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Are Forums Wasting your time?

piranha526

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Aug 20, 2007
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I though this was a great topic on a blog I read about forums.

Are Forums Wasting your time?
by Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson's Web Publishing Blog:

http://www.webpublishingblog.com/are-forums-wasting-your-time.htm
September 10, 2007


Forums can be a major pain. Forums are addictive, drain enormous amounts of time, and are overflowing with people who don’t know what they are talking about. In some cases, they have devolved into adolescent chat rooms. (I was just reminded of that this weekend when I banned the same troll twice a day from one of the forums I own.)

On the other hand, forums are, hands down, the best place online to discover and share new ideas. No forums, and today I would be an employee. All of my inspiration, ideas, and initial direction in online business came from forums.

The experience of forum use is like searching for gold. Once every few months you’ll hit the jackpot and discover an incredibly valuable piece of information or a business contact. This reward system creates an addictive situation similar to gambling. Rather than money, you exchanged your time. (its worth noting any type of digital or printed medium can do this to you.)

As with any activity, how do you practice consumption with moderation? What is the line past which you are wasting your time?

It is in your best interest to be able to recognize and remember who is posting (so you can judge their credibility based on past posts.) Just the same, it is important for others to recognize and identify you so they can properly associate your advice with your identity (that presumes you give good advice.) For these reasons I have preferred to stick to smaller forums like Websitepublisher.net rather than frequent the big ones such as Sitepoint, Digitalpoint, and Webmasterworld.

So just how do you extract maximum benefit while minimizing wasted time?

Here are a few things I (try to) do:

1. Identify people that consistently give good advice. Bookmark a link to “Find all posts by X userâ€

2. Read thread titles as fast as possible by clicking on “New Posts.†Its surprisingly easily to keep up with even the most busy forums this way.

3. Skip over off topic posts.

4. Resist the urge to contribute unless you have something that will be valuable to readers — and when you do, keep it to a minimum. It is (generally) in your interest to post the best and most concise information to your own blog.

5. Completely ignore, or even block, idiots. Don’t even waste your time acknowledging their existence with a flame.

6. Read no more than one forum daily. Everything else should be no more than once a week, or less. If you are coming back twice or more in one day, its time to book a long trip to the Caribbean.

This is all common sense stuff. You don’t really have to read & post on forums. I have been scaling back my forum activity along with blog posting. Heck, I might even take a forum vacation one of these months.
 

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andviv

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Somebody knows a good travelers forum so I can book a long trip to the Caribbean?
 

Bilgefisher

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As my 4th time on this forum before 1pm. I guess I'm an addict. How can you not be with the absolute wealth of information. I can't soak up enough of the excellent tips that have been provided. I am forum junky and damn proud of it!
 

JesseO

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Jul 25, 2007
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I don't think that Mr. Johnson was considering this new forum in his ideas. If he had, then he would recommend it I'm sure.
 

nomadjanet

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I only belong to 4 forums and I only regularly go to this one, I learn so much here and get so much good input the time is well spent. Two of the other forums I belong to have email list delivery and they are both industry based, scan the mails open only what looks interesting & delete the rest time daily; less than 10 minutes, advantages gained, immeasurable
 

MJ DeMarco

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I don't think that Mr. Johnson was considering this new forum in his ideas. If he had, then he would recommend it I'm sure.
"Mr. Johnson" is ANDREW on this forum! He was kind enough to post a blog entry about this forum.

As for Andrew's blog post, I have to agree for the most part. I curtailed my forum participation in things that aren't that important. The forums I hit now are mostly for educational purposes -- I've learned so much from forums that they should be an integral part of your educational process, as well as your networking sphere.

Conversely, other forums can be detrimental to your productivity. I used to spend HOURS at the various car forums arguing and debating bullshit like "my car is faster than yours" and other nonsense that I had to step back and take a break. I still visit often, but typical topics that I normally would engage in, I don't.

Remember, time is a finite asset and cannot be reproduced -- money is.
 

S928

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Aug 7, 2007
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I am forum junky and damn proud of it!
Roger that! I too find good forums to be virtual classrooms. So, I'd be a fool to let valuable and vital information slip away.

:driving:
 

SteveO

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I have made some great connections from my participation on these internet forums. I am here for business reasons as well as social.
 

Jason_MI

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Jul 25, 2007
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That's good stuff there, and I'm glad to see the perspective....something I'm sorely lacking most of the time. I quit myself off of several forums over the past couple months, and I'm glad I did. Focus, focus, focus. And maybe Ritalin.
 

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LAbull

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Sep 22, 2007
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I have cutdown quite a bit as well however the networking alone on a forum makes spending time on there worth it. Even the Offtopic forums.

I now have some good friends in real life that I have met from b.s'ing on various car forums.

There are forums like this one however where I would not post idiotic comments...well maybe not until I get my post count up there :)
 

Andrew

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Aug 8, 2007
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I don't think that Mr. Johnson was considering this new forum in his ideas. If he had, then he would recommend it I'm sure.
Re-read the second paragraph, the point of that post was far from "forums suck." Rather, that use needs to be disciplined. You need to justify your consumption and participation with reality.
 

A-GAME

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Sep 23, 2007
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As my 4th time on this forum before 1pm. I guess I'm an addict. How can you not be with the absolute wealth of information. I can't soak up enough of the excellent tips that have been provided. I am forum junky and damn proud of it!
amen to that!! oh wait...do i believe in god?? :rolleyes:
 

tchandy

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Andrew posted a great entry. I find that some topics/discussions are good. But it is too easy to waste time on some topics when the real money can be made doing your business - finding contacts, researching stocks, contacting banks or other investors, coming up with your own plan, locating your next investment, etc. Actions speak louder than words. Maybe this post will get some people to practice doing something.

Tom
 

Russ H

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tchandy said:
I find that some topics/discussions are good. But it is too easy to waste time when the real money can be made doing your business. Actions speak louder than words. Maybe this post will get some people to practice doing something.
Tom-

Did you mean Andrew's post, or yours?

-Russ H.
 

Russ H

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Tom-

I actually wrote a really nasty response to your post, and then realized that I might have misread it :blush: (so I changed my post to the question).

I'm glad I did!!! :)

-Russ H.
 

tchandy

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Russ,
I think with email and message forums it is easy to miscommunicate when typing. Sometimes what is in one's mind doesn't come out when typing. After a while some people may get lazy and nopt even review what they typed. I am guilty of that too many times and working to proofread my writing.
Tom
 

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