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How to build a successful forum

Started by Noddegamra, August 23, 2007, 09:47:41 AM

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Rust

Quote from: perplexed on April 08, 2008, 08:02:16 AM
so you pay for some people to come post on your site, and let's assume they do a really good job talking about the content etc, and the other members enjoy replying to their posts unaware that they are actually being paid to post there and not because they want to be there, and one day you cancel your paid poster package and those people are suddenly just gone from the forum.

1. what does that do to the regular members and the community now that those posters are just no longer there and members are asking - hey where's so and so, I miss his posts
2. what happens if the regular members find out that the people whose posts they have been enjoying are actually being paid to post there and they're not

^ I've seen this happen before on more than one forum and it isn't pretty.

The most recent one happened this past week.  There is a forum that I am a moderator on (not owner) that ran on PostLoop for over a year and TheForumWheel for a few months.  The owner spent thousands of dollars on paid content and finally got sick of shoveling money at it.  As soon as the site was delisted from PostLoop and TheForumWheel, almost everyone disappeared.  Who was left was the owner, me, a PostLoop member who stayed because she liked the forum, and one regular poster.*  The latter started asking a lot of pointed questions on what happened.  I hope he sticks around, but I doubt it.

So, Perplexed makes a very good point.

* For a while there were several other regular posters, but they one by one disappeared over the last few months.  I'm not entirely sure why they went away.  I could make some educated guesses, but they'd still be guesses.

DJ Omnimaga

I was always afraid of using PostLoop or other similar services for the reasons above. I prefer giving incentives to post via contests, although money shortages have made it a challenge lately.

bendigital

Hi, I'm from Indonesia.

Being an active members on several forums in my country, I've seen some of them dying and disappear. Based on my observations, here are what makes a forum dies:

1. Social media. More and more people spend time showing off their life on social media than learn something useful on forums.
2. Spammers
3. Nobody maintains it

And I believe to make a successful forum you'll need to build a niche forum (hobby forum, automotive forum, programmer forum, technology forum, etc), a niche with active communities that have interest on that subject.
All of the biggest technological inventions created by man – the airplane, the automobile, the computer – says little about his intelligence, but speaks volumes about his laziness. – Mark Kennedy

DJ Omnimaga

About 3, even if a forum is maintained regularly, if it's mismanaged by admins or moderators then it can make people leave.

Rust

Quote from: DJ Omnimaga on November 21, 2016, 03:14:20 PM
I was always afraid of using PostLoop or other similar services for the reasons above.

You are right to be wary of those kinds of services.  I'd add that beyond the reason given above, they just don't work.  The heart and soul of any forum is the content and the personalities who created said.  Low grade, even idiotic, drivel posted by people with little or no knowledge of the niche and who don't give a damn about the community, is not an incentive for people to sign up.  On the contrary, it is a good reason to hit the back button on their browser and never come back.

DJ Omnimaga

Yeah you're better off using forum directories or some sort of link exchange in such case. Advertising via Project Wonderful or something like that can probably work as well, but the userbase gains will be minimal. Even if minimal, though, It's still much better to gain 1-2 users that will care about your forum by using those methods than getting 30 postloop users or whatever is the amount to post, then suddenly disappear once you're broke.


florence000

I've read all pages!
Thank you for your suggestions. some of them were completely new. I have in my mind one question...
Most of the forums have the space for general discussion. Some post thread games, like the alphabetic game or something similar to that. What is your opinion about it? Do forums need such spaces?
What I realise, in some occasions such spaces create a fun but in some, it seems like that such spaces distract. What is your opinion?

Rust

Quote from: DJ Omnimaga on March 06, 2017, 09:36:08 PMbetter to gain 1-2 users that will care about your forum by using those methods than getting 30 postloop users or whatever is the amount to post, then suddenly disappear once you're broke.

Very true.  And I'd add that once normal users find out there are paid posters on board, it is rarely pretty.  One example I saw recently was a site (MySurvivalForum.com) that made the mistake of using PL.  Here's a comment from a less than happy regular member:



This is not the first time I've seen a public meltdown like this.

salenaadam

5 steps to build a successful forum:
1. Think minimalist when building categories and forums.
2. As the owner you must keep contributing.
3. Create some fake personalities.
4. Publish content.
5. Recruit your mates and spread the word.

Shambles

Quote from: salenaadam
5 steps to build a successful forum:
1. Think minimalist when building categories and forums.
2. As the owner you must keep contributing.
3. Create some fake personalities.
4. Publish content.
5. Recruit your mates and spread the word.

6. Install good antispam controls.

Steve

Please do not PM me for support.

Aleksi "Lex" Kilpinen

Quote from: salenaadam on December 22, 2017, 05:06:34 AM
3 steps to build a successful forum:
1. Think minimalist when building categories and forums, but be prepared to create more.
2. As the owner you must keep contributing. Publish relevant content.
3. Recruit your mates and spread the word, but don't expect miracles over night.
Fixed it. That's all there really is IMO that is required for a succesfull start. I've seen it many times. :)
A Finnish Project Manager (Support Specialist)
 Happily running multiple SMF 2.x installations.
  Fooling around with i7-10700 @ 2,90GHz-4.80GHz / 16Gb / RTX-2070 Super / 3840x2160 / Win 10 x64


How you can help SMF

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bluevoodu

I checked this out because I'm starting a new forum.  Been out of the game for awhile... and it's harder this time around to gain new users.

