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Thread: Where have all the users gone?

  1. #11
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    Re: Where have all the users gone?

    I think there are a number of factors we can guess at, and a number of factors we'll never know.

    I mean some ideas can be
    • Linux has just gotten easier.
    • If you're a Linux user and you don't want it "easy" then you move to Manjaro or some other distribution.
    • Windows 10 has made Microsoft a viable alternative (well... maybe, maybe no)
    • More people using Android, Chromebooks and Macs for ease (or work)
    • People moving from Linux due to the lack of Mobile integration?
    • Alternative sources for answering questions and being engaged (Stack Overflow?)
    • Unity. (not saying I like it or don't like it, but the change-and-back didn't agree with some people)
    • Mint (or KDE Neon) taking the "easy to set up and use" category?
    • Canonical making changes and the community being left to feel they have no say or have any voice?
    • Systems are getting mature and with less movement there are fewer questions?
    • Ubuntu become less "fun" and more corporate?
    • Fewer incentives for LUGs? (all Computer User Groups are suffering right now. The DACS I have been involved in is folding into the local Hackerspace from low-membership)
    • Other places to get information, like Ubuntu Ask?
    • Social Media?



    That being said, I wonder if the forums would get a "shot in the arm" by trying to open their forums up and making it more friendly to be a resource for ALL Ubuntu-based distributions (Neon, Pop!, Mint, for Raspberry Pi, etc. etc. etc.) as well as for makers, developers and education.

    Yeah, I remember the hey-day when this WAS my social media!
    Friends don't let friends wear a red shirt on landing-party duty.
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  2. #12
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    Re: Where have all the users gone?

    Quote Originally Posted by QIII View Post
    My guess is that the proliferation of support venues and social media have simply caused disbursion. There are many more places to go now and no one place has such a large population of users any more.
    ^^^ +1 ^^^
    I agree and also think that many Linux distros have become so much easier to install and use that the problems have become fewer and fewer since the early days.

    I joined this forum in July 2005 after using Ubuntu 5.04 for a very short period and I agree that at that time the action here was buzzing with many questions about the basics of installing and using, and at that time many users believed that Linux was a straight replacement for Windows and would work in the same way.

    I think we have fewer users and potential users these days who believe that, though I may, of course, be wrong!
    DISTRO: Xubuntu 18.04-64bit --- Code-tags --- Boot-Repair --- Grub2 wiki & Grub2 Basics --- RootSudo --- Wireless-Info --- SolvedThreads

  3. #13
    Join Date
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    Xubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus

    Re: Where have all the users gone?

    I am a member of a lot of forums. They range in subjects from Shaving, Classic Volkwagens to Vaping and FOSS. They are all slowly dying a death. It is caused by the rise of platforms like Facebook and Reddit. It is how things go. Forums killed Newsgroups, you needed to setup a separate client to access newsgroups which required a certain about of know how and effort. Then you had to trawl through loads of different groups to find what you wanted. The forums came along and it was as easy as opening a browser and registering, but you would have to register at many forums to find what you wanted and a vibe you liked. Then Faceache and Reddit came along. All you have to do is register once and all of your mates will be there too.

  4. #14
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    Re: Where have all the users gone?

    I think a lot of users went to OMGUbuntu, they don't have trouble attracting users.
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  5. #15
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    Re: Where have all the users gone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Artificial Intelligence View Post
    I think a lot of users went to OMGUbuntu, they don't have trouble attracting users.
    OMBU has forums? I've never seen them and I watch that site's RSS feeds. If they have outsourced their feedback or forums to a 3rd party, then I won't join over privacy considerations.

    My area LUG was slowly dying. Seems "kids" didn't know how to search the internet for {city}+Linux to find a LUG. There were about 6 nearby LUGs, each servicing different parts of our metro area. Each paying $16/month to meetup to use their infrastructure. Meetup really isn't anything all that special - except kids know to look on meetup. That is their special sauce, nothing more. I started attending the meetup LUG closest to my part of the city and started cross-advertising all the different meetups around the metro area together. After about a year, we decided to merge into ALE (ALE.org) and take the largest meetup account as the main one, letting the others die. We have tried to be clear that we'd support any Linux-groups with our meetup to get the most bang for the effort. We had
    * Central
    * NW
    * SW
    * N
    * NE
    groups related to ALE. Each is usually connected, informally, with a college or University in that part of town. The only LUG that chose not to be a part was the Georgia Tech LUG ... which makes sense. They have little need for outsiders and parking around GA-Tech is a nightmare (I used to work in the area), so it has to be a pretty special event to get anyone to visit who isn't tied to GT already.
    The different sub-groups have expanded and contracted. The N and NE groups died mainly because the organizers didn't have time to organize. Traffic is terrible here on weeknights, so I won't even leave my quarter of town for a meeting.

