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Author Topic: Long story short, your forum is dead in the water without a few other posters.  (Read 3147 times)

Offline confuseamuse

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I've been looking through this board for advice on how to build my forum, and while I think the advice is good, there was only one that applied to my situation.

However, all you need before to make a forum is 5-10 close friends with same interest, then open a discussion about the forum.
By working alone, you'll never get a successful forum.

Trust me, I am ASIAN one of many owners of successful forum since 2010 (That time I am still 13).
These screenshots below explained. :P

Forum:


Chatbox (from mod SimplePortal):


I honestly thought this was the only problem I had to worry about, realistically speaking. My friends aren't interested in the content I want to make my forum about, which is really discouraging as I can't justify keeping it open. I have a lot of topics I want to make, but what's the point without someone else to interject and add their opinion to.

So, this post isn't really about helping me, but I want to say to those considering opening a forum, make sure you have at least one other person interested in your forum's content. It is really difficult to make attractive content if it's just you. I'm not saying it's impossible, but unless you are able to commit to posting regularly (and by regularly, I mean daily) with no other input for a long LONG time, it won't get off the ground.

Offline Arantor

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Yup, completely agree - starting a forum needs other people involved to make it work. No-one wants to join a forum that has no-one in it.

The environment where you want to make attractive content to share with other people without having an audience feeding it is a totally different thing, it's called blogging ;)
To assume is to hope that those who came before had the presence of mind and capacity to implement the dreams of those who would come after.

Don’t try to tell me that some power can corrupt a person. You haven’t had enough to know what it’s like.

Offline confuseamuse

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Yup, completely agree - starting a forum needs other people involved to make it work. No-one wants to join a forum that has no-one in it.

The environment where you want to make attractive content to share with other people without having an audience feeding it is a totally different thing, it's called blogging ;)

That's literally the format for all of my posts at the moment. The best I can hope for is either my friends come around and contribute or I manage to attract people intending to "comment", then realising it's a forum, so they can make their own posts. Either that, or I shut the whole thing down.

Offline Rust

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Indeed, Empty Restaurant Syndrome (ERS) exists for forums and some other forms of online venues.  No one, particularly in this day and age, is going to bother with a dead community.  Add in outdated technology and you've got yourself a ghost town from the word go.  You need a small group of committed folks, no flakes, to have any realistic chance of getting a forum off the ground.  Don't have that and you are just wasting your time and money.

Offline lostpathway

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I'm kind of in this stage. I and a friend are pretty dedicated to the forum, with two or so others who are irregular in participation. We're new, and so it's the struggle to find other people who share a similar niche interest who'd want to participate. Racking my brain for ways to reach out to others.

Online landyvlad

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I'm kind of in this stage. I and a friend are pretty dedicated to the forum, with two or so others who are irregular in participation. We're new, and so it's the struggle to find other people who share a similar niche interest who'd want to participate. Racking my brain for ways to reach out to others.

Social media groups for that interest area? (facebook etc)

Friendly with any shops relevant to your area?  (eg a dealership for a vehicle forum that may allow you have an ad at their customer service desk).



Another question you need to ask yourself, is the forum focus too narrow?
Consider, for example, the difference between a 'Chevrolet" forum, a "Chevrolet Corvette" forum and a "1967 Corvette" forum.
Please do not PM, IM or Email me with questions on astrophysics or theology.  You will get better and faster responses by asking homeless people in the street. Thank you.

Offline confuseamuse

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Haven't been here in a while, so wanted to give an update.

After discovering that SMF wouldn't let you upload attachments to a different server to the one you host the forum on, I closed the server down and the forum. I haven't given up, but I will be building a small group first before opening the forum. Going to go grassroots with it and keep it simple. A forum is simply far too big for the amount of people interested in my subject.

Offline GigaWatt

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And what might that subject be... if you wouldn't mind sharing?
"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?"..."

Offline confuseamuse

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And what might that subject be... if you wouldn't mind sharing?

It was a forum for the discussion and collaboration about and for creative art, journalism and activism. Maybe that's too broad, but I don't think so as of yet.

Offline GigaWatt

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I asked because I was hoping I could help in some way, experience from my forum... although I didn't started it, I was a member almost from the start.

I'm sorry I can't help. My forum is about electronics :S.
"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?"..."

Offline Arantor

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I'd have thought there would have been enough scope for a forum with that scope of discussion, as in sufficiently broad to attract a range of opinions and thoughts and discussions from a range of members (of course, one has to *get* the members)
To assume is to hope that those who came before had the presence of mind and capacity to implement the dreams of those who would come after.

Don’t try to tell me that some power can corrupt a person. You haven’t had enough to know what it’s like.

Offline confuseamuse

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I'd have thought there would have been enough scope for a forum with that scope of discussion, as in sufficiently broad to attract a range of opinions and thoughts and discussions from a range of members (of course, one has to *get* the members)

This was the problem. I couldn't get the members in the first place. I definitely think there's a draw for a forum with the purpose mine had, the initial members are necessary though. I think I need to attract people I know first, but I don't want to reiterate what's been said.

Offline Arantor

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Yup, just from what you were saying, it seemed like you'd concluded the genre of forum was too small to support a forum itself.

Honestly, I'd be interested in such a place.
To assume is to hope that those who came before had the presence of mind and capacity to implement the dreams of those who would come after.

Don’t try to tell me that some power can corrupt a person. You haven’t had enough to know what it’s like.

