British Columbia Aquarium Forums banner
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
415 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I just wanted to start a conversation about this.

I don't like the direction the online community is going - too many other forums I belong to are dying a slow death.

It is a source of valuable information that I can't get on current groups. Anyways, welcome to the forum, let us know what your particular interests are and if we can't help you out locally, we can probably source out to someone elsewhere...probably in Ontario. :)
That got me started on the thinking. Over the years I have been a part of a lot of different community groups on the Internet from the much loved days of old on mIRC and email lists (remember those) to the much more current forums we find today. What does baffle me as well is that there comes a time for many of them where they just fizzle away into nothing. Being a new member here I cannot comment on what this form has been in the past, nor can I really compare it to anything because this is my first hobby related forum but what I can see is that it does seem at the very least active. With the advent of Facebook I find myself locked out of many discussions on the interwebs because I just am not interested in such a tool, however I see more and more community groups leaning in this direction. When this happens I find you lose the connection to the knowledge base that I find here and in other related forums and it degrades into more of a sharing entity. One that perhaps is more active, yet from what I can tell lacks the true substance that accumulates from the collective participation and knowledge of dedicated membership.

To be honest I'm not even too sure what I'm ranting on about but I think at the heart of it is what do you all suppose keeps the engine chugging away for some when it just up and seizes for others?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
519 Posts
The reason everyone is leaning away from forums is facebook is basically an all in one. You can join multiple groups on one account and do the exact same things except more efficiently in a way. It's also a much easier platform to use and keep up with for the younger generation such as myself (16).
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,021 Posts
As we all know BCA can be followed on twitter and facebook, so it comes down to a choice for our members as to how they want to participate in discussions about our hobby.
Although I do have a FB account I choose to take part right here on the forum, hard to teach an old dog new tricks I guess, to me FB is more personal if used carefully.
BCA has had it's ups and downs but for the most part is a friendly well run forum with lots of good information and a ton of very nice folks too. :) My 2 cents!!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,107 Posts
I find facebook for business far more effective and quick to do videos, photos, update what's arriving and I can also post info and articles I feel relevant and people can post .
I helped start simplydiscus forum 14 years ago and I see their fb page a lot faster although the srticles and valuable info is on the forum. But I do 99 percent t of my reading and posting on
My iPhone.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
415 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
For a business I can understand that sentiment, even if I personally don't enjoy it. I was actually getting angry last night searching out pet stores on Vancouver Island and all anyone had was Facebook pages lol!

I'm getting the idea that perhaps I'm just a dinosaur. The great bard said it best "the times they are a changin'"
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,107 Posts
They are ! And now it seems to be instagram and many other sites you need . Usually though if you Google a fish you want or info on it forums
Pop up or of course fb pages..
I have t checked lately but bcaquaria used to pop up close
To the top when googling


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
107 Posts
As far as I know, bcaquaria still pops up near the top of a lot of google searches. I've had the experience several times of searching for something, clicking on a post title, and then thinking, "Huh! I'm on our local forum again."

I agree that other formats (reddit, facebook, etc) are better for browsing eye candy and probably for snappy marketing too, but I think forums will always have a place for folks who want to dig in deeper. I'm thankful for the rise of effective video/picture sharing in other formats, because it entices more people to engage with the hobby. As long as we continue to welcome beginners, all the extra exposure the aquarium hobby gets through those other channels ought to drive traffic here, even if we lose many of the tank photography/journal threads to other formats.

Wiki-type sites seem to be the only real competitor to a forum format for housing our collective wisdom and facilitating discussion on the finer aspects of achieving the dream set-ups one can find on YouTube/facebook etc...

I sincerely hope that's not just wishful thinking on my part!

Also, Mark, I had the chance to visit the Courtenay Pet Centre over Family Day--pretty fantastic little store! I wasn't really expecting much, but I had to go to the Canadian Tire over there anyway. I'm glad I popped in.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
415 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I really don't think it is wishful thinking at all. In fact I myself am a recent recruit back into this world and it is due in part to BCA. Thanks to our good friends at Google I ended up here, saw so many members tanks and the information available and the community available to me and out came my tank from storage.
A month later and I'm headed down the path of the reef tank I have wanted essentially my whole adult life.

I'm happy and proud to be a member of this community and hope it stays strong for a good long time to come!

