Does anyone else experience a disconnect with forums?

There are some people around here who I'd like meeting in real life if I move to US (even so, fat chance, because US is vast), though I mostly know them from chat.

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Yeah I would not mind to meet some people of doomworld or even of other internet places in reality, but Earth is too big and plane tickets are too expensive for just a few beers with random people.
In real-life they can not place you into ignore list, or ban you and stuff like that, so that you can bother them with anoying crap until they hit you into face or just leave in disgust.

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dew said:

Here's a different take: I frequent this Czech forum belonging to a gaming magazine for ~15 years...


Hypothesis: the closeness of a forum community increases as it approaches its death.

That's what I'm getting from this thread, anyway, and it seems pretty easy to bare out with examples. Let's start at the other extreme. I've gotten hooked on Reddit, and I've posted a grand total of about five comments. I usually browse with "hot" topic sorting, which means I don't even see a topic until it's proven to be popular. Then, I browse each topic's comments with "best" ranking, which boils every dialogue down into the few most popular comment chains. I assume that most Redditors do the same. This makes it feel pointless to join in any discussions at all - I'm always a few thousand comments too late to say anything new, and even if I had some brilliant revelation nobody would ever see it because the swarm of upvotes has already come and gone. This is the last place that you could ever connect with another poster on a personal level. Content is decontextualized, commoditized. I find it amazing that anyone in that place can even recognize anybody else's username, and then people are known more for their quirks than their personalities. There's /u/Unidan, the exciteable biologist, /u/Shitty_Watercolour who paints decent topical watercolours and... that's about it.

Old-school forums like Doomworld strike a reasonable balance. Without any built-in comment ranking or threading, you have to at least scroll past everything that's been said so far. Avatars give the primitive monkey brain something to anchor onto - you recognize the same posters from thread to thread and stitch together a sense of each one's personality without realizing it. The problem is that with so many people coming and going there's still a lot of white noise disrupting the signal. It's hard to get to know the old guard when their posts are spread thin by an influx of members with much more to say (because they haven't gotten sick of all the familiar discussions yet).

For my example of the extreme closeness of dying communities, I'm just going to point towards A Life Well Wasted, episode 2. There's a surprisingly moving documentary bit about the world ending, not with a bang, but with a "server disconnect" message.

As for personal experience, I've never really felt close personal connections on this forum or others. That's partly because of past experience; I used to be hooked on Runescape, and the characteristic relationship between MMO buddies is all work and no reward. The neediness of someone who has no real life and needs your devoted attention to justify their continued slavery to oppressive game mechanics is truly spectacular. I got soured on the whole "online friends" thing. Or, maybe I'm just anti-social, verging on solipsism, almost; I sent someone this in a PM a while ago:

My flippant responses are because I've never had much interest in trying to build a close and casual relationship with anyone that I'll never meet face-to-face. Despite my post count and registration date, I've logged into Doom-themed IRC channels a total of about five times and I've never had a private IM chat with anybody here. Posting for me is a personal, private game; my goal is always to amuse myself.

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I have trouble talking with people here sometimes since the conversation topics are wildly different than the topics I talk about in real life. Tv shows, movies, work stories, versus doom megawads, mappers, forum drama. Its like speaking two different languages.

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Creaphis said:

That's partly because of past experience; I used to be hooked on Runescape, and the characteristic relationship between MMO buddies is all work and no reward. The neediness of someone who has no real life and needs your devoted attention to justify their continued slavery to oppressive game mechanics is truly spectacular.


Coming from someone who's played Runescape since 2004, and continues to play the "Old School" 2007 reincarnation, I definitely see what you mean. I personally play because I love the game, but many others play to be the best, feeding off popularity by streaming their "hard work" - luring players and stealing their items. Gaming shouldn't be about screwing others over to benefit yourself. I really miss the days when people actually played to have FUN.

And don't even get me started about the post-World At War CoD community...

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RUSH said:

And don't even get me started about the post-World At War CoD community...

Oh, do tell, I insist.

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