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Site Management Building a Big Board

For discussions on the overall management and administration of websites and forums.

Joeychgo

Recognized member
Joined
Jul 26, 2023
Messages
80
Website
www.forabodiesonly.com
Credits
831
One of my members just posted this. He has been a member for 12 years. This particular site is nearly 20 years old, has 40,000 members and more than 3 million posts.

I don't post this to brag or to pat myself on the back. I post this just to give you all a little insight as to what members think and what they value. If you want your site to be a success, you would do well to listen to your members.

I have noticed over the years that THIS forum seems to gain members almost every day while many other forums lose traffic as members quit coming around.
There is surely several reasons for this.
ONE that I know of is the following:
Now, don't take this as a brown nosing of anyone, just a statement of what I have noticed....
  • Moderation. Yes, I wrote that. The Moderators here are not heavy handed, egotistical assclowns like I have seen on other forums.
In some small way, a forum can succeed because of a mindset similar to a successful society. If the people don't feel oppressed and spied upon, they will produce and everyone benefits from it. When you feel like your every move is under a microscope, you don't feel free.
  • Two forums that I used to be a member of had KGB level moderators that played favorites, meddled far too much, banned good members without warning and showed no appreciation for the members that were helpful and added value to the forum.
THIS forum isn't like that.
I'm no angel. I've been spanked for stepping outside the lines but members are rarely permanently banned here.
  • You can post questions here and get help rather quickly.
  • Parts get listed for sale frequently and the cost to post an ad is NOTHING.
  • For $50 a year, you get access to other site features including some funny/risque stuff and nekkid wimmin! Of course you also get other perks...Look into becoming a GOLD member for all the details.
  • The picture posting program works well here and is easy to do.
  • There are very few rude or mean members here.
  • I have made friends with numerous people here whereas I rarely met or had any outside contact with guys from the other forums that I've been on.
Why is that? (Go ahead and take a guess)
One site I was on USED to be the 800 lb gorilla of the Mopar sites. They dominated the internet having been around in one form or another since the 90s. THings have turned bad for that site though. They continue to lose traffic and the site has been limping along for years. You can scroll through the days new posts within an hour or less. Some sub forums there go weeks between postings.
They have a couple entrenched Moderators (That don't even own classic cars anymore) that have banned people for the smallest of issues that are often not even listed in the rules. Doing so does not inspire camaraderie among the members or a happy environment when they think that THEY are next on the list. I get thoughts of Russian KGB where everyone is paranoid and only looking out for themselves.
That isn't the case here.
I welcome the new members that have jumped on board. You will like it here.



A few takeaways (in my opinion) --
  • Don't over moderate. Treat members how you would like to be treated.
  • The software you use is important. It's the reason I chose VBulletin initially and when it was time to change I went to XF. Features and ease of use is what I based my decisions on.
  • Do your best to make your forum friendly to the members.
  • Listen to member feedback -- that doesn't mean obey everything they say or suggest -but consider their feedback thoughtfully and logically.
 
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These are very insightful and good tips overall.

Don't over moderate. Treat members how you would like to be treated.
I've been a member of too many forums where the staff watch your every move like a hawk. Some staff members probably feel a sense of power or entitlement that they think they have to create a successful forum by keeping members perfectly running from what they envision. This takes away freedom and is a good way to prevent members from returning.

The software you use is important. It's the reason I chose VBulletin initially and when it was time to change I went to XF. Features and ease of use is what I based my decisions on.
I chose Jcink for a few reasons, being a.) it seemed to lack a well, thought-out resource board, b.) I'm too poor to afford paid software and have no server-side knowledge and c.) I come from the days of InvisionFree/ZetaBoards and Jcink is most similar to the forum software I found that has that sense of feel that those networks did.

Granted, Jcink is old as dirt and very inactive compared to most forum software, but I do what I do as a hobby and nothing more. With my limited knowledge, it's about the best way for me to occupy my free time. I would love to try my hand at Xenforo or IPB one day, but due to the reasons mentioned above, I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Do your best to make your forum friendly to the members.
This is good overall advice. Proper organization, a friendly atmosphere, and accessibility can go a long way in making your forum a nice place to visit.

