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January 21, 2010 1:01 PM   Subscribe

Looking for a quality discussion forum

I'm wondering what discussion forums are out there with contribution on par with (or...even better than?) a site like Metafilter. This place is great, don't get me wrong, but there are limitations when the format is posting or commenting on other websites or news items, or asking and answering questions like this one. I do enjoy the format of being able to bring up a subject out of the blue to talk about, and I also like some elements of threaded discussion, especially that if a thread is remaining active, it doesn't drop down over time, but stays at the top of the page. I'm really looking for something along the lines of what Barbelith used to be before it became virtually crippled by absentee ownership.
posted by Red Loop to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
 
Can I suggest reddit.com? While it's not 100% identical to what you're asking for, I think you may find that it has a lot of the qualities and good discussions you find on here with the occasional internet meme interspersed with a link to a picture of a kitten.
posted by starsixnine00 at 1:06 PM on January 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'd suggest I Love Everything. There's a harsh learning curve to it, but it meets yr requirements: there are threads almost a decade old that get bumped back to the top of the page, it's packed with seriously smart people and has Mefi-similar leanings politically and intellectually.

(There's no tolerance for windy or pompous posts, though: threads can move so fast that it's more like chat, and there's a lot of shorthand. Don't be put off by that. All "lol"s are not equal).
posted by bonaldi at 1:16 PM on January 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Best/funniest political forum on the internet, mostly: Laissez's Faire
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:40 PM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seconding reddit. Once you find some subreddits you like, and that actually have decent discussion, you can find some pretty rewarding interaction.
posted by reenum at 1:59 PM on January 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'll throw in a strong rec for the Straight Dope forums--they're intelligent and fun!
posted by mkuhnell at 2:43 PM on January 21, 2010


I visit Reddit fairly regularly; there are occasionally some good comment in threads, and some good links posted, but it has a few problems. The vast majority of commenters are young males—whom I have nothing against particularly, but in general think they're alot more informed than they actually are— and there's alot of just...prejudicial joking that goes unchallenged. Actually, more often it is upvoted. I can handle harsh jokes and off-color humor, and certainly profanity is great with me. But the culture there is way too lenient on people who haven't really thought about what's behind their choice of words. When someone is called out for making a patently sexist comment, for example, usually they're fiercely defended. Also, it does have the same system as here, that of mostly being someone submitting a link or links and then people commenting on that, which then sinks over time.
I'll check out the I Love Everything, Straight Dope, and Something Awful forums (though they look pretty stark, visually, I reckon that's not the most important criterion).
posted by Red Loop at 3:54 PM on January 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


(though they look pretty stark, visually, I reckon that's not the most important criterion).

I've actually found that forum starkness correlates pretty well with the quality of discussion. If it's laden with colours and covered in avatars and .sigs, it's going to be one notch above 4chan. If it's all-white with just text, it's only going to attract the sorts of people who can actually read, and they're the ones I want to talk to.

Mefi plain theme ftw
posted by bonaldi at 4:48 PM on January 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think that avatars and sigs do, in fact, suck. All white is a little stark, is what I'm saying. Some of the muted colors on sites like Mefi and Barbelith seem smoother on the eyes. Again, that's not really the point, just a bonus.
I do thank you all for your suggestions.
posted by Red Loop at 5:34 PM on January 21, 2010


I'll throw in a strong rec for the Straight Dope forums--they're intelligent and fun!

Likewise. I spend an awful lot of my web time there.
posted by Savannah at 8:17 PM on January 21, 2010


xkcd forums
 
posted by querty at 3:53 AM on January 22, 2010


Pandalous is "a social network for people who think." Seems a bit like AskMetafilter if all the questions were on the chatty side rather than specific/practical. I haven't really tried it yet, but it might be what you're looking for.
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:26 PM on January 22, 2010


The problem with forums is that they eventually implode. A forum gets good, so newbies are attracted to the forum. The newbies change the forum & the old guard gets their hackles up and pine for the good ole days, and the part of the forum that made it quality in the first place drifts away from the core.

Some of the best forums may be behind closed doors, as the old-guard needs to find a place to discuss, not just what they used to discuss, but intensely personal matters as the forum members become more like friends & less like forum posters.

I've taken a forum behind a privacy wall for this very reason. While it's far from thriving (membership is actually shrinking), it's very active, and for those of us who remain, a big part of our daily online life.
posted by MesoFilter at 8:27 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


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