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Formiculture dying... or already dead?

#formiculture #dying #dead

62 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Hothkinstroy - Posted January 14 2023 - 4:44 PM

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After browsing constantly on Formiculture for a few weeks, I've been beginning to see a huge difference in the amount of posts between 2012-2018 and 2019-2023. It seems that Formiculture dies off just a bit more year by year and a lot of the formerly active members have stopped being active or straight up just vanished one day (just like my dad). I wanted to know what you guys thought the reason was for this? The outdated website format, the constantly recycled questions, the 9 year olds, what could it be? Thanks.


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#2 Offline SYUTEO - Posted January 14 2023 - 5:35 PM

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I think it may be the combinition of the 9 year olds that sprung up doing annoying things and climate change and/or invasive species affecting the native ants which in turn decreased the amount of nuptial flights which in turn decreased the amount of queen ants we find which in turn may cause many people to lose interest.


Began antkeeping in 2018  :)

 

Not sure what to post anymore, couldn't find any new queen ants to continue my journal. Will probably post some random posts every now and then but probably won't be posting much.


#3 Offline antsriondel - Posted January 14 2023 - 6:57 PM

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The reason is simple: People like Prenny who scam other users, and people like Idontexist, who need to do a lot more research on how to keep ants.


Edited by antsriondel, January 14 2023 - 7:04 PM.

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#4 Offline ANTdrew - Posted January 14 2023 - 7:00 PM

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This forum is not dead, but it has been on a downward trajectory for the past four years. The quality of members has starkly decreased, and the old timers don’t come on and contribute anymore. The people I respected the most have disappeared. Too many journals are poor quality with no photos, punctuation, or purpose. People repeat questions or debate things pointlessly. It honestly saddens me to see where the forum is now, but I’m past lamenting something I can’t change. FC is still more active than just about any other comparable forum.
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Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

#5 Offline T.C. - Posted January 14 2023 - 9:15 PM

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I made a rather aggressive post on this a while back which probably wasn't the best approach.  But I've been around since 2016, which is over 6 years ago now. For the first two or three years on the forum I was extremely active. I even had chat up on my computer 24 hours a day.  But like others said their is an obvious decline in quality of content and activity. It actually bothered me for a while since the forum and hobby was nostalgic to me.   And within the past few months it has gotten even worse which I didn't see coming. I think the forum software is fine and even people not being as active as they where is fine. 

 

I might get a lot of ridicule for this, but there should be a age limit to join. Stupid posts should be deleted. And the biggest thing, I would suggest removing kids under the age of 13. I know they are in here, because the content I see couldn't come from anyone older than that. If posts are of low quality they should be removed. I mean journals that are $hit, topics that are irrelevant, etc.  The issue can be resolved if it was dealt with. However I think it all would take time and maybe even upset some people. If drew is like me, then time isn't something he has a lot of. 

 

 

Edit: And to add, Id suggest removing all ant company websites from the face of the forum. Even mine.  Remove subforums about termites and bees too. The forum was at it's best before all that. 95% of people keeping ants don't have interest or as much interest in such things.


Edited by T.C., January 14 2023 - 9:19 PM.

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#6 Offline Flu1d - Posted January 14 2023 - 9:55 PM

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As a newer member, I actually really appreciate the bee and termite sections. I wish they were more active, however there's good stuff in there and the Termite section HAS been far more active lately due to a couple of posters dropping cool stuff. Iunno.. I see the discord communities are booming, however I'm not a huge fan of the Discord community and how those servers are moderated (except one group, however I'm not saying their name because its more of a private group anyway).

I do agree with the company thing.. Most of those companies arent even active and don't have a website anymore. It was odd finding that out right after joining and makes the forum feel more dead to be honest
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#7 Offline ZTYguy - Posted January 14 2023 - 10:34 PM

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I sure do remember when I started the hobby and and I first logged onto formiculture. It was thrilling being able to refresh after reading anything and new posts would be up. The great thing is every single post would be insightful and educational. It was sad that when I joined I was able to enjoy the forum from around 2018 to 2020. Then the influx of new people joining who ignored rules and posted about previously debated topics made formiculture less fun. It made it boring and people started to leave. Then all the posts began to be hateful and ignorant. I still love formiculture and I adore it in every way however, I too have begun to left it behind as there is barely anything left. 
 

