#1 The Content:
Urban Exploring forums have been slow/dead for awhile, mainly because people have become impatient and want everything instant and simple. YouTube Vloggers, Instagram Whores, and Facebook Groups have taken over the landscape of urban exploring. Most people just find forums confusing; as soon as they create an account they get cold feet and never come back because it looks like Chinese. But when it comes to Facebook, no need to search when you can just ask the same shit that was already asked 2 years ago. Too bad we can't go back and look at a post 1-year ago because of Facebook's ass-backwards semi-chronological feed. Posts constantly get buried on Facebook. Hell one group on there gets maybe 10-50 posts a day and Facebook will skip all the stuff you want to see and show you shit you missed from 2 days ago just because it has 200 comments on it. The un-experienced and those who want instant gratification make/use these groups, that is my thought on it. My other issue is with owners that haven't realized they don't even own the content. You can't move it or export it and everything can disappear in the snap of a finger.
#2 The Search
Searching for something in a Facebook group is impossible. The search bar might as well not be there. I can't think of one person that uses the search bar on Facebook. They just scroll for 6 years until they find what they are looking for. They just don't like the search bars on forums because they're not like Google. People want to be able to type questions, not keywords as it used to be. That being said, a lot of these people don't know how to search public record databases or even do simple research at a library which I think is still an extremely crucial part to being a contributing member of a community. KCUrbEx is full of great explorers who go the extra mile to find hidden gems and could tell you the entire history of a place.
#3 The Users
These groups don't stress enough the importance of keeping a place secret and people get on there and just say, "here is *insert building name* in *insert city and state* on *insert highway*". They do a mild job at protecting places and not too long ago a great location in Joplin was trashed due to a post that someone made not being vague enough. Lets say a building gets trashed after its posted; in a forum setting it might be easy to tell who was there recently and we can take proper procedure to make sure it doesn't happen again as with Facebook, you might as well be talking to a brick wall because no one cares. No one knows anyone personally on these platforms!
Let me start by saying a forum is not invincible to a warrant unless its hosted overseas. Facebook isn't much better, they just hand it over without question, in fact I have seen court documents for a recent case where the heat could monitor a large amount of private groups across different platforms without group members even knowing. Even if it isn't the law, a moderator/admin on Facebook can see everything you post in a group without even being in the group, even if its secret. This is why I value forums so much over Facebook Groups, they are much more anonymous and secure. Only the paranoid survive.
In conclusion, Facebook Groups is not a forum substitute and people should stop considering it as such. This year, I'm wanting to not focus as much on Facebook and Instagram groups and instead focus my energy into the forums. These are only a few of my thoughts, I'm sure I will have more to add later.
Whoever set up that kcurbex app is awesome and should recieve a million thanks from the rest of us. Its not exactly facebook but in the age of smart phones it definitely makes it so much easier to keep up to date to forum stuff than before. What we really need here is to get people posting and talking, liven the place up as it were. The more used a forum is, the more people it will attract, the more meetups and activities we can do. Of course theres always bad with the good, but thats what vetting and active moderation are for.
As for the legal stuff, I honestly wouldn't worry too much about it. Think about how hard it is to get full access to the forums here, anyone can make an account for basic access, then go out to a couple meetups, be friendly and your in. If the cops were looking to bag us, they'd have no problem. But that won't happen, because we are not the enemy. We are not drug dealers, or human traffickers or gangbangers. They've got their hands more than full going after the bad guys to try to round up a bunch of amateur photographers. As long as we keep to our motto "take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints" we really have nothing to worry about.
also, anyone who says we should be publicly sharing locations is an idiot and should be told so. History has shown that there is a very real threat of people ruining places that have been publicly exposed and the internet is full tiny little egos looking to do nothing more than ruin anyones day that they can for the hell of it.
I like that this forum has a smaller community and active population than UER I can't take the heat on UER. Sort of like facebook where anything you write will instantly be commented on. Which for some reason on UER people love to bicker and comment negatively where on facebook it seems there's like no drama or bickering or concern of trolling on the KC Adventures sub private group on facebook. So In that aspect there's something I respect about the facebook exploring page.
Another thing that's wonderful about forums is the ability to post photos massive and super sharp! I can't stand it when people post small photos online. Like sure you don't want it stolen. I respect those I suppose but I care more that those that have good intentions can fully immerse themselves in the places I explore and photograph than be so concerned someone may steal my photo. Butt Fucks! . A massive recently closed paper mill near me was epic to explore and I guess security has significantly increased since some kids decided to fuck shit up breaking an elevator supposedly causing the cable to break and the box to crash down. Really depressing. If instagram or something like it did not exist in its place the location would still be in very good very fun and very accessible state for you guys to make a pacific north west trip to visit me and go with me to it. But Nope Maybe in a year.