Member list, post counts and the Dominance of TORn

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Post by malickfan Sun Apr 27, 2014 12:01 am

So nosing around in the member list earlier I was surprised to see of the 272 registered users, only 30 have more than 400 posts, 215 have less than 50, and 93 have never even posted. Providing my math/eyesight is accurate it seems we have either 1) Very inefficient spammers 2) A reputation that scares off newbies or 3) A dedicated core of regular posters/Petty baters (incidentally Petty could fall under 1+2 as well).

I found this rather surprising considering Forumshire is only 3rd down on my search engine when I type in 'Hobbit Movie Forum',  I'm not saying Odo should open the borders to strange folk from the wild (heck, I basically snuck in by climbing over the fence)-it's kinda cozy like this, but it got me thinking how dominant TORn is-I only heard of this place second hand, by posting on Bree (RIP  Crying or Very sad ) (which I found out about via TORn) and I was wondering whether this may be a factor in the membership here. For some of the users, maybe it's a stop over (whereas for me and Bungo at least it was the opposite-a refuge from TORn) until they discover TORn? Is TORn as dominate as the media exposure seems to suggest? Or are we simply too...unique round here...

I've only been posting here for about seven or eight months so I can't vouch for much of Forumshire's history, so I haven't really got much perspective on this.

 Shrugging 

Thoughts?


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The Tauriel: Desolation of Canon December 2013 (Accurate again!)
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I think what comes out of a pig's rear end is more akin to what Peejers has given us-Azriel 20/9/2014
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Post by Ringdrotten Sun Apr 27, 2014 12:09 am

I'm not sure, really. Eldo, Petty, Tin and Odo will have to speak for the early beginnings, but for the entire time I've been here (since mid 2010 or somewhere close) we've been a small community with few regulars and many "passers-by". Odo used to make up for it with his clan, though, but it's been a while since we've seen them around. I guess most people who search for Tolkien forums these days look for places to discuss films they love, and they quickly move on to TORn if they ever stop by here. I wish Gandalf's Beard were still around, he might've attracted more people belonging to this particular group Smile It's nice to see that some chose to stay, though. It's hard to leave once you've come to like the place Smile

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Post by Tinuviel Sun Apr 27, 2014 12:13 am

I think there's so much posting by regulars and such specific topics that don't even have to do with the hobbit (I check the recently changed threads and at least 60% of them don't have to with LOTR at all) so I guess the casual poster would rather just throw their two cents at TORn than get in deep here. This is a relatively anti-film forum as well, so that might turn people off.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sun Apr 27, 2014 12:16 am

I dont know what the original forum was like back in its earliest days because I wasn't there- Eldo is the chap to ask about that or Queen Tin, or Odo- all of whom were members back when I joined.

But when I joined it was much the same as now- there were far more members than active posters and there was a hard core group of regular posters.
In that sense it hasn't changed very much.
We have sadly lost active members over the years for a variety of reasons (many unknown) such as ole GB and our beloved Ally (who was also one of our longest serving members until she vanished). But we have also gained new folk too.

We had an outreach program of sorts on Bree- as many of its members were also members here and the original Forumshire was where Bree used to be.

ToRN however frown and indeed remove posts that link to here or that openly promote the forum in any way so thats one reason I suppose.

And of course we are a somewhat, unique, bunch and the forum has developed it sown rather eccentric culture over the years that some might find off putting to trying to jump right into (although I reckon jumping right in is the best way)- I also think we have a fair share of lurkers who enjoy reading stuff on here but for whatever reason dont actually post here.

I of course find TorN much more unfriendly than here, and overzealous in their love of all things PJ, but I suppose if PJ can do no wrong for you then the last place you want to be is here, so maybe that puts some off too.

On the otherhand if you compare the amount of postings on here and other hobbit/LotR's forums outside of ToRN we are more active than most.
And at least every other post here isnt about Thorins hair.   Mad

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Post by malickfan Sun Apr 27, 2014 12:23 am

Tinuviel wrote:I think there's  so much posting by regulars and such specific topics that don't even have to do with the hobbit (I check the recently changed threads and at least 60% of them don't have to with LOTR at all) so I guess the casual poster would rather just throw their two cents at TORn than get in deep here. This is a relatively anti-film forum as well, so that might turn people off.

