Last month Blood of Kittens put up an article, Meat for Meta: 40k forums a thing of the Past?, and lately I’ve been thinking about it more. Let’s travel back in time a bit, the year is 1999. I’m running a clan/guild called Destroyers of Hope. I want us to be able to quickly and easily communicate with one another and so I find a forum software service called ezBoard. I set it up and we are posting away on the forums. Shortly after I find something called phpBB and I install that and we use that for our forums over the hosted solution. We are competing in FPS ladders on various sites and the forums are a huge asset for posting when matches are, who can make them, last minute changes, etc.
By and large my experience with forums was mostly delegated to things of that nature, just keeping in contact. Since then blogging had come into its own. Originally I had no idea what the point of blogging was. To me it just seemed like a forum post (article), to which people could reply (comment), but it wasn’t an easily followed threaded discussion, so why bother? I quickly dismissed blogging, it had no use to me as a clan leader and at the time I was just PC gaming.
Eventually I got into 40K and like every new player I scoured the internet looking for resources. Being that I was a forum whore, those were the resources that got my attention. In a short amount of time I had bookmarked a handful of forums and jumped in. It was great. I was able to ask questions and get quick replies and some people would even take it a step further and expand their answer beyond just the specific question I had. Other people were like me, new to the game and thirsting for knowledge, so I’d read many of their questions to see what the answers were.
Slowly I began taking on the mantle of an experienced player; not a veteran but no longer new either. I continued looking for information, trying to find ways to still improve upon my knowledge and skill. I was finding the forums that had served me so well were becoming virtually useless to me. It was hard to search for specific topics and get relevant results; there’s just so much data to sort through. Some areas would make use of sticky topics but many of them would link to outdated and useless content. I would post questions and get some responses but nothing like I once got when I was new and the questions easy. However, most of the time it wasn’t that I had specific questions, it was simply that I wanted to read and improve myself and the forums were not suited for the task.
Eventually I began discovering blogs. I was able to tap into the resource of experienced and veteran players and see what they had to say. Blogs made finding content far easier than forums, far less junk to sift through. Additionally, there was less “static” to deal with. I just made up that term since it seems to fit. Static meaning the pages and pages of responses a forum post may get where the posters are just bickering back and forth, often over such trivial things. With a forum you have to use a tuner to get anything worthwhile, reading pages and pages of junk to pull out the handful of useful replies.
I continue to use both resources but for very different reasons. I use forums a lot less frequently than I had when starting out. I still find them useful for dealing with specific questions when you have them, especially if something is debatable and you’re up for a discussion. Also, the community aspect of a forum is second to none, assuming you find a good forum. Blogs, however, have come to replace a vast majority of my resource gathering. Additionally, different blogs offer different perspectives, different styles, each one being unique. I’m able to pick the type of voice I want to hear on subject matter, which may be the biggest reasons I’ve come to rely on blogs for information.
So, how about you? Do you prefer forums, blogs or do you mix it up also?