Is it my imagination or, is this Forum declining?

wweiss

Enlightened
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Joined
Feb 3, 2017
Messages
631
Location
Weston, CT
I’ve noticed a decline in frequency and content in the last two months. Posts are fewer, vapid and of mostly little useful interest.

Is anyone noticing the lackluster energy here?
 

Duster1671

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Oct 16, 2017
Messages
82
I started reading and posting here in 2005 (under a different account that I can no longer access). The forum seems less active now than it did then, but I suspect this is partially because of my expectations of social media changing. In the last 15 years I've noticed a sort of conditioning where I expect my favorite websites to provide virtually limitless novel content. When I visit a more traditional forum for a niche interest like this where you can read every new post in a couple of hours and that's about it for the day, it can seem like there's not much activity.

I wonder if site admins have access to analytics that would paint a more objective picture of engagement on the forum over time.
 

nbp

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
10,755
Location
Wisconsin
To me the biggest contributor to my lessening activity is the massive loss of custom builder/modder activity over the past few years. That was how CPF got started, and those innovators were the lifeblood of the forum for nearly two decades. They presented their ideas here, we bought and beta tested their gear, we helped them improve and refine them, communicated with them, became friends with them and with other members who also appreciated their work. There were thriving conversations in the Cool Fall, McGizmo, Dark Sucks, Okluma, Mac, Photonfanatic, MBI, Muyshondt, forums and threads, among many others. But almost all of them have disappeared, many to other forms of social media like facebook and instagram. I understand wanting a bigger customer base for selling lights and that is fine. But their original friends and fans, the ones who took a chance on their lights and helped to develop their craft are here. Or, were here. They wouldn't be where they are without CPF, and it is disappointing that they no longer see fit to visit or post here about what they are up to. To me this is a massive blow to the community. These are the lights and mods that many of us were interested in, and the friendships that we developed around discussing them were great. We talked mods, LEGOs, upgrades, usages for specialized lights, everything. There isn't a whole lot to be said about most of the boring soulless production lights out there other than how bright they are, so they don't foster much interesting discussion.
 

Siriuslite

Newly Enlightened
Joined
May 6, 2002
Messages
101
Location
Toronto, Canada
The hobby has matured to the point that the retail market can provide lights of extraordinary power at reasonable prices. The days of the custom building is no longer necessary. I was recently playing with my Elektrolumens XM-3 and remembering when it was the brightest led in my possession. Now 3000 lumens is my entry level
 

ledbetter

Enlightened
CPF Supporter
Joined
Jul 26, 2016
Messages
468
Location
California Central Coast
It’s basic economics really. When supply exceeds all levels of demand, and there’s no competition for scarce or rare goods, interest lags. The average schmo on Amazon can get a better light with a couple of clicks cheaper and faster than anything available a few years ago, and those were usually customs or mods which had the added allure of time and anticipation waiting for the product.
 

idleprocess

Flashaholic
Joined
Feb 29, 2004
Messages
6,127
Location
dfw.tx.us
Small agile manufacturers seem to have filled much of the niche that the first crops of CPF modders used to live in. The shelf life on flashlight designs in the last several years seems to be closer to that of laptops which go something like 3-6 months until refresh or outright retirement so there's constant apparent novelty out there.
 

