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Chatbox Chatter vs. Forum Discussions


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One of the biggest and recurring conversations among forum admins is the age-old debate: should I install a chatbox.  On one hand, we've got the temporary but lively world of chatbox banter standing side by side with the more enduring, searchable forum discussions. One is fleeting and fast-paced, the other a permanent record of thoughts and ideas. But which one truly captures the essence of our community?

  • Do you find the light and ephemeral nature of chatbox conversations more engaging because of their spontaneity and immediacy?
  • How do you balance the transient charm of chatbox chats with the lasting impact of detailed forum discussions? Is there a secret recipe for getting the best of both worlds?
  • Have you ever wished a brilliant point made in a chatbox was captured in a more permanent forum thread, or vice versa?

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Each format has its magic and its place in the tapestry of our community. The chatbox is our buzzing coffee shop corner, while forum threads are like the chapters of an ever-growing encyclopedia. Let’s dive into how we navigate, blend, and make the most of these two dynamic realms. Share your thoughts, experiences, and maybe a few tips on striking that perfect balance! 🌐💬📚

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When I first started out creating and building up communities, I always felt that chatboxes or shoutboxes were awesome to have as part of the community. It took me a few years to realize that was not the case and the shoutboxes and chatboxes a lot of the time were taking away from the discussion within the community. 

Some people do still use chatboxes and shoutboxes but I personally prefer not to so that the focus stays on the discussions within the community. 

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3 hours ago, Shortie said:

When I first started out creating and building up communities, I always felt that chatboxes or shoutboxes were awesome to have as part of the community. It took me a few years to realize that was not the case and the shoutboxes and chatboxes a lot of the time were taking away from the discussion within the community. 

Some people do still use chatboxes and shoutboxes but I personally prefer not to so that the focus stays on the discussions within the community. 

This is kind of an extreme question, but do you think your community would thrive if the entire community was only in chat (like Discord)? 

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Frankly speaking, I do not like chat boxes in forums. I have never used them on my forums, and probably I will never use them. Even in the communities where there are chat boxes, I do not use them frequently. I believe that all discussions and chats should be done in the main forums. Having said that sometimes chat boxes are useful to post hi and goodbye messages.

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25 minutes ago, Nomad said:

Frankly speaking, I do not like chat boxes in forums. I have never used them on my forums, and probably I will never use them. Even in the communities where there are chat boxes, I do not use them frequently. I believe that all discussions and chats should be done in the main forums. Having said that sometimes chat boxes are useful to post hi and goodbye messages.

Do you have specific reasons why discussions and chats should only be done in the main forums? 

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I think it is better to talk about what you ate for dinner in the chat box and talk about how to make latte chai in the main forum (just for an example). Chat boxes are appropriate for informal chats. I do not see why we should talk about how was your day on main forums, we we can do it on chatbox.

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I tried a chat room once. It got a little traffic but most of the members stayed in the forums. I would rather this be the case anyway, because forum posts feed the hungry Google Bot whereas chat conversations don't.

What we do now is host Zoom meetings several nights a week. The face to face interaction is much better than the old text chat of yesteryear.

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On 1/11/2024 at 7:05 AM, JoelR said:

Do you have specific reasons why discussions and chats should only be done in the main forums? 

When you create a discussion topic or reply to a discussion topic, your content will remain in the main forum and other members can continuously interact with your content, this will keep the discussion alive, which is the main motive of a discussion board or a community.

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I think a forum should use both. The main forums should be used for discussion on ever-green topics or serious topics, whereas the chatboxes should be used for informal chats (for example, what are you doing this Saturday, or what did you eat for breakfast, etc.). It is fun to use chatboxes.

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