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Forum Moderators: rogerd
I know we've got some experienced folks here... What have you done to get conversation flowing and attract new members?
I once had a teacher who said, "The first five languages are the toughest." (He spoke a dozen or so.) Forum operators typically find that the first few thousand posts are the toughest - once you are at that level, you probably have something going, even if it's not quite enough to launch your forum to the six or seven digit level.
What comes first? Do you jump in as yourself, the host? Do you adopt other nicks, or get your buddies to post? When you have a flicker of flame and wisp of smoke, so to speak, how do you fan it into a real fire?
Free Speech is about respect to the speaker. But it isn't there to protect those speakers who carry on in a disrespectful manner - it's difficult to claim a speaker deserves respect whilst simultaneously abusing others.
Free Speech means everyone has the right to be heard. It does not mean everyone has the right to be listened to.
People who start flame wars or insult others can be politely pointed in the direction of the TOS which says: "insulting other members will not be tolerated" and have their posts deleted.
UK forums and US forums are very different, unless your site attracts both. And even then a country's law may not support the internet.
But I was only using a shop as an example of inviting users to use something. Internet law would be different - if it applied at all to message boards.
These hostile situations would be why moderators are hired/used. To calm things down etc.
Most community members welcome a set of rules to live by, and are happy to see obnoxious or self-promotional posters dealt with.
I have 100 users, 20 active, with 5 to 10 posts daily... for some odd reason some don't seem to get the 'rules'
btw. all registered users are people that I had personal contact with (friends or collegues). We all preatty much live on a 4 sq. km area in Toronto. If I delete a post, they all find out about it (even if they don't post/read the forums)
Its funny how an online flame war gets carried on when run into other members on the streets.
Due to other fired discussions, one girl left the forums.. and along her closest firends. The "start your own forum" idea as not that great... now that I see somebody recomending it :)
I have no TOS/rules, other then "be nice to others, and STAY on topic"... the 'stay on topic' part I have really big troubles with since in a couple of posts, 10 or more events/ideas are being discussed...
I find myself into a position of _educating_ people how to post... any working templates?
What rules should govern this kind of community, where physical contact is unpredictable. Say someone swears at another member online, and I have no time to delete posts and ban the offender, they'll start fist fighting the next time they meet each other. It has happened... :) (95% of members are between 15 and 24)
heh.. I've also been warned by a couple of ppl to get sued... for what happens on the forums/photo gallery comments ... is this a real threat? can they really sue an admin/mod?
And don't enter into any correspondence about this, otherwise you'll find thart you'll get dragged into personal arguments that you don't want. Just do it and move on.
Have a sentence in your TOS that says something to the effect of "Posts containing personal abuse, personal attacks and the like will be deleted without notice. No correspondence witll be entrered into concerning these", and then stick to it ruthlessly.
If everybody knows that you'll enforce this ruthlessly, then nobody will feel picked on, and most people wil appreciate it.
Adwords would be good for a forum campaign. Apart from that - then I don't know.
I've just started mine, so I'm finding out as I go.
I'm a forum newbie too. One thing I've heard though, is that once a forum gets popular - it really takes off!
As owner you have a strong bias and that can often get in the way.
Moderators on the other hand are bound by forum rules that you develop, and are less likely to break such rules.
Some invested interest can often be enough to get a core group in place.
Interesting enough I have never developed a single client from my own website: they have been (almost entirely) developed from forums... and based (as I have been told) via demonstrated helpfulness, knowledge, skill, and professionalism.
Likeminded professionals that share an interest as you are your best option and usually these people can be easily seen if you actually sit down and start honestly looking at what you - yourself offer to your own board.
Develop a list of potential, busineses, associates, and possibly those involved is some form of community development (not just forums but real world).
You will find a few and dedicate them and yourself in the early stages to develop 2 posts per day. Keep this number low, often they will add more.