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Are Forums dying out in France ?
by Jeanne • Sat 11 Apr 2015 10:12

Looking at this forum, French Entree and Anglo Info recently, I have noticed there are very few people that visit them; just the odd few "hardcore" that have been there for years.

Do you think they are dying out and as people integrate in to French communities they do not feel the need to visit sites like this?

French Entree was very active at one time but now I reckon there are only about 10 to 15 posts a day. Anglo Info and here have also reduced tremendously.

Personally I do not like those dedicated forum members on several who are extremely sarcastic, so generally glance through to see if there is anything of interest, although invariably not. I also do not like the misinformation that is given, often by so called qualified tradespersons.

Is it because the majority of ppl on them are old and retired? Have more returned to UK than are arriving? I certainly know lots of people trying to go back.

Music clubs used to be popular here but they too have died a death. Originally there were lots of variety at these events but then it reduced to a few people and became boring. The young French became notably absent as they moved out of the area.

Strange how things change over the years but certainly it is very different now.

Jeanne
232
Jun 2010
Re: Are Forums dying out in France ?
by RobertArthur • Sat 11 Apr 2015 15:09

Not only in France.....Trying to answer your questions, reasons why:

1/ Competition from social media. How to explain the most complicated issues in less than 140 characters;
2/ Competition from smartphones. As long as most forum software is essentially pc based, the decline of forums will continue;
3/ The exodus: removal lorries go empty from the UK (or the Netherlands, Belgium Germany) to France to pick up their loads;
4/ After the financial crisis of 2008 the market for maisons secondaires in France has not been booming;
5/ Those already in France know their way around and find answers on French websites using google;
6/ FrenchEntree: from totalfrance to frenchentree was a (software) migration carried out without major hick-ups, professionaly managed and they kept their excellent forum software platform. A second transition September last year, using another software engine, has been quite problematic. The experience shows that you can loose a lot of your loyal audience. This is not unique, many examples worldwide. And they sent away Bentley and even deleted all his contributions. A pity, because his renovation story made the Building issues section very interesting.
7/ With the growth of the internet, and many questions already being answered or summarized in specialized websites (example: DIYinFrance for the Dutchies) information retrieval is much easier than it used to be;
8/ Currency exchange rate: not a problem for the immigrants from euro countries, but for some others not without consequences;
9/ People think twice before buying a second home, first things first, save your maison primaire or help the kids;
10/ Banks: no smiling faces anymore when applying for a mortgage for a second home in a country where return on investment is no longer guaranteed.

Robert

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RobertArthur
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Mar 2009
Re: Are Forums dying out in France ?
by Dave • Tue 14 Apr 2015 13:05

I don't think that there is a simple answer to this question. Robert has covered a lot of the main issues. I think that specialised forums are in decline, perhaps even terminal decline, in general and Pont Noir is no different. The situation is very different from that 15 or 20 years ago. Information is readily available, people are connecting in different ways, the market for second homes in France is more mature, more everyday even and done-to-death in the media. We have several English language newspapers to provide local information and lots of on-line 'zines of various kinds. Forums are often not well managed and some remain popular only for the spectacle of bickering members to which a blind-eye is turned in favour of advertising revenues.

Is there still a place for this sort of thing? Well while we have a fraction of the active members that we once did a lot of people still read Pont Noir, but yes it is becoming more difficult to justify the effort of running a site that less than a handful of people use regularly (upgrading to a smart-phone-friendly layout is a lot of work for example). As contributions wane and time passes the relevance of much of the information on the site is lost or it becomes just plain wrong. In the end whilst Pont Noir might be missed if it goes, it won't be by many or for long.

I suppose I mainly run this site for my own amusement and to provide help to local English speakers. Those two things are though essentially linked and without the later, much of the amusement of the former is lost; I may as well just run a blog if I'm here talking to myself. For now though it'll sit here for those interested in using it and I'll see how it goes.

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Dave
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Re: Are Forums dying out in France ?
by enzo • Tue 14 Apr 2015 13:38

many thanks Dave for keeping it going

enzo
228
Jun 2011
Re: Are Forums dying out in France ?
by wynne • Tue 14 Apr 2015 15:51

Thanks Dave for the contribution you make to the site, updating information whenever needed etc. I for one read the topics and use the site when needed to ask questions on various subjects, and have found many useful bits from members. I hope the site does not fold and hope to see it remain. Wynne

wynne
18
Feb 2014
Re: Are Forums dying out in France ?
by sevy1 • Tue 14 Apr 2015 19:28

Hi Dave
We have met new friends in the Creuse through this site. We would never have made contact had it not been for Pont Noir. I have also had many questions answered and been helped with all sorts of problems from mole control , septic tank issues and elecricity problems (Robert Arthur). It would be a shame to see the site fold but I realise that participation has reduced over the years.
Sevy

sevy1
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Sep 2013
Re: Are Forums dying out in France ?
by Jeanne • Tue 14 Apr 2015 19:37

I have to say its a shame more people do not use this one. It is the only one that does not generally get the sarcasm that appears on the others.

