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Message boards versus Facebook etc

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Jacob

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Have been chatting to some IT whizzos about setting up a communications medium for a local group. I was surprised that they didn't seem to know about message/bulletin boards.
Seems to me that message boards (like this one) are an amazingly effective way of talking about and exchanging information, which then remains sorted under headings, accessible/searchable for a very long time, like a digital library or filing system, including downloadable docs etc. Much more useful than Facebook or Wordpress.
Just wondered what people thought about the differences and about doing group (or business) business on the different platforms.
I think there's a risk that IT 'experts' will easily dismiss message boards as old tech and tend towards flashier but less useful alternatives.
 

LancsRick

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I'd be wary of their IT knowledge if forums are beyond them. Things like Facebook are good if your aim is social and you don't have any technical ability. Setting up a forum requires some tech knowledge (but these days there are providers who will do it for you).
 

Jacob

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sunnybob":2f8d0oar said:
What was their alternative proposals?
Facebook or Wordpress, or building a forum website from scratch.
LancsRick":2f8d0oar said:
.... Setting up a forum requires some tech knowledge (but these days there are providers who will do it for you).
Does it? This forum, like many others, is off the peg, ready made.
Yes some complicated admin operations can be required but not involving any prior technical knowledge.
Anyway I think they've cracked it and are now going for a phpBB board.
 
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I don't think one is better than the other, they both do a good job in my opinion and serve different audiences. I am a member of forums and a few facebook groups and I enjoy using them both.


Forums are good when using a desktop as the posts are usually longer and the extra real estate makes them easier to use.
Facebook groups are generally much easier to use for most people. Very easy to upload photos and videos.
 

Garno

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The thing with the likes of facebook is that you do not have full control and it is the same to a degree with wordpress.

Depending on the subject matter will also have a bearing on how much background (behind the scenes) control you want or need, at the early stages of growth the amount of control is not really that important, because if nothing has been posted then it matters not a jot, but as things progress and the forums take a true direction then having full control is very important.

Personally I would go down the route and get one made that will meet ALL of your requirements whilst allowing you the option to alter things slightly at a later stage.

Garno
 

profchris

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Don't forget to think about your users. Tech developers can be really bad at this. I remember a bank's website from around 1996, when all the users were on dial-up. The home page was all graphics, and took over 20 minutes to load via dialup, though I bet it looked really cool in all the demos to the bank!

The big problem with phpbb forums is that they can be really unfriendly for phone users, with posts suddenly widening so they don't fit on the screen, no resizing, etc. This forum is good for that, some of the others I frequent far less so. So if your users often access by phone, off the shelf phpbb has problems.

The other problem I see is that search on phpbb is uniformly awful, so if your users will be wanting to search and get specific results then you either have to allow Google to index it (and teach users how to use Google to get site-specific results) or include some better search engine.

That aside, the threading of topics is far better than on Facebook, which doesn't thread at all (except for posts and comments on posts, which is still far inferior if you're looking for actual information), and Facebook search is truly appalling!
 

Jacob

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profchris":1ebeey6j said:
.....
That aside, the threading of topics is far better than on Facebook, which doesn't thread at all (except for posts and comments on posts, which is still far inferior if you're looking for actual information), and Facebook search is truly appalling!
There's a trick with Facebook whereby if you 'like' a post you can find it again by going to your own "activity log" (drop down menu on right hand of tool bar). You still have to scroll down, but only through your own 'likes' or posts.
 

Gerry

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Instead of phpbb use SMF. The latest 2.1 release is a responsive and adatps to the device viewing it.
phpbb is/was notorious for security flaws and loopholes and regularly gets hacked.

Gerry
 

Noel

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profchris":3263s9zu said:
The other problem I see is that search on phpbb is uniformly awful, so if your users will be wanting to search and get specific results then you either have to allow Google to index it (and teach users how to use Google to get site-specific results) or include some better search engine.
Advanced search keeps everything within the forum.
 

Noel

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MrTeroo":35hbbmz3 said:
Self awareness isn't your strong point.

and

Sounds like, as usual, you think you know best.
Please, no more. If you have nothing helpful to say, refrain from posting.
 

DrPhill

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How well do you know your target audience and their preferences?

I, personally, prefer BB to FB every time. Others may not.

I am a software developer. Your comment about developers favouring new shiny is true. It is probably far easier to get a FB group up and running. Choose what will work best for your audience, not what is best for the implementors. (The target audience includes the person/people who will run/moderate/maintain the site)
 

Garno

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Jacob":3d44s01l said:
finneyb":3d44s01l said:
Google Groups works well for a 300+ group I'm a member of.

Brian
OK I'll have a look.
Thanks for all comments. Very useful.
At the mo I favour https://www.proboards.com/ as it is widely used, accessible and free.
That looks good TBH, unlimited members and posts are good.

Do they support it with advertising? even if they did it's not a deal breaker.
 
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