Since the start in 2009 of the virtual world Inworldz, there has been a forum for the community to use.
It has been the same forum software ( an older version of phpBB) all the time, and it has been working fine, in a technically way.
Now, the old forum has also been a place for merchants to advertise their products and shops, and for landbarons to advertize land for rent or sale in Inworldz, and there was a huge script-library with scripts for people to grap. There was also a hidden forum for all the volunteer mentors where they could discuss the challenges they encounter. Events could be advertised too and people could report bugs and other problems and get help with setiing their viewers up and so. Content-creation do sometimes act unexpected and you could always ask a question about a problem, where someone would step in with a more or less usable solution to the problem. All in all it shows a sign of life!
Lately, the last year or so, it has been infiltrated by spammers, that somehow managed to post in locked threads, bypass the moderation rule for first post and just spammed away to the nuisance for the community and the founder. So it is understandable that the founder on some point decided to find an alternative. The choice for a new community-forum has now landed on Zendesk, a Customer-service system provider, and it seems that Inworldz has chosen to use the Support-module that includes a community area and a ticket system. This also means that the old forum will close down soon with all its content to be pure deleted, unless someone find a way to import it to another forum, which is not Zendesk….
Zendesk Support is not supposed to be a forum like we know it, but it can be used as tool for communication between the founders and the residents when needed. According to Elenia, the founder of Inworldz, is it chosen to save time on moderation because the old forum has been very dramatic through times, and has demanded a lot of attention to make sure that WW3 didnt break out. Elenia has mentioned several times that she lost money on all that drama and spent way too much time on moderation. But what about all the content from the old forum then? Is it really worth to throw all that content and all the life out just to prevent spam and drama? Apparently we as residents are supposed to take care of our own posts and import it to another forum if we want to…but we dont have access to the system so it means that we have to manually copy and paste every single post that we find is important to places where no one will ever find it again because it will be spread out all over the internet by different people. It wont even matter if Elenia decide to keep a locked copy for people to look in, because the info in there cant be updated, and it will be outdated very soon.
Something that Elenia and the tech-helper Jim hasnt thought of is that no matter how much drama there is on that forum, then it is one of the forums in all opensim that is most active. Almost every day there are entertaining or interesting things to read, drama or not, and it is a sign of life. It shows the real world that in Inworldz there is life, and it is not just an empty, dull world, like the rest of opensim worlds is. It shows very clearly that there are residents that care about the world, and want to help to make Inworldz great (again…).
I wonder how many people that forum has lured into joining Inworldz as residents. I bet its many. No one just join a world without doing a little research first and the best place to find out about a world is their forum.
There are several virtual worlds out there that has a forum connected to their world and these forums are stone-dead. You are lucky if there has been a single post during the last 6 months. For me that is either a sign of lack of interest for the world or a sign of that there isnt many residents in the world. Both is needed to create a interesting world for new people to join.
Ok, there has been large groups that has left Inworldz over the reason “because of the forum”, probably because the issue escalated to the point of no return. There are also people that has left the forum, that was regular posters. But all this is just around the resident-to-resident communication. All the other stuff like the adverts, the script-library, the Q/A that so many has helped with and not to mention the events, is especially what shows the sign of life. The discussions is just pure extra entertainment.
Anyway! I think it is a shame that there, from the founders point of view, isnt a better solution to update/upgrade the Inworldz forum. It is all up to the residents now to create a community-page somewhere that can be found for all, both new and old residents, and we all know how that will go….