Good point, I wouldn't necessarily classify Forumshire as a Tolkien forum, even though I started posting here because Bree went down, I've ended up staying largely down to the people here and the other topics. If I wanted to talk about The Hobbit I guess I might gravitate towards TORn because of the higher traffic (though considering I mainly complain about The Hobbit, I guess I don't have much perspective on actual discussion)

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I think what comes out of a pig's rear end is more akin to what Peejers has given us-Azriel 20/9/2014
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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sun Apr 27, 2014 12:34 am

I think Tolkien is still the stand on which we all hang our hats.

Everything else has grown out of enjoying each others company and sharing interests beyond Tolkien, but Tolkien is still the core heart and soul of the spirit of the place I feel.

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Post by malickfan Sun Apr 27, 2014 12:42 am

Ringdrotten wrote:I guess most people who search for Tolkien forums these days look for places to discuss films they love, and they quickly move on to TORn if they ever stop by here. I wish Gandalf's Beard were still around, he might've attracted more people belonging to this particular group Smile

I was introduced to Tolkien via the films though I didn't join my first Forum until 2010/11 so I missed the first 'wave; of discussion, but I've defintely noticed alot of new fans joining TORn for instance I think it has basically become first stop due to it's relationship with the Filmakers.

It's nice to see that some chose to stay, though. It's hard to leave once you've come to like the place

-Indeed it has, though I have been registered in other forums longer, Forumshire is the most welcoming (and random) Forum I have posted in, and providing my internet situation dosen't go tits up again I plan to stick around for as long as possible.

Again good point Petty, I do feel this place is a Tolkien forum, just not one constrained by the formalities of others (the posistion most of us have on the films is a difference as well)

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The Thorin: An Unexpected Rewrite December 2012 (I was on the money apparently)
The Tauriel: Desolation of Canon December 2013 (Accurate again!)
The Sod-it! : Battling my Indifference December 2014 (You know what they say, third time's the charm)

Well, that was worth the wait wasn't it  Suspect


I think what comes out of a pig's rear end is more akin to what Peejers has given us-Azriel 20/9/2014
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Post by halfwise Sun Apr 27, 2014 2:33 am

If you are looking for news about the movies, TORN is the place to go, whether or not you agree with their slant of news items they simply out bulk any other site for movie news.

I found TORN first, then poking around for something Hobbit specific found the first incarnation of this site. It was unique, so I put down roots.

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Post by Tinuviel Sun Apr 27, 2014 3:57 am

I joined this forum as soon as I heard they were making the hobbit. I searched "the hobbit movie" on Google and the old website popped up. I glanced at the forum and decided to post there. It was all Hobbit back then, with some lotr. It got off track I think when Odo arrived...

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Post by David H Sun Apr 27, 2014 4:10 am

I started lurking on TORN a few years ago, but was never tempted to post because many (though certainly not all ) of the regulars took themselves so seriously that it seemed there was nothing I could share that they would care to hear.  I started posting from time to time at Bree because there were at times some interesting people who seemed more interested in a good discussion than in fighting battles, though there were still some people who were a bit too serious on the other side for my tastes.

I visited here after meeting Petty in Bree and hearing of his edit.  Once I'd met Orwell, Eldo, Ally and the Banks clan, I knew I'd found a place where I never need worry about people taking themselves too seriously again.
 :carrot: :carrot: :carrot:

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Post by bungobaggins Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:18 am

Whenever I see someone railing against the films on the torn boards (as I saw in a thread the other day regarding the TABA title change), I feel like I should send them a PM in an attempt at an outreach. I didn't send one to this person, I guess I wouldn't really know what to say, or if it would be appropriate. Shrugging

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Post by Eldorion Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:23 am

This is a really interesting thread to me because it relates to a lot of my interests in terms of fandom and forum dynamics, as well as the history of this site in particular and Tolkien fandom in general.  So I apologize in advance if I ramble a bit here. Very Happy

malickfan wrote:So nosing around in the member list earlier I was surprised to see of the 272 registered users, only 30 have more than 400 posts, 215 have less than 50, and 93 have never even posted. Providing my math/eyesight is accurate it seems we have either 1) Very inefficient spammers 2) A reputation that scares off newbies or 3) A dedicated core of regular posters/Petty baters (incidentally Petty could fall under 1+2 as well).