Chauncey Gardiner

Flashaholic
CPF Supporter
Joined
Mar 12, 2010
Messages
7,836
Location
Pacific N.W.
To me the biggest contributor to my lessening activity is the massive loss of custom builder/modder activity over the past few years. That was how CPF got started, and those innovators were the lifeblood of the forum for nearly two decades. They presented their ideas here, we bought and beta tested their gear, we helped them improve and refine them, communicated with them, became friends with them and with other members who also appreciated their work. There were thriving conversations in the Cool Fall, McGizmo, Dark Sucks, Okluma, Mac, Photonfanatic, MBI, Muyshondt, forums and threads, among many others. But almost all of them have disappeared, many to other forms of social media like facebook and instagram. I understand wanting a bigger customer base for selling lights and that is fine. But their original friends and fans, the ones who took a chance on their lights and helped to develop their craft are here. Or, were here. They wouldn't be where they are without CPF, and it is disappointing that they no longer see fit to visit or post here about what they are up to. To me this is a massive blow to the community. These are the lights and mods that many of us were interested in, and the friendships that we developed around discussing them were great. We talked mods, LEGOs, upgrades, usages for specialized lights, everything. There isn't a whole lot to be said about most of the boring soulless production lights out there other than how bright they are, so they don't foster much interesting discussion.

EXACTLY! Where the hell is FourSevens!? Jason offers a new light, but longtime-fanboys have to read about it somewhere else! When the new offering shows up on CPF it's only because a nonaffiliated member posts about it. :wtf:
 

DaveTheDude

Enlightened
Joined
Oct 26, 2009
Messages
473
Location
Columbus, Ohio
I don't look upon the changing nature of the forum as a decline, but rather as maturation. For example, a quick search of the forum topics on a given subject will often show that a question has been addressed and well answered in one or more existing threads, eliminating the need for a "new" thread. Arguably this makes it seem like there is less activity now compared to previous years, even though the information is still there. Related to this is the generally increasing level of knowledge and experience in the community that this forum has helped foster. I interpret this as operating to reduce the number of "entry level" threads and posts that are submitted. Finally, the pace of innovation in emitter development today as compared to ten years ago seems to me to have also matured, so that we're now getting better refinements of already good products, as opposed to new and ground-breaking product announcements. Refinements of existing products are not as exciting as new and innovative developments.

As for me., I've acquired more lights than I can ever use in my lifetime (SHTF scenarios included). I'm no longer excited about a 5% incremental increase in lumen output for a light I already own, despite the best efforts of the marketing department to induce me to buy the new and improved version. However I'm happy to buy a new light that fits my needs and preferences if it offers a meaningful improvement over an existing product that I use and rely upon: a quick look at a light's specifications will often tell me what I need to know, and that is a function of experience, combined with the general "enlightenment" I've received from participating in this forum over the past ten years.

Don't get me wrong, there are quite a few higher-end lights that I would love to own. I'm uncomfortable however in dropping $500 - $600 - $700 or more on one or more of my "if I win the lottery" lights, mostly because I have more pressing uses for my money.

The bottom line? The forum hasn't declined, it's just that we've collectively matured. And the information is still here for the asking. it just takes more to excite us now. (My two cents.)
 

fuyume

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jun 25, 2021
Messages
190
I've known that CPF has existed for a very long time, but it wasn't until recently that I felt the need to stop by. In the past, my choices for lights were AAA, AA, and CR123A, and those served me very well, but the advent of the commonplace cylindrical lithium ion rechargeable lights and my desire to finally upgrade my lights for the first time since 2014 brought me by. There was a whole body of knowledge I needed to acquire about the new types, because in the past, I have always regarded rechargeable flashlights as less desirable for someone like me, a non-professional user whose batteries would be more likely to self-discharge faster than they were actually used.

And I've always preferred primary cells for that reason, because I know the spare cell I carry around in my handbag is still going to be near 100% capacity months later. But I found a use case scenario for the 21700 battery in my life, in this age of iPhones and iPads that I end up having to top up frequently when I am on the go, so I got one. Around town, I carry a 5200 mAh backup battery for my iPhone, and when travelling by train or plane (or for use during power outages), I have a 13000 mAh battery pack for both iPhone and iPad. Those same packs can charge my 21700 flashlight, or I can get a second 21700 battery and charging cradle and use that to charge my iPhone.

