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Forum Moderators: rogerd
What indicators do you find useful?
It's hard enough to explain to sponsors/donors that your community is growing, and that it's worth supporting, unless you can kind a killer angle that's not so anecdotal and personalised ie. "mind-blowing posts".
Guess it's not something others find important then.
You know you've built a community when they all, on their own, make arrangements to meet each other in person.Agreed, but that will happen faster for certain boards than others, for example ones with a regional focus, or particularly 'rosy' communities.
I like to plot histograms, grouping members according to number of posts. A healthy community would give one that's not too skewed
Perhaps a statistician would look for unanswered posts more than 24 hours old as an indicator.
I've seen karma features/mods a lot, but the "thank you" button is a little more focused on "I got my answer" versus "I have a good feeling and I want to share." Whether it incorporates timestamps or not, I do not know.
Now it's been suggested in this forum that sometimes the best approach to foster involvement isn't to give a neatly packaged answer, but to pull the questioner into the conversation with some followups, doling out the info/answers in tidbits. A bit like the following:
Q: "Where can I buy gravity-fed widgets?"
A1: "example.com and example.net both stock a variety of widgets."
A2: "Could you tell us whether you need left-handed or right-handed widgets? there have been a lot of forum members reporting probelms getting left-handed widgets promptly from overseas. Have you considered miniature right-handed widgets?"
With A2 you stand a better chance of building up your authority stance along the way too.
A couple things I've tried:
+ you asked a project question, I'll suggest you add pics of the finished project to the gallery board
+ awarding custom titles for those who post completed projects.
Another thought, less quantitive than my original list:
Use Pathelizer to see how content is being viewed: this could help you identify "the beaten track" in your forum better, and add a new angle on the users that innovate and those that don't.
A good third-party stats tracking program will give you what you need.
Glad to see another Discusware user here. I don't have any active DW forums now, but it's an underrated tool that can be hacked to produce really good search engine performance.