They might've been on a down-slope already, but there was a very clear and noticeable drop when the redesign happened.

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avantegardener

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Probably mentioned above, but removing 'latest posts' from front page has severely reduced visibility.

There was a time when there might be no new content (impossible to believe and do now, but I used to watch every video on giantbomb) and would drift to bottom of the page and catch up on forums posts.

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TheRealTurk

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#37 TheRealTurk  Online

I'll echo what has already been said - removing the forums from the front page was a real bummer. That used to be pretty much the first thing I'd check if I didn't have a ton of time to watch a video because it gave me a good handle on what the hot topics of the day were. Plus, every once in a while there'd be a great off-the-wall crazy thread that would be a ton of fun to go through. I kinda feel like that's gotten lost.

As far as number of posters, I think it feels like the site lost some of its "middle." On the one hand, there seems to be a dedicated group of people who have been around forever and who have thousands of posts. But I've also noticed a major uptick of people who seem to have signed up for the sole purpose of starting shit in the comments sections.

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ShaggE

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It's a shame, as classic-style message board forums are still my favorite type of internet community, but nowadays only the biggest (and most toxic, by extension) survive, while smaller and tighter knit ones struggle to maintain activity. This forum in particular is absolutely not what it was a few years ago, but I hope it keeps ticking along. I think there are still enough of us around to justify its existence, and being left to the depths of the video comments is a pretty unappealing idea.

I do like the Facebook group, at least. It has some of the feel of the old forums. Still, just not the same.

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ghost_cat

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I think it's a mix of a lot of things, both site related and external variables. Back then, when Giantbomb was new, the users were probably a lot younger with more free time (like me). As they got older, they had more responsibilities to take care of, so blogging or being on forums became much lower on the later of priorities/interest. Also, and though I'm not a user, I understand fast communication technologies like Twitter and Discord are much easier to use and are the fashion right now for discussion, so using order stuff like message boards isn't as appealing as it was in the past.

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MonkeyKing1969

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#40  Edited By MonkeyKing1969

I think that just a trend in forums. Forums are just not how people communicate in fandom anymore.

I think it would be funny if they got rid of the forums and made everyone make TikToks.

  • 9,000% more Giant Bomb cosplay topics
  • 5,000% Dan audio that people film reaction shots to
  • 4,000% more Waluigi cos-play for Dan to react back to
  • 10,000% more topics being banned by moderators who will now all be in China
No Caption Provided

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Sombre

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I'm not trying to have a go, but I think the forums suffered from some INCREDIBLY heavy handed moderation about 2/3 years ago, and I think that drove a few people away

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@rahf said:

Because people leave, or grow out of it, but the younger generation doesn't come in. Nobody wants to express themselves in paragraphs, rather fragmented sentences.

I think this is a big part of what it comes down to. Not so much people not being interested in writing longer form stuff, but that things like Discord and other forms of chat have partially taken the place of forums, especially for younger folks. Even forums I've gone on that were previously highly active like Team Liquid have started to slow down a lot the last couple years, and this is despite the fact the Starcraft community hasn't shrunk at all given that viewership numbers have been stable. It just seems like fewer people want to post on forums.

I do think the front page not featuring forum stuff anymore has had a negative impact on activity also, though. It did seem like a slowdown in forum activity started around the time of the last site revamp.

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Jesus_Phish

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I've noticed myself that my own participation in the forum has dropped off a cliff. My use of the site has kind of dropped away. I've started to just use it just to watch premium videos and that's about it. Any non-premium stuff I'll catch on Youtube.

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GhostHouse

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Honestly the redesign made me completely forget the forums existed for a while. Its just not really a noticeable part of the site anymore for whatever reason. I do like the redesign a lot overall though.

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Rebel_Scum

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#45  Edited By Rebel_Scum

All niche forums have been dying since 2014 at the latest. I dont mind it as it can be easier to have a discussion without too much noise. Easier to remember all the names and personalities too.

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FacelessVixen

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...I just think that I don't agree with anyone's opinions.

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FrodoBaggins

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Yeah absolutely. I rarely visit anymore and think I will stop altogether. I much preferred the white theme, I'm not overly fond of the moderation style and even less fond of the type of interactions that so often happen on forums like this. Oh to go back to 2008, a simpler time 😂 the only piece of giantbomb content I consume is the podcast and has been for years. May catch the odd video here and there but I just don't have time for it anymore, same goes with the fourm. All the best.

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TheManWithNoPlan

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It's all a little sad. These forums were really the first form of internet interaction I had as surprising as that might sound. I used to pop on the site every day for years. Got to recognize a lot of names and avatars in that time. I took a break for a while a little over a year ago, and after the recent posts were taken off the front page in the new site iteration I stopped browsing the forums almost altogether. (I'm sure it was for a reason, but it's a shame it was removed.) I take a look like once a month now and the thread posts always seem sparse.

As others here have said, it's not that the community is dried up or anything, people have just moved to other venues. I mainly stick to discord now and the amount of people in the unofficial servers is booming. Even if the forums disappear entirely one of these days I'll always remember them fondly.

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Edward222

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Yes I used to use my brother's id before this one and few years ago this forum was surely very active but now there's not now that much active.

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mezmero

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It certainly has but what can ya do? The idea of forums being phased out is a depressing prospect for someone as internetroverted as myself and I'm left thinking "Ugh I'm going to have to get on 'real' social media aren't I? Ick. Barf." This seems as good a time as any to say that I took a gander at a GB thread in a certain other forum and I WISH I HADN'T. Jeezus the notion that these kinds of toxic pricks are presumably lurking in the community turns my fucking stomach. And wouldn't you know it the only thing about site content this cesspool of scum seem to like at all is one of the only things I don't.