I am an active member of two web design / search marketing forums. However, both appear to be on the way out.
The first site carries the remnants of the old Searchguild.com community on a Ning.com based site. It was for a while hosted on its own domain, Fudwatch.co.uk, but moved to Ning.com for easier management. The admin and main moderators were struggling to find the time to keep a forum well moderated and publicised.The people here have helped me learn about SEO and good practice on the web, and without their kindness and experience I would not be where I am today. Ning.com is closing its free accounts, and this group is moving on but to a new private group, closed to the public.
The second site that is going through some doldrums is crea8asiteforums.com. The people here come from a wide array of Internet businesses and bring much valuable experience. The site has been around since 1998 and used to be a leader in all things related to web design, userbility and search engine optimisation. The advice and feedback I have received on design, content, search engine optimisation, site navigation and montisation has been second to none. But, again, it is struggling.
The blame is on the new age of social media. Maybe the problems are due to the recession? People are not volunteering their time to manage or moderate the communities. New members are not being accepted, questions go unanswered. A sure sign that a community is dying. Why? Where are people talking now?
Is everyone on a Facebook group, or just Tweeting their latest SEO observations? Is everyone so afraid for being Google slapped that no conversation takes place in public now? Where is the Internet going? Or, where has it gone?
A new Internet that discourages the most skilled and experienced p[people from taking part is certainly a move in the wrong direction. There is already too much false information online, SEO scams, make money at home cons etc. that without places like FUD Watch and Cre8asiteforums many more people will fall into the hands of those that have no morals and disrespect their paying clients.
Where are we all going? In fact, where have all the good people gone?