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Zantherus » “Smaller Forums Have A Better Community” is just an excuse
Home > Other > “Smaller Forums Have A Better Community” is just an excuse

“Smaller Forums Have A Better Community” is just an excuse

Author: ZiveemanJanuary 29th, 2009

I’ve heard this phrase a million times. To me, a forum owner saying such a phrase is just an excuse, shielding the fact that they don’t have a big forum.

Let me say first that a small forum is not a bad thing. It can be nice, but once these small forum owners start blurting out these phrases is when it crosses the line.

Because that’s simply not true.

In fact, I’ve seen quite the opposite. Bigger forums have members confess their deep dark sins and fly across the country to meet each other, while smaller forums struggle, using filler topics to try to keep alive, claiming that their “community” is real while the bigger forum’s community is not.

Extreme example but I’ve seen it happen. It’s not always the same for every forum, of course.

However, let’s define the word “community” first before I get into this topic. defines it as:

a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.

Just the first definition, but I think this fits the definition of a forum community, does it not?

A bigger forum does have a community. There are a couple reasons why:

1) The chances of you finding someone you share a common interest with you is greater.

That’s the definition of a community. Granted, it’s a lot easier to find someone if it’s a niche forum, such as computers, but finding someone who’s into Ubuntu Linux may be a bit tougher. Or finding someone on a general forum who’s into underground hip-hop. It’s easier to find someone with a similar interest on a forum with 100,000 members than 100 members.

2) It’s easier to talk about “real” stuff.

Analogy time.

Imagine you walked into a convention of people with a similar interest to you. How comfortable would you feel, doing things such as checking out the stands, talking to other people, if there was only 5 people there? 10 people? How about 100? 100,000?

It could be a little awkward to you if you’re the only one doing things at the convention while everyone sits down and is silent. It’s a lot easier to do something when so many other people are doing the same thing. In a bigger community, the chance of that happening is a lot better. Leading by example plays a huge part in the community.

If there was a thread where people confessed their deepest darkest secret, would you feel more comfortable posting in it if it had 1 reply or 10,000? In fact, you may feel more compelled to post in a bigger thread than a smaller one because you could relate to a lot of the posts in there. A bigger thread is more likely to occur in a bigger forum.

However, this is not to say that a smaller forum does not have a community. But these forum owners sometimes get a cynical view on bigger forums, saying they’re too rules-based, strict, no community, or other false accusations. But you know, there’s a reason why they’re big…and that’s because they do have a community.

Of course it’ll be harder to “be known” in a bigger forum, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Each forum has some sort of “tolerance” for new members, and usually for smaller forums it’s lower because they need to be welcoming, otherwise their memberbase could dry up.

Anyways this may sound a bit jumbled but I’m just posting as I think.


  1. February 15th, 2009 at 19:57 | #1

    I agree it’s an excuse if it’s from the staff…normally. For some people (including me) only small(er) forums have people that share my interest…because there aren’t many interested in it and that particular forum is in some way related to it. Many large forums have annoying members and ego-ed staff.

  2. minnickup
    July 4th, 2009 at 15:24 | #2

    I like the way you set up that your forum is the homepage, nicely done. Thanks!

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