The Fall of the Online Reptile Forum?

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The Fall of the Online Reptile Forum?

Postby Westley Price » Fri Aug 15, 2014 8:24 am

Read this article today on the interwebs and thought I would share because we at SA Reptiles are experiencing this too.

http://reptileapartment.com/quondom-reptile-forums/

The rise in social media and their associated groups has led to a decrease in activity on dedicated forums. Why would you want to visit a special site for reptiles if you can chat with your friends, check pictures of hot girls (or guys) and visit reptile groups on a single, separate platform?

The thing that gets me is that reptile groups on Facebook (or others) are mostly poorly moderated and I have seen some grisly examples of misinformation, incorrect advice and misidentifications which could result in someone losing their life (venomous vs non-venomous) or at least someone's beloved pet losing it's life. On dedicated reptile forums like us, you get information from people with a vast amount of knowledge and experience, not just someone who opted to join a group because he was bored or has a single Corn snake and now he is giving advice on how to keep WC Uromastyx.

I have noted a very rapid decrease in our site's activity since the rise of Facebook. I wish we had the activity stats to show, but I am sure there will be a strong correlation between the start of Facebook groups and the fall in our members' activity. It is really sad.

I have done a lot of thinking on what incentive a reptile forum can offer to draw members, and although the less obvious incentives are here (organised set of information, experienced members, reptile-related comradery, historical topics etc.) people seem to flock to the comfort of social media. I wish that there was something we could do to draw back old members who made valuable contributions and are not active on SA Reptiles anymore, but on Facebook they are active literally daily.

Such a shame :smt009
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Re: The Fall of the Online Reptile Forum?

Postby Mitton » Fri Aug 15, 2014 9:18 am

I was thinking about this the other day myself, it is really sad.

The biggest problem I have with this is that if you go to Facebook, you will not be able to find posts from as early as a month ago (or earlier, depending on how busy the group is) where the info on a forum is always there and goes back many years, so people can easily go and find a subject on a forum and get the info, now it is posted on Facebook and disappears so quickly.

I know we won't be able to get people away from Facebook but what I would like to ask is if you do post something new, really interesting or not seen often on Facebook, or anything you post on FB, post it on a forum as well so it can remain accessible for years to come and not just fade away in Facebook.

Thanks for posting Westley.
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Re: The Fall of the Online Reptile Forum?

Postby Saturn » Fri Aug 15, 2014 11:16 am

I have also noticed the decrease in activity but there are reasons for this as well.
Myself and I'm sure many others have made threads here recently and the amount of replies is so poor that it makes me question why I even post anything here anymore.
A couple years ago if someone posted a pic of a BCC the forum would go wild. now after almost a month its a miracle if you even get a reply. Basically this has turned into a reptile gumtree.
There are more guests viewing threads here than our own members, its very sad indeed.
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Re: The Fall of the Online Reptile Forum?

Postby Westley Price » Fri Aug 15, 2014 12:43 pm

Saturn, you are right, but it's a vicious circle.

You are getting less responses because we have less active members and we have less active members because of alternative groups on social media.

This in turn results in less people posting (because of the lack of replies) and it just spirals out of control from there.

A few people (myself included) simply need to keep on posting irrespective of replies or attention each topic is getting. Otherwise we might as well close shop.

I think the reason we have such an abundance in visitors is http://www.thereptilereport.com. They often showcase topics from SAReps which will result in many non-members browsing around and seeing what there is to see. Which is great of course.

Another issue is personal preference; take Saturn for example (just a random selection, no offense). He mightonly be interested in boa constrictors, and possibly no other groups/species so now he only posts in the boa portion of the forum. We need to get rid of that mentality. We need to browse the entire forum and check all topics. Imagine the time it took someone to post a breeding report for instance (like Snake Sitter's topics in the Rainbow Boas section). Just go ahead and say, " Thanx for sharing, learnt something new!" or something trivial. At least the topic gets a thumbs-up.

Every single post doesn't need to be a gem with loads of info. A simple "thank you" goes a long way...or better yet, ask a question about the topic. Even if you might consider it a daft question, it keeps the topic going and sparks a discussion.
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Re: The Fall of the Online Reptile Forum?

Postby levi_20 » Fri Aug 15, 2014 12:44 pm

I use the forum to learn more about reptiles and distract me when im tired of reading journal articles, and it has given me a lot of joy and knowledge over the years which I am grateful for. I have also observed the drop in activity and although it saddens me I cant really complain as I don't contribute much myself. Facebook is obviously one of the culprits, but I think the lack of appreciation and response to threads as Saturn mentioned also plays a major role. A tiny percentage of people who like the thread will say so, a small number of highly knowledgeable members will comment on this or that, and most other people who have a question or opinion don't post for fear of starting an unnecessary argument. Showing more appreciation for threads and being less patronizing of other peoples posts may help encourage more activity on the forum. Although I do agree with the rules of the forum (there are some serious retards out there) finding a balance is important as you still want to encourage interaction.
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Re: The Fall of the Online Reptile Forum?

Postby reptile » Fri Aug 15, 2014 12:53 pm

I also use this forum allot, its wonderful. Really sad that members are less active, when I joined, I was astonished to have a new member like every day, but... :smt022 lately its only one a week. At first I thought its only the season, cause reptiles are not so active in winter, but after thinking it through, half of the posts are of private collections, and those flourish all year round, so it has to me other media. Really sad, will keep on posting here though. :D
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Re: The Fall of the Online Reptile Forum?

