My current forum story: My 2nd Discourse forum, 2 years after the first one
The first days were amazing. A lot of people came and posted.
But suddenly, the activity decreased a lot. Since the forum existed before and it was a re-opening after being unavailable for two months, a spike of activity and then a decrease is expected.
However, I’m not very optimistic for the following weeks and months, despite the fact that I had only positive feedback and that users even donated 400$ on the very first day to pay the first year the forum’s fees.
The forum has been open for one week.
I took a look at the “concurrent” facebook group, and the latter is more active… The activity has been moving from the old forum (vBulletin) to Facebook over the years and has grown larger.
It saddens me because information is, in my opinion, more valuable in forums than facebook groups.
In forums, the information is categorized, easily available no matter its age.
On facebook, information is all mixed up, quickly disappear, the search engine feature is crappy and all is made to make users post short messages. Posts and comment sections are an endless universe of “click to see more”.
Have some of you been in the same situation? What did you do to make the forum more attractive?
Should I add similar features like Retort - a reaction-style plugin for Discourse?
Several users asked me to add categories to the home page, like phpbb and vbulletin default home.
Note that my current forum always had the categories as the first page for 20 years, so users are very used to it, but do you think having the latest topics only can lead to more activity?