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The Exponential Growth of WebmasterWorld in 2002
managing the explosive growth we've seen this year.

 3:28 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

We've seen our traffic increase 3 fold in both uniques and pvs since the start of the year. There are some stresses on the system we are discussing how to approach.

a) Pre-moderation. All threads would require moderator approval before public posting.
b) Voting and public moderation. There would be a system where posts could be voted on by users. You would be able to set your own "twit list" level where messages below that level would not be included.
c) Members only. All members would have to log in.
d) Subscribers only. All members would pay a subscription fee.

Which one would you vote for and why? (one vote only please)



 5:21 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)


B) voting system.
aka: karma system or just /.

Also Banners are not one of the options on the table.


Not expenses per say - but time. This has become a full time job for me. That has been at the expense of other projects.

Just imagine if the place takes one minute more per day than it did the day before. Now do that from my join date.


 5:21 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

If you went with example "D" would you offer a payment method for people who do not own a credit card?? I for one fit into this category.

I know I will probably get slatted for this but I certainly wouldent object to advertising. Webmasterworld would be very hot property for advertisers seeking this type of targeted user. ISP's hosting companies etc etc. Just my opinion though.

<edit> You answered the advertising part as I was asking it. </edit> oops!


 5:27 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

I too would go with option c. However, it's also important that ww should find some ways to generate revenue.

One option is that commercial Exchange could be converted into an area where people who are facing problems and need immediate help could post and get response within 24 hours (something on the line of google answers). Since most of the members are online daily, most of the time so quick answers won't be a problem either. The money thus earned shouldn't go to members but to maintenance of the ww site.

I am ready to do some volunteer work for which charges can be paid to webmasterworld. I am sure there'll be many other members who'll volunteer too.


 5:28 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

I would have to say c), at least, then d).

brotherhood of LAN

 5:34 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Now is a good time to donate if anyone hasn't seen the donate button in a while IMO :)


I wonder what the monetary value of SERP's gained in the recent update is - from all the advice gained here - for free.

Brett- perhaps if their was a way that members could be more aware of sucking up resources we could maybe avoid some things...

Maybe banning me from clicking recent posts every other blink would help a little


 5:36 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hi Brett,

If I may ask, what's taking the time? Moderating, tuning, coding, fixing bugs, what?

I take it system performance and bandwidth are not issues based on your above post?




 5:38 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

I would lean tward having b and c. Here is an idea for b, make a test for webmasters and if they pass they can have a sub mod position. With sub moderators you have many of us who are not breaking 500 or 1000 useful posts, but none the less we still have the knowledge to help. There is a great deal of knowledge floating around.


 5:53 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

>reducing the amount of visitors to the site or limiting the threads
>- but time

Apart from the financial aspects;):

There's the problem of community management. How do we ensure the board is run smoothly?
With so many active threads, which need to be watched constantly, with so many different aspects of working on the web, with so many different people with different interests and from different backgrounds it's certainly a demanding task to get this running as fine as it does.

Then there's the noise factor.
Complaints from more experienced members about the same questions being discussed over and over again. Read a little back here in Community and you'll find some of that.

The sheer quality of information here is what sets this board apart.

Openeness to me is a great value. I certainly feel the diversity of the membership and the openess towards people from all areas of the web is one of the great assets of WebmasterWorld.

But nevertheless the above mentioned issues have to be addressed.
I'd be interested in seeing how you all think the options listed by Brett would relate to these issues.


 6:03 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

a) As a mod elsewhere...EGAD! Way too much work. This would kill your volunteers and slow down the board, thus making it less useful.

b) An interesting idea, a la Ebay...and one that I've wondered about. You run risks with it though. Sometimes a "lame" post results in some wonderful responses. Sometimes folks just don't like each other and will score anything they say low. I don't know how this would improve your situation though, seems like it would only cause more work in implementing and maintaining it.

c) Is bandwidth a problem? Because otherwise, would it make a huge difference? I mean, do lurkers pull that much from the board? If so, then I would see this as a decent solution. It's not THAT much of an issue to register somewhere.

d) I think if you want to define yourself as a high-end discussion only, then this would be the way to go. It would also cut out the repeat questions. (Because newbies that want to know the basics will just go to other boards that are free.) On the down side, there are plenty of other free boards with quality info, so you may suffer a membership loss to them. It depends on where you set your membership level.

I'd be in favor of further discussion of C and D if I were a mod or admin here.


 6:17 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

D) would be ok if it helps speed up access. There are some days when it takes a cup of coffee & a smoke in order to bring up the site. However the fee needs to be modest to retain as much membership as possible.

The Internet is changing and the free lunch is just about over. Used to be when searching for technical issues one could find all kinds of sites just brimming with answers or suggestions. These days you see a teaser and then a link that says to see the rest of the article please login & pay. This is becoming more & more common.
here's a new abbreviation ICBW (I could be wrong- borrowed from D Miller).


 6:20 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

I believe a combination of (c) and (d) would work.

