Hey, we're already rating browsers, mail providers, addons...so why not forums? After all, since most of the discussion has moved to giant corpo platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, it is particularly important to find a way to separate yourself from those. The most important criteria will be what is required to register and post. Why is recaptcha so penalized? Simply, it is heavily exploitative - pretty much making you into a dog performing tricks for its master ("Hey Spike, show me the fire hydrants! Good boy...now the crosswalks!"). And if you screw up, it's back to the drawing board, you bad doggie you. You have no idea when the reward (being allowed to register) is coming either - maybe your master will be forgiving and force you to perform only three tricks this time? Low tier is the best rating a forum with recaptcha can get.
Why is blocking anonymizers penalized even more? Because it makes connecting everything you do on the forum to your real identity that much easier. You know, these days people even get arrested for comments that the rulers didn't like - and with a VPN, they could have avoided it. Therefore, if the admins include that "feature", it pretty much means they're supporting this Technological slavery system. Any forum that has forced deanonymization will not get a rating higher than Very low - leaving space for Shit if it has other flaws.
UPDATE: Recently implemented captcha for every post on /tech/. Not decreasing the rating for now, will wait a few days of they take it back. UPDATE2: Fuck it, they are really incompetent. Captcha for every post is inexcusable even if it's only on one board. UPDATE3: No more captcha - back to Top tier.
Reddit alternative. Registration requires only an username and a password (plus solving a simple text captcha). E-mail is optional if you want the option to reset your password. Absolute zero third party requests. IP is stored for 7 days but you can use a VPN and they provide an onion as well. Decently high activity but can't compare to Reddit of course. Has downvote system as well but unlike at Reddit, the posts are not automatically hidden. Warning: HEAVILY LEFTIST and of the bad (SJW) type - it has a section with a description of
Death to whiteness, for crying out loud. Despite alleging to dislike
accusing others of malicious acts, they will jump on you like rabid dogs for posting an opinion they don't like (though often in a roundabout way, since they are too weak to confront you directly). They criticize reddit for banning leftist subs for "no reason", but do the same to the users on their forum. If you're used to independent thought, forget about it - Raddle is a total echo chamber. Logic is scarce in any topic relating to feminism, sexism, homosexuality and all their other favorite victimhood issues. They even have a bot going around censoring certain words (archive), which include
dumb - but they themselves have no issue with calling someone a piece of shit or telling him to fuck himself. I could go on...this might be Raddle's only real flaw, but it's massive. That flaw, though, also allows you to discuss stuff you rarely can elsewhere, like shoplifting or anti-capitalism. But you can get most of the same in 8chan's leftypol board, with way saner people. I way misjugded these guys at the beginning - this is a disgusting, hypocritical, hateful bunch. In the end, I can't with good conscience give Raddle anything higher than Low tier.
Recaptcha and real name - no thanks. Also does not allow the deletion of your account. Can be decent for reading though. Low tier
JS-free registration and posting with not even an E-mail requirement. No third party requests. Comments appear immediately. Gigantic activity - a thread almost every minute (which can make it hard to find the interesting ones, though there's an upvote system). Might bump this up to Top when I post more and am able to ascertain their moderation, the general attitude (is it an echo chamber?), Update: no, it's staying at High. Simply because, despite HN's alleged focus on "quality posting", 90+% of the threads are big corpo tier trash. High tier
Another reddit alternative alleging itself to be user-respecting - and then it throws a recaptcha in your face. Not researching this crap anymore. Even though it might actually be worse than that, I'll just dump it into Low tier.
Asks for your real name, recaptcha AFTER you've already bothered to activate your e-mail, runs a datamining operation. Don't be fooled - this is a big corpo forum with big corpo policies (slave-like code of conduct). Shit tier.
when you post a message, upload a file, or otherwise provide us with material for display on the website, you are granting FedoraForum.org a royalty-free, perpetual, non-exclusive, unrestricted, worldwide license to: 1. Use, copy, sublicense, adapt, transmit, publicly perform or display any such communication. 2. Sublicense to third parties the unrestricted right to exercise any of the foregoing rights granted with respect to the communication.
And the cat's out of the bag! You give up ownership of anything you share on the forum at all. And that, despite everything else, sends Fedora Forum to Mid tier.
Recaptcha. Didn't research further so could have other issues. Low tier.
In principle we store data only for as long as is reasonably necessary/commonly practiced to operate our sites and services. And this can mean anything. At least it doesn't share your data with third parties. The regulars suffer from attitude problems, and threads critizing them or their browser are randomly closed (archive) despite not being inflammatory. Mid tier.
Recaptcha; didn't research further - Low tier.
Does not allow registration through VPN. Don't know anything more about it. Very low tier.
Good forum not only about tennis. Allows VPN, has good moderation... Who cares though - it has recaptcha (don't think it had one when I registered) and a shitload of google and other trackers. Would really like to give it at least Mid, since the community is truly great - but I can't support exploitation. Low tier
Video game music forum (mostly). Registration through a text-captcha; VPN posting allowed, no mod approval or other hassle. Lots and lots of VGM to download. Doesn't seem to do much censorship. Kind of low activity aside from the download sections obviously. Otherwise, as far as I can see - High tier.
Recaptcha; didn't research further - Low tier.
Admin account approval. Haven't been approved in a few days, assuming either the VPN or the riseup e-mail was the cause. Very low tier.
Community is good, but cannot register through VPN - Very low tier.
The only one I really recommend from the above list is 8chan, HN and perhaps FFshrine - it has seemingly no flaws but the not-too-high activity and narrow focus. Sad to say it seems forums are dead - try to find interesting people to talk with directly (like through XMPP).