Forumshire passes 100,000 posts

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Re: Forumshire passes 100,000 posts

Post by malickfan on Wed Jul 01, 2015 8:15 am

Noticed we recently passed 175,000 posts Smile (nearly a Fifth of which is down to Petty)

Any guesses as to when we'll hit 200k?

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Re: Forumshire passes 100,000 posts

Post by Amarië on Wed Jul 01, 2015 8:58 am

Shortly after the new Who episode is released, I guess.

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Re: Forumshire passes 100,000 posts

Post by Eldorion on Wed Jul 01, 2015 4:23 pm

I'm glad I'm not the only who has been paying attention to the post figures. Smile Well, you know me and talking about forums, Malick, but in the interest of not boring anyone to death I'll use spoiler tags.

Short answer: we should pass 200,000 posts in mid or late 2016.

Long answer:

Spoiler:
As you may recall from my annual comparative Tolkien forum activity threads, most of the fandom has been in a decline in activity for many years, and The Hobbit did not manage to reverse this trend.  (It undoubtedly made the rate of decline slower than it would have been otherwise, though.)  The two main exceptions to this trend were TORn and Forumshire, since both of us managed to orient towards the The Hobbit movies early enough to capitalize on the fannish interest towards them and attract new members.  However, 2013 ended up being our peak year and 2014 was probably TORn's, as they have fallen in activity very significantly since roughly this February.

The forum automatically keeps monthly tallies of activity which are viewable through the stats page, and while only the past 12 months are listed, I have kept records of our activity since we moved to the new forum about four and a half years ago.  Rounding to the nearest hundred, the post totals for the past four years are:

2011*: 18,500 (57.5 ppd)
2012: 37,600 (102.7 ppd)
2013: 64,200 (175.9 ppd)
2014: 40,000 (109.6 ppd)
2015**: 14,400 (84.2 ppd)

*From Feb 13-Dec 31.
**From Jan 1-Jun 30.

If you're more of a visual person, you can see the history of Forumshire's posting activity by month in handy Excel chart form. Razz



Disappointing as this decline is, we are still faring pretty well compared to most other Tolkien forums, and are holding on to our #2 rank behind TORn.  Around the end of 2013 I had hoped that our steady ~20,000 post increase each year might last for one more year, until the final Hobbit film was released, but interest here apparently peaked and we saw a lot less new members (though this is largely due to Bree's final death around that same time).  Like I said, even TORn is seeing declines now though, so what we're experiencing now is a natural part of the life cycle of online communities once their raison d'etre is no longer relevant to mainstream culture.

The big question now is when and where we will stabilize.  If our activity from the first half of the year remains stable, we will be at ~190,000 posts at the end of the year.  This is actually fairly plausible.  Unlike TORn, we did not enjoy a post-BOFA boom (January was actually our weakest month by far), so there's no obvious reason for this level of activity to be unsustainable.  Of course, we can't predict everything that's going to happen, and even a handful of individuals leaving the forum could have a major impact, not just from the loss of those posts but the loss of responses and new threads.

The next big question is where we'll be next year.  2012-2014 was a near-perfect mirror of each other, though 2014 was slightly stronger than 2012.  So far, 2015 is on track to be significantly stronger than 2011, which is a testament to the expansion of the core community (those who are still here now that the Hobbit hype is gone) in the intervening four years.  This is uncharted waters for us, so I really have no basis for speculating what sort of decrease we might see next year.  I do think it's likely that contraction will continue before we stabilize, though it's also possible that the rate of contraction will slow now that the hype period is over but the shrinkage will never totally stop.  However, some older forums have eventually reached a level (well below their golden age) where they've held steady for years on end and seen minor fluctuations that occasionally result in year-over-year increases in activity.

Regardless, I find it hard to imagine that we will see a fall-off of nearly two-thirds, which is what would be necessary to prevent us from reaching 200,000 posts in 2016.  If we saw more or less the same rate of posts as we have had this year, then we might reach 200,000 some time in early May.  But I think it's more likely to be in the second half of the year.

