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Forum Moderators: lawman
a) Pre-moderation. All threads would require moderator approval before public posting.
b) Voting and public moderation. There would be a system where posts could be voted on by users. You would be able to set your own "twit list" level where messages below that level would not be included.
c) Members only. All members would have to log in.
d) Subscribers only. All members would pay a subscription fee.
Which one would you vote for and why? (one vote only please)
I think its time for a subscription based membership. There is a lot of priceless knowledge floating around here. Making that type of switch would really rock the SEO community. You would definitely take some of the stress away but could lose a little face.
b) Not sure how this would work. Brett, could you please explain a bit more?
I'd prefer c), but could very well understand d), of course depending on the fee. I guess I could live with having to suscribe for so much quality content.
e) Banner ADS
I don't think you like this option, but I'd put it out anyway.
I'd hate to see you do anything to reduce the amount of success you are having. I don't usually have problems accessing your site.
FWIW, I think making people wait for their post or threads to be
approved by a moderator would kill off lots of your traffic.
Also, I think any voting/twit list level misses an important point.
Namely, there are some VERY helpful topics/post that interest just
a few folks. The majority would not vote enough for them to be considered
valuable enough to make the cut above twit list -- even though for
someone interested in the topic they would be golden.
Moreover, exactly what is the problem with the increased traffic?
What is your concern? Bandwidth cost? System not holding up? What?
Not having answers to the above, in general, why not consider a
dedicated server with plenty of memory? They can be had for not
much per month.
Thanks for providing a great online forum and community!
I managed a board a few years ago and instituted this type of moderation. It required 24/7/365 attention, something that I did not have the resources for. I'm sure those resources are available here.
Brett, the boards reputation precedes itself in the industry. Most people know that drive-bys are quickly addressed. I'd vote out the a) choice immediately!
A/ Far too much work for the Moderators and would slow down the forums too much.
B/ I somtimes enjoy reading the stupid posts + the stupid posts need an answer from the people in the know!...ive posted a few stupid posts myself im afraid to say.
C/ Members only i have to agree on being a good idea, as long as you can automaticly log in.
D/ A small yearly subscription fee £25ish?....I think i would get that much worth in information in a year....easily!
The subscriber route I'm not sure about either - though I do know that if I didn't have a choice, I'd pay up in a heart beat :)
Banners I am strongly opposed to, for a few reasons.
>>>About the twit list
This would mean I could filter my reading preference based on what the community thought of various threads, right? So if it was like PageRank (didn't somebody suggest ThreadRank a while ago?) and on a base10 scale, I could select to read only those threads and or posts which were rated about a TR of 3 -
though of course, this would make it hard to break in to the ranks, becuase the threshold is so high :)
Does that sound like an attempt at explanation for that one?
A modest fee would cut out a lot of the drive-by stuff and the reputation of WebmasterWorld does proceed it.
Perhaps a selection of the more useful threads can be put on public display with a 'more detailed information for subscribers' link like Danny's site?
d) Subscribers only. All members would pay a subscription fee.
Its a good thing but i agree with Woz there is many readers and members from poor countries in WebmasterWorld. But i think WebmasterWorld need some cash to get this board running its growing fast and a lot of work and time for free.
I'd also suggest a row of small links at the top of each screen (in bold): GOOGLE FAQs, YAHOO/DMOZ FAQs, NEW MEMBER FAQs, etc. That might divert some of duplicated newbie material.
B)Voting - I have seen some posts here that were revelations to me but no one else seemed interested in - I would be afraid we would lose that
C) Members only - Don't you have to be a member to post already? I think lurking gives people a chance to get the "lay of the land" before jumping in.
D) Paid Membership - There is already an opportunity here for people to make donations. I think you should promote that more, without making it mandatory.
What about making more incentives for people to become members? Maybe everyone stays at junior or below unless they pay? <noindex> for profiles of non-paying participants? Special Forums for paid members only? A reminder e-mail "You have now posted 25 times - please consider paying." Maybe create a high pr page where member URLs are accepted.
That way you don't drive anyone away for not paying, but those who can afford to belong will hopefully see the benefit of paying.
With all the growth, you must be doing something right - so I would watch out for dramatic changes to what has been a very successful formula.
Not ok at all. I just take myself as an example. I had been lurking for a couple of weeks before I became a member. At that point, I had a question I needed answered fast, would have been a problem to have to wait for a week.