I have to say, I have always regarded flashlights as essential tools that everyone should own, and when I say "EDC" or "survival", I never speak about those subjects without talking about knives, flashlights, firestarters, and writing instruments, all in the same breath, yet it seems like there is no lack of interest in talking about knives, but not as much interest in talking about flashlights.

I can say that while I used to collect knives, I never collected flashlights, but the reason for this is that knives are, not to put too fine a point on it, a thoroughly mature technology, while flashlights are still rapidly improving and obsoleting older versions. The flashlights of 2021 are leaps and bounds better in performance than the flashlights of 2011, but I'm still carrying knives that date back to at least the early 1990s, when I first started to buy "serious knives".
 

this_is_nascar

Flashaholic
Joined
Mar 29, 2002
Messages
8,017
Location
Gloucester, New Jersey
Much less activity. I'm contributing that to all the other means that are available, as it relates to forums and message groups. You have Reddit, you have Facebook groups and a pleather of other media outlets. CPFwas pretty much an exclusive entity during its inception, but that's no longer the case.
 

bykfixer

Flashaholic
CPF Supporter
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
14,976
Location
My own little Idaho
At least it hasn't become a "how come my light don't work?" or "how do I swap the battery in my RevboFire P642?" forum just yet where that's the only type of traffic.
There's still plenty of banter here. The platform has changed from modified incan lights making all the noise to 'someday those LED's will produce 1000 lumens' to "what's the smallest, brightest longest running"…… but it's still got a strong pulse.
 

wweiss

Enlightened
CPF Supporter
Joined
Feb 3, 2017
Messages
631
Location
Weston, CT
I don't look upon the changing nature of the forum as a decline, but rather as maturation. For example, a quick search of the forum topics on a given subject will often show that a question has been addressed and well answered in one or more existing threads, eliminating the need for a "new" thread. Arguably this makes it seem like there is less activity now compared to previous years, even though the information is still there. Related to this is the generally increasing level of knowledge and experience in the community that this forum has helped foster. I interpret this as operating to reduce the number of "entry level" threads and posts that are submitted. Finally, the pace of innovation in emitter development today as compared to ten years ago seems to me to have also matured, so that we're now getting better refinements of already good products, as opposed to new and ground-breaking product announcements. Refinements of existing products are not as exciting as new and innovative developments.

As for me., I've acquired more lights than I can ever use in my lifetime (SHTF scenarios included). I'm no longer excited about a 5% incremental increase in lumen output for a light I already own, despite the best efforts of the marketing department to induce me to buy the new and improved version. However I'm happy to buy a new light that fits my needs and preferences if it offers a meaningful improvement over an existing product that I use and rely upon: a quick look at a light's specifications will often tell me what I need to know, and that is a function of experience, combined with the general "enlightenment" I've received from participating in this forum over the past ten years.

Don't get me wrong, there are quite a few higher-end lights that I would love to own. I'm uncomfortable however in dropping $500 - $600 - $700 or more on one or more of my "if I win the lottery" lights, mostly because I have more pressing uses for my money.

The bottom line? The forum hasn't declined, it's just that we've collectively matured. And the information is still here for the asking. it just takes more to excite us now. (My two cents.)
This is likely close to the answer…
 

InspectHerGadget

Enlightened
Joined
Apr 17, 2014
Messages
244
I think the forum might just need recharging. It could be that not enough bright members have been contributing or that their lights have dimmed or gone out altogether due to advanced age.
 

pumps

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jun 18, 2021
Messages
42
I'm a new member, joining in June. I'm still doing a LOT of reading and learning. I don't have very expensive lights YET but I do like learning about , reading reviews about, general discussions, all that stuff, about lights. My light inventory has increased a fair amount since I've been here....but I've ALWAYS liked lights. I played around with different Rayovac Sportsman lights as a kids, comparing the beams. In my work in public safety I've used various MagLites and Streamlights, Pelicans etc. Carried a Minimag on my belt for 30 years. I think you guys and the forum are a great resource and hope to be able to contribute.
 
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