First, I want to note that most forums have similar proportions of low-posting members, and those that don't are often only because they regularly purge all members who have not posted.  If you look at the memberlist of TORn or any other sizable Tolkien forum, you'll see similar numbers.  I don't know exactly why so many people register on forums without ever posting, but at least as may register and then drift away very quickly simply due to lack of interest.  It's probably related to the 90-9-1 rule, which holds that 90% of people in an online community simply read passively, 9% comment or edit, and only 1% actually creates new content.  Regardless of exact numbers, the basic principle can be found all over the Internet, as well as in some real life examples.  I don't think it comes down to reputation, either, if only because we have very little reputation to begin with (Google Analytics and searches for the sites name shows very few mentions of us on other sites).

Second, we have always had an unusually low number of members for a forum with our level of posting activity.  (It might not look like a ton next to the hustle and bustle of TORn, but we were the second most-active Tolkien forum in English last year.  More on that phenomenon later.)  We definitely have a dedicated core of regulars, and while that is not uncommon, the percentage of posts from that group is.  Of all the other Tolkien forums I'm familiar with, of which there are quite a few, Entmoot.com and LOTRfanMB.com probably come the closest in terms of a massive percentage of posts coming from a very small group of regulars.  On most forums, the spread of posts between different "cohorts" is more (relatively) even.  Part of the reason for the difference here is that our sources of new traffic have been sporadic, but that doesn't explain why the people who did stick around did so in such a prolific manner.  At the risk of sounding self-aggrandizing, it might just be that it's a community that some people really, really like. Razz

I found this rather surprising considering Forumshire is only 3rd down on my search engine when I type in 'Hobbit Movie Forum',  I'm not saying Odo should open the borders to strange folk from the wild (heck, I basically snuck in by climbing over the fence)-it's kinda cozy like this, but it got me thinking how dominant TORn is-I only heard of this place second hand, by posting on Bree (RIP  Crying or Very sad ) (which I found out about via TORn) and I was wondering whether this may be a factor in the membership here. For some of the users, maybe it's a stop over (whereas for me and Bungo at least it was the opposite-a refuge from TORn) until they discover TORn? Is TORn as dominate as the media exposure seems to suggest? Or are we simply too...unique round here...

I kind of wish that was the case, but unfortunately I don't think we really have much of a presence for newcomers.  We do quite well in searches for "hobbit movie forum" (a desire for which is part of the reason we chose this domain name) and a few related Hobbit topics, but barely register in anything else.  There simply aren't as many people searching for Tolkien forums now as there were a decade ago.  If you look at the comparative activity data linked to above, you'll see a lot of sites with 10-12 years and hundreds of thousands if not millions of posts under their belts that brought in only a few thousand or at most a couple tens of thousands during all of last year.  LOTRPlaza.com, which was the largest site in the fandom for most of the 2000s decade, averaged about a million posts per year from 2002 to 2004, during the height of the LOTR movie craze.  Last year, the middle of the Hobbit movie hype period, the best forum was TORn, which gathered about 120,000 new posts.  The fall-offs are even greater for the ranks in the bottom half of the Top 10 and below.

This is an issue that has attracted much speculation and hand-wringing over the years at older sites.  There are undoubtedly many reasons for the decline, but in my opinion it comes down to a few big ones.  First, subject-specific fandoms always ebb and flow, but once there's no longer new material coming out, the clock is ticking for most sites in your community.  The Harry Potter fandom, which was probably even bigger than LOTR's in the early 2000s (though less focused on forums), is in an even worse situation than us now, since it's been almost three years since any new HP material was released.  Second, the cultural moment for Tolkien stuff has passed.  The nine years between ROTK and AUJ saw most of the attention and excitement directed towards Middle-earth fade away, and The Hobbit movies have been unable to recapture that.  You can argue that this is because The Hobbit movie are shitty, but looking at similar movie franchises, I think it was inevitable that a prequel following a decade after the original was not going to be able to turn back the clock and have everyone be just as excited as before.  Many of the people (especially young people) who were really into it before have moved on, and most new young people entering fandom have different obsessions based on more recent hot properties.

