What is the future of web forums?Edit
Web forums are one of the oldest types of web apps, and haven't seen a lot of innovation.  While they are being supplanted by sites like Ning, StackOverflow, Quora, or Forrst, there are still thousands of old school phpbb-style forums throughout the web. How will web forums be innovated in the future?Edit


Sanjay Sabnani, I run a public company that owns, acq... (more)
11 votes by Gary Valan, Albo P. Fossa, Andrew Brown, (more)
I spend too much time thinking about this topic so I will give you some of my thoughts...

Forum software needs to focus on the syndication of content beyond forums.
Registration and the user experience need to more closely resemble the current best practices instead of those from 1998.
Members must be cajoled into better classifying their content at the point of creation.
High value content should be displayed in a format that best highlights the type of content.  The initial post of a review thread should look different than an event thread or a tutorial thread.
Search must be built from the ground up in order to help users find posts, places, and people that are relevant to their query.
Reputation and status need to integrate better game mechanics so that users will be motivated to contribute in their own ways.
Advertising must be factored into the design of forums from the beginning...not as an after thought.
Forums are the best medium for many to many communication that has ever existed.  This is not something I say lightly, it is what I truly believe.  Unfortunately all the adaptations in forum software have been evolutionary from the days of flat files on UBB to the current resource hogging bloatware that exists today.  We need to start from scratch and move all the wonderful communities to this infrastructure before they are lost forever.
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3+ Comments • Share (1) • Embed • Thank • 7 Oct, 2010

Harvey Kandola, Founder & CEO, Countersoft
4 votes by Saar Cohen, Robin Green, David Johnson, and Anon User
Total lack of innovation in this space. Organizations in particular just simply dump forums online and tell the community: help your self.  

So community users end up asking all sorts of questions in the hope of finding solutions to their problems. It's usually problems that drive us to visit forum sites.

The future is around making it even quicker to find solutions to problems that people may face by PROVIDING RELEVANT REPLIES. Because people are busy.

And this is why there has been hardly any innovation in this space. Forum software vendors are busy thinking about 'what other bells and whistles can we add?'. Instead, stop and think about 'how can we improve forums software to provide mechanisms for the community to provide quicker, relevant replies to people's questions?'.

Take an example: you are struggling to install/configure XYZ software. You visit the vendors site and are directed to their forum. You search and ask a question in the hope of finding a solution. You then go over to look at the FAQ's and hope to find a solution. You then take a look at their documentation.

So you jump around disparate forums, FAQs and documentation hoping to stumble upon an answer.  Madness!

So, when it comes to organizations wanting to deploy 'forums' for providing community support, then the future is providing a single 'joined up support' platform that allows different types of replies to questions (e.g. Faqs, Docs, Tickets, Videos), and where all content is consistently tagged.  Think of it as CMS for forums.
Comment • Share • Embed • Thank • 18 Mar, 2011

Seth Gottlieb 
3 votes by Inigo Sarmiento, Julia Teitelbaum, and Yiping Zhu
Quora and Stack Overflow are the future of the online forum.  For traditional web forums, the old standbys (phpbb, Simple Machines, etc.) do a pretty good job.
Comment • Share • Embed • Thank • 29 Dec, 2010

David Johnson 
2 votes by Anon User and Faheem Gill
I like the idea of putting everything in one place. I seem to spend a lifetime hunting around forum sites looking for answers. If you know of a tool for aggregating this stuff then please share it. I think the forum space is a nightmare.
Comment • Share • Embed • Thank • 20 Mar, 2011

Hans Jørgen Lysglimt Johansen, Internet Entrepreneur / Publisher / C... (more)
- The forum software developers should create cross-platform ID's where reputation, profile, stats can be used on many forums.
- Allow for truly annonymous quality discussions (reputations etc).
- Who can solve to "get paid to provide quality answers" problem, this will unleash enormous initiative.
- Integrate with Twitter.
- Integrate with the comming Semantic Web (long shot as of now, but will arrive in time), there will arrive a smarter more inteligent web, however this will need to be suplemented by human efforts, this is the future of colaboration online.
Comment • Share • Embed • Thank • 13 Jan

Erik Willekens, knowledge architect, bridge builder, ... (more)
1 vote by Vilan Natanzon
I've been thinking about this as well. Here is my proposition:

for more information - explanation:
work in progress :-)
Comment • Share • Embed • Thank • 25 Jan, 2012

Alexandru Vladoiu, UX architect, Wordpress fan
I think the Vanillaforums approach will be the future. Where you can embed it easily into any website/cms and make it part of it.
1+ Comments • Share • Embed • Thank • 22 Mar, 2011

He Shang, a monk
1 vote by Samuel Binns
the future? I think you have seen it. Quora is exactly the future of web forum.
1+ Comments • Share • Embed • Thank • 21 Mar, 2011

Alex Bramwell 
The future of the forum is as small, private groups with a tight focus. Social networks have taken over their role as large public spaces for socializing and looking for info.

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