....also I keep meaning to get to that store just north I do not travel often.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
373 Posts
This forum is a bit less busy/active than I remember it being a few years ago, but I could also be remembering wrong.

Facebook groups are really useful tools. I've learned a LOT about various hobbies from them. They are also more accessible to people as its easier to just click "join" than it is to make an account and log in again. So for "casuals" I think facebook groups are the main method of learning many things now.

As I AM active on various facebook groups though, there is a MASSIVE downside: Everything that is posted is "bite sized". No one really writes paragraphs and paragraphs of info to help people the way its done in forums. The majority of posts I see on facebook groups (excluding sale posts) are along the lines of "what is wrong, how do I do this?" and "can you suggest ____ to me?". There aren't really "proper discussions" that happen. The actual viewing and posting format is also WAY less useful than what forums offer.

In forums (such as this one for example) there is an overarching topic ("BC Aquarium stuff") and it is EASILY broken down into subtopics and sub-sub-topics (fresh water, salt water, classifieds, off topic, etc). Facebook has no way to do this. There is a group and there are posts in the group. Thats it. Posts show up in the group and on newsfeeds through some "magical" combination of "popularity" and "newness". There is no order to it. It does not always make sense. Heck, if you make a post in a group and try to find it later - it is really flipping difficult.

I actually find facebook groups LESS social than forums (and usually FAR snarkier). There is no benefit to that though - the social community feel of a forum like this is not replaced by more knowledge: rather the opposite. The formatting of facebook posts makes even discussions like this quite difficult as what I have written here would already be FAR longer than an average response to a post and would be quite hard to read.

I think both have their place and I will be very sad if traditional forums like this ever completely die.

Regarding user demographics: I'm 24 and very active on a few facebook groups. I've also been a HEAVY user of forums for many years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,183 Posts
Very good points, that's why I still prefer forums. I like to do my research and ready a lot of older threads - it's handy to pick on the experienced "ol' timers". Forums probably peaked around 2014 then many just dropped off the face of the earth. I just got back to BCA recently, life was busy and I was surprised by so little traffic compared to just a couple a years ago.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,021 Posts
I too noticed in around 2014ish/2015 a lot of the names I knew were not showing up on the BCA site anymore. Things change and people come and go it seems, I know myself when I was into the saltwater I rarely was on our forum as it seems to be more freshwater folks here. Glad to hear others that like using the BCA forum as I do.
I have nothing against social media tools and use them often, but not for my hobby.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
617 Posts
I don't post in the forum very often now, but do check it daily , and usually more than once daily. I also am in other forums following other interests , and on Facebook. Forums are better for posting and answering questions that you want to be able to come back to. Facebook groups are very poor for looking back even a couple of days, but they are much easier to post pix up on , or for opening a conversation, either by text or by voice and video and for sharing pix and files during that chat.

I use the forums, FB, and Skype regularly to keep in touch with friends and family as well as text and regular voice connections on my cell phone. Yes, it's becoming a very interconnected digital world we're in now. FB may be the biggest reason activity has dropped on many forums, but the forums remain a valuable asset for every interest group. Being able to use both forums and FB is an ideal situation in my opinion. They complement one another rather than being a replacement.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
6,612 Posts
I use FB to keep up with personal friends, family & such. I also try to avoid posting info upcoming trips on FB or pics of my kids. Also, as soon as you hit return on FB, whatever you typed is posted forever and cannot be edited.

BCAquaria is where I call my online home. I also used to be more active on Canreef cause of the reefing side of my addiction, but as my sw tanks are mainly full and some of the changes that happened within the membership there, I am not as active on that sw forum. Since sw is by far the more expensive fishy addiction, I find that a lot of my old reefing buddies are no longer in the hobby or have become inactive on the forums.

BCA was also a lot more active a couple years ago. My analysis of the drop in activity seems to point to several causes:

FB & other social media sucking up people's online time
Life changes (moving, having kids, different hobbies) causing young-middle aged members to sell off their tanks
Retirement & changing priorities (sell off fish room to go traveling more) causing the loss of many long-time older members
Too many other digital distractions (ie. video games & tv) resulting in low recruitment of new, young aquarists
Insanely high housing prices, cost-of-living, & moving into strata controlled condos where aquariums are forbidden or greatly restricted & people have no funds available for aquariums
All these negative factors have lead to more LFS shutting down and even less people staying or entering this hobby

Unfortunately, the last couple years has been like a "perfect storm" that is hurting the fish-keeping hobby in general and reducing traffic on online fish forums like BCA.