I have to go to dinner now, but if this hasn't put everyone off asking questions about forum statistics I might follow up with something about forums in which a handful of people make a shitton of posts, or the fandom-"historical" significance of our reaching 100,000 posts when we did. Razz

And before anyone else says anything, yes, I know this post is the definition of overthinking things, and that the true value of Forumshire comes from the relationships we've built with each other, not from numbers on a spreadsheet.  I just find the numbers fun, and it gave me an Oedipal thrill when I learned that we had surpassed the activity of the forum where I used to be a moderator. Laughing
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Re: Forumshire passes 100,000 posts

Post by halfwise on Wed Jul 01, 2015 6:32 pm

I'm predicting an exponential decay, since Christopher Tolkien is creating little new output. The idea is we talk about a fraction f of what remains untalked about each year, thus reducing what there is to talk about.

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Re: Forumshire passes 100,000 posts

Post by halfwise on Wed Jul 01, 2015 6:36 pm

Actually, I should say exponential decay in the Tolkien area. The other areas will likely stabilize since the open topics are essentially constant.

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Re: Forumshire passes 100,000 posts

Post by malickfan on Wed Jul 08, 2015 12:23 pm

I still have my suspicions the random Angmar references in BOFTA were hinting towards an Aragorn Origins/War in The North film, depending on how the hype builds for Fantastic Beasts and the Star Wars spin offs WB would be very foolish to not develop more films while the fandom is still reasonably interested (though I'm still not entirely sure how serious the ongoing lawsuit they have with the Tolkien Estate is), just think of the amount of fun we could have dreading discussing any spin off films together...


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Re: Forumshire passes 100,000 posts

Post by Tinuviel on Thu Jul 09, 2015 12:48 pm

They could be like Hunt for Gollum or Born of Hope (aka not made by PJ and not half bad)!
I wonder if they'd do a slew of shorts? Or higher some unknown to make an Aragorn/Arwen film that parallels the story of Beren and Luthien... that way it'd be (technically) legal and within the rights that have been sold (though now apparently taken back...)

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Re: Forumshire passes 100,000 posts

Post by Orwell on Thu Sep 24, 2015 3:12 am

Eldo - I'm not wise in these things - but shouldn't we just call ourselves "Forumshire". And describe it as a "Forum for Tolkien Fans to talk Tolkien and anything else Tolkien Fans like talking about"?


NB I have wondered for awhile why we can't drop the "Hobbit Movie Forum" thing --- and it might possibly help me forget the actual movies. Very Happy

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Re: Forumshire passes 100,000 posts

Post by malickfan on Thu Sep 24, 2015 5:28 am

Orwell wrote:Eldo - I'm not wise in these things - but shouldn't we just call ourselves "Forumshire". And describe it as a "Forum for Tolkien Fans to talk Tolkien and anything else Tolkien Fans like talking about"?


NB I have wondered for awhile why we can't drop the "Hobbit Movie Forum" thing --- and it might possibly help me forget the actual movies. Very Happy  

That is an interesting point (I'm not particularity wise in these matters either, wouldn't changing the name require re-registering the domain?) Orwell, if you look at the numbers, it will probably turn out a minority (probably not a large minority though) of the posts on this forum (at least in the last year or so) actually concern Tolkien and/or the films, and I wonder if that plays into our rather small, if cosy amount of regular posters...Forumshire is the second or third forum that pops up if I google 'Hobbit Movie Forum' so I wonder if hardcore fans take a quick look at the madness within then back out never to be seen again Laughing

I joined the Forum relatively late, (though I'd been posting regularly on Bree/TORn for nearly 2 years) but even so I think our numbers peaked quite a while before the Hobbit trilogy ended, and I don't think the direct association with the films would have improved things that much, Eldo probably has the details but it certainly seems the online fandom was alot quieter this time around...

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Re: Forumshire passes 100,000 posts

Post by halfwise on Thu Sep 24, 2015 6:01 am

Yes, I think it would help if we were no longer named the hobbit movie forum. Kind of makes us look like doofusses now. But then we'd likely need a new domain name and keep the old one so we can redirect all hobbitmovieforum traffic to the new site. *Sigh*. I'm afraid we're stuck.

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Re: Forumshire passes 100,000 posts

Post by malickfan on Thu Sep 24, 2015 6:10 am

halfwise wrote:Kind of makes us look like doofusses now

Yeah Laughing ''I don't like The Hobbit Movies very Much'' ''Why do you spend so much time on a Forum with Hobbit Movie in the title then?'' ''Er...coincidence?''

