Gearbox just announced that the company will soon be closing down its discussion forums, and encouraging all users to instead migrate to using individual game Discords for their community needs. I am once again here to say this is a very stupid idea.
A notice on the forums—which have existed in their current form since 2015, and for a lot longer before that—explains that they have already been locked down to read-only and will soon be wiped entirely, with users having 30 days to “save any content you want to keep”:
We’ve had many good years of conversations on the Gearbox Forums. This has been a great place to connect with all of you and a haven for amazing discussions, builds, and support. During the past year, we noticed many of our community members prefer to engage on our other social platforms—and that’s great. We love talking to y’all and keeping the community going there.
Looking at where the conversations are taking place and feedback is expressed, we want to continue that dialog on our social channels where much of the community is getting their information. Our Support team will continue to receive your feedback and concerns through support.gearbox.com.
As of July 19, 2022, we will turn categories to Read-Only. This means members will no longer be able to create posts on the forums, but folks will be able to read previous posts. This will provide 30 days to save any content you want to keep before it is closed. Later this summer, you’ll notice a new Gearbox website and the forums will disappear entirely.
Thank you for years of chats, guides, support, and for making this a great community. We look forward to continuing the conversation with you.
This was, is and will forever be the dumbest fucking trend in video game community management. I understand forums are becoming less popular, and that their glacial tendencies present a number of challenges. The desire to close forums down when confronted with declining use and perceived advances in technology is natural and entirely understandable.
But shifting that functionality to Discord isn’t the answer! Discord and forums are, as I’ve explained in depth previously on this site, entirely different sites with entirely different functionalities!
Discord is great for talking in the moment. It’s a place for real-time conversations (or at lease those a few hours old if they’re not as busy), a fancy way to manage multiple chat rooms and voice comms, and if that’s what you want—and millions of people around the world do, for loads of needs and wants—then great!
Forums aren’t the same though. They’re nothing like it. Forums are more deliberate, more considered, and while they’re far from perfect—I’m sure you can post a billion examples of people being neither deliberate nor considered on forums—the point is that they’re more permanent.
Forums create a record, an archive we can search through, so that whenever we want to revisit issues, or find help with a problem, or see what was happening during a certain time, we can do that. There’s a paper trail, and while sometimes that leads to embarrassing takes on tv shows and game reveals, other times it’s providing an enormous help with technical issues or parts of a game you’re stuck on.
Video game publishers and studios, I am begging you, if you really must find a way to migrate your communities and their legacy to a new platform or service, please find (or make!) one that is more suitable to the task.