Postby reptile » Fri Aug 15, 2014 7:38 pm

Brainwave: the forum might be more attractive if someone could add a species record like this one: http://vmus.adu.org.za/
I know it would be allot of work, but it might be worth it.
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Re: The Fall of the Online Reptile Forum?

Postby vuduman » Sat Aug 16, 2014 9:44 am

I agree with "reptile"in a way that its quiet at the moment due to snakes hibernating etc.I have been dorment on the form for a while too for the same reason.I'm sure that there will be an explosion again soon once everyone has bred some animals.Also, wild animals will be on the move again soon,that enables herpers and holiday goers to photograph them when stumbled upon.I dont know the statistics of the traffic of this form,but I feel that every winter,a lot of people sell their animals out of boredom or to focus on breeding their prime specimens for the season only.This site has an ubundance of information on many species and I am sure the loyal community will always pop in from time to time with great posts and helpful information.The upside to some other sites, is the abbility to upload pictures very easily.That might be the case why a lot of cellectors don't post pictures of their animals often?
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Re: The Fall of the Online Reptile Forum?

Postby rolandslf » Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:26 pm

What Ferdo, have you been hibernating, Lol
I just want to say that I browse the Forum everyday, but will not comment or post everyday.
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Re: The Fall of the Online Reptile Forum?

Postby Bushviper » Sun Aug 17, 2014 6:51 pm

I am one who is just as guilty and I think the biggest reason is that to upload a picture is one quick click. That makes it more convenient.

Secondly on Facebook I can delete comments that bother me or irritate me so that my thread remains "pure". Here we allow too many people to say what they like and not have control about what stays and what goes.

As a moderator on this site I have to take everyone's feelings into consideration almost as if this is a profession and facebook is a past time.

Conflicts here which we have had in recent past also put people off coming back. Possibly we should just ban people who are clearly out to look for fights (keyboard warriors). Trying to please everyone is clearly not working. The same people who used to post here and then got attacked are no longer active here.

Wesley I think possibly we should try to encourage more posting and commentary on this forum instead of putting it on Facebook. We can then put a link to the post on facebook which will attract more people to click on the link and then they will come back here and might want to join.
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Re: The Fall of the Online Reptile Forum?

Postby Ruan Stander » Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:43 pm

Just another reason for my dislike of social media.
I love browsing the forum and after a rather long dormancy, try to make an effort to visit daily.
I too have noticed a decline in activity over the last two years.
I also think a little 'marketing' could go a long way, as would (re)recruiting some of the older members.
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Re: The Fall of the Online Reptile Forum?

Postby Jamster » Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:32 am

Relatively recently, I made an apology on the forum to someone who apparently has a bone to pick with me. I was sincere and stated why I was apologizing, followed by a proposed solution to the problem he had.

Obviously he didn't reply. I have found that some people on the forum, both from the past and present, generally don't comment unless there is some form of an argument/fight to be had e.g. good old monopeltis.

Now, when someone makes an apology and admits their mistakes, the least you can do is say ''Thank you''. They don't necessarily expect a full apology in return. Common courtesy goes a long way.

Facebook is an easy way to check up on what is happening reptile wise but it is very poorly controlled. People spam there add for the snakes they are selling daily to make sure they are at the top of the page, which is bloody irritating and just rude to all the other users who are both selling animals and wanting to buy something other than the sh!te you are shoving down their throats. It gets just as bad as gumtree sometimes with people trying to sell pythons as boas, and normal corns being advertised as every morph under the sun... it's disgusting.

People have forgotten what quality is and have settled for ease of access. Here on SAreptiles you know if something is being advertised it is legit, and if by some chance it isn't the record will be set straight by the knowledgeable forum members.

An SAreptiles android and apple app would definitely improve the forums ease of access not to mention that it will be on the apple app store and the android play store which would be a great way to advertise and get new forum members hooked.

I think that another culprit is down right simple laziness. I am guilty of this too. You think about posting a straight forward answer to a straight forward question but ag man somebody else will do it. Essentially the person asking the question waits a few days for a reply, when it would simply take a couple of minutes to give them an answer straight away.

Okay, there's my rant for today.
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Re: The Fall of the Online Reptile Forum?

Postby Fooble » Wed Aug 20, 2014 1:13 pm

This is quite a topic which has been on the rise fro some time.

It's sad, I've personally always spent hours going through old posts and gained priceless knowledge from this platform and met many dedicated and slightly insane people through Sareptiles.

Social Media platforms have their place but can not be replaced with the depth of information to be found amongst forums such as ours.
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Re: The Fall of the Online Reptile Forum?

Postby Ruan Stander » Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:13 pm

Agreed. I often browse old posts without even logging in. I normally also do a search here before I would do a Google search.
Puts one in touch with very helpful people.

An idea just popped into my head, very generalized, but you will get the idea.
How about offering some kind of incentive of whatever nature at expos, petshops etc to forum members, and members that have been consistently active for a set period of time. Something along those lines.
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Re: The Fall of the Online Reptile Forum?

Postby Dillock » Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:37 pm

Hi All
Im relatively new but I have been using this forum almost daily. The amount I've learnt from the dedicated members on this forum is amazing!
I agree with a lot of what you've said so far and all of the following is purely my opinion. Incentives for long time members is a good idea but it doesn't exactly encourage people to join, some of the other forums have point systems I'm guessing points are awarded for consistent visits and posting.
It would also be nice to be able to "like" (or something similar) posts and topics just to give split second affirmation rather than having to scroll to the end of the thread to post your agreement. I love the idea of an App I have even looked for one in the past. I love this forum and what it stands for, it's pure and direct, and I hope we can make some change.
Thanks for reading!

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