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Insight into the phases of the Internet forum life cycle: a perspective

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Old July 6th 11, 06:45 PM posted to alt.rec.bicycles.recumbent,rec.bicycles.soc
Edward Dolan
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Posts: 14,212
Default Insight into the phases of the Internet forum life cycle: a perspective

"Tēm ShermĒn °_°" " wrote in message
On 7/2/2011 1:43 PM, JimmyMac wrote:

Like it or not, Internet forums commonly undergo an evolutionary
process regardless of whether they are moderated or unmoderated. The
natural life cycle of an Internet forum, with its various phases,
might be best summed up as follows:

1. Declaration of Enthusiasm - Subscribers introduce themselves and
gush over how wonderful it is to have encountered kindred spirits.

2. Origin of Evangelism - Participants moan about how the forum
consists of far too few members and brainstorming ensues to initiate
recruitment strategies.

3. Expansion of Community - An ever increasing number of interested
parties subscribe and contribute to the forum. Lengthy threads
develop (some more relevant than others).

4. Emergence of Camaraderie - Information and advice is exchanged
(some empirically founded ... some just anecdotal nonsense).
Friendships are forged. Members rib one another, but all in good
fun. New subscribers are welcomed and newbies. Both newcomers and
veterans alike are receptive to asking questions, providing answers,
and sharing experiences.

1998 to 2001

The above will never occur again on ANY forums. The computer, the Internet
and Usenet are now old and tired and we are all disillusioned and revolted
to say the least.

5. Genesis of Disenchantment - The volume of postings increases
dramatically. Not all threads are of interest to all participants.
Members pitch a bitch about signal-to-noise ratio, off-topic threads,
me too posts, forged and spoofed identities, forwarding of private
emails, and other violations of internet forum netiquette. Member #1
threatens to unsubscribe if things don't change for the better.
Member #2 aligns himself with Member #1. Member #3 disagrees with
both Members #1 and #2. Member #4 suggests that Members #1, #2, and
#3 should lighten up. Flame wars erupt and adversaries emerge.
Bandwidth is sacrificed as an abundance of postings proliferate in an
effort to resolve differences and restore some semblance of order.
During this particular phase, many a delete key gets more than its
share of abuse and filtering and killfiles are implemented.

The general attitude in the US after the false-flag attacks of Sept. 11,
2001 and the arrival of Ed Dolan [1].

6. Stagnation of Growth - The purists castigate members who ask an old
question or respond humorously to a serious post. Newcomers are
rebuffed and discouraged. SPAM posts, trolls and stalkers dominate
the forum. Traffic volume subsides considerably and is generally
confined to minor topics. Many relevant issues are communicated via
private emails. Some members turn in their membership cards in a huff
and the remaining members continue to participate in phases #4 and/or
#5 above.

Flight to the nanny forum.

Phases 5 and 6 is all I have ever known.

7. Salvation from Destruction - Someone like me pounds away at the
keyboard composing a post such as this one in an effort to stir the
juices of those members who find themselves entrenched in the quagmire
of phase #4 and/or #5 above ... mostly #5 in hopes of resurection ;-)

No resurrection is possible since everyone is old and tired, disgusted,
disillusioned and revolted.

People these days are not satisfied with plain text, despite Usenet being
my better to use than web-based forums.

Less is indeed more.

Well, at least this posting should prove to be a thought provoking
departure from the norm and hopefully sheds some light on the nature
of the beast we have come to love and hate ... the internet forum.
Perhaps I should have added a pahse nuber 8 (Fight of Forum), when
hope is abandoned, forum flight ensues and membership dwindles.

Most of the former posters seem happier in an environment when a moderator
steps in and squelches things at the first sign of spirited discourse.

One cannot also ignore most ISPs dropping Usenet out of liability
concerns, which limits new participation, and is responsible for much of
the decline in Usenet. This was a foolish decision, as the binary groups
(containing "pr0n" and "warez") could have been dropped, while retaining
the text only groups.

[1] Cross-posted to rec.bicycles.soc, since it seems unfair to talk about
a person behind his back.

ARBR was always a small group and TM ruined what was left of it with his
nonsense. I only monitor RBS now since Mr. Vandeman posts to this group.
Between the two of us we manage to keep the mountain bikers off balance. Mr.
Sherman is also kind enough to post to RBS which means I continue to have
the pleasure of kicking his dumb ass.

Life is good!

Ed Dolan the Great - Minnesota
Saint Edward the Great - Order of the Perpetual Sorrows - Minnesota


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