pam

Make the Forums Great Again

Recommended Posts

It's been sad over the last few years to see the forums dwindle to almost nothing.  I realize that we lost a lot of people each time we changed software.

Lately I've gotten numerous requests from members to delete their accounts.  Many are stating it's due to the toxic nature of the forums.  With a big part of the problem being the moderators adding to it.  Not my words.  Words of those asking for their accounts to be deleted.  

For me, the forums aren't fun anymore.  We used to really have a lot of fun.  We could joke and laugh, we played games.  It was such a different world than it is now.  Everything is so serious now.  

What can we do to make it better?  How can we draw more people into the forums that will participate in a civil manner?   How can we make it fun again?

This won't be a thread to attack the moderators or other members.  If we want the forums to continue we need to do something to show there is a need for it.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, pam said:

It's been sad over the last few years to see the forums dwindle to almost nothing.  I realize that we lost a lot of people each time we changed software.

Lately I've gotten numerous requests from members to delete their accounts.  Many are stating it's due to the toxic nature of the forums.  With a big part of the problem being the moderators adding to it.  Not my words.  Words of those asking for their accounts to be deleted.  

For me, the forums aren't fun anymore.  We used to really have a lot of fun.  We could joke and laugh, we played games.  It was such a different world than it is now.  Everything is so serious now.  

What can we do to make it better?  How can we draw more people into the forums that will participate in a civil manner?   How can we make it fun again?

This won't be a thread to attack the moderators or other members.  If we want the forums to continue we need to do something to show there is a need for it.

 

As much as I enjoy talking politics—that’s been behind most of the major bannings / withdrawals that I’m aware of over the last year. Maybe we need to reconsider bringing back the ban on political discussion?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me, I check this forum WAY too often (like every hour) and it is a favorite site of mine.  I just don't have much to initiate conversation myself and not many other people are talking.  Which I realize doesn't help much...   sorry @pam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A couple of thoughts through the eyes of having been a moderator for many years on a different, totally unrelated forum:

10 hours ago, pam said:

It's been sad over the last few years to see the forums dwindle to almost nothing.

This issue is definitely not unique to Thirdhour. Forums in general are experiencing this dwindling regardless of how well they are run. Other social media platforms are simply gobbling up users. Mega tech giants with huge budgets are aggressively competing for the same user's attention. Unfortunately, the forums of yesteryear may never return despite anyone's best efforts. 
Sidenote: I would suspect that if we did a survey we would find that most users here today are age 40+. This tends to be the demographic of most forum formatted sites.

10 hours ago, pam said:

toxic nature of the forums.  With a big part of the problem being the moderators adding to it.

Users, on the other forum, would try to make this claim as well, "the moderators said such and such...".
I see the moderators as 'users' of the site with opinions,  just like the rest of us. In addition to being a user and with almost zero fanfare or appreciation, they volunteer their time and energy into making the site better. There are many users who want to relegate moderators down to mere rule enforcement and limit their opinions to zero, unless of course it favors their own.

I've been here for 5 years now and have never seen anything from a moderator that I would call toxic. They have always been polite and professional while either giving their opinions or reminding me personally of the site rules.

10 hours ago, pam said:

It was such a different world than it is now.  Everything is so serious now. 

I'll admit, this past year has been particularly hard and I personally have taken a way more serious tone myself.
With covid, elections, job insecurities, etc. it has simply been a more serious time in life. As serious topics on the forum arise, serious and passionate opinions flow. When those passionate opinions collide with equally passionate opposing opinions, there is the potential for less harmony. I've both dished it out and received it. I can do better on my end.

I'll agree with JAG:

9 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

As much as I enjoy talking politics—that’s been behind most of the major bannings / withdrawals that I’m aware of over the last year. Maybe we need to reconsider bringing back the ban on political discussion?

 

Edited by NeedleinA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I started the #GiveThanks thread.  That's a start.

When I did so, I stopped talking about politics.  It has helped me personally.

As I recall, the "ban" on political speech was because of the non-profit status of the forums as part of the More Good Foundation.  Then either the law changed or some other criteria changed which allowed it.  So, the ban was lifted.

May I suggest along with JAG: Just because we CAN do a thing doesn't mean we MUST do a thing.  I'm going to do my best to stay out of political topics moving forward.

Edited by Carborendum

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

I started the #GiveThanks thread.  That's a start.

When I did so, I stopped talking about politics.  It has helped me personally.

As I recall, the "ban" on political speech was because of the non-profit status of the forums as part of the More Good Foundation.  Then either the law changed or some other criteria changed which allowed it.  So, the ban was lifted.

May I suggest along with JAG: Just because we CAN do a thing doesn't mean we MUST do a thing.  I'm going to do my best to stay out of political topics moving forward.

