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Forum Moderators: rogerd
I am planning to launch a forum for a site with high traffic (almost 10,000 people a day). To try to keep the surprises down to a minimum, I was wondering if I can predict how many members I can expect will sign up. What is the ratio of visits to members per month?
I may not require registration for the first month or so to get people posting. Eventually, I would like to have all posters sign on as members. How should I make this transition from no registration require to membership status without irritating people?
Your posts have been a valuable resource for me. Thank you all!
I don't know if anyone has a guess at how many signups to expect. I'm sure it depends on how well you promote it and what it looks like - an empty forum will draw fewer new members than one with activity. A few hundred in the first week or two? Other guesses?
I've done the transition to registration and it has been (surprisingly) less traumatic than I expected. If the forum is active and worthwhile, people will accept a simple registration requirement to post. If there have been problems with fake posts or spam, most users will welcome the registration step as a means of insuring they have a unique nickname.
I agree with roger. Most forums ask for basic sign in to become a member beacuse this reduces the amount of tidy-up you will need to perfom and gives you control of the users actions if need be. Most users will be used to this method as forums attract more 'web savvy' users in my experience.
If you are going to make the forum live and let anyone post without membership be sure to have a modding team ready 24-7 to Zap the wilder ones. A couple of missed rogue or spam postings and you will start to lose credibility through association. But if you have a quick and humble team ready to respond to them your customers will take notice and be thankful for it.
In regard to your first question - how many members can you expect? that could be any amount - just like roger says depends on how well you promote (and how many you want)
I can give you my experience on this one though:-
How should I make this transition from no registration required to membership status without irritating people?
Last time I did that we had about 12 forums on a particular site and needed to add a new one which was kind of unique/special (long story). We told everyone it was members only to keep quality high.
Everyone was very happy about that. Over a period of six months or so following, we slowly made all the other forums, one by one, members only to post, guests can still read.
We had no complaints. Membership in the forum (usernames basically) is a really important aspect to a community, so I think you have the right approach.
I think the most important thing is your registration policy - be very frank about why you want people to join, and re-assure them that the email addy they give is not going anywhere else (assuming that is the case).
Also, as mentioned above, do start interesting and detailed threads yourself to encourage people to get involved. There is nothing worse than an empty forum.
And don't go and create 20 forums all with wonderful descriptions. They will remain empty and look bad. Start small and let it grow organically. Only start a new forum if you can start a high quality and useful first post in it.
Also, to stop certain problems, we disabled images in posts *and* sigs. But then, I'm a mean admin. My users are as young as 13, so I'm pretty strict with topics. I also have a chat room that I get the transcript from every day (the kids are told it's monitored), to make sure it's safe for everyone.