Listen to member feedback -- that doesn't mean obey everything they say or suggest -but consider their feedback thoughtfully and logically.
I think I've always been pretty good at listening to member feedback on my board. I try to take into account what the board provides and what it could use to make it the best it can be. A lot of feedback that has been suggested by members in the past has been implemented, while some feedback seemed less practical to the overall vision of the board. There has to be a balance of what your board needs and what it does not necessarily need. You don't want to bloat your forum, but you want to have enough features and options to keep members coming back and supporting the community.
 
I laughed at the reference to KGB level moderators.

Definitely think a lighter touch on moderation is more important than ever. I actually think all of moderation needs to shift into a higher-value goal: instead of being punitive, we should direct our staff members to be advocates.

Some classic lessons that stand the test of time. Thanks for sharing @Joeychgo
 
I always strive to make sure my members feel welcome on my forums. If you treat others like garbage, chances are you're not going to keep members or gain new ones because they don't want to join a community that's heavily moderated. The software does matter to a point, you should always go with the software that fits you and your member's needs. Listen to your members, iirc the official cPanel forum switched software and so many members there complained about the change because the new platform was lacking features their older forum had.
 
One of my members just posted this. He has been a member for 12 years. This particular site is nearly 20 years old, has 40,000 members and more than 3 million posts.

I don't post this to brag or to pat myself on the back. I post this just to give you all a little insight as to what members think and what they value. If you want your site to be a success, you would do well to listen to your members.


A few takeaways (in my opinion) --
  • Don't over moderate. Treat members how you would like to be treated.
  • The software you use is important. It's the reason I chose VBulletin initially and when it was time to change I went to XF. Features and ease of use is what I based my decisions on.
  • Do your best to make your forum friendly to the members.
  • Listen to member feedback -- that doesn't mean obey everything they say or suggest -but consider their feedback thoughtfully and logically.
Hey @Joeychgo I have a "challenge question" for you, which I think cuts to the heart of modern forum building.

Let's say you had to start over today. Or start a new forum today. What would you do now, differently, in today's world and in today's internet?

It's one thing to have a Big Board that's been around for twenty years when the web was young. It's quite different to cut your teeth in today's web.
 
Let's say you had to start over today. Or start a new forum today. What would you do now, differently, in today's world and in today's internet?

While some of the marketing avenues have changed, (ie facebook wasn't around when I started) essentially I would do mostly the same things. In the end, you can bring people to your forum all you want, but if the software frustrates them, or the membership isn't friendly, if it isn't well organized, if moderation is aggressive, those people won't return.

For example, When the primary vbulletin developers left to start XF, I didn't join the initial waves of people to run to XF. I watched and waited for several years. Reason being is that I didn't want to upend the software environment and change the user experience. When I finally decided it was time to move away from vBulletin, I spent months researching the options. I ultimately decided on XF because it was very similar to vB in many ways and would ease the transition for the membership.

So while the methods of getting people to the site may be a little different, the rest would be the same.

And really, the biggest key to getting people to the site is getting over the original hurdle of getting a number of active and influential members. Word of mouth can do wonders once you get to a level of critical mass.
 
KGB Level Moderators!
Well, I left a site because one of the moderators was just like KGB agent. I left the site even though I was offered cash for posting.
Forums that were started 10-15 years ago, when there were not many social media sites for broadcasting content, and still running, might be big now. That's because their user base is Generation X, who saw how internet evolved.
 
Do your best to make your forum friendly to the members.
I think this is really important to be successful.

So many bigger forums online have diminished because the owner has allowed cliques to form and run the forum.

I'm almost afraid to join most big boards because I fear a clique might be pulling the strings. Most people in a clique will attack a newbie quick for being newbie. I can't stand those people. I'll stay the heck away from them.

But if you stop that before it happens and demand a friendly environment, I think success will definitely follow.

No one wants to join a community and be treated like crap because they're getting that from the rest of the internet.
 

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Would You Rather #9

  • Start a forum in a popular but highly competitive niche

    Votes: 5 17.9%
  • Initiate a forum within a limited-known niche with zero competition

    Votes: 23 82.1%
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