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Really big forums seem impersonal and lack the warmth of a smaller close knit forum community. However, small forums lack the content. Which one do you prefer joining?
I like the smaller forum communities as it seems everyone is more friendly there.
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Large forums are more likely to generate the best content and answers for your questions, rather than small forums. This is true most often on webmaster or niche forums. Again, big forums are likely to generate more spam too.
I thoroughly enjoy both big and small.
I belong to a huge adult fetish forum, and the experiences and stories there are remarkable. You meet lots of intelligent individuals, and you have the opportunity to really get to know and understand things from a different perspective. When I go there, they are like one big supportive family.
The small forums, you get the community feel you're looking for as well. On my small niche forum, though it's relatively new, you really get that chance to get to know who's in it because they want to, and who's in it because the just want to advertise, by only having one post and not logging in since then (which is a bad way to advertise your services).
I once had joined a big forum that I had difficulty knowing the members. A small forum is ideal for me because the interaction may be dynamic but warmer especially when most members know me and vice versa. A forum like that is like a real community where members have a sort of intimacy with the posts.