Many of our regular customers may remember we used to have a vibrant forum on this website, but earlier this year we removed it. I’ve recently been asked if we plan to bring it back and it made me ponder on its value. See, we had a forum for nearly 15 years here and to remove it was a big step. Maybe it was the right step, or maybe the wrong one – I’m not yet certain.
The reason we removed the forum is because it was starting to cause problems that greatly affected my personal ability to get things done. I was starting to spend more time dealing with issues related directly to the forum that I had. The problem stemmed both from the design of Forums and its technical quality.
Most Forum software that we’ve seen that are really good at their purpose do not integrate well within our website forcing people to have multiple logins for the same website so we were constantly getting support requests that I – as the administrator – was being sent where people complained that they could not login to our store or to make a comment to my blog posting. The problem was that they had a Forum login and it didn’t work with the rest of our site and I only found expensive plugins that sort of worked to fix that issue.
Secondly, nearly every time our website was hacked – it was through the forum software. When you spend a couple days every month dealing with cleaning up hacks from people who use the forum software as their entry point into your server it gets old fast. Finally, we saw many discussions over and over again that were answered in other forum posts, but were too deep in pages of discussion that nobody ever saw the answer. With all of those issues we decided not to have a forum anymore.
On the other hand, we did find the forum valuable for feedback. So we aren’t saying that we won’t ever bring it back, but if we did – it would have to resolve the issues above.