Offline drewactual

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good discussion.

so the most successful page i've ever built was inherited from a major company that went bankrupt and was purchased out of bankruptcy by CBS.  the core group sought a place to land that kept them out of the CBS reach- so i hastily threw together the site and tossed out the welcome mat.  I share this as it's the only time/place i was able to build a forum first.  usually the 'community' comes second after the 'anchor tenant' is established.  this is most often a blog or some sort of informative page.  i was able to take the crowd first and then introduce the publisher (publishing original content via community contributors).  i also aggregate articles for users through permission from other publishers. 

i just want to toss this out there for prosperity's sake:  the wealthiest person i've ever personally known, who is very wealthy, once said to me "sell to the classes, live with the masses; sell to the masses, live with the classes".  in bricks and mortar stores, this is absolute.  however, in the world of the interwebz, it has been my experience it's quite the opposite. 

i launched a cigar shop in the late nineties to support a bricks and mortar store(s) i was running at the time.  I did this October 1.  by closing of the year's books, which happened in mid January, online sales accounted for a full 1/3 of my sales.  my local sales actually increased modestly from the prior years.  this demonstrated to me the power of the internet.  it wasn't easy, even then- i had to compete against several heavy hitters who were well established and 'destination locations' even at the time... (read: people sat in front of their computers and rattle-tapped THAT company name to seek the products they wanted, instead of searching for the product itself).  there was only one way, by my reckoning, to counter this... instead of selling (metatag- huge at the time insofar as ranking was concerned) "handmade cigars", i instead listed "honduran, dominican, and nicaraguan handmade maduro robusto's", and hoping someone searched for one of those.... slicing a thin part out of the overarching 'handmade cigar' genre... it seemed to have worked.  I managed to put together my own little ranking system for each of the 'headliner' cigar i focused on, and asked others opinions instead of being all decisive and confirmative about it... it wasn't long before i had a community- and wasn't long before i was playing with different forum software to support it... it would be a decade before i launched into SMF. 

the point i'm trying to make is to actually be as distinct and narrow of focus as you can... attempt depth, not width.  once you've got a few folks discussing items in your depths, then you can start to widen into complimentary items/discussions.  it's been my observation, for instance, that folks who are into cigars are also into politics and often wines- so... take advantage of that.  folks that are really into off-roading are also into BBQ'ing... there is an entire industry focused on these types of connections.  they should be apparent to you if you are focused on something particular.  it's up to you to interject discussions that allows growth/width- even at the risk of strategically 'hijacking' threads from time to time. 

insofar as collecting audience, there is nothing better than expertise, if even only seemingly expert... for instance, find a popular website discussing your topic in a news/comment format, and you'll often find the same crowd in the comments... offer a comment like "that isn't what this guy says" and link to the article on your page... or conversely "dead on- this guy thinks so too", and same thing.  do yourself a favor and reciprocate the link to the site your mining- offering links or even an advert free and unsolicited (until they tell you otherwise if that's the case).  but all the same, from scratch?  you gotta have something to offer- and that is usually information. 

right now i have six sites that are direct interests to the primary site- pulling the community from the active one to the other, and selling them things i know they're interested in (because i've watched and listened to them for 17+years and 'internet' know most of them well). 

it's hard work- don't let anyone tell you otherwise.... it takes commitment... tenacity... a few good breaks... it can be done, though.  even in today's age.  the opportunity remains unless this GDPR type stuff starts squeezing mom-n-pops or small operators out.  my thoughts are that is precisely the intent of those initiatives, but that's just my opinion and we all know what those are like.

edited to add:

by the way... i don't understand the angst with WP... I use WP as the publisher as nothing anywhere else does as good a job from the users perspective, and i firmly believe SMF is the better of the forum engine softwares... they mate well- not in backend interaction, but can be styled to look the same to users, and that is the more important aspect.  a WP landing with information and a patch to comment in the forum is the ticket, in my humble opinion, and crucial to developing community...
https://www.cfb51.com is a College Football Fan Site, Store, and Publisher, launched in July of 2017

Online landyvlad

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by the way... i don't understand the angst with WP... I use WP as the publisher as nothing anywhere else does as good a job from the users perspective, and i firmly believe SMF is the better of the forum engine softwares... they mate well- not in backend interaction, but can be styled to look the same to users, and that is the more important aspect.  a WP landing with information and a patch to comment in the forum is the ticket, in my humble opinion, and crucial to developing community...

Are you able to elaborate on this please? Perhaps in a new post - a how to or examples of matching a wordpress site and SMF site visually?.
Please do not PM, IM or Email me with questions on astrophysics or theology.  You will get better and faster responses by asking homeless people in the street. Thank you.

Offline shinglis

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by the way... i don't understand the angst with WP... I use WP as the publisher as nothing anywhere else does as good a job from the users perspective, and i firmly believe SMF is the better of the forum engine softwares... they mate well- not in backend interaction, but can be styled to look the same to users, and that is the more important aspect.  a WP landing with information and a patch to comment in the forum is the ticket, in my humble opinion, and crucial to developing community...

Are you able to elaborate on this please? Perhaps in a new post - a how to or examples of matching a wordpress site and SMF site visually?.

I would also be interested in this discussion. Don't have the skill set for detail changes in CSS or SMF template but often wanted to combine features & plugins available in WP (nothing similar in SMF mods) to add features information to the overall site with the forum at the core.

Offline drewactual

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