Third, forums in general are not as important a part of the Internet as they were in the early 2000s.  The rise of social media has overtaken a lot of other Internet things (not the least of which is e-mail), but most relevant to this discussion is that social media has supplanted forums and blogs as the primary form of online interaction for the majority of Internet users.  On the other hand, social media does not replicate what forums do, which is bring together people with no prior connection except a shared interest, but more people are content to discuss fannish stuff with the friends they already have.  Forums have not benefited as much from the rising number of Internet users over the past decade because of newer sites, including Facebook (which is a decade old by now but still younger than most Tolkien forums out there).  The rise of social media also attracts attention from oldbies (those who stuck around at all, anyway).

As to why TORn is dominant, there are a couple of reasons.  People have already brought up their exhaustive reporting on Tolkien and movie news, which has made them the go-to site for such information for decades.  That, and their special relationship with the filmmakers, gives them a platform and publicity within the fandom that online marketeers can only dream of.  However, it's worth noting that TORn has been doing the news thing since they started, but they were not one of the largest forums for a long time.  It was only after the relaunch of their forums in 2007, and their site-wide rebranding to focus on The Hobbit movies, which were announced that same year, that they began their rise to the top of the forum aspect of fandom in addition to news.  This effort corresponded with the general decline of activity across LOTR forums and a failure of any of the major forums to successfully rebrand in order to benefit from Hobbit-related searches, though several did attempt to.

This site, while it has grown considerably since we first began, has had to deal with several roadblocks, but the biggest of which is SEO related.  Our most reliable method of attracting new members is having them Google us, but the overwhelming majority of Hobbit-related searches are for general information, not forums specifically.  This wasn't a big deal when we were attached to the original the-hobbit-movie.com, which had excellent SEO for its blog due to the original webmaster, but once we were on our own, we saw a noticeable change.  Thanks to our relationship and with the later Bree forum (and the tireless efforts of Ambassador Petty Wink) we were able to benefit from Bree's favorable SEO position once again, but this meant we were getting only members who already cared enough to stick around there and see Petty's entreaties.  I'm certainly not complaining, since you guys are great, but it does go some way to explaining why we don't have that many mid-level activity posters.  But I think it's pretty phenomenal how we've done despite our obstacles, and our relative newbie status in the game of forums, and the wider forces lowering activity in Tolkien fandom and forums in general.

I've only been posting here for about seven or eight months so I can't vouch for much of Forumshire's history, so I haven't really got much perspective on this,

If you're interested in the site's history, then please allow me to direct you to my essay Forumshire: The First Five Years. :)Though I'm afraid it's only covered the first three years so far.

And with that, I will apologize for the length of this post and shut up. Laughing
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Post by bungobaggins Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:29 am

You know, Eldo, there's a thesis or dissertation in there somewhere.  Laughing cyclops 

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Post by Eldorion Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:35 am

I tell myself the same thing sometimes.  It's a topic that fascinates me, and one I've spent a good deal of time pondering, researching, and writing about for my own edification.  Actually, by sheer coincidence, I was doing a lot of thinking about fandom stuff earlier today.  But spending a lot of time thinking about this crap is part of the reason I became admin in the first place, and I like to think it helps me be a better decision-maker when I have to be.

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Post by bungobaggins Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:39 am

There are a couple of people on torn that I feel like I could reach out to invite them here. But I'm two minds about it.

1. I wasn't invited here, I found it by myself and decided to stay. And for me, I'm not sure what I would have thought if I was specifically pointed in this direction by someone.

2. If I had had someone to point me in this direction I might have joined earlier. I lurked for a few weeks before joining.

