Good general computing-related forums (fora?)
March 28, 2005 12:06 AM   Subscribe

What are the best general purpose computing/tech-related forums? Though people here have been remarkably enlightening when faced with tech type questions I don't want to constantly use up my one question per week asking about such banalities as browser problems and php CMSes and suchlike.

I'm not looking for sites which deal with solely specific areas, such as just drivers or networking or a certain programming language etc (to be honest I'm fed up of joining a forum just to ask one single question). I'm looking for somewhere which enables users to ask a huge, very broad range of tech-related questions, ranging from dumbass to expert - essentially somewhere where if I'm stumped as to why my DVD burner is suddenly burning at 2x maximum instead of 4x or why my machine keeps rebooting at random I might be able to find the answers from some friendly souls, or where I might even be able to help someone along with a problem they've got.
posted by uk_giffo to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Maybe Ars Technica's OpenForum? I can't speak for it personally, but it looks like it might be good (certainly plenty of people).
posted by sbutler at 1:16 AM on March 28, 2005

Any reason you dislike Usenet? Yes, there are specialized groups for different topics, but you don't have to register anywhere, and it's massively helpful if you stick to some simple rules.
posted by themel at 2:57 AM on March 28, 2005

Sitepoint is a New Media "magazine"-type site that also acts as an umbrella community for discussions on everything from backend programming to business and marketing, and is highly trafficked.
posted by tomorama at 4:37 AM on March 28, 2005

Response by poster: OpenForum looks good - pretty much what I was looking for. If anyone knows any similar sites that'd be great.

themel: I love Usenet, but there's times when I can't access a newsreader - when I'm at work for instance, just killing time. I know I can go through Google Groups but the 3-6 hour waiting time between the posting and the appearance on the web page is a bit annoying to be honest. Also, I'm not entirely sure Usenet has the kind of broad (from newbie to expert) user base that would be ideal for me. But are there any web-based free usenet clients that are better than Google Groups?

Sitepoint isn't the kind of thing I was really looking for but having checked it out, it looks like a pretty useful site for web development stuff so cheers for posting the link nonetheless, thanks :-)
posted by uk_giffo at 4:45 AM on March 28, 2005

Personally, I don't think it gets much better than Experts Exchange. You may have to pay a little for points, or answer some questions yourself, but I pretty much guarantee that someone will help you with whatever problem or question you have.
posted by purephase at 5:20 AM on March 28, 2005

DSL Reports is worth a look. Don't let the name fool you, their forums go way beyond things broadband-related.
posted by isotope at 6:04 AM on March 28, 2005

Oooohh... despite the anoying interface, I'll second Experts Exchange. Many of my Google searches have ended up there.
posted by sbutler at 7:14 AM on March 28, 2005

Experts Exchange is good, although if you ask more than you answer you'll burn through your points pretty quickly.

Have you thought of using IRC? The community is still out there and plenty abundant. As an IRC op on several technical support channels I'd have to say that nothing beats getting realtime help on your problems. Just open up any irc client to just about any net (freenode is great for anything related to open source, although I've been a sucker for the undernet for the past 12 years).

Otherwise, Usenet and Google Groups are the way to go.
posted by furtive at 8:04 AM on March 28, 2005

I find most tech questions have already been answered on usenet as well. I prefer the classic google groups vs the new fancy schmancy version, myself.
posted by jikel_morten at 10:25 AM on March 28, 2005

I personally consult the Software/Hardware Crap forum at It's $10 to post, but ususally free to read.

Lots of people with varying expertise, and a very low troll factor (they are ban happy). I've gotten helpful answers to all sorts of questions.

If you do register there, do yourself a favor and read the rules.
posted by Four Flavors at 11:38 AM on March 28, 2005

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