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Griping About Users: What’s Wrong With Forums?

Forums or Newsgroups are a great way to expand your community, contribute to the greater development community, hone your communication skills, and stay grounded. However, forums can have a frustrating dark side. From what I can tell, the dark side of forums stem from the wide diversity of users.

On Forums we have:

As a forum contributor, I like to think that I’m giving something to the community, but some days I feel like I’m wasting my time and here’s why.

Frustrating forum threads:

When contributors pass your words off as their own:

Amanda from Microsoft offers this bit of advice on 08-28-2007:

Which seems vaguely similar to something I might have said back on 12-07-2006:

When users are belligerent:

“Adam has so little time he can’t even read your question …” – Brian

When users want a quick fix or want you to do their work:

“please verify and do for me some work.” – dagamishiva

It makes it all worth while when users are genuinely grateful for your advice and suggestions. In the end, forums (and helping people in general) is rewarding, and some forums that explicitly cover more advanced topics omit the frustrating chatter and facilitate professional level discussions.

Author: Adam Kahtava Categories: ASP.NET, Community, Musings Tags:
  1. April 10th, 2008 at 19:30 | #1

    I find that forums are really hit and miss, and you can’t really generalize. Personally, I prefer e-mail lists to forums these days.

  2. Adam Kahtava
    April 12th, 2008 at 19:32 | #2

    @Tom, agreed I prefer the mailing lists too, or the more "specialized" forums, but I’m a bit of a Karma junkie and trying to ween myself off the noisier forums. :)

  3. Devin Parrish
    May 10th, 2008 at 19:31 | #3

    I’ve had a pretty good experience with forums. Generally, I don’t really post on them, but I find others that relate to the same issue I am having and use their guidance as a starting point.
    Some of the better forums I’ve used are the Ubuntu ones. The people are very knowledgeable and provide everyone with great tips and information. You definitely do get the odd person who either expects the posters to do all their work or really don’t do any constructive commenting at all. Oh well, not much you can do about it I suppose.

  4. June 7th, 2008 at 19:33 | #4

    Those forums are definitely going downhill these days. I’m hoping Stack Overflow might become a good alternative soon.

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