I guess the waiting period would only be an option if we were to go the members only way.
b)This is not very good either unless you have enough people setting their level to 0 so they get all the posts so they can vote to make it go up so others will see.
c)Is how it's set up now no? Or are we saying restricting viewing of the board to only subscribers? This takes your lurkers out of the picture but it also removes the enrollment rate down. Think how may people say I have been lurking and finally decided to post? They are going to go somewhere else because they can’t see anything. Unless we do the beef for public and full course for members.
d)I would say this is the best option, the knowledge here is overwhelming to say the least! With this set up it would be possible to even allow the lurkers to read but not post with out paying for the subscription. Now tell me who is willing to pay any amount simply to make a drive by post? Plus if they do hey that’s free money because the post is going to get deleted if its not appropriate. But the beef and full course can be used on this one as well which would work great.
I realise WebmasterWorld has to generate revenue to pay for server space and help with management costs - that should be a separate question and unrelated to this question. If a fee is a solution to this problem, i see it as less effective than c. I doubt if i would go to the trouble of voting, and it seems fairly subjective - plus we may miss some great non mainstream posts or provocative posters like Charles!
Most web sites who go to subscriptions dont understand the problem of people from poorer countries with bad exchange rates. They say it is "too difficult". But as a result they become very US/Western European oriented. So its nice to know the problems of us who have to save up in bahts. ringitts, rupeas etc. is being recognized. It is great to see posts here worldwide.
Another option is that you have the moderators and using your own system (ThreadRank) so select a few threads each week, which will be put in a newsletter and you have to pay a small fee to receive the newsletter.
Something like Mr Sullivan’s letter (SEW).
And that would maybe save time for the people who just stop by to read info about different things, because they will get the essential in the newsletter, and they would probably be willing to pay for it.
But I am also wondering what the main reason for this thread is; is it to get fewer users, more cash etc?
There is also one option somewhat similar to Search Engine Watch, that you create a forum were you have “the latest” information that will be published there, and you have to pay a small fee. (it’s really just like the Private Forums you admin ;) )
You can always start selling links according to PageRank ;)
a) That will kill your moderators, and discourage posting.
b) Someone mentioned this before, but there are some single posters that produce diamonds. Consensus voting creates averages, which creates mediocre content.
c) This sounds the most reasonable. Definitelly reduce the new members, and reduce the "transient" ones too.
d) This would work as c) except for a fee... So what is the difference other then an income source. Is the stress financial?
a) is a potential minfield of issues (what criteria will determine if a thread will be posted, who will make the decision?) and may lead to a drop in confidence about the quality of info available (at least now we have so many opinions on one topic that we can be sure that it is a fair representation of the subject area).
b) for the love of all things holy - our jobs are hard enough without having to "optimise" our posts as well! Where will it end....? :)
c) would be my prefered choice, as there isnt really any hassle in signing up as a member. Perhaps consider kicking out members who havent posted in a while (ala hotmail?). Not for any nasty or spiteful reason, but i would imagine that there are a number of less <ahem> credible SEO´s lurking in the background that would take, take, take without any thought of returning to offer help or input at some point.
d) well, again, I think info should be free (or at least let the advertisers pay!). No strings. Plus the site wouldnt attract new members as frequently and I firmly beleive that the heart of any discussion is a new perspective.
e) bring in the advertisers!
eg >>>>>>NEW THREAD: The art of SEO, sponsored by Levi´s :)
Brett, all of your options seem to centre on reducing the amount of visitors to the site or limiting the threads.
Surely there are options available that could sustain the level of growth of the site? A few ideas:
>>> virtual franchise - split the forum´s sections onto different virtual servers - keep the main threads and sections in house and send the less popular sections to hosting companies and let them deal with it (but still under your moderation, etc etc). Itd be easy enough to seamlessly link between them. Obviously not a problem free solution, but it would mean keeping the site the way it is (and the way it is growing to).
>>> upgrade the hardware. An expensive solution, but a solution nonetheless.
>>> solicit members help. At the end of the day there is a hell of a lot of business owners and industry experts on this forum. Surely between them they could come up with a business model of one or more sites that could keep the forum funded and advertising free?
Just a few thoughts....
Isnt the point (or at least the idealists´ view) of the internet that anyone can share or access information for free and without censorship?
I don't think so - but then I'm not an idealist. ;)
I'm not sure why Brett or third party advertisers should bear the costs of providing information that I profit from.