q: How do we build a forum community if everything points everywhere else?
a: you can't.
(eg: see chicken, see egg).
It's not a real issue to us. I can count on one hand the number of times it's come up in the years.
Since I don't have the time to look elsewhere for information, and I admit the desire, what I like to do and have done is to start a discussion in the proper forum here and then invite an expert I appreciate to come and post the answer. I see that as a win-win. We get our answers and new blood, I mean new members;)
If you post your question on WMW the few times when no one knows anything you will THEN get pointed to a site which does know about it.
A typical example is Flash - for some reason a lot of WMW members seem to detest the application and as a result you would be better off posting to a forum like Flashkit.
I personally welcome it when people post about topics we're not very strong on. An example is the Scripting forum - often, when someone posts a question that stumps the regulars (say about JSP or something), it's an opportunity for a new member to jump in and make a first post.
Hopefully that new member then becomes a regular and we all learn something new...
Reciprocity would open this up quite a bit, but it never seems to happen. I'm a senior member on several other boards and I often see the members themselves close ranks and take a we-can-do-it-here attitude and, being webmasters themselves, they're very protective of their turf.
And then there's the board growth issue Brett mentions. The wmw forums themselves are the spawning grounds for new forums. We admittedly fumble and stumble through some of them at first but after a while things start to gel if there is repeated member interest. If you point outside at that stage you're very likely to kill it in the crib.
rcjordan has hit the nail on the head I think, the difficulty is developing the community in those areas that it wants to focus on. If you point out other forums in those areas there is no chance of the community developing.
Conversely there is the problem of what to do in fields that are not really the remit of this community. Many of us touch on technologies that are middleware or back office technologies which although related to the web are not prime focus of webmasters. My view is that in these areas there is little to be lost and potentially much to be gained in pointing to other forums.
It's important to note that we're specifically discussing linking out to other forums, not online tutorials. We reference
tutorials very freely here.
>view is that in these areas there is little to be lost and potentially much to be gained in pointing to other forums.
I used to agree, but that was before we had X thousand members who are, and this is a critical point, surprisingly homogenous despite our diversity. The new PDA forum as a prime example of something that I personally appreciate having a small resource building here. It's a fringe forum, but I suspect it's going to turn out to be a very useful one. Digital cameras and photography would be another example of a similar forum that might one day come of age here. Personally, I don't have a problem linking to forums that are outside our area of potential, but being a large group with generally similar interests lays claim to a lot of territory.
RC <stepping carefuly> you say "I'm a senior member on several other boards"
How often do you drive other boards members to WMW ?.</stepping carefuly>
This is such a delicate subject and if somebody like yourself or one of the other Moderators said try this forum for XYZ I most probably would the question I would then be asking myself is does this forum cover 123 and abc if the answer is yes than maybe and I mean JUST maybe I would succumb.
What would be nice is to see a new members Post read a mod on XYZ pointed be over here and this is my first class post.
I tend to find almost everything I need within a WMW what i can't find here I research and share.
>How often do you drive other boards members to WebmasterWorld ?.
That's a very valid question and I'm glad you asked. If you mean by dropping an url or just the unlinked wmw.com, would you believe "zero" ?? In fact, I don't even have a link in the profiles. Nor can I ever recall sending any other member of those communities an email to suggest that they check out wmw. I can't swear that I've never, ever done it with absolute certainty -but if I have I can't recall when. Since "rcjordan" is, well, a branded nick, I rarely use it on other boards and now travel incognito.
I know this issue of referencing other boards is always a concern to the board owner so I check in with the owner and let him know who I am. I assure him that I'm not there to pirate their members and that I'll clear any outside links with him prior to making them.
>>a branded nick, I rarely use it on other boards and now travel incognito.
Yeah, but I know the true story RC ;). You going to tell them about REAL board paranoia?
>REAL board paranoia
The nick is about a year older than the date shown here at WebmasterWorld, having been first used on another board. I was a senior member, around 600 posts to my credit as I recall. I followed a profile or a link (can't recall exactly, I believe it was a profile) to a very small, very specialized board by a guy name Brett Tabke. That forum was dealing in high-end spider ID-ing, cloaking, and themes and after a month or so I start posting there too. As the WebmasterWorld board grew, and I became a moderator here, I did put a link in my profile on the other board for a while but later even took that out (on my own, without any sort of prompting from the board owner). At any rate, as outlined above, I didn't break any of the other board's rules, contact any of its members or knowingly nudge anyone to join WebmasterWorld. I was a contributing member of both boards. Then someone ran a thread here about how they came to find WebmasterWorld. Quite a few mentioned that they had found it on the other board, following a profile (not mine) or a link. The other board owner shut down my nick and those of several other members without a word... big mistake.
re: Pointing specialist questions to other forums
Heh! Ian, I think I may have just listed the worst case scenario.
gosh that sounds familiar....oh yeah...happened to another branded nick I know of that had about 850 posts at another board and then became a mod here.
Also once you watch peoples posts you learn what they know and dont know, a simple sticky note to the person or wording the question properly can get you right results.
Playing the rules requires both sides to play fair with posting stuff.
I post a link as long as i know it will help the user.
I don't post the main url, i post the specific url if i post a link to another forum.
And yes some forums put **************** over links to different forums and i do not like it, but it's not my choice since i don't own the forum. But they whole idea with a forum is mostly to help people and discuss different subjects, and if i know anything that i think might help the discussion to be better i post a link to an information source.
Off course i don't think you should always post links, sometimes, sometimes not, i think the user pretty much now how often he can post a link, i don't think it's appropriate to post a link in every post, just because the user have beeen with the other forum for a really long time and know every thread there. Sometimes it helps not to post links to other threads because people can de velope new ideas which they wouldn't if the read the thread that the link were going to.
That's a whole 'nother aspect Lazer. It wouldn't be so bad if everyone played nice and reciprocated - but they don't.
It's not just a forum thing either. We've got many cases where WebmasterWorld has been poached for stories from several large news outlets. Do we ban links to those sites? No - we let it go, knowing that their day will occur down the road.
authoritative sources and education:
I prefer that WebmasterWorld educate users into finding their own answers. Don't ask what is wrong with your new page design - instead, ask how to properly use a margin values. When responding, don't link to an answer in some faq, link to the section on margines found in the recommendation on HTML 4. There are html authors who've never seen any HTML recommendation. The more authoritative and official sources we can link too, the better the forums become.
I think that is a good policy, if you're going to put a link to a resource make it a link to an official authority if possible.
(now what was paynt saying about hubs?)
its already happening;)
|Some ODP editors have launched an unofficial forum for "advice on site submissions and placement, becoming an editor and other information about the directory". |
I'm not sure why they didn't just start posting answers here
will this get clipped for duplication?