When we published a list of 50+ dead-or-soon-to-be AOL projects this week, we figured that none of them were worth getting getting upset about. We’re dead wrong, our readers are telling us. Our at least certain fans of AOL’s Message Boards are telling us: We’ve gotten a series of angry emails about the boards’ impending doom.
We have to confess we weren’t familiar with the boards until today. Now that we’ve taken a look, we think we can see both why AOL is willing to ditch the feature, and why some users are so passionate about it.
This is a pretty primitive Web 1.0 chat board, one that’s long been eclipsed by social networks and the like (indeed, there are plenty of ads on the boards urging people to check out Bebo.com, AOL’s very expensive attempt to get into social networks). But it’s also the kind of thing that makes the Internet appealing to so many people — it’s a place for them to talk about whatever they want to, whether it’s dress patterns or racist rants. And one man’s antiquated forum is someone else’s favourite thing on the Web. Here’s some of the feedback we’ve gotten today:
Please don’t remove the Message Boards. It is a good way to discuss certain topics with other people who are not in the same area of the country as you are. I think removing them would be a mistake. Thanks
AOL message boards are valuable communities to those who participate in them. Just one of the boards I participate on is a super source of knowledge and comraderie. It started out as being a meeting place for like minded individuals interested in saving money and living a more frugal lifestyle but has become SO much more than that. I have actually met many of the posters from this board – we have taken trips together and thrown a wedding for someone. There are literally hundreds of posters. Any question I need a quick answer to I can post there and know that someone will very shortly give me some usable information – no matter what the topic. I will be lost online without this forum.
You say that there is nothing worth saving on this list, but I ask, without all this, what is left of AOL, and why would anyone have any reason to use them at all? I know that I won’t, and AOL will go the way of the dinosaur.
And since you mentioned it, I know this is supposed to be anonymous, but if AOL is going to axe us, can anyone say where we can go to get another message board similarly formatted? The yahoo groups are way more cumbersome and difficult to navigate picture through, so they don’t really work for us. I know about a thousand people from several different boards that will soon be looking for a new home.
message boards??? NOOOOOOO
that would be like aol cutting off access to so many people’s friends. I adore my message board friends, and don’t know what I’d do without their input and insights.
With the MILLIONS of Baby Boomers out there, what are you leaving for us if you take the AOL Message Boards. We have a community there and have had for well over 10 years. We have had live face-to-face reunions to meet each other in person so we’re like a real family.
If I can’t have AOL Message Boards, I don’t need AOL at all and I’m sure many of the rest feel the same way. Baby Boomer Chat is a member-managed Board…your staff doesn’t have to do a thing to cause them more work so please think of us ageing Boomers who have a meeting place from all over the United States before you make the decision to take it away.
Photo via MrMark