    Where were down to about 200 members before meetup, since adding meetup, we are over 1200 members, though the most we get out to any event might be 100. Average meetings are usually 10 or fewer people.

    Getting good talks is hard. Most of our membership is under non-public-speaking limitations from their employers. We have guys running thousands of systems for huge internet names you all know. We have former corporate CEOs for huge distros that you've probably tried in our members. Lots of entrepreneurs, lots of small company IT, mid-sized company and large companies are in our membership too.

    There are podcasts around Linux which answer users' questions or have "chat rooms".
    * Linux Action Show (dead?)
    * Ask Noah
    * Category5.tv
    are a few. There must be 20 others.

    There are virtual LUGs too.

    And IRC is still going, though most new Linux users haven't seen/heard about IRC or usenet - those work too.

    Well - off to a LUG mtg.

  6. #16
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    Re: Where have all the users gone?

    OMBU has forums? I've never seen them and I watch that site's RSS feeds.
    No, but they have a lot of activities in the comment-box. They easely get 200 replies within hours.
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  7. #17
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    Re: Where have all the users gone?

    Truth is this forum is kind of clumsy to use and confusing compared to sites like https://askubuntu.com/.
    They don't have confusing categories but use a much more modern hash tag system that is just way more easier to navigate.
    Maybe if the OP's would modernize this forum we would get a resurgence but I doubt that will happen unless Canonical Ltd actually takes charge.
    Just my opinion. No need to flame over dying embers.

    Sam
    I pressed the ESC key. Why am I still here?

  8. #18
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    Re: Where have all the users gone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sami_Mattila View Post
    Truth is this forum is kind of clumsy to use and confusing compared to sites like https://askubuntu.com/......
    I never would've thought this. After having a few threads closed there as duplicates, that weren't truly duplicates, I stopped using that site. A lot of Google searches lead me there for answers and I am thankful for that, but will never log in there again.

  9. #19
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    Re: Where have all the users gone?

    Compared to social media, Forums are clunky and non-intuitive and that is no fault of the forums themselves per se.


    This makes me think of the computer club I have been part of for a number of years, and watched membership dwindle from its heyday. That "heyday", mind you, was when droves of people would come to the meetings to learn how to get on the Internet (dial-up modems!), how to stay safe, using antivirus software, what's new in (boxed) software, etc.

    But the world has changed, and there are so many other ways to get that same information. Internet is practically ubiquitous and you can learn everything from YouTube Videos! (seriously, I wouldn't be surprised if there's one on how to make your own nuclear power plant in your back yard... hmmm) as well as other sources. The more popular subjects for club meetings were less computer-focused and more on using technology (drones, online marketing, state of connectivity, etc.).

    The user group is currently in the process of being absorbed in the successful local Hackerspace. The hackerspace provides something different (space and tools to build things) as well as meetups (AI, 3D printing, etc.), workshops and lessons.

    Could the Ubuntu forums come back? I don't think in its current form. That being said, the purpose of the forums needs to be reviewed.
    • Questions and Answers - needs to be easy to search, ask, answer, reference (even years later) and update so it keeps up with the current version. Needs to provide quick, concise and detailed answers like some of the blog posts I often find my answers, that lays out each step-by-step and reason for the steps.
    • Social - need to make it easy for people to gather online, read, write and resond. As the social media venues have different style and focus (Instagram and pictures for example) it would need to know where the audience goes to know how to display themselves.
    • Influence - whatever communication platform is used or created, having the chance to bring up ideas and suggestions that may actually be heard would go a long way to making it feel mroe than just a gripe-fest. If developers (or proxies) were to provide insight on how things are working, or use it to feed innovation, then that would engage the community and bring them back into the fold.
    • Fun - in the early days (mid-2000s) Ubuntu had something that Red Hat and others didn't ... the fun to laugh! I mean, who thought of the fun animal names? And to think people had a chance to help choose the animal or pronound was fun. In the wash of blues, the orange color stood out (I still liked the lighter brown/tan but the orange stands out too)


    But to do so, would take dedicated staff and Canonical is focused on Enterprise (and making $$$ because they need to).

    I dunno.

    Oh, and just for fun ...
    Last edited by Dragonbite; May 31st, 2018 at 02:56 PM. Reason: add some fun
    Friends don't let friends wear a red shirt on landing-party duty.
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  10. #20
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    Re: Where have all the users gone?

    You don't think the current UF staff is dedicated?

    The UF is a volunteer, peer end-user support venue. Change that and you don't have the UF.
    Last edited by QIII; May 31st, 2018 at 04:40 PM.
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