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Topic: The decline of forums?

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  1. #1

    The decline of forums?

    Hi all,

    I've been SO LONG away from here that I don't know what to say, except... sorry, I guess.

    However I need to report that I've been away from all forums. And if you consider my post habits, which included several per day, I can safely assume that something is wrong. With me, or with the general idea of the forum.

    Gary had asked me about this, a couple of years ago, at which time I hadn't noticed anything and thought nothing was wrong. But things change.

    I've stopped posting in most forums and I rarely post in a Greek one (since I can meet in person people from there, so it's much more personal).

    Do you think that hte time of the forums is over? There is a decline? That it will all come back? As a 32 year young guy, I entered the Internet at the age of 25 or so. Forums were amazing, facebook/twitter were not invented at that time. But I really don't fancy any of these. There is a lack of democracy, for better words, in these places. Similar to blogs, which I never could create, despite my need for posting constantly! (There is a blog of mine with 3 posts or something, but I really don't even remember the link).

    So? Your thoughts?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Sonare Coeli's Avatar
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    Re: The decline of forums?

    Quote Originally Posted by nikolas View Post
    Hi all,

    I've been SO LONG away from here that I don't know what to say, except... sorry, I guess.

    However I need to report that I've been away from all forums. And if you consider my post habits, which included several per day, I can safely assume that something is wrong. With me, or with the general idea of the forum.

    Gary had asked me about this, a couple of years ago, at which time I hadn't noticed anything and thought nothing was wrong. But things change.

    I've stopped posting in most forums and I rarely post in a Greek one (since I can meet in person people from there, so it's much more personal).

    Do you think that hte time of the forums is over? There is a decline? That it will all come back? As a 32 year young guy, I entered the Internet at the age of 25 or so. Forums were amazing, facebook/twitter were not invented at that time. But I really don't fancy any of these. There is a lack of democracy, for better words, in these places. Similar to blogs, which I never could create, despite my need for posting constantly! (There is a blog of mine with 3 posts or something, but I really don't even remember the link).

    So? Your thoughts?
    There has definitely not been a decline of forums in general, but particular forums have certainly declined. I've noticed a big drop here, but I know part of that is due to the layout change. Niche forums like this tend to peter off after a while unless there is a new release - not because the product line isn't good, but because this forum targets a pretty specific group. Sample library users are a select group (though somewhat large) that is simultaneously diverse and not all that unified. Garritan product users are an even smaller subset, just as are anyone who swears by a particular product. There hasn't been a big release here for a while, and so there aren't a whole lot of new users heading over to check things out. All that remain here now are people who have already established themselves with the product and in the forums.

    On the contrary, the electric and double bass forums that I took a break from and just started visiting again are still going full steam. I asked a couple of questions about amps, cabinets, and effects, and my posts would be on the second page with 2 - 5 replies by the time I checked back. This is due to the broad spectrum nature of those forums; they target an extremely broad audience (anyone who plays a stringed bass instrument of any kind).

    Things around here will pick up again with the release of the world music library, choir, and GOS2. "If you build it, they will come."

    My two cents,
    Tyler

  3. #3
    Senior Member rwayland's Avatar
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    Re: The decline of forums?

    Well, I have observed the decline of activity, to which I have contributed. I think Tyler has part of the answer. Nikolas has part of it, when he referred to the likes of Twitter, Facebook, etc. I have little to say because I am out of date with my equipment and software, and therefore not of great interest. I also restrict my use of the software mainly to piano and organ, and there is not much to say about that. But there is something else missing, and I don't know what. The same general decline can be observed at the Sibelius Music site. Decline of activity = decline of interest, but why?

    Richard

    Afterthought: how many spouses are saying things like "me or your music site, take your pick"? How many of our younger people just getting used to being married, or have to work too long hours to make ends meet?

  4. #4

    Re: The decline of forums?

    The forums I visit might be viewed as slower and in decline - but could it be that with easier identifying of trolls (those who are there just to disrupt things) and the delivery of good information - that people are getting their answers and dealing with problems on mostly good advice? As problems are solved and dealt with, and good forums provide solid info and a fluid knowledge base to draw from, people will not "chat" as much as visit for problem solving.

    What I see in the best forums I visit is politeness and professionalism with a willingness to share experience and knowledge that is not easy to get from anywhere other than apprenticeships and schooling. These forums last and stand the test of time - however "slow" they may be. There seems to be an uptick in posts when new products come out - and as that product's problems are dealt with and solved the posts drop off. But as sources for experienced advice from "old hands" in the business these "good forums" are invaluable and remain.

    This Garritan forum is such a forum. People get ticked off at times but usually come back after cooling down. Trolls are identified and kicked or ignored. All in all this is a pleasant place to visit and learn or share one's insights, fears, humor and expertise with like minds.

