Dec 5 Posted 12 months ago
I can't help but disagree about Google Plus being a suitable replacement for discussion forums.
If your community is about a single topic or narrow discussion, then G+ might suit your needs, but what if the community you want to create will be quite large, with extensive discussions about every aspact of a topic, lets say a specific model of car.
You would want threads on technical how-to, showing off pictures, performance mods, parts for sale, parts wanted, etc and so on....While G+ allows you to create a menu of topics, it is only 1 thread deep, you cannot do layers of threads which are desirable in a larger community.
If there are a lot of posts in a "thread" on a G+ community, it is hard to sort through all the headings, unlike on a traditional bbs type forum. Honestly, i think the posts in G+ communities look like a dogs breakfast - hard on the eyes, no apparent sorting or organization to them.
Now that more time has passed since you wrote the article, it seems many communities are full of spammy hit and run postings (based on a quick browse look-see).
Additionally, Apple keeps playing hardball, so IOS users (I believe) are alienated from participating fully or (at all?) in G+ communities, where traditional forum sites are functional for everyone.
I've been wanting to create an online forum/community for the industry I am in, which i think is sorely needed. I hesitate because I've been reading that the general trend on these standalone forums is that their popularity is waning - less and less participation.
Would you agree/disagree with my comments OP? Do you think its still possible to build a healthy "old scool" PHPBB type forum?
Mar 16 Posted 2 years ago
I totally believe that Google+ communities are a suitable replacement for outdated forums. The only thing that bothers me is that people use it to just dump a link to their blog post and then leave. I'm a member of a few communities, mainly SEO ones and occasionally you get some good dialogue and discussion going but more often than not it's another place form someone to post a link.
It frustrates me because you would never do that on a forum. You'd post your thoughs on the article, give an opinion, really try to elecit some sort of conversation with people you have built a relationship with.
The functionality of G+ is spot on and has all the right ingredients. The way we share and converse does seem to have changed a little though - or maybe I just haven't found the right places yet.
One of my favourite communites is the SEOmoz q&a page.
Mar 14 Posted 2 years ago
You make a good point, Stephen, and one that I debated including in the post. It's possible that spam levels are lower simply because the communities are newer. And I'm sure there's some truth to that. We'll see how these communities look a yeaar from now... if they're still the place to go for real discussions, or if they've been overrun.
Thanks for reading!
Mar 14 Posted 2 years ago
Hey Mike, great post.
I'm a big fan of Google+ Communities I think they're more flexible than Facebook and LinkedIn versions - So much easier to use.
However I still see forms of spam within these communities, not to the extent of Facebook or LinkedIn but I think that's mainly down to the activity levels being lower on G+.
You're right though the only way these work is when moderators and platform 'police' work really hard to remove spam. This does get really difficult when you've got over 1bn members, i.e Facebook. I wasn't aware of the platform wide block for any spammers which I think is fantastic, I just hope this is enforced.
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