Now this is just my 2 cents. Also take what I say in no spiteful light, I think the hobby is simply going through a growth spurt. The hobby is going through a time where there are simply more newbies than veterans. It will just take some time for everyone to re-align to the nature of this great hobby.


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#8 Offline justaguy - Posted January 14 2023 - 11:33 PM

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I think its just because discord is so much better to use


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#9 Offline Locness - Posted January 14 2023 - 11:52 PM

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I think its just because discord is so much better to use

 

I agree, I was into forums a decade ago, but now I see that discord has exploded in popularity and use. Forums have their purpose, but I think discord offers the interactivity that newer users find more appealing. 


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#10 Offline T.C. - Posted January 15 2023 - 1:58 AM

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I think its just because discord is so much better to use

 

You should stick with discord then. 

 

 

 

I do agree with the company thing.. Most of those companies arent even active and don't have a website anymore. It was odd finding that out right after joining and makes the forum feel more dead to be honest

 

EXACTLY


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If you don't build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.


#11 Offline dspdrew - Posted January 15 2023 - 2:23 AM

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I do agree with the company thing.. Most of those companies arent even active and don't have a website anymore. It was odd finding that out right after joining and makes the forum feel more dead to be honest

 

EXACTLY

 

I'm planning on removing some of the old ones. Right now I'm just too busy working on the new web server. The OS this thing is hosted on is ancient. I'm hoping this will stop all the unresponsiveness that causes so many double posts. This has to be done before anything else.


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#12 Offline T.C. - Posted January 15 2023 - 3:08 AM

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I do agree with the company thing.. Most of those companies arent even active and don't have a website anymore. It was odd finding that out right after joining and makes the forum feel more dead to be honest

 

EXACTLY

 

I'm planning on removing some of the old ones. Right now I'm just too busy working on the new web server. The OS this thing is hosted on is ancient. I'm hoping this will stop all the unresponsiveness that causes so many double posts. This has to be done before anything else.

 

 

I get it, and when you do it you can remove mine too. My site will be going down permanently and will be replaced by something entirely different sometime this year. 


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If you don't build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.


#13 Offline SYUTEO - Posted January 15 2023 - 5:45 AM

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I remember the time when I first logged in to Formiculture back in April of 2021, and I had so much fun browsing through the forum. But now, the forum feels way emptier than before and now I usually just visit here for a short time checking notifications and then leaving. I have noticed that antkeeping seems to have been decreasing in popularity now, even Antscanada's average view count seems to be dropping. I just hope this forum gets more popular and the old users come back (although that may be unlikely).


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Began antkeeping in 2018  :)

 

Not sure what to post anymore, couldn't find any new queen ants to continue my journal. Will probably post some random posts every now and then but probably won't be posting much.


#14 Offline Serafine - Posted January 15 2023 - 6:14 AM

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Someone new coming in, asking a lot of newbie questions and starting multiple topics only to have "old" users telling them to calm down and post less because forums are "a slow medium" certainly does not help.


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#15 Offline Manitobant - Posted January 15 2023 - 8:34 AM

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Yeah 2016-2018 was peak formiculture imo. It’s been on the decline since then.

#16 Offline Full_Frontal_Yeti - Posted January 15 2023 - 10:15 AM

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I would point out that all forum based websites are in great decline as a "species."

I do not believe the trend here is specific to this site or the topic, but to the format in general.

 

As well the expansion of who is online in the last 15 years has significantly altered the statistical probabilities of who you may run into and what behaviors we may find common/uncommon. That is very easy to observe for online gamers of the period. 64 player games would regularly have a player you would need to mute because they were just going to attention [censored] troll with an endless barrage of racist/sexists/homophobic screaming. Now you don't even bother to join VoIP chat with just 6 players on your team, cause there are always low life yahoos and children and being children. The odds are you can not escape that online wherever you go.

 

Also the segmentation of a growing internet has to happen. Someone was first to X topic website, but that don't mean they wind up being the only one or even the best or longest lasting one.

And with the division in the world of who could even be talking about care of what ants, in what language? Of course it is inevitable that the world wide population of people into ants will divvy up a bit based on where in the world they are, for what ants they could even be swapping notes about, on top of the division of language favored by what people in what local area.

