martinibuster - 5:51 pm on Feb 20, 2012 (gmt 0)
Personally, I think sitemaps.xml files are EXTREMELY overrated
I agree. I kind of get the feel that the xml standard was created to lure webmasters into the GWT/Analytics crack, with Bing/Yahoo along as unknowing facilitators. There is more benefit to be had from an html site map, particularly in a forum that might generate duplicate pages caused by dynamically generated url strings.
For a forum, you may actually be better off not having a sitemap. It isn't just adding material. You have to keep track of every thread that is moved/ merged/ deleted and adjust the sitemap accordingly.
There are mods that dynamically generate both/either HTML and XML site maps. Change the forum and the site map changes with it.
there is no way I could keep up with a sitemap including a forum
There is no need to manually keep up with a site map in a forum. As I mentioned before, popular forums have mods that can be applied to dynamically generate a site map of the content. Yes it can be huge but it can also help sort out dupe content issues. Traffic spiked years ago when I added an HTML site map and kept on climbing year over year.
But now I'm interested in hearing what could happen if a site map is removed from any kind of website, particularly a forum.