The wording changed on the IRS rules.  As long as the organization (in this case More Good Foundation) wasn't aggressively pushing for one side or candidate over another and it was just the members voicing opinions we were okay.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, NeedleinA said:

A couple of thoughts through the eyes of having been a moderator for many years on a different, totally unrelated forum:

This issue is definitely not unique to Thirdhour. Forums in general are experiencing this dwindling regardless of how well they are run. Other social media platforms are simply gobbling up users. Mega tech giants with huge budgets are aggressively competing for the same user's attention. Unfortunately, the forums of yesteryear may never return despite anyone's best efforts. 
Sidenote: I would suspect that if we did a survey we would find that most users here today are age 40+. This tends to be the demographic of most forum formatted sites.

Users, on the other forum, would try to make this claim as well, "the moderators said such and such...".
I see the moderators as 'users' of the site with opinions,  just like the rest of us. In addition to being a user and with almost zero fanfare or appreciation, they volunteer their time and energy into making the site better. There are many users who want to relegate moderators down to mere rule enforcement and limit their opinions to zero, unless of course it favors their own.

I've been here for 5 years now and have never seen anything from a moderator that I would call toxic. They have always been polite and professional while either giving their opinions or reminding me personally of the site rules.

I'll admit, this past year has been particularly hard and I personally have taken a way more serious tone myself.
With covid, elections, job insecurities, etc. it has simply been a more serious time in life. As serious topics on the forum arise, serious and passionate opinions flow. When those passionate opinions collide with equally passionate opposing opinions, there is the potential for less harmony. I've both dished it out and received it. I can do better on my end.

I'll agree with JAG:

 

It is true.  The demographics for the forum do tend to lean more towards the 40+ crowd.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe there is a greater need for a forum such as this one - more than ever before.  But I am not sure that something needed is something utilized.  We live in a culture of intolerance that is becoming more and more dominate.  I started posting on forums many decades ago (Dr. Laura) because of the anti LDS posts.  I was asked to become involved.  What has happened is that in "efforts" to become more tolerant we have become less tolerant of opposing ideas.  Some call this current trend - the cancel culture.  Which is:  If someone disagrees with you it is because they think you are evil crud and one must respond in kind.  

As a culture it is becoming an act of inferiority or stupidity to allow alternate opinions.  Of course there are always the opposite examples (like @prisonchaplain).  I have personally experimented with him to see where his boundaries of tolerance may lie but he has never taken that challenge.  And through it all he seems to see more similarities than differences in our religious faiths.

There is a old saying:  "If you can not say nothing good about no body - it is more better you no say nothing!"  We do not have to respond to every challenge or answer every question.  I would personally prefer that the forum be more liberal concerning toxic posts - but the problem is that someone feel that they have to set trolls right.  Which is exactly what the trolls want and why they post.  If no one responded to such posts - they would no longer post. 

It does seem to me that if someone posts a truthful and inspired post - it may be read by many but few will respond.  Say something offensive, foolish re unusually stupid and everybody will jump in with anger and things will quickly spiral out of control.  Which is exactly the purpose of trolls - and may I add Satan and his followers?

I think Jesus said some interesting things about trolls when he said, "Love your enemies and do good to those that despitefully use you."  But then Jesus was quit strong in his rebuke of the Pharisees. 

So here is my advice - never respond to any post in anger.  If you want to tell someone off - take a day off, pray about it then write a response.  If you heart is not full of love towards those you are addressing - save your post for another 24 hours - pray again about what you have written.  If you are still upset - then do not respond - rather find a post with which you agree and post a thanks.

BTW - @pam Thanks for starting this thread.

 

The Traveler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Traveler said:

I believe there is a greater need for a forum such as this one - more than ever before.  But I am not sure that something needed is something utilized.  We live in a culture of intolerance that is becoming more and more dominate.  I started posting on forums many decades ago (Dr. Laura) because of the anti LDS posts.  I was asked to become involved.  What has happened is that in "efforts" to become more tolerant we have become less tolerant of opposing ideas.  Some call this current trend - the cancel culture.  Which is:  If someone disagrees with you it is because they think you are evil crud and one must respond in kind.  

As a culture it is becoming an act of inferiority or stupidity to allow alternate opinions.  Of course there are always the opposite examples (like @prisonchaplain).  I have personally experimented with him to see where his boundaries of tolerance may lie but he has never taken that challenge.  And through it all he seems to see more similarities than differences in our religious faiths.

There is a old saying:  "If you can not say nothing good about no body - it is more better you no say nothing!"  We do not have to respond to every challenge or answer every question.  I would personally prefer that the forum be more liberal concerning toxic posts - but the problem is that someone feel that they have to set trolls right.  Which is exactly what the trolls want and why they post.  If no one responded to such posts - they would no longer post. 

It does seem to me that if someone posts a truthful and inspired post - it may be read by many but few will respond.  Say something offensive, foolish re unusually stupid and everybody will jump in with anger and things will quickly spiral out of control.  Which is exactly the purpose of trolls - and may I add Satan and his followers?