 

Like that netflix must loose a huge portion of its subscribers, once there is a more robust market with actual choice on it to be had. When you were the only game in town of course you had all the business, but then once there was viable competition you must consign
yourself to only a share of that now competitive market. And that shift is going to be the biggest looking loss, cause had there been a compeditive set of options, they never could have gotten that big in the first place.

 

 

But i do believe more than anything, it is change in format. People use other mediums, and forum sites that just demand more reading or more effort to show off pretty pictures, that too few come see and prasie anyway, means people migrate to other formats.

 

 

 

Oh and a note on the realty of people. It is quite irrational to belly ache on repeated questions. No one wants to go read the encyclopedia, even though the answer to your question is probably in there somewhere. Typical is X, and belly aching about what is typical to face in a way to suggest it's a problem to do something about seems to miss the reality of us humans.

 

Video gamers know, all noobs ask the same questions. A community that is willing to politely answer them every time is the one that grows when they join the community that was open and helpful to them.

And  communities just do have to accept that the hit rate is not too high. Plenty get but never give back, and any community that expects to last has to be ready to accept this and take the 1 new producing member they get for every 20+ they took the effort to open the door for.

If you can't keep treating every noob like you want to answer the questions(for the millionth time), then you are simply not the best ambassador to your group.

Group member attrition is normal and inevitable, so new member induction must at least meet that if not out pace it. Always keeping the door open for noobs is a requirement for any group that expects to last.

 

Though there is nothing that can be done if the environment has simply changed and the format is what's different.

And still as best as i can tell for an english speaker this is the busiest website online for the topic. Otherwise as has been pointed out, lot of peeps into using discord these days for their online communities.

 

side note:

i do believe that 50%+ of all internet wharbelgarhbels would vanish overnight, if we could just know the objective reality of the age of everyone when we were online(everywhere all the time). When an adult knows it is a kid, they can easily ignore them and the problems of having a mixed social environment of adults and kids would more easily work themselves out, just as in IRL when an adult objectively knows it is a kid they are dealing with.


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#17 Offline ISpeakForTheTrees - Posted January 15 2023 - 6:25 PM

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Honestly, I admit to being disappointed in how slow the forum is, but - from what I've seen - it does still seem to be the best ant forum around at the moment. Some food for thought on issues that have been brought up:

 

1 ) Other social media sites (like Facebook with its groups, for example - Discord could be viewed as another example) have become really big for hobbies like this. These groups are usually pretty terrible informationally speaking compared to the more serious sites like this one, but the beginner hobbyists don't know that - so these groups divert a lot of would-be-newcomers from sites like this. 

 

2 ) The kids/beginners in the hobby (I'm a beginner myself, though not a child) often do ask questions that are either *ahem* uninformed, repetitive, or just odd. I think a lot of problems with this could be avoided by separating out a kids'/beginners' section, or both a kids' section and a beginners' section. Basically form a separate forum on the site for kids and a separate forum for beginners to go to for reading/posting so that they don't clog up the forum for the more advanced keepers. I know people post in the wrong forum frequently on other sites, but it does take care of a lot of the issue - and it allows for those who are willing to deal with the tedious questions to be the ones who answer them (which can help with ensuring kind, helpful responses which can encourage people to keep coming back to the site). Similarly, the various forums could be broken down from "General" and "General Ant Keeping" into more specific sections like "Ant Diet & Nutrition," "Formicariums," "Ant Biology/Morphology," "Ant DIY," etc. Having the more specific sections may also help to clean up some of the unnecessary clutter (though I'd still keep the "General" and "General Ant Keeping" sections so people have a section to post in if their question doesn't fit into just one category, or if they're unsure where it should be posted). 

 

3 ) Ant keeping does seem to be waning in popularity, and it's already a bit of a niche hobby as is. Honestly, I think there are two things that need to happen to address this. The first is basically presentation: showing things like really nice, classy looking, showpiece vivariums with ants or really clean, professional looking desktop formicariums - things that show the ants like a living piece of art, or like something you could use as an interesting conversation piece in your office - could really help draw more people to the hobby (showing ants as works of art rather than picnic destroying pests would really be a step forward in the eye of the general populace). The second is really just a different presentation, but showing the public how cool ants are by introducing them to things about ants that they might find unique/interesting - such as by showing them unique ant species (like the honeypot ants, turtle ants, leaf cutter ants, harvester ants, weaver ants, diving ants, etc. - most people have heard of some of these, but probably never actually seen them or heard people fawning over them). Along with this, aside from the large species, most ants are kind of tiny and hard for people to see, so most people never realize how beautiful ants can be - I'm not sure how plausible this would be, but it may help to show some of those showpiece formicariums with built-in/on magnifying lenses or something so that you can easily "zoom in" on a queen, workers, larvae, etc. and admire them. - I know this stuff may sound weird to people in the hobby currently, but the presentation and being able to show it off to others is a big deal to a lot of people. 