For me, I am not really a forum person, and although I live in the Creuse and like the area and my neighbours etc, it would suit me much more to live near La Chatre or Chateauroux, but I have no intention of moving again, so I just have to drive further. But downside is driving from Meillant, one hour twenty minutes at three in the morning is somewhat tiring.

Jeanne
232
Jun 2010
Re: Are Forums dying out in France ?
by charlie • Tue 21 Apr 2015 17:46

I am one of those members who have reduced, considerably, my postings in this and other forums. The main reason is that after 14 years of part time occupation in France we have managed to complete numerous adjustments to the house and garden and are fairly well settled.
We have seen some UK friends sell up and move back but we have also met many newcomers who have recently moved in. I spend a reasonable amount of time following the various threads and sometimes make a contribution. This forum stands out from the others by its lack of trolls and other aggressive members who seem to pick arguments with everyone. There are still many others who steady the ship with colourful, useful postings designed to solve problems and highlight the joys of France.
I hope the forums continue but we should expect them to maintain their present position rather than expand. Perhaps there is a need to review the excessive number of sections within a given forum. Many sections receive minimal inputs.
There is probably a new set of UK movers in the pipeline armed with huge pension pots. I dare not mention who is to blame for this crazy release of pension funds and the resulting chaos in future years.

charlie
48
Dec 2004
Re: Are Forums dying out in France ?
by patricksussex • Tue 21 Apr 2015 23:00

Keep it going Dave!
We have just spent a week opening up, digging up more brambles, having a coffee with our neighbours and looking over their new extension and generally marvelling in the wonderful 'Creuse' light and unbelievably blue sky.
Need to find a way to share these delights with a wider audience.....

patricksussex
14
Dec 2013
Re: Are Forums dying out in France ?
by ayerzee • Wed 22 Apr 2015 14:28

I am one of the guilty parties who regularly use this site Dave and don't log in. The site has proved so helpful in the last ten years whilst working on our house, the information and local knowledge is unequalled.

The members comments are always positive and so helpful.

I expect there are many more like me so on their behalf please continue your devotion to this site.

Ayerzee :oops:

ayerzee
30
Sep 2007
Re: Are Forums dying out in France ?
by Jeanne • Wed 22 Apr 2015 16:26

Keep it going Dave!
We have just spent a week opening up, digging up more brambles, having a coffee with our neighbours and looking over their new extension and generally marvelling in the wonderful 'Creuse' light and unbelievably blue sky.
Need to find a way to share these delights with a wider audience.....
Said patricksussex
I hope you were referring to the forum and not being invaded by loads more Brits here :-D :-D We don't want to become like the Dordogne :wink:

Jeanne
232
Jun 2010
Re: Are Forums dying out in France ?
by smilespwp • Mon 13 Jul 2015 14:29

I believe that one of the reasons the forums are dying out, is that when one does answer a request for help/information, a response or thanks is very often not forthcoming. Which makes me wonder, am I doing right, trying to be helpful. As my mother used to say, "A thank you costs nothing"

Best regards

Brian
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smilespwp
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Apr 2007
Re: Are Forums dying out in France ?
by David_J • Fri 24 Jul 2015 11:01

Keep up the good work Dave. There are more than a few of us who log on most days and contribute when we have something helpful. I've asked for help here and received quality answers and yes, there is sometimes sarcasm but mostly good natured. We're all have more experience about life in France so other than the less frequent new arrival who can probably find what he needs in 'historic' forums, our projects are mostly done.
Keep up the good work. If for no other reason, because there is a community of Noirers out here who appreciate the site
David_J

And yes, I know the plural of Forum is Fora but common usage dictates otherwise. :woot:

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Aug 2006
Re: Are Forums dying out in France ?
by dikdok • Thu 30 Jul 2015 22:29

I think the problem is that a lot of us were buying properties a few years ago when it was all the rage and we all needed help from those who had gone before, as it were, but obviously as the attraction to live here has dwindled and us original frontiersmen/women have found our feet and made our own local contacts within our communes etc., the supply of "newbies" seeking advice is getting smaller. I'm sure there are lots of us who lurk on these sites quite frequently without feeling the need to say anything, and perhaps we should contribute more often than we do to make sure sites like Pont Noir don't die for lack of use.
it does seem a shame that there seem to be more people packing up and going "home" than are moving to France at the moment; I'm sure they all have their reasons to leave, but I still feel that France and la Creuse have so much to offer, it's such a shame that more folk can't see the attraction. Maybe if the UK opens its doors to all the would-be migrants at Calais/Coquelles there would be a new rush for Brits to move to France! :-D

"Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the great ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all."
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Jun 2005
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