I think Jesus said some interesting things about trolls when he said, "Love your enemies and do good to those that despitefully use you."  But then Jesus was quit strong in his rebuke of the Pharisees. 

So here is my advice - never respond to any post in anger.  If you want to tell someone off - take a day off, pray about it then write a response.  If you heart is not full of love towards those you are addressing - save your post for another 24 hours - pray again about what you have written.  If you are still upset - then do not respond - rather find a post with which you agree and post a thanks.

BTW - @pam Thanks for starting this thread.

 

The Traveler

You made quite a few very good points Traveler.  Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I cannot say I'm familiar with forums overall, or what draws people to them more than others, but perhaps there could be an outreach (or as some would say, a recruitment) to get more people onto the forums?

I know I found these forums because I was trying to find a place which promoted a positive attitude towards the Church and it's teachings.  To many forums had anti-Church sentiment and a lot of people that were angry or wanting to destroy the Church.  This was the only place at the time that I found that promoted positive messages and well being to the Church.  I have found that there are reddits and a few other locations that promote a positive message (and far too many that do not) of the church, but they are still few and far between.

It is terrific to be able to discuss things with like minded individuals where we are at least joined in our testimony and beliefs of the gospel.  If there could be found a way to appeal to those who are like I was, searching for a place where the gospel is presented (and protected) in a positive light, perhaps we could attract more people to these forums?

 

PS: Something that occurred to me regarding drawing people to these forums.  Could there be a correlation between the drop in numbers, or those coming to the forums, and the name change?  I know Third Hour was the choice, but it doesn't exactly scream out to me that it is connected to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or discussions of the gospel.  Perhaps something to change the name to something that notifies people who are searching that it is connected to those who love the gospel and the church in a more direct manner?

Edited by JohnsonJones
Adding some items in a PS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Jane_Doe said:

For me, I check this forum WAY too often (like every hour) and it is a favorite site of mine.  I just don't have much to initiate conversation myself and not many other people are talking.  Which I realize doesn't help much...   sorry @pam

@Jane_Doe is one of the shining stars on this forum. We have had and do have several. Perhaps if we reach out to engaging friends and invite them to join in. We can and do lament some of the great voices we've lost. It would be nice if some of them return. However, the more common path to success is bringing in new participants. So, yeah...some good old fashioned recruiting might be in order.

Edited by prisonchaplain

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, pam said:

It is true.  The demographics for the forum do tend to lean more towards the 40+ crowd.

So when you say “deleted accounts” you mean “dead”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My honest thoughts.

I joined about 2 years ago because I enjoyed the conversations and felt there were some great insights... today I feel like all insights have been exhausted. Conversations seem to be rehashes of old and few are posting gospel questions anymore. politics have a negative effect, but it’s the lack of honest and thoughtful gospel questions. That is/was the life blood of this forum.

Edited by Fether

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Fether said:

So when you say “deleted accounts” you mean “dead”

They can no longer post or have access to their messages.  Some will say just "guest" and others will say "Guest username."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Fether said:

My honest thoughts.

I joined about 2 years ago because I enjoyed the conversations and felt there were some great insights... today I feel like all insights have been exhausted. Conversations seem to be rehashes of old and few are posting gospel questions anymore. politics have a negative effect, but it’s the lack of honest and thoughtful gospel questions. That is/was the life blood of this forum.

Perhaps if I started some of these discussions using questions that went to Ask Gramps that we haven't been able to answer.  Most times it's a time restriction on th team.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, JohnsonJones said:

I cannot say I'm familiar with forums overall, or what draws people to them more than others, but perhaps there could be an outreach (or as some would say, a recruitment) to get more people onto the forums?

I know I found these forums because I was trying to find a place which promoted a positive attitude towards the Church and it's teachings.  To many forums had anti-Church sentiment and a lot of people that were angry or wanting to destroy the Church.  This was the only place at the time that I found that promoted positive messages and well being to the Church.  I have found that there are reddits and a few other locations that promote a positive message (and far too many that do not) of the church, but they are still few and far between.

It is terrific to be able to discuss things with like minded individuals where we are at least joined in our testimony and beliefs of the gospel.  If there could be found a way to appeal to those who are like I was, searching for a place where the gospel is presented (and protected) in a positive light, perhaps we could attract more people to these forums?

 

PS: Something that occurred to me regarding drawing people to these forums.  Could there be a correlation between the drop in numbers, or those coming to the forums, and the name change?  I know Third Hour was the choice, but it doesn't exactly scream out to me that it is connected to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or discussions of the gospel.  Perhaps something to change the name to something that notifies people who are searching that it is connected to those who love the gospel and the church in a more direct manner?

Third Hour was chosen because it represented the mission of what the entire site was going to focus on with the 2 hour block that was initiated.  It does go more with the article side. The forum side is just a small part of the entire site.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now