I sometimes feel like forums really are on their way out, or at least that there are stricter conditions than ever before for their success (having large initial community base, lots of charisma or an exciting message/manifesto etc.).
The "new" form of communities seems to revolve around blogs and social networks. In case of blogs the community basically centers either around a specific person or brand or is in completely decentralized form as a clique of blogs commenting to each other and "talking" to each other through blog posts.
Then there are social networks including general ones like facebook which actually have many little communities mostly gathered around who knows whom or friendships than around specific interests (though there is a bit of that as well). Alternatively there are niche specific social networks like those found on ning.
But there appears to be a way to have a community without either of these, and the good example (one that inspired this post) is Reddit. Anyone who is following reddit may have noticed that there are often submissions which aren't linking to any specific news story or announcing anything. They are questions like this one, basically acting like forum threads.
So on reddit you can either link to stuff or just say something to start a thread which to me seems like a perfect combination on today's web. A lot of forum discussions actually discuss something found written about or shown elsewhere on the web so a lot of forum discussions link to something. Since reddit is all about that, but also allows starting threads in a classical manner like on forums, it actually sounds like the perfect place for interesting discussions.
Not to mention that instead of having a fixed set of forum categories, users get to create and maintain their own sections (called reddits), which also creates decentralization that helps everyone get heard even if they don't get lots of votes.
Anyone knows of any other site that has mimicked this? What do you think about the concept?