My idea: make all viewers register... make them pay in order to post. or possbily make them pay in order to start a new topic.


 6:21 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Can I suggest "F"

1 - Targeted banner adds
2 - Read only for lurkers (and SE)
3 - Premoderation for new registrants
4 - Full posting privileges (whithin TOS) past 10 posts
5 - Access to private forums where link exchange, affiliate programs trade and site reviews would be allowed to paying members. (banner free in not too complicated to program)

How is this for a French Canadian recipe, better than "poutine"? ;)


 6:23 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

>> d) Subscribers only. All members would pay a subscription fee. <<

Sounds OK from here. Maybe to address the poor country issue you could define these countries and reduce or eliminate the fee (hmm... by IP address... or something verifiable on the application form?).


 6:24 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

"A" is out, not only would this create *more* work for the mods, the members would not like the "waiting" period before their posts went live.

I vote for D!

Let's face it, this board is designed to aid the Webmaster professional! My income is higher partially in part to WebmasterWorld. (Yes, I admit it!)

I think that all posts should be readable by the public (Even if it requires a free membership to cut down on server resources.) Charging a reasonable fee for posting is fair game.

Also, charging for a "posting membership" will certainly reduce spam.

For those that cannot afford a membership, I'm sure they will continue to benefit from the public area.



 6:29 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

d) without hesitation. It's time to cash out, Brett, and be paid for your hard work. This community is essential to many of us.


 6:30 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

I suggest Membership and include additional categories for Adult Webmaster topics. Moderation really requires a fulltime staff, and that puts extra pressure on the moderators which most likely do it for free anyways, thus too much pressure on em.

Banners, blah why taint the place. I think if someone wants to advertise in yer little space where the opera banner rotates in than sure, but nothing like full banners.


 6:40 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Then problem with (D) is only a few hundred of us would pay and it will stop any expansion right in it's tracks. That would kill WebmasterWorld.


 6:41 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

I am fairly new compared to the rest of you here, but I will say that A and B are ridiculous! There is know what that you can justify doing this, plus the amount of time it would take for all of the moderators to approve all posts would be insane.

Yes, there is a lot of repitious material on the site, even in the little amount of time that I have been a member, but that repition is not always bad and I approach it as a friendly reminder. If you already have it in your head, then pass over it and ignore it. Simple.

There is only one option to take. e) Advertising. It is about time that all of your hard work pays off. Get faster servers, bigger dbs and the like. Never abandond a user base. They make the place what it is.

What ever the option chosen is, remember to never push away the loyal members with some insanely stupid idea. Advertising is not stupid and pays the bills. Have a hosting company sponser the site! They provide it for free as long as they have their icon on all the pages. Remember, a lot of the people here are webmasters and need a hosting option at some time.

Just some suggestions.


 6:45 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)


First of all it's important that the performance of the moderation system currently used by webmasterworld is optimal. Observe your behavior as a moderator. What are the big time eaters? Can the repeating tasks be automated? The keyword here is usability. If you can isolate the problems and post it here, people here can maybe come up with very good solutions.

Second, when 99% of your moderation time cannot be automated anymore, and you still need more time to do the job properly, it's time to look for other alternatives. You always lose the old quality level when turning to mass-moderation. I think that the personal touch of the single moderator is invaluable. Their subjective approach is what this what makes this forum tick. So you need to control the number of users on this forum. Before we discuss the options for that, i'm interested in the usability of the webmasterworld moderation system. Can it be improved?


 6:52 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

I would prefer C but would accept D.

Allow only those who pay to have the ability to post. Then allow the general public to view the discussions after a certain time period. That way paying members only would see the most current discussions.

It would be important to find an alternate payment method besides credit card for those who do not have one.


 6:55 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

There is only one option to take. e) Advertising.

And who goes out to sell the advertising? Who does the invoicing? How much are ads to a pretty small audience worth? Should Brett spend more hours every day selling ads that bring in a penny an impression?

I think there are good reasons why Brett has said ads are not an option.

We use it - we pay for it. Works for me.


 6:55 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Brett, I can certainly understand why the mods are being taxed and why you may want to "control" the amount of traffic.

a) Pre-moderation.

Pre-moderation smacks of censorship ... which has never been a favourite thing of mine, but I can understand the necessity in some instances. I think perhaps some additional "Terms of Use" may help lesson the load for moderators rather than pre-moderation.

b) Voting and public moderation.

As one who has fallen into the "twit list" category more than once, I believe I might be offended by such a system and stop posting altogether. If that's is what the majority want, I think it is an effective way to reduce "noise" levels. I know I would certainly stop posting.

I also believe that even twits may offer some valuable contributions from time to time. It would be a shame to lose that input.

c) Members only/Login.

All for it!

d) Subscribers only.

I'd be happy to pay! I think most would.

Option F:

Start a new board for newbies (in the same format as this board, with at least one "sage" moderator) so that the less experienced may ask and answer newbie type questions ad nauseum. Perhaps some canned answers could be formatted for this purpose. (There are some instances when site search just doesn't answer newbie questions in a language a newbie would understand.)

