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What are examples of the best thread starters in a forum?

The top 10, 20, let's see if we can hit "50 ways to get a thread going"

     
3:57 pm on Oct 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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1. Ask a good, thought provoking question that is relevant to some recent trend or event?

Okay, your turn.

Please copy and paste the preceding "numbered thread starters" into your post.

Please keep the thread starter suggestions to no more than 3 sentences.

I'll now demonstrate what I'm asking you to do.

3:58 pm on Oct 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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1. Ask a good, thought provoking question that is relevant to some recent trend or event?

2. Post a news headline that is relevant to the community and a brief summary of the article.

4:00 pm on Oct 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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1. Ask a good, thought provoking question that is relevant to some recent trend or event?

2. Post a news headline that is relevant to the community and a brief summary of the article.

3. State a common belief and then assert a basis for challenging that belief. Perhaps something you recently 'discovered' while analyzing G's search results, if it's a SEO forum.

4:02 pm on Oct 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Feel free to add more than 1 if the spirit moves you. Maybe we'll go beyond 50.

The objective, here, is to provide fertilizer for the minds of people who have just started or are about to start a new forum, or to help those whose forums may be languishing at the moment.

I'd like to come up with something that can be easily printed out and posted on a wall next to a monitor as brain food for forum moderators or operators. A basic first aide kit for a common 'we're stuck on the side of the road on the information highway' rescue kit.

4:31 pm on Oct 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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1. Ask a good, thought provoking question that is relevant to some recent trend or event?

2. Post a news headline that is relevant to the community and a brief summary of the article.

3. State a common belief and then assert a basis for challenging that belief. Perhaps something you recently 'discovered' while analyzing G's search results, if it's a SEO forum.

4. Start a thread about one of the problem areas locally and ask for input on how to begin mitigation of the problem, on a municipal forum.

5. Again on a municipal forum, post about your favorite place to eat, vacation or play - guaranteed to get feedback!

6. Talk about your favorite game (pc or console) or your preferred computer specifications/brands. Another feedback guarantee, even on fora communities where machines aren't necessarily a common conversation.

Great idea, btw!

6:10 pm on Oct 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Building on 6,

7. Choose a topic that has "true believer" overtones, e.g., that is expresseed in terms of Mac vs. PC, Linux vs. Windows, liberal vs. conservative, Michigan vs. Ohio State, etc.

Just about every forum has a few of these kinds of topics that are guaranteed to bring everyone piling in.

(For readability, let's just add new numbers and not repeat all the preceding ones. When our imaginations are drained, Webwork or someone can do a massive summary post.)

2:58 am on Nov 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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8. Pets - if you have an off-topic area (or perhaps a forum where pets aren't off topic), start a pet-related topic. People love to talk about their pets or offer advice to other pet owners.
3:18 am on Nov 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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9. Cars/trucks - absolutely positively will haul lurkers out of lurk!
2:20 pm on Nov 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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10. Write a review of a book relevant to your topic and post it in the forum. Pull a few provocative quotes from the book that you can disagree with; members will join the conversation on one side or the other.
7:42 pm on Nov 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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11. Start a thread asking for "50 ideas for..." or "Two dozen ways to..." ;)

C'mon, everyone, let's pitch in here. Don't leave all the heavy lifting to vkaryl.

8:27 pm on Nov 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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12. ask for specific info about a holiday destination that could be contentious like...
which club in ibiza has the best music
or
isn't barcelona getting dirty i couldn't find a decent hotel
8:31 pm on Nov 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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13. start a thread about the 'proper' way to do some ritualised activity such as ... this is what a proper christmas dinner should be like, blah, blah , the perfect ingredients for a smoothie

everyone will chip in with their own 'correct' method and you might even get a decent argument about the best way to roast spuds!