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Re: Forumshire passes 100,000 posts

Post by azriel on Thu Sep 24, 2015 6:48 am

We are the Foreign Legion of Tolkienites. It is here we come to escape a mad world that either doesnt believe or, has shunned us as Peejer's army of lepers

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Re: Forumshire passes 100,000 posts

Post by Eldorion on Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:56 am

When we first bought a domain back in 2011 there was some debate about what to go with. In the end it came down to forumshire.com, hobbitmovieforum.com, and hobbitmovierefugees.com. We went with HMF.com after I proposed a compromise in which we added "Forumshire" to the forum's official name for the first time. At the time I was strongly in favor of HMF.com because I thought it would give us the best chance of being searchable on the web. And I think it probably has contributed to our position in Google searches for "hobbit movie forums". But unfortunately those kind of searches are fairly uncommon compared to generic Hobbit-related searches, so most of our new members came through Bree, which used to do very well in all sorts of Hobbit searches.

I have had second thoughts about this in recent years (well, I have doubts about everything, but whatever). Less so about whether the name is fitting but more stemming from the question of how relevant it will be now that The Hobbit movies are wrapping up. We don't know what the next onscreen Tolkien project will be (a reboot or a spin-off most likely, but the actual title is anyone's guess), so I wouldn't want to try to anticipate that. But something less dated and more individual -- like forumshire.com -- might not be a bad thing.

Unfortunately, forumshire.com was registered by some other dude who created a forum of his own at that domain, and while his forum never took off and the site is now offline, the domain is still not available to register. Forumshire.org is open though. Shrugging

I'd need to look into the technical details of whether Forumotion would let us continue to redirect traffic to the new site from the old domain. I think it would be possible but I'd need to confirm that. I think a redirect would be essential; I don't want to risk the chance of anyone leaving the site because they can't find it anymore.

Anyway, I dunno that a new domain name is really essential, but it's an interesting thought and I'd be happy to hear more thoughts on it from you guys.
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Re: Forumshire passes 100,000 posts

Post by halfwise on Thu Sep 24, 2015 10:34 am

If it doesn't cost us anything extra (or not much extra) then I think a name change would be nice. But I'm not sure 'forumshire' would get many hits, don't know how much the name affects searches. If no real effect, 'forumshire' would be great.

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Re: Forumshire passes 100,000 posts

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Sep 24, 2015 11:11 am

I'd need to look into the technical details of whether Forumotion would let us continue to redirect traffic to the new site from the old domain. -Eldo

Hold on- does that mean leaving here? Suspect

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Re: Forumshire passes 100,000 posts

Post by azriel on Thu Sep 24, 2015 11:22 am

If it aint broken why fix it ?

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Re: Forumshire passes 100,000 posts

Post by halfwise on Thu Sep 24, 2015 11:39 am

It IS broken. The movies are dead and buried.

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Re: Forumshire passes 100,000 posts

Post by malickfan on Thu Sep 24, 2015 12:15 pm

I don't see a pressing need to rename or migrate the Forum, but as it stands we've long passed any potential spike in numbers or new members in terms of Hobbit discussion, and a direct association with the films will probably be meaningless next year (unless Jackson or Warner Bros have some surprises up their sleeves Suspect pale ), I think things are fine they way they are for the foreseeable future.

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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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Re: Forumshire passes 100,000 posts

Post by bungobaggins on Thu Sep 24, 2015 12:33 pm

MAN THE LIFEBOATS!!!!! ABANDON FORUM!!!!!!

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Re: Forumshire passes 100,000 posts

Post by halfwise on Thu Sep 24, 2015 12:43 pm

It's a matter of ease. If easy to do, it's worth having a name that isn't dated. If not easy to do, it's not worth it.

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Re: Forumshire passes 100,000 posts

Post by David H on Thu Sep 24, 2015 1:43 pm

bungobaggins wrote:MAN THE LIFEBOATS!!!!! ABANDON FORUM!!!!!!

