Any still alive "old Internet" forums/sites?
June 29, 2020 12:59 AM   Subscribe

I really, really miss live journal. Is there anywhere online with that kind of feeling/community, but also, not dead?

Once upon a time before the strikethroughs and the Russian acquisition and all that, I joined livejournal as a total newbie. Within days I'd joined communities related to my interests, found discussions to participate in, had other people interacting with me in a friendly way in a way that encouraged more interactions with the same person in the future, not ephemeral drive-by interactions. I was rapidly fully immersed and connected.

This used to exist in a lot of places, I feel, (like deviantart used to have a thriving community, I made lots of friend on neopets of all places, there were fan forums for games I liked where I made friends...)

It seems to me like all this is gone now, or, I just don't know where to find it. Communities I've joined, like tumblr, twitter, reddit, are faster paced, shallower interactions, and just unfriendly feeling. I can join for several months and still not really feel like I'm a part of the place, that anyone would notice if I was gone. Places like Instagram or twitter seem to require lengthy strategies to get the hang of and lots of marketing yourself. Places like discord are super fast paced chat that's hard to catch up on.

All the places I used to like that I've checked on seem pretty dead.

So where is the "old" Internet nowadays? Has it just gone extinct? Or are there corners it's still hiding in, and if so where can I join and what do I need to know to make it work?
posted by Cozybee to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
(just realized this is ambiguous, so to be clear, the site in question doesn't actually need to be old. It just needs to have that pre social media giant conglomerates feel)
posted by Cozybee at 1:01 AM on June 29 [1 favorite]

I had this experience with Tumblr but it didn't happen immediately. The trick was to reblog other fandom people's posts and add to them if I had anything to say, along with making my own content. Pretty soon I had launched a couple nice little conversations with other users and a few of them went on to become good internet pals as we kept interacting. It wasn't one of the huge fandoms though, which I'm sure makes a big difference.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:08 AM on June 29 [1 favorite]

Tumblr requires a little bit of work to get noticed in whatever community you are looking for. Right now it seems that discord seems to be the place to be internet community wize. It is kind of hard to find the right channel for your interests, but once you do it's pretty awesome. I am a part of a fanfiction discord, and some of them litterally started on live journal. Its fun, everybody is friendly and lots of stuff to share !
posted by AlexiaSky at 1:24 AM on June 29 [2 favorites]

Dreamwidth! It's based off LJ's code, and works the same way, except, y'know, not Russian-owned.

It is quiet, but I found it much more usable than Tumblr, in terms of actually talking to people.
posted by Tamanna at 2:01 AM on June 29 [13 favorites]

+1 for pre-Russian LiveJournal.
I was a heavy user of it back in the day, and made friends there that are still in my online life to this day, decades later.
I know that I may be viewing it through rose colored glasses, but these days, I am okay with that.
I am going to have to check out Dreamwidth, for sure.
posted by Bill Watches Movies Podcast at 2:29 AM on June 29

I think there are still many old-style "bulletin board" forums around dedicated to a wide variety of topics. I know some of them that are relevant to my interests and have on average quite a pleasant atmosphere. If you have a hobby or an interest that is not very competitive and attractive to assholes, there probably is a forum for discussing it somewhere where you'll feel welcome. Try searching for some and lurk for a bit to find out if the place meets you basic standards of decency and interesting discussion. They also tend to have sticky threads for frequently asked questions and new user introductions, which usually give a good indication for the feel of the place.

Typically you'll only need a valid e-mail to join one, and can do so pseudonymously. Wikipedia has an article on them if you're interested in more technical details.

By searching, I mean typing your interest plus the word forum (or "bulletin board") into your trusted search engine. Maybe add a region if you're looking for something local, et cetera. The biggest forums aren't always the best. What matters are the standards of moderation the forum owners apply and the resulting culture.
posted by primal at 2:45 AM on June 29 [2 favorites]

Tamanna- how do people find each other on dreamwidth? I wasn't able to figure it out.