 

Also, personally, I actually really appreciate the "Bees" and "Termites" section (though I rarely go through them) - I'd probably switch it to "Bees & Wasps" though. Because the hobby is rather niche, and because these animals are relatively closely related to ants (I know they're very different, but - honestly - most people outside the hobby probably couldn't tell the difference between an ant, a termite, and a velvet ant in a lineup), someone may run into one of these other creatures, become interested in it and find their way to this hobby/site through searching for info them. 


Edited by ISpeakForTheTrees, January 15 2023 - 6:28 PM.


#18 Offline mmcguffi - Posted January 15 2023 - 6:36 PM

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Forums wax and wane. The UI / UX of formiculture are totally sufficient and easily legible imo

 

To the people lamenting the good old days of ~2016-2018, that seems to correlate with Ants Canada rise of mass popularity. That would be my pet guess on why it was possibly more active then. I'll note that I've seen other, older members lament the good old early days of ~2014-2015. And also, I have also noticed a general decline in engagement here during the winter, which makes sense for a mostly North American forum.

 

Personally I've never posted much, but I generally enjoy what people share here. Discord is far too ephemeral to be a useful catalogue of knowledge, and Reddit does not have a comparable community.

 

Formiculture still stands as the best ant-centric community hands down, in my opinion


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#19 Offline TacticalHandleGaming - Posted January 15 2023 - 8:49 PM

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I only found out about antkeeping in 2020, so I can only speak on what I've seen since then. However I do notice there's quite a lot of drama and divide in the hobby that seems rather off putting to say the least. I am trying to be active on here again, as I know people enjoy my journals about my colonies. I do my best to help others when I can, but I do tend to lurk more than I post lately.

 

Overall, I don't think Formiculture is dying per say, I just think a lot of the younger crowd have moved on to other hobbies. A lot of the "hype" youtube/tiktok types haven become stale with their content, and I think that plays a big part in that.


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Currently kept species

L. neoniger, P. occidentalis, C. modoc, C. novaeboracensis, C. vicinus, T. immigrans, A. occidentalis, P. imparis.

 

Previously kept species

T. rugatulus, B. depilis.

 

Looking for

Myrmecocystus kennedyi, Myrmecocystus pyramicus, Myrmecocystus semirufus, Myrmecocystus testaceus

Pheidole californica, Pheidole creightoni, Pheidole inquilina, Solenopsis molesta, Crematogaster coarctata, Crematogaster mutans

My youtube channel. 


#20 Offline NicholasP - Posted January 15 2023 - 11:46 PM

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I made a rather aggressive post on this a while back which probably wasn't the best approach.  But I've been around since 2016, which is over 6 years ago now. For the first two or three years on the forum I was extremely active. I even had chat up on my computer 24 hours a day.  But like others said their is an obvious decline in quality of content and activity. It actually bothered me for a while since the forum and hobby was nostalgic to me.   And within the past few months it has gotten even worse which I didn't see coming. I think the forum software is fine and even people not being as active as they where is fine. 

 

I might get a lot of ridicule for this, but there should be a age limit to join. Stupid posts should be deleted. And the biggest thing, I would suggest removing kids under the age of 13. I know they are in here, because the content I see couldn't come from anyone older than that. If posts are of low quality they should be removed. I mean journals that are $hit, topics that are irrelevant, etc.  The issue can be resolved if it was dealt with. However I think it all would take time and maybe even upset some people. If drew is like me, then time isn't something he has a lot of. 

 

 

Edit: And to add, Id suggest removing all ant company websites from the face of the forum. Even mine.  Remove subforums about termites and bees too. The forum was at it's best before all that. 95% of people keeping ants don't have interest or as much interest in such things.

I'd say get rid of the unnecessary stuff like bees and that. But leave the companies but any company not active within 6 months should be removed. People need good places to get supplies, and this is an ant forum after all. But there's so many dead companies on here that need to be removed.






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