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phpBB shrinking?

Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:14 pm
by Heo32
Since 2008, I've noticed that the staff members are slowly dwindling. There used to be roughly 2.5x to 3x the number of staff as there are now. I know this because I took several screenshots of the staff list and compared it to the number of staff present now. In the past during the phpBB 2.0.x era, Acyd Burn and the rest of the developers would consistently release a new update every 2 months (not exact, but pretty close). Back then in the 2000's, forums seemed to be much more popular than they are now since other communication means have gained traction (e.g. Discord, Facebook, Twitter, etc). Now that phpBB 3.2.x has been here for about 1.5 years, I've noticed a RC1 followed by a final release approximately 2 to 3 weeks after that RC gets released. Things have taken a major slow-down with getting phpBB 3.2.3 out the door, but that's beside the point. I know there are a few bugs that are pending and not as many developers as there used to be. Not to mention, the code is much more extensive than ever before. Yet, visiting the forums here, there doesn't seem to be as many people posting as there once was.

From my first set of points mentioned above, is this an indication that phpBB is slowing down and maybe possibly fading away? Where do you all see it in the next 10 years with respect to the number of staff members? Are there any plans that may help gain phpBB more activity, interest, and overall usage by new members to compete with what is already out there?

Re: phpBB shrinking?

Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:49 pm
by GanstaZ
Everything changes. Why to look so far ahead? I don't see a problem with 3.2.3 not out yet, because it's still in a testing phase. Code in all branches are updated regularly, so no problems with that as well.

Re: phpBB shrinking?

Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:59 pm
by Lumpy Burgertushie
I do believe it is still the most used bb software in the world.
one reason there is not more activity here is because the software just keeps getting better and better so there are not that many people having problems with it.
remember, the only people that come here are those with problems. the ratio of board installs to people with problems is really going to be quite low and getting lower as the software gets better.


when there are fewer problems and mature software, there is not as big of a need for staff either.

and yes, facebook etc. have made a dent in bulletin board use. I hope that turns around since I would love to see facebook disappear completely.

also, this is just my opinion based on common sense and many years of working with it all.


robert

Re: phpBB shrinking?

Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:56 am
by Toxyy
Lumpy Burgertushie wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:59 pm
I do believe it is still the most used bb software in the world.
one reason there is not more activity here is because the software just keeps getting better and better so there are not that many people having problems with it.
remember, the only people that come here are those with problems. the ratio of board installs to people with problems is really going to be quite low and getting lower as the software gets better.


when there are fewer problems and mature software, there is not as big of a need for staff either.

and yes, facebook etc. have made a dent in bulletin board use. I hope that turns around since I would love to see facebook disappear completely.

also, this is just my opinion based on common sense and many years of working with it all.


robert
Forums have been on the decline themselves since 2009-2010 says Google trends, there are more means of communication between people, new trends, etc. All forum software follows the same trend though between themselves they still compete. Interestingly enough, zetaboards (invisionfree's in house forum system) is actually more popular than phpbb right now in trends. But phpbb competes well with other forum software:

https://trends.google.com/trends/explor ... ,vbulletin

IPB not included because there are no clear single terms to search for it with, nodebb and vanilla forums weren't worth mentioning.

BBpress is constant:

https://trends.google.com/trends/explor ... yk,bbpress

interestingly wordpress has stayed relatively constant with a couple of peaks.

Discord decreases forum use and I'm on a site that has banned talk of it actually, while some people here request extensions for discord integration. Their decline seems to be average though, not related to discord.

Sites like facebook (on the decline, but dwarfs everything else anyways) and reddit (increasing at a constant) have subcommunities within themselves. Twitter has averaged off.

In my experience, most people who want websites done want a cms, some people are happy with forums, and some both. Wordpress sites are everywhere and aren't going away anytime soon. People want to be able to monetize their site, and that means their forum too. Theme integration, paid memberships, marketplace/shop, and extensive point system with marketplace/shop are the most common requests that I see. I think the chat like pm's thing will be a pretty cool integration and a good step forward. A good way to increase use would be to have a pretty solid and free bridge that people would know about. Just speculating, but if that could be sitewide on wordpress or joomla or something that would be a pretty attractive selling point. I don't know, it's a big topic.

Nevermind that when forums were popular on the mid 2000's, lots of those sites run today, so the proportion of users on forums that is phpbb, I have no idea. That's beyond the scope of just google trends. And the future of the internet and how people will use it... no clue.

Another point is, a user's experience on phpbb can greatly change with extensions, but even with wordpress people will always not know what to do. Though a good thing that could help could be customization db integration with the acp, two clicks for installing then enabling or something, may make customization easier eventually. Though you could also argue that they knew how to install a phpbb zip successfully. But then some admins seem to now know how they did so. This is all conjecture at this point.

Re: phpBB shrinking?

Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:58 am
by AmigoJack
Not sure if you issue phpBB or phpbb.com - you tend to talk more about the latter.