Primal- are these hobby centric forums that then have off topic discussion also? Because I'm not looking to discuss exclusively one topic... I have visited various one-topic fora but it hasn't thus far been quite what I'm looking for... (that said, I'm also not sure I have a hobby suited for searching for a forum for - writing/art don't seem good choices for low key and chill, and I'm not sure what I'd have to talk about re running/dance)
posted by Cozybee at 3:37 AM on June 29 [2 favorites]

If you have an even passing interest in books as well, have a look at LibraryThing. It's a book-cataloging site first of all, but you don't actually need to catalogue any books to get involved in Talk, although the majority of the talk is vaguely book-related.
posted by Logophiliac at 3:38 AM on June 29 [5 favorites]

Logophiliac, there are often friending memes, or you can search the interests for a community and make friends that way. You can also look at the Recent Entries page to see if anything catches your eye.
posted by Tamanna at 3:56 AM on June 29

I like Elliquiy. A lot of it is heavily focused on fairly literate adult role play, which is the exact thing I spent so many years of the early internet age doing.

But there are tons of boards for chat, games, and discussions. It's a fairly well moderated community, and requires new members to pass a simple vetting process, explicitly agreeing to be a decent human being and respect the other forum members.
posted by Jacen at 4:32 AM on June 29 [3 favorites]

Some AO3 fandoms are like that, if there's a TV programme/film/etc. you're particularly into and you're at all interested in reading fics. Choose a fandom, start reading, find your favourite authors, leave comments on each of their chapters. You maybe don't want a huge fandom, a small-to-medium-sized one for something relatively recent will probably have a decent community of active posters. Because there's no direct messaging function, you'll often find people pop into other mediums to message one another and chat outside comments, but having the fandom at the heart of it makes it cohesive enough if you find the right community.
posted by penguin pie at 5:11 AM on June 29 [1 favorite]

Primal- are these hobby centric forums that then have off topic discussion also?
The ones I have experience with are hobby centric, or about something IT-related with a range of members from hobbyists to professionals. While most of the forum is about its specific topic, there usually is a subsection for off topic and general discussions. It all either works out if people make an effort to keep the forums organized and prevent trolling and flame wars, or it does not. In the latter case, I prefer not to stay around.

You can only know if there are good forums with discussions you'd like to join if you look for them. My experience has been that I can find these kinds of forums for myself, but if it doesn't work that way for you I can only hope the other answers here are better.
posted by primal at 5:45 AM on June 29 [1 favorite]

Each forum is different. Some are pretty topic-focused and some only pay lip service to their topic. Examples: The forums don’t have a designated off-topic area, but the topic (anything about the particular metro area) is so broad that it doesn’t need one. I used to be on the askandy men’s clothing forum, and that was all on-topic, although people still got to know each other. Way back in the day, CoolHomepages had a forum with a designated off-topic board, and that got to be more popular than the on-topic boards. Finally, I read a lot of college football boards. Most have off-topic areas, but given the majority demographic (middle-aged, affluent white men), it’s best to stay away. But yeah, point being that everything is different, and some (like the football boards) engender close enough friendships that IRL meetups are common, and a highlight of members’ social calendars. But it’s hard to predict until you’re in it. I read three different football boards for the same school/team, and all three have different cultures. But they are out there.
posted by kevinbelt at 5:51 AM on June 29

For Dreamwidth - keep an eye out for friending memes, or there are communities like AddMe that are designed for people to find other people. Usually once you start finding some people, it gets a lot easier to find more.

Communities took off less well on Dreamwidth than they had on LiveJournal - they exist, people post to them, but it depends a lot on whether there was a core group that could get and keep conversations going. But if you have some things you're interested in, people here might be able to suggest some places to start.
posted by jenettsilver at 6:59 AM on June 29

On DW, if you remember the names of any of your old LJ friends, you could search for them. I tried as best I could to replicate my LJ flist on DW, although quite a lot of people didn't come over, or didn't post as much.

it's a quieter place than LJ in its heyday, I admit, but I still love the tools it provides. (Cut-tags! Filtering! Yay!)
posted by suelac at 12:19 PM on June 29

Pillowfort is a new Livejournal-like service, with user pages and communities. People usually post surplus invite codes to their twitter account, see their latest invite thread here.
posted by sukeban at 12:49 AM on June 30

Do you like tech/video games? I've joined Resetera where it's the closest feeling of a small community. They have a few off-topic and hobby forums too if you're not interested in games.

I moved to Tumblr from LJ but for the most part the feeling isn't the same even before they did content bans. I like the organized feeling of LJ but so far I can't replicate the some Exp elsewhere. DW was always too small for me. Discord works but I found it easier to join a large discord then befriend a few people.
posted by chrono_rabbit at 6:59 PM on June 30

Good old Fark is still up.
posted by johngoren at 2:32 AM on July 2

« Older ISO bluetooth headset with good multipoint support   |   Why is my network appearing even when the router... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments