Why Forums Suck
- information is there, but often woolly, that is, in "paragraph" form with bad writing or in response to
something, or several, several pages in
- they all look awful, with tacky ads everywhere
- the "date joined" timestamp is often more
prominent, or in a place I don't expect it to be, so I dismiss
the timestamp as being too old when in fact the comment or post was
- the URLs are unpleasant and the forum hierarchy is almost always unintuitive
- long, repetitive signatures ON EVERY COMMENT are
- there's an article to be written, however, on the history of the "accomplishment signature." You know, like in mobile forums, people will list which phones they have or have had; system administrators will list which distribution of Linux or kernel they prefer; and even transportation buffs will list which cruise/rail tour they've taken recently. Especially if the signatures are dynamic, this is a compelling look into the currency of what people consume even if the forums they've commented on/posted to is old.
- forums are usually open forever, with stupid people asking for an update or stupid followups
- this is how forums are designed. They are designed to suck!
The Internet is designed to route around information failures, right? So let's build a Greasemonkey script/user style/Firefox plugin that:
- collapses poorly-written forum comments like the YouTube Snob extension (maybe using Mollom for Websites?)
- removes "date joined" from view altogether (or collapsible as well, as it's data used to evaluate the comment poster, but rarely useful alone)
- make them look nice
- make them look like blogs? Which look nice?
- a web service to make RSS feeds of comment threads
- encourage a culture of gardening and summary wiki pages with tasteful ads
- help build forum software that uses dynamic signatures, or short signatures with no images, or no signatures at all
- socially punish signatures manually pasted in to each post