There is an odd thing I find with most Expat forums (can’t say all as I haven’t been on them all) and that is the way the moderation and disputes work. Generally I leave most things on my blog purely because its real life, moderation only comes about if the replies go completely off topic, spam or abusive but even the abusive can stay if its constructive. Forums on the other hand seem to be a completely different beast due to the way the ones I have seen operate. Firstly the befriending approach that everyone is buddies but often its more like you have walked into the wrong pub and everyone is your buddy because they are about to fleece your wallet and all drinks are on you! But more importantly the balance of the people are way off as people who are just general people going about their business become offended about certain things then decide to leave. This happens way too often and its what sours the taste of most forums I have come across. On top of that the profiteering and manipulation towards specific people on the forums blocking some people or banning for doing the same yet freely allowing others.
Now to get this in context I have nothing wrong with a forum owner making money from their venture at the same time when they give preferential treatment to some members and not others they are actually removing the point of having an “open forum” because they remove people who can give a balanced view of life. For forums covering the Philippines this often leads to isolation for certain parts of the community and often its the people that are worth more that stop using the forums. How do I know? although I drift in and out of forums from time to time if something important comes up to share generally I stopped using them in the way I used to, for me they ran the course but more importantly in a lot of cases they just didn’t make any sense anymore as the same information gets talked about again and again. None have developed a good business environment on the Philippines although the closest to trying is Internations.org problem is here in the Philippines most people are scattered or removed themselves from the internet. What I have found over the last few blog years is people have emailed me privately about business as well as other things simply because they don’t want to get into the forum headaches by posting on the blog. At the same time these people don’t use forums at all although many did originally. What has happened is in many cases the best people are not available, the majority of the people I know via email have been here 5 – 18 years surviving and doing business without pensions or external support. The main reason I find people look online is trying to work out how to survive in the Philippines if they move here yet the people that can and do aren’t there.. Just a strange world we live in