<edited count number - can't count!>

8:34 pm on Nov 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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14. Ethics Discussions
8:35 pm on Nov 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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15. start a thread about how you always win at the casino/conversely how it is impossible to win

always strong sides between those who believe they are basically 'up' and those who scream 'impossible'

8:37 pm on Nov 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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>>14. Ethics Discussions

ha! should i grass my competitors techniques to google being a particularily fine example!

10:40 am on Nov 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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16. If the forum has some history, look back for past "hot button" topics and use a variation or update on one to start a new thread.
3:25 pm on Nov 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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17. ask how to do some relatively easy thing 'dumb blonde' style, eg. you already know the answer but yer doing it for attention. there'll be plenty of people wanting to show how bright they are by answering.
4:10 pm on Nov 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Hey, topr8, I RESEMBLE that remark!

All these are guaranteed to get hot discussions going, true - though may also cause flame wars, even on a forum with relatively mature members.

There's also always politics and religion - I've been in some thoughtful, well-informed, well-constructed discussions on those. But that's rare - mostly those are "Katy bar the door" time....

18. (Is that the right #? *sigh*) Ask for help with information about a place you're moving: what's fun to do, where's good to eat, which newspaper to subscribe to, any advice about dealing with utilities, etc....

12:59 am on Nov 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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19. What can I give my sigother for Christmas, birthday, anniversary, fathers' or mothers' or grandparent's etc. day?

20. I feel as if I'm missing out on real life due to *insert machine-or-programming-specific here*. What do you recommend to counteract this?

21. I SERIOUSLY need to lose 25 pounds. Where on EARTH do I start (and no throwaways like "stop eating" thankyouverymuch!)

22. I think my sigother is having an affair. Help?

23. My ancestors arrived from *** in 16** (insert family specifics), but I can't figure out how they got HERE from THERE. Any ideas where to look?

Give me a few, bound to come up with s'more....

24. What's YOUR recipe for s'mores?

1:56 am on Nov 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Might be too similar to #10, but here goes:

25. Discuss a trade magazine likely to have been read by your members, such as "Could you believe the article about ______ in WidGetsPro this month?"

1:59 am on Nov 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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26. Discuss future of industry techniques: "What's the future of Widget Steaming? I'm pretty sure it's going out of style and the industry will switch to Widget Baking."

27. Discuss failure of past industry techiques: "Why do you think Widget Rotisseries aren't used that widely anymore?"

2:12 am on Nov 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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28. Why A beats B every time
Sample A's and B's
FrontPage v. Dreamweaver
Ford v. Chevy
2:54 am on Nov 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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29. Is the "Big Bang" a viable theory? Why or why not?

30. Is Stephen Hawking the next Albert Einstein? Why or why not?

31. Is a college degree important? What about an MBA? PHD?

32. Who really BELONGS in the Rose Bowl this year? Or the Super Bowl? Or the World Series?

33. How do you feel about the death penalty? Gun ownership? Abortion?

[Note please that with almost all of the above, you ARE risking some serious flame wars. There are cases where those topics might be logical. Then again, there are cases where YOU JUST DO NOT WANT TO GO THERE.]

3:07 am on Nov 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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34. Food. Anything about food. Your gramma's shepherd's pie. Your sigother's Unca Dave's "special" oatmeal cookies. Threads like that can go on forever, spawn "board cookbook" entries, and produce County Fair winners....
3:59 am on Nov 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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35. Post forum related pictures, if forum software/TOS permits pictures.

Examples: professional forum = pics of recent marketing campaign, new t-shirts, new logo, shaking hands with someone famous/important, car audio forum = pics of car's sound system, any forum = pics from a gag you pulled on someone like 'covered coworker's office with sticky notes'

8:59 pm on Nov 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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36. Don't be afraid to veer off-topic once in a while - sometimes, a fun topic that's unrelated to the board's focus will draw a lot of attention and get lurkers out of hiding.
2:49 pm on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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37. "Introduce yourself" forum for members to break the ice and tell people a bit about themselves. Good starting point for lurkers.

38. Friday word game! ;)

Scott