I’m tired of forum saviors.

Once in a while, someone pops on my radar (often times, because they e-mail me to introduce me to their product, website, whatever) who says, in one way of another, they are here to save forums. It’s not that it’s frequent or that they are particularly noteworthy, but when this happens, I always find myself cringing.

Forums don’t need you. They don’t need me. They don’t need anyone. And they don’t need saving.

Forums have survived this long and they are everywhere. The space is always growing and improving. It can always get better and I always love hearing about new ideas and companies who are interested in this space. Let me say that again: I love hearing about new ideas. Not about how great you are and how we’re lost without you.

You may think you’re awesome, you may think you are doing something new. But, don’t come to me and tell me that you are the next evolution of forums. Or that you are forums 2.0. Or that you are bringing forums into the present. Or that you are what’s new in forums, compared to those other platforms. Or that you are here to save forums. You’re not. You are none of those things and I don’t want to hear it.

And, while we’re at it, please don’t use the comments area in this post as a means to link to or mention or reference your platform or service.

That’s not how innovation happens, that is not how we move forward. Very rarely are the people who really move us forward the same people who are shouting “look at me! I’M INNOVATING OVER HERE! I’m what’s new and you suckers are in the past!” The real innovators just do it and then we all learn from it and your attitude is disrespectful to those who work hard within this space to help it grow.

There is plenty of innovation that is happening and can and will happen and I love it. The vast majority of it will be in the features that surround the conversation, not the conversation itself. The medium of “forums,” if you want to look at it like that, is flexible and serves as a part of the backbone (threaded, text based discussion) of most of the top social websites online today. Different platforms and services learn from each other and adapt.

There are a number of reasons why forums are attractive to businesses and to startups and that is awesome. There are companies operating and buying forums, platforms for forums and companies offering services that are complementary to them. I love all of this.

I’ve been in this space for over 10 years. I’ve seen them come and I’ve seen them go. Don’t tell me you’re going to save all of us lowly forum admins from ourselves. Respect the space and show me your good ideas and execute on them! Do great things! Please. Then we’ll talk.