The WebmasterWorld forum could then move up a notch to "members/subscribers only" and keep the riff raff out. Membership to WebmasterWorld would be by invitation only. Perhaps a secret code breaking question would be the entrance exam.;)


 6:56 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

>Can it be improved?
well, never say never...BUT: It's a brilliant system, by far the best I've ever seen.

But think about it: we have reps from worlds leading SEs here, we have members controlling literally thousands of sites, people working for top SEO outfits - and we have members just gone online with their first couple pages.

I for one am very very reluctant of restricting the board to any group of people.
Seeing that all those different voices and needs meet here, to me is - said it before - one of the great strengths here.
But I also see the issues mentioned above need addressing.


 7:01 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>Before we discuss the options for that, i'm interested in the usability of the webmasterworld moderation system. Can it be improved?

Highly doubtful that it can be improved. Speaking as a mod, the moderation system here is unreal. We can move posts and leave a "post moved" notice behind with just a couple clicks of the mouse and so forth. I won't spill the beans on some of the other tricks and treats we have in the mod system but suffice to say the system itself is not a bottleneck. I can literally move a move/delete a post and stickmail the member in question in about 30 seconds (20 second of which is typing the stickymail).

The time consuming part of being a mod is due in part to the fact the board is just so freakin huge now. Being a mod here doesn't dominate my day but I can see how it the concerns of the community can chew up Brett's days.

I'll admit to the fact the the spamming has slowed down and bit over time and we are known for our no holds barred approach to it but that said most of you wouldn't believe the amount we still get. The fact of the matter is that most of it is nuked within 60 seconds and you don't ever even see it.

I know - not much in the way of a comment on what option we should choose - just trying to share some insight about moderation duties here.


 7:08 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Brett has said E is not an option - so no problem, but if he changes his mind - a good "girls gone wild" banner could do wonders :)

It seems as though the google boards are cluttered up with the same questions time after time.

I thik anyone should be able to ask a legitimate question - and I hate logging in, but maybe block people from posting more than one question until they can be approved...

I don't know - I am not sure what takes up the time around here - there are probably things that get take off before we can ever see them. So it is hard for me to say.

I think ever thing works out pretty well, so maybe if we understood more what the problems were - we could better make a vote. I really don't like any of the options, I wouldn't MIND any of them - I just think they would hurt the overall popularity of the board.


 7:08 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

I learned most of what I know here by using the search function.

Perhaps a 'delayed' version--a week? month? for newbies or public viewing. The live version could be for members only (c) or (d).

I'd pay (d)


 7:09 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

And who goes out to sell the advertising?... ...Should Brett spend more hours every day selling ads that bring in a penny an impression?

Don't sell on impression, there are other ways! First you need to determine how much the next years hosting is going to cost. That should be fairly easy to figure with experience already recorded. Then base everything off of that + a few extra. The advertiser would come to you. Are you telling me that not a single soul has approached Brett to advertise on the site?? And I also, had another idea there that I though was pretty decent.

Have a hosting company sponser the site! They provide it for free as long as they have their icon on all the pages. Remember, a lot of the people here are webmasters and need a hosting option at some time.

It is going to take time no matter which way you try and solve the issue.

Nevermind e) is a no go!


 7:16 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

A & B are out as it would be way to much work and create some hard feelings on behalf of people whos theads were not aproved.

Membership is a definite go.

Pay subscription is a ?. The main question would be how much. While I would not be willing to pay $20/mth, I would be willing to pay $20/yr.


 7:16 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

c) Members only. All members would have to log in.
Good idea.

d) Subscribers only. All members would pay a subscription fee.
Happy to pay a yearly fee for such a great resource.

>>I'd also suggest a row of small links at the top of each screen (in bold): GOOGLE FAQs, YAHOO/DMOZ FAQs, NEW MEMBER FAQs, etc.
Good idea as well.

>>Perhaps a selection of the more useful threads can be put on public display with a 'more detailed information for subscribers' link like Danny's site?
Excellent idea!

Brett has given so much of his time freely, I think it is about time the board pay for itself.


 7:18 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)


Of what i read in your post, i think you already showed some things that can be improved. For example: the 20 second you need for typing the sticky mail can be 2 seconds if you have standard templates.

You're always satisfied with a system till there's something beter. No offence, but i just don't believe WebmasterWorld has the ultimate moderation system.

But, as you said, somewhere down the line the moderators are going to get out of eye-ball time. But on short-term i think you should investigate the usability with a fresh perspective.


 7:25 pm on Aug 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

My vote would be a strong (c).

a- Don't like moderation and really enjoy the current environment.

b- Not enthusiastic about this at all.

d- Hate this. This board thrives because it's a free exchange of information. I believe it will shrivel and die if a paid model is chosen.

Suggestions about banner ads - Really hate this.

Richard Lowe

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