    Is it possible that forums are more like Pythagorean Universities, where students come and go as they please with their questions as they arise, instead of being only a social network? This would be a good thing, in my view, and much needed. It would indicate that people are doing things instead of just talking about doing things.

    That is the best result of a good forum that I can imagine.
    In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

    http://reberclark.blogspot.com http://reberclark.bandcamp.com http://www.youtube.com/reberclark

  5. #5

    Re: The decline of forums?

    Quote Originally Posted by rwayland View Post
    Afterthought: how many spouses are saying things like "me or your music site, take your pick"? How many of our younger people just getting used to being married, or have to work too long hours to make ends meet?
    I went through several girlfriends who did not understand the demands that music makes and that, in general, "music comes first." I was very lucky, thirty-one years ago, to find a girl who understood and appreciated that - and could live with it. We've been together ever since.

    I think many people starting out don't even realize that they even should consider the question of "just getting used to the way things are." I am so happy you asked this question, Richard. The drive to make money, and only make money - as if money alone can solve it all, is now so ingrained in our [American] society that many don't even consider "the pursuit of happiness" that is guaranteed in our constitution. How many other constitutions on this planet even mention happiness? This is important.

    Many equate money with happiness and I believe that money is fine (who doesn't like money?) BUT to sacrifice hopes and dreams in the belief that "if I just get enough money then I can do what I want" is the road to a dull life and lost opportunities. Don't get me wrong we have to make money - but living with less to have a shot at one's dreams is one of the best trade-offs I can think of.
    In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

    http://reberclark.blogspot.com http://reberclark.bandcamp.com http://www.youtube.com/reberclark

  6. #6

    Re: The decline of forums?

    I too have noticed a decline and have been guilty of forum neglect.

    I imagine it may have to do with the difficult economic times we’re in. Unless music is ones profession, I’m guessing it’s more of a hobby for most, and people may not have the luxury of musical pursuits.

    Or perhaps it’s a simple common phenomena of passing interest, like fads and trends which tend to have only a few year lifespan, forums may be passing through their initial appeal and now beginning to settle into a normalized venue.

    Maybe the solution is to liven up the place somehow.
    ..I might suggest an open bar and dancing girls.!

  7. #7

    Re: The decline of forums?

    [Edit: only just seen threads 4-6, so sorry for any discontinuity, but +1 for the free bar and dancing girls]

    A topical question ... since this forum does seem to have gone very quiet recently.

    It might be just a seasonal thing, but I too think there may well be longer term trends behind it ...

    As with any group, the key to it's longevity ... or impending demise ... lies in the needs which motivated some people create it and others to join and stay. Understanding these can either help keep it going or help determine that it's time is over.

    I'd distinguish between forums with a purely social function such "chat rooms" and forums such as this where there is, I think, a more serious intentions to share knowledge and experience of a common subject matter ... though if the two can co-exist, so much the better!

    The Garritan sample libraries (and to a lesser extent perhaps notation programs such as Sibelius) are unique and revolutionary in that they bring "control" of quality real world instruments at any affordable price ... giving everyday people (like myself) the opportunity to explore areas of creativity only previously available to professional composers, conductors and arrangers ... activities which normally have a very high entry price if based around either real players, or other, more expensive, "high end" sample libraries (which makes them only being available to existing successful (sponsored?) composers, conductors or arrangers, or rich amateurs) ... and so has the power to change lives - including mine ... so thanks, Gary!

    Little wonder that this forum was created and seems to have evolved a somewhat unique character, as a (large?) number of early pioneers explored new territory together - online ... rather than just having a new way to do the same old things - which is perhaps all that the likes of Facebook and Twitter, and even forums about pre-existing subjects (such as those related to using electric and double basses) have to offer.

    But as even Gary himself has said, ultimately his libraries are not just a means of making music - intended to replace live performance - but rather help prepare for, and can supplement, live performance.

    So it should be little wonder if those early pioneers, having succeeded in mastering the new tools that brought them together, are now starting to get more fully occupied again with (hopefully musical!) real world activities ... but perhaps the tide of new members isn't sufficient to make up for their absence.

    What should we do about it? ... recognise the situation we're in and encourage behaviours that help the forum to keep evolving as the needs of users (old and new) change.

    For a starter, I personally don't think that long term membership need require active regular participation - a few people have said they've felt renewed energy by revisting this forum after a substantial break from it, so just because people aren't active doesn't mean they'd be happy to see it go. But on the other hand, if such people (and one day I may well be one of them) want it to still be around when they come back, they (we) may have to do something in the meantime to help keep it going. The Listening Room might be a key focus here, as well as being available to help with more advanced issues.

    Also, I wouldn't like to see this forum end up going round and round in circles where the same questions are answered afresh time and time again (there's a lot to be said for good threads of discussion which also serve as a subsequent point of useful reference - which is another key feature of this forum). Though that's not to say new members aren't welcome (I'm still fairly new myself) ... it's repeating answers rather than repeating questions that seems unnecessary to my mind.