The problem I had with my 1st board, If I had to go back to school or do a task for a few months... activity would die off.  I found #2 to be crucial.  I've seen other boards where it worked without the owner being active all the time... but I never had that fortune.  I sold my old site off and didn't do another forum for 5-6 years... just started end of January.   Found out I was a little rusty... back in the saddle again though.

Spam bots were a problem back then... the old board was infiltrated HARD ... it was near impossible to keep up with the deletes.   Someone above mentioned this, but it is a buzz kill to have spam bots on board.   SMF needs new features to help combat Spam bots.   The older capcha doesn't work - and sometimes keeps members out.  I've lost a couple due to capcha.   On the new board... 1/3rd of the small number of registrants were spam bots - version 2.1.5.

Anyway, it's definitely difficult these days. 
We want you to join:
Chicken Dinner Gaming Community

vii

Quote from: bluevoodu on March 20, 2018, 12:26:38 AM
Spam bots were a problem back then... the old board was infiltrated HARD ... it was near impossible to keep up with the deletes.   Someone above mentioned this, but it is a buzz kill to have spam bots on board.   SMF needs new features to help combat Spam bots.   The older capcha doesn't work - and sometimes keeps members out.  I've lost a couple due to capcha.   On the new board... 1/3rd of the small number of registrants were spam bots - version 2.1.5.

A high activity forum I moderate uses the Stop Forum Spam registration mod, as well as captcha and a unique question (though that hasn't changed in a while). It's been very successful, and I don't think there has been a successful spam post in months. It's not for a lack of trying either - the user approval list grows regularly but is blocked by SFP. It's very useful to have, imo.

GigaWatt

https://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=531660.msg3776163#msg3776163

I tried this advice and... so far, it seems to do a good job ;). I dropped my registration questions from 3 to 1 just by applying the advice above. No anti spam mods, nothing ;).
"This is really a generic concept about human thinking - when faced with large tasks we're naturally inclined to try to break them down into a bunch of smaller tasks that together make up the whole."

"A 500 error loosely translates to the webserver saying, "WTF?"..."

Rust

Quote from: salenaadam on December 22, 2017, 05:06:34 AM
3. Create some fake personalities.

Do this and get caught, or at least strongly suspected, and your credibility is gone.

Quote from: Shambles on December 22, 2017, 05:15:55 AM
6. Install good antispam controls.

^ Indeed, immediately.

bluevoodu

I'm going to give variants of the questions  a try from the link you posted,  Gigawatt.   Thank you for sharing, I'll post results.

@virginiaz - depending on results, I will work on your suggestions after trying the questions. 
We want you to join:
Chicken Dinner Gaming Community

GigaWatt

The question template does wonders ;). I even dropped the cpatcha, haven't had a bot register for 2 weeks now ;) :).
"This is really a generic concept about human thinking - when faced with large tasks we're naturally inclined to try to break them down into a bunch of smaller tasks that together make up the whole."

"A 500 error loosely translates to the webserver saying, "WTF?"..."

bluevoodu

So far the questions worked!  I'm thinking of dropping captcha as well. Is that still working for you?
We want you to join:
Chicken Dinner Gaming Community

GigaWatt

Yep :). Not one bot registered since I've implemented it ;). I have bout 20 different questions, no captcha. I have about 3 or 4 users active at all time and around 30 to 40 guests... I haven't checked but I'd bet at least half of them are bots... some just crawling, some trying to register.

Although, I have to add that the forum is not in English and that the questions are in Cyrillic, so... I guess that adds a little more extra security. But, hey, you can always just add Cyrillic or characters in some other language and do the questions with those characters included randomly in the strings, along with other Lain characters and ask users to write combinations of them in the answer filed (the first five, the last two and the first three, etc.), so even if the users don't actually know what the characters are, they do understand that they have to enter them in that particular order, which can be done with a simple copy/paste from the question :). This also might limit your user base, but... hey, I'm not making money off of mine, I'm doing it because I like it (and I love what the forum is about), so I'm actually not too keen on gaining users that can't get that the simplest way to enter characters which your current keyboard settings doesn't support, is through copy/paste ::). I actually did a user purge about a month ago... out of almost 4000 users, about 2500 haven't posted anything and haven't logged in for the past 5 years.

If the forum is in English, I'd drop the captcha for a day or two, see what happens, if a few bots register, I'd either reinstate the captcha or add another question, see if that fixes it.
"This is really a generic concept about human thinking - when faced with large tasks we're naturally inclined to try to break them down into a bunch of smaller tasks that together make up the whole."

"A 500 error loosely translates to the webserver saying, "WTF?"..."

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