Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 220.127.116.11
Forum Moderators: rogerd
joined:June 2, 2003
Okay, back on point.
Anyone have a "Countdown to Zero" list for issues to be addressed in the last stages before going live with a forum?
Software selected. Operational test. Thread topics outlined. Some posters at the ready. Admin rules in place. Anticipated problems/issues outlined and protocals established.
What did you or someone else forget to do in the last days before you went live?
What 'obvious thing did was overlooked' by someone in your forum or someone else's forum?
Okay - back to the RV . . .
Minimizing my embarassment . . . I forgot to close the latch on the refrigerator door :(. What followed was a veritable food explosion as I rounded my first corner at speed. Everything, on all shelves, went flying - including the pitcher of lemonade. "Way to go dad."
One more thing, make sure the URLS are exactly how you want them. It's more of a pain after pages are bookmarked and linked to and spidered. WebmasterWorld is smart in that it uses forum9 instead of foo in the URL. That way, if you change the name of forum 9 to "The Foo Bar", all the links still work.
One conclusion: many people don't/won't read. Even if you have something in large type that says, "To post you must register", a significant number of visitors will contact you saying, "I can't post - what is the problem?" While there is no perfect solution, it does help to make things as obvious and simple as possible.
I've created documentation from time to time, and one method I've often used is to create an instruction set and then let a person who is totally techno-illiterate try it out. Inevitably, I find that I've skipped some steps or clarifications that were just too obvious to write down.
Particularly during launch, eliminate as much clutter as possible so that visitors can see the important stuff - where to read posts, how to register, and how to reply or create a new topic. Forum software is starting to look like office productivity software - a million bells & whistles. Some of these features may be useful, but I don't like presenting a new visitor with a hundred things to click on. "KISS" pays off at launch time...
I use registered posting only (threads are visable to unregistered users, but they can't post) so my start up check list involves making sure: a) forums are visable, b)Anon can't post.
On forums I use user groups to give private access or special fuctions (eg moderation rights), I check using a throw away user account.