  8. #8

    Re: The decline of forums?

    There have been some outstanding replies and much of what has already been said I've thought myself as contributing reasons to the decline in activity for this forum in particular.

    Along with that I've always noticed a slight downturn in activity during the summer probably because people are taking vacations and just spending more time outdoors, etc. I know I've been spending alot more time riding my bike than writing music and thoroughly enjoying myself.

    Another factor that Peter alluded to is what I would classify as leadership. On a cycling forum I frequent there are active moderators and people who have been around a while always contributing to threads and leading discussions. They are well respected among the participants. The same used to be true here. It's no one's fault but people's lives take them in different directions and maybe a forum becomes less productive for them or maybe they get offended or any number of reasons. For this forum in particular Gary's absence has to be a contributing factor. He's not here to sponsor the occasional contest or spawn a thought provoking thread that seemed to get activity up again.

    But as Peter mentioned what are we after here? Is it traffic or information or.....? I think high traffic is what facebook and the like are about but I'm not sure a forum like this is benefited by high traffic alone unless there's something tangible and instructive to be gained. This is just an opinion of course.

    Steve Winkler

  9. #9

    Re: The decline of forums?

    Quote Originally Posted by swinkler View Post
    I'm not sure a forum like this is benefited by high traffic alone unless there's something tangible and instructive to be gained. This is just an opinion of course.

    Steve Winkler
    well stated Steve, unfortunately, this post will not improve the traffic and participation here, but I just want to post my personal views.

    in the past six years, I would check email for the first time each day, and then immediately come here. I came here to check out new topics and to see if I could be helpful to folks using GPO. When I saw a topic that I was able to participate in and offer my help or advice, I not only succeeded in helping others, but ended up getting something far greater in return, and that was a boost to my self esteem. This has not happened to me in a long time.

    I think most people who use Garritan products and have participated here in the past, have come to the realization that they are never going to get the results they had hoped for, or, they have gotten results that exceed their desires and no longer need to ask questions. I think it is important to understand that most people on NS don't use Marching Band or the Jazz library. GPO is the leading product that has changed so many lives.

    When GOS came out, I wasn't here to read the accolades about this stunning library, and experience the enthusiasm that was associated with the new technology. I came here just shortly after the release of GPO and this jivin' place was jumpin!

    It is completely normal under the circumstances lately for the traffic of this particular forum to drop to an almost stand still. I still come here every day, and all I see in the general section is....

    it's time to vote for Orchestral Challenge...

    No new topics of interest, and a listening room with music produced with too many other libraries, that really makes my blood boil, so I just don't say anything anymore.

    Gary's absence in the last year is completely understandable, but it is only part of the reason that this forum's traffic has been reduced to practically zip. I believe there are two reasons that participation in this part of the forum is what it is..., no new products, and new products released by other developers like LASS. Gary's customers going other places. Gary has ALWAYS encouraged the purchase of libraries from other developers, and I for one applaud him on that!

    Excitement about something is what makes a forum like this "thrive", but since there is nothing to be excited about, it is appropriate that the snails pace here is what it is.

    On the bright side,,,, I recently spoke to Gary and heard encouraging words from him about future products, so the forum will once again will jump. When? Nobody knows that, but I just want to let everyone know that I have not lost faith in NS, or Garritan products and what these things can do for so many of us.
    I am hopeful that this forum's participation will increase in the coming days,... but because of the competition, I honestly don't expect it to ever be what it once was.

    Dan



    It is better to "give" than to receive.

  10. #10
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    Re: The decline of forums?

    I've been a member of NorthernSounds forum here since the days that it was just a GigaStudio forum (over 10 years). I've seen the forum grow as it was pretty small back in the early days. It used to be just Giga back long ago. The forum has evolved quite a bit. I remember the days of GOS coming out which were pretty exciting since it was the first large string library. The forum could be a shouting match over the sound of GOS with quite heavy heated arguments.

    Then GPO came out a few years later. This really changed the forum as it divided many users - the ones that only thought you could get good results from expensive libraries and the users that thought that GPO could get close to the results. Many heated arguments back in those days!

    Gary decided to have his own forum section at that time. This brought in quite a few new users because GPO was the first library that MIDI beginners could purchase for a decent price. As DpDan mentioned, there was quite a few users looking for help and many forums users available to help them.

    I think at this point in time that many of the initial GPO users have either matured or moved on to other things bringing about a slowdown. There hasn't been a new Garritan library released since the Steinway which is going on a couple years now. The ARIA releases of prior libraries just isn't going to bring in the forum posts. We should see more posts once World Instruments and GOS2 are released but not at the pace GPO ever had.

    I've noticed that many of the forums I belong to have really dropped off in posts the past year. This summer most of them are dormant. The nice thing about this is that it gives me more time to make music!

    Jim

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