I will most likely never be an active FB group member for my hobby/addiction for many of the same reasons posted by other members. I like trying to build a community on BCA and getting to know members on a more personal level, through discussions, pms, phone calls & even visits and hosting BCA bbqs. I would NEVER do a lot of that for a FB group. I prefer the lively discussions in our different subforums, find topics and threads easily on BCA, and, yes, the ability to ban "bad" or troublemaking members to keep this a family-oriented forum.

Too often, trolls and cowards use FB & other social media to be "snarky" as someone mentioned and act tough or in ways they would never actually act or say in real life. They like to remain anonymous. On forums like ours, members have the ability to complain or notify moderators if someone is causing trouble or a thread is going sideways in a bad way. Hard to do this on FB groups.

Sorry for the essay.:p

Anthony
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,469 Posts
I agree with the causes Anthony listed for the decline of BCAquaria, but would add one more: a lack of promotion. Before it was sold to corporate interests, there used to be monthly prizes for users who posted 25 times or more a month. This greatly increased participation. A few other efforts were made such as contests and once, if I remember right, there was a VAHS style auction. Of course, the time and money required for this sort of thing makes no business sense, so it had to stop. Too bad, but things change.

I can think of one other factor. It may be a small one, but could be easily changed. Last year a new, complicated password system was implemented. Many people were locked out of their accounts, and some never returned. It was stated at the time that in one year everybody would be required to change passwords once again. If this happens, we will lose another wave of members when some decide against going through the bother of re-opening accounts.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
6,612 Posts
I agree with the causes Anthony listed for the decline of BCAquaria, but would add one more: a lack of promotion. Before it was sold to corporate interests, there used to be monthly prizes for users who posted 25 times or more a month. This greatly increased participation. A few other efforts were made such as contests and once, if I remember right, there was a VAHS style auction. Of course, the time and money required for this sort of thing makes no business sense, so it had to stop. Too bad, but things change.

I can think of one other factor. It may be a small one, but could be easily changed. Last year a new, complicated password system was implemented. Many people were locked out of their accounts, and some never returned. It was stated at the time that in one year everybody would be required to change passwords once again. If this happens, we will lose another wave of members when some decide against going through the bother of re-opening accounts.
I agree with Tom's points. I will bring this up with the admin.

PS: Have sent TomC's "factors" to Yungster (admin) who will hopefully discuss these concerns with the team that admins BCA. Fingers crossed that something will be done to positively affect these issues.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
754 Posts
Well put. I really do like that there is such a strong presence of serious aquarists on this forum. Facebook might be convenient for casuals but nothing beats the depth of discussion on forums.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
373 Posts
Someone mentioned it's easy to ban people on forums - to be fair, it's just as easy to ban troublemakers on Facebook.

Also, I agree with the password thing too. It's a pain to comeback to a forum to find I need to change my password for no reason and I'm REALLY not looking forward to doing it again for no reason. We aren't exactly a place that requires "high security" after all (no credit card info is stored in the profiles, etc).
It would be sad if more people left due to forced password changes :(

Regarding fb vs forums again though, it also takes more conscious effort to check forums than it does to check fb. Many people (myself included) browse the fb app whenever they want to kill 5 min. Through that various things are seen, checked on, etc. For a forum it requires conscious effort: "I'm going to go and look at BCA". Plus it's just not as easy to get here (or to any forum) on a mobile device as it is to get to fb.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
415 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I second the "neverbooker" motion. Facebook has consumed my wife's soul. Here I thought marriage meant heart and soul till death do you part...damn you Mark Zuckerberg!!

All jest aside, I gotta say I do love that no matter the subject or inquisition someone here has always got an answer to give, a post to recommend or some other miracle of helpful advice to lend. Seems like an amazing group of people that I for one I can say I'm very happy to latch on to :)

I haven't even scratched the surface of the back catalogue of information that is available to me here and no matter what that had to take a lot of hard work and dedication from a lot of knowledgeable people. For this I thank you all.
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top