And I just don't know if it's an appropriate thing to do. I don't want to make myself the face of Forumshire, if you know what I mean.

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Post by Norc Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:22 am

Ringdrotten wrote:I'm not sure, really. Eldo, Petty, Tin and Odo will have to speak for the early beginnings, but for the entire time I've been here (since mid 2010 or somewhere close) 
2011-02-13 (it says so under your avatar so it must be correct)
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Post by Norc Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:26 am

the only reason i have stuck around on this forum, i have an account on both torn and the dark planet, (wait... are they not the same? whatever) is because this forum is small and well, random as someone pointed out. Tolkien unites us, but then again we have sherlock, who, star wars/trek, creativness and artsy stufff and music to discuss to, and you're all a bunch of lovable souls so this is such a great forum, i don't think anyone at torn would understand Razz i tried it, but there were so many people Shocked and so manye threads Shocked
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Post by RA Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:46 am

I found this place through Bree and mostly posted in Bree initially; I made an account here after hearing about the place from Petty and gradually moved more over here than Bree. And we all know what happened to that place  Sad 
This place is nice and maybe a little random  Razz , but it's also far less strict than other places I've visited  Smile . Mods on other sites (non-Tolkien related ones specifically) are so strict about staying on topic and about topics being posted in the appropriate thread and about locking threads too for various reasons. Maybe I take this place for granted?
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Post by RA Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:49 am

It is sort of neat that we're a small tight knit group whether that be due to the general view we all share on the films or simply because of how esoteric the place is; more people could be nice, but I like the forum either way.

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Post by Ringdrotten Sun Apr 27, 2014 11:49 am

Norc wrote:
Ringdrotten wrote:I'm not sure, really. Eldo, Petty, Tin and Odo will have to speak for the early beginnings, but for the entire time I've been here (since mid 2010 or somewhere close) 
2011-02-13 (it says so under your avatar so it must be correct)

You forget, I posted on the old forum before we moved to this place Smile

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Post by Norc Sun Apr 27, 2014 12:48 pm

aah, whatever Rolling Eyes

i started out in bree too, but that was my very first forum ever so i wasn't aware of how all the other web-forums were like. i guess I at least take this site for granted Razz
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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sun Apr 27, 2014 1:26 pm

Though I'm afraid it's only covered the first three years so far.- Eldo

Yeah about that- where are the other two years of info you lazy bum!!!  Mad

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Post by halfwise Sun Apr 27, 2014 1:58 pm

Tinuviel wrote:I joined this forum as soon as I heard they were making the hobbit. I searched "the hobbit movie" on Google and the old website popped up. I glanced at the forum and decided to post there. It was all Hobbit back then, with some lotr. It got off track I think when Odo arrived...

I didn't know you preceded Odo! I suppose that's what makes you The Queen. I suppose you were what, 14 when it all started?

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Post by halfwise Sun Apr 27, 2014 2:03 pm

bungobaggins wrote:Whenever I see someone railing against the films on the torn boards (as I saw in a thread the other day regarding the TABA title change), I feel like I should send them a PM in an attempt at an outreach. I didn't send one to this person, I guess I wouldn't really know what to say, or if it would be appropriate. Shrugging

I wonder if it's like people suggesting dating prospects? You almost always feel offended: that's what they think of me?? But then if you made the same decision yourself you're okay with it.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sun Apr 27, 2014 2:44 pm

Well I'm a shameless hussy, I preached Forumshire to all and sundry on Bree- and on ToRN to start with but the mods there werent best pleased, and its their forum and their rules, so I had to stop my ToRN outreach program.

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Pure Publications, The Tower of Lore and the Former Admin's Office are Reasonably Proud to Present-



A Green And Pleasant Land

Compiled and annotated by Eldy.

- get your copy here for a limited period- free*

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yjYiz8nuL3LqJ-yP9crpDKu_BH-1LwJU/view



*Pure Publications reserves the right to track your usage of this publication, snoop on your home address, go through your bins and sell personal information on to the highest bidder.
Warning may contain Wholesome Tales
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