It's exactly this kind of cool-headed leadership in crisis that got you elected mayor. Cool

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Re: Forumshire passes 100,000 posts

Post by bungobaggins on Thu Sep 24, 2015 3:53 pm




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Re: Forumshire passes 100,000 posts

Post by Mrs Figg on Thu Sep 24, 2015 4:35 pm


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Re: Forumshire passes 100,000 posts

Post by Eldorion on Thu Sep 24, 2015 11:58 pm

halfwise wrote:If it doesn't cost us anything extra (or not much extra) then I think a name change would be nice.  But I'm not sure 'forumshire' would get many hits, don't know how much the name affects searches.  If no real effect, 'forumshire' would be great.

I don't want to ascribe too much importance to the domain name alone.  There are a lot of factors that go into search engine optimization, not that I'm a specialist in that or anything (Ady was though, which is part of the reason why old Forumshire and Bree attracted so many new members).  I don't think that "forumshire.org" would bring us any greater traffic but it might make it easier to pivot to a new focus if/when future Middle-earth films are announced.  But who knows when that will be, what the state of the forum will be like then, and if there will be an appetite for diving back in here.

EDIT: actually, doing some reading on SEO for the first time in a long time, the domain name itself is much less important now than it was when we first picked one. Google has devalued the significance of a search term appearing in the domain name from 2012 onward.

Pettytyrant101 wrote:Hold on- does that mean leaving here? Suspect

I misspoke; I should have said "new domain".  The idea of switching domain names is only one I'd entertain if we can move the entire site and all our posts there too.  Unfortunately this is partially out of my hands because we're hosted through Forumotion, but that's the trade-off with all-in-one forum hosts and on the whole I think we've gotten an excellent deal here (not that there was even an alternative back in 2011 since I didn't have the money to host the forum myself).


Last edited by Eldorion on Fri Sep 25, 2015 1:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Forumshire passes 100,000 posts

Post by Eldorion on Fri Sep 25, 2015 12:12 am

malickfan wrote:I don't see a pressing need to rename or migrate the Forum, but as it stands we've long passed any potential spike in numbers or new members in terms of Hobbit discussion, and a direct association with the films will probably be meaningless next year (unless Jackson or Warner Bros have some surprises up their sleeves Suspect pale ),  I think things are fine they way they are for the foreseeable future.

There was nothing potential about it -- we saw a very significant spike in new members and in posts due to The Hobbit movies.  I mean, the forum was created because of The Hobbit movies but when the films actually arrived there was a lot more traffic and talk surrounding them.  And unlike most Tolkien forums regardless of age (with the exception of TORn), we were able to capitalize on that.  The biggest limiting factor for us is that the forum was not attached to a blog or any other "main site", which is generally a reliable way to draw in traffic from casual fans who might become interested in the forum after seeing it but wouldn't have sought out the forum on their own.  Certainly there are vastly more people searching for general Hobbit information than specifically for Hobbit forums (this is true in other fandoms and in general as well).  However, our connection to Bree and the presence of our members on TORn did contribute to the steady stream of people joining that we saw in 2012-14.

To jump back to the previous page, I think Azriel has a good point when she says:

azriel wrote:We are the Foreign Legion of Tolkienites. It is here we come to escape a mad world that either doesnt believe or, has shunned us as Peejer's army of lepers

I don't want to over-emphasize the purist element of the Forumshire identity but the theme of free spirits, outcasts, misfits, etc. has been a recurring one throughout our history and has definitely shaped the collective self-image of the forum as expressed in Creative Corner works and in general discussion.  And this is something that was possible largely because we were somewhat at a remove from the main entry points into Tolkien fandom.  As much anti-TORn bitching as there used to be on here, we wouldn't have gotten to be the cool, alternative forum if it hadn't been for TORn anchoring a mainstream to rebel against (and absorbing the majority of pre-teen fanboys/fangirls).

halfwise wrote:It IS broken.  The movies are dead and buried.

The entire Tolkien franchise/IP is about to enter into a dormant period.  The movies are over, but there haven't been any new Middle-earth books of any mainstream significance since 2007 either.  On the other hand, while Hobbit-related searches have been the biggest kind of Tolkien-related search for the past several years, they are likely to become less significant or at least roughly comparable to LOTR searches.  But I don't think there are going to be significant new influxes of traffic until the next big project is announced.  It's also worth noting that there are factors other than just the length of time since the last movie that contribute to the fandom as a whole, and especially forums, being less active now than they were in between LOTR and TH.  Changing the domain name wouldn't undo any of this, and while it would make the name less dated, I don't think that's really a huge deal.
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