From my perspective phpBB peaked with 3.0.x, everything before was popular but also flawed, and everything after that is flawed as well. Experiencing both people and users 15-20 years ago one just had different alternatives and chats were popular. Since then commercialization has occured and all those social networks rose. Back then most "easy" internet users used chats, nowadays such users go to similar volatile designed websites and less often find their way to a BBS. Which for me is no downside: if I want to write text as quick and short as possible then a BBS is the wrong place to me.

Re: phpBB shrinking?

Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:36 pm
by Dog Cow
Heo32 wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:14 pm
In the past during the phpBB 2.0.x era, Acyd Burn and the rest of the developers would consistently release a new update every 2 months (not exact, but pretty close).
Also in the past during that era, phpBB 2 had several infamous security vulnerabilities, such as in the keyword highlighting code. That prompted quite a number of new releases in a short period of time, 2003 to 2004 or so. .... that's to say nothing of vulnerable MODifications from that time, particularly with PHP register_globals turned on.

Re: phpBB shrinking?

Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:40 am
by stevemaury
I will tell you that the volume of support posts since the 2.0.x days has decreased dramatically. I would like to think that is a result of better software and a more experienced, sophisticated user base, but it could also be due to a decline in BB usage as a whole. Or both.

We get far more support requests seeking to expand the limits of what can be done with the software, and fewer basic "how-to" posts.

Re: phpBB shrinking?

Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 3:53 am
by Heo32
While I'd like to believe it's due to better software and a smarter community, the truth is phpBB is dying:

https://trends.google.com/trends/explor ... ll&q=phpBB

Re: phpBB shrinking?

Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 4:49 am
by Lumpy Burgertushie
not really a very good indication of how popular phpbb is.
for one thing, people looking for a bulletin board would not know about phpbb and would use more generic search terms.

for people that are already using it, they would simply click on the link at the bottom of every page on the board.

robert

Re: phpBB shrinking?

Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:07 am
by AmigoJack
Heo32 wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 3:53 am
phpBB is dying:

https://trends.google.com/trends/explor ... ll&q=phpBB
Change the keyword and everything else is dying as well: Java, JavaScript, Joomla, SQL, HTML, code of conduct...

Re: phpBB shrinking?

Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:20 am
by Ger
Heo32 wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 3:53 am
While I'd like to believe it's due to better software and a smarter community, the truth is phpBB is dying:

https://trends.google.com/trends/explor ... ll&q=phpBB
This one is more relevant I'd say: https://trends.google.com/trends/explor ... ll&q=forum

Also note that phpBB was one of the first open source forum packages so it was very popular in the mid-zero's. After that, other packages got released like myBB, SMF, etc and things like Facebook happened.

Re: phpBB shrinking?

Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:22 am
by thecoalman
Dog Cow wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:36 pm
Heo32 wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:14 pm
In the past during the phpBB 2.0.x era, Acyd Burn and the rest of the developers would consistently release a new update every 2 months (not exact, but pretty close).
Also in the past during that era, phpBB 2 had several infamous security vulnerabilities, such as in the keyword highlighting code. That prompted quite a number of new releases in a short period of time, 2003 to 2004 or so. .... that's to say nothing of vulnerable MODifications from that time, particularly with PHP register_globals turned on.
As I recall there was one release for phpBB2 right near the EOL:

Find:

Code: Select all

$var1 == $var2
Replace with:

Code: Select all

$var1 === $var2
:P

Re: phpBB shrinking?

Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 3:35 pm
by Paul
thecoalman wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:22 am
Dog Cow wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:36 pm
Heo32 wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:14 pm
In the past during the phpBB 2.0.x era, Acyd Burn and the rest of the developers would consistently release a new update every 2 months (not exact, but pretty close).
Also in the past during that era, phpBB 2 had several infamous security vulnerabilities, such as in the keyword highlighting code. That prompted quite a number of new releases in a short period of time, 2003 to 2004 or so. .... that's to say nothing of vulnerable MODifications from that time, particularly with PHP register_globals turned on.
As I recall there was one release for phpBB2 right near the EOL:

Find:

Code: Select all

$var1 == $var2
Replace with:

Code: Select all

$var1 === $var2
:P
That was if I recall correctly 2.0.11 or 2.0.12, which was way before the EOL :)

Re: phpBB shrinking?

Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:33 pm
by invenio
Lumpy Burgertushie wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 4:49 am
not really a very good indication of how popular phpbb is.
for one thing, people looking for a bulletin board would not know about phpbb and would use more generic search terms.

for people that are already using it, they would simply click on the link at the bottom of every page on the board.

robert
I agree with lumpy. When I first wanted to make my forum, I had zero knowledge of forum software packages and it was a google search of "best free forum software". Nobody searches for "phpbb" unless you are troubleshooting.

I don't see forums dying. Just because facebook and reddit are hot right now doesn't mean that they will be in 10 years. Remember when everybody was on myspace? Having a decentralized system of topic-focused communication is a good thing. Companies can decide to shut down content and services at a whim.