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This was brought up on another branch, in a comment on another thread, but it's worthy for its own, specific discussion:
The TechSoup community forum has existed for 18 years (or more?). It's been a valuable space for discussing the use of computer and networking tech by nonprofits, NGOs, charities, schools, libraries, government programs and other mission-based agencies. Although it's not nearly as active as it has been at other times, I still use the search database regularly to find posts about specific software, security or tech practices to reference in projects I'm working on.
But the number of TechSoup employees posting to the forum has dropped dramatically, the forum is rarely referenced on TechSoup's social media platforms, and I'm getting the impression that the forum's days are numbered.
I would love to know what TechSoup plans are re: the community forum. Will it continue as is? Are there plans for ways to make it more regularly updated with new content and questions? Will it be gradually or suddenly phased out? Is anyone discussing the future of the forum?
I'll keep reading and posting as long as it exists, but I'd love to know the future of the TechSoup community forum.
-=-=-=-=-=- Jayne Cravens Author, The LAST Virtual Volunteering Guidebook
Really hope someone from the TechSoup staff will answer this soon.
I just found your post. I think Site Improvements is the perfect place to post things you don't want anyone to see... :-)
As far as the forums go, I think they will last for as long as the site has moderators. We spend most of our time removing spam and from time to time respond to actual user questions. My impression of TechSoup is that it's got a hide-bound bureaucracy, infested with corporate tech-speak drones, who spend most of their time in meetings that never decide or produce anything. I only say that based on the attention they pay to the forums. A lot of well-meaning people cursed to speak in buzzwords and devoid of the qualities needed to kick some ass and whip the forums into shape from the shadow of what it was back when I first joined.
Of course, I have never visited the offices so I could be mistaken, but that is the impression I have formed over Lo, these many years....
But if I had to predict the future of the forums here is what I would guess:
At almost 67 years old (later this month), it may not be too many more years before I will stop logging to the forums and the other moderators (depending on how many are left) will start to fall behind in weeding out the spam and responding to posts in a timely manner. As the spam posts are seen by users, they will tend to stop posting. And as spammers feel the site is not well maintained, their numbers will increase. I call this a "Forum Death Spiral".
TechSoup will be mostly unaware as this process progresses. Oh, someday someone will wonder what is going on with the forums. But by that time I expect it will be too late to reverse the process, something like Global Warming, now that I think about it.
The great Jayne Cravens. This is an excellent question. Fortunately great minds think at least somewhat alike. Our communications director, Emily Lutzker, would very much like to hear what you suggest we should do to update and improve the forums. Any ideas?
Christian, just want to add that I truly hope we don't have to wait for global warming to solve the problem for us. Do you have any suggestions on what you'd like us to do to improve the forums?
Just FYI, TechSoup is now having meetings with forum managers about the future of this online community. But if you want to offer any suggestions, chime in!
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