Why Did Wattpad Close Their Writer Forums?
As of July 29th, 2020, Wattpad shut down the Wattpad Community Forums without notice and left writers with no place to go.
On July 29th, Wattpad abruptly shut down their Community Forums. A message on the forum page let visitors know that the forums were closed and posts were only remaining online until the 12th. When the 12th came, the entire site (formerly WattpadWriters.com) was completely taken down.
Shortly after, Wattpad posted a statement explaining the decision. They cited bullying as the main reason for the removal of the forums.
"...we cannot ignore that many members of our community don’t always feel safe or welcomed in the Forums.... From what many of you have told us, the Forums are not working for you, and more importantly, not creating the type of space we want for you."
Wattpad didn't elaborate on the types of experiences they were talking about, but many in the community have speculated that they were referring to racism, hate speech, and bullying.
Users don't seem particularly satisfied with the explanation, and some have other theories as to why the forums closed. One popular alternative is that Wattpad felt the forums were bad for their image because they had become a space for complaining about the app and unpopular changes to the platform. This seems to be bolstered by the fact that Wattpad's own survey about the problems with the forums only briefly mentions the issues of bullying and safety. This, however, is all just speculation at this point.
Are The Forums Ever Coming Back?
The short answer is: probably not.
Wattpad's own statement on the issue says:
"We may relaunch the Community Forums at a later date, but it’s also possible we’ll develop a better way for Wattpadders to connect with each other."
The Community Forums were always the ignored little sibling of Wattpad. Moderation was inconsistent, they were difficult to access through the main site, and they never bothered to add forum functionality to the app. It's no surprise that Wattpad was so easily willing to part with them, they had been ignoring them for years already.
It makes you wonder if they weren't already planning to shut down the forums long before whatever incidents led to their sudden decision. It is undoubtedly expensive and time-consuming to keep the forums running, especially when the forums don't generate any revenue for the company. They want people in the app, reading and viewing ads. The forums just never contributed to that goal.
Meanwhile, the kind of things that people were going to the forums for are now back in the app. Need a cover designed? You'll have to find a cover shop book and page through it. Looking for an editor? You'll have to find one through a story services book. If you're starting to sense a pattern, you're not alone. It seems obvious that Wattpad is counting on the closure of the forums forcing writers to spend more time in the app, looking at books and therefore giving them more ad views.
With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that Wattpad's suggestion for those looking for resources is to head over to their Writer's Portal, which will take you to a list of writing resources that are all in the form of Wattpad books.
If Wattpad does create some kind of replacement for the forums, it's a good bet that it will be some type of system built in to the existing site and app. Readers currently don't have a live chat option, so something like that may be a logical replacement.
But let's face it, Wattpad never really put the time or effort into nurturing the forums. It was only a matter of time until they decided to drop the 'dead weight'.
So Where Can I Go Now?
Looking for a replacement for the forums? There are a couple of options for you:
How do you feel about the closure of the forums? Did you use them? Let us know in the comments...