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The Daily Grind: To forum, or not to forum?

It seems like no matter where you go on this World Wild Web, you can't help but stumble across all manner of trolls. Out of game, you can hear the echoes of "qq moar nub" as they rampage around. Indeed, this is why we suspect some games are loath to spend man-hours creating and manning forums, such as Tabula Rasa's stance on them. As routinely surfing forums on the lookout for news is part of our job, we can't help but notice that some companies do a fantastic job of keeping their forums under control, such as the CoX team. Other forums such as the WoW official forums are an absolute epidemic of trolls that seem to be far more pronounced than just about anywhere else.

Now while we would definitely agree that the WoW forums undoubtedly suffer from more trolls due to sheer population density in comparison to other titles, we can't help but wonder... What would it be like if game companies opted to move all official forums to player-run and maintained setups and just popped in like Tabula Rasa has? Would it make more sense to do so and let the communities police themselves? Some of the player-run forums we read, such as different EQ, EQ2, and even WoW resources, seem to do a very good job of policing themselves and keeping the trolls to a minimum. There also isn't backlash into the games overall as they're completely separate. If you do something stupid on a player-run forum, you simply get banned more often than not. The trolls can't argue that they're a paying subscriber and deserve special treatment. (Not that it tends to hold a lot of weight on the WoW forums when you throw that around after a CM has gotten to you.) There are also generally lots of folks who will volunteer time just from the sheer love of the game, getting nothing in return save for a troll-free environment in which to talk about their favorite games.

So this morning we ask you. Is it better to let the players run the forums, or the game companies? Do you think that player-run forums tend to be, on the whole, better than official forums, or do you really think it depends on the title involved? Are there any benefits you see with one over the other, or does it all perhaps just come down to a question of official forums needing more staff to deal with the trolls in their communities?

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