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Top Ten Lessons Iíve Learned About Managing an Online Forum
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Top Ten Lessons Iíve Learned About Managing an Online Forum - February 7, 2007, 11:07 AM

http://www.seorefugee.com/seoblog/20...-online-forum/



Top Ten Lessons Iíve Learned About Managing an Online Forum
10. Plan for success even if you donít expect it.
Missed opportunities rarely come again. Make sure your server, software and moderation system can handle the load on the off chance you get noticed. A mention on the front page of Digg can land you over 10,000 visitors but doesnít do a bit of good if your server collapses under the load. And 10,000 members wonít stay members long if they canít log in.
9. Controversy is good.
Thereís nothing like a good argument to inspire interest among members and to attract attention (and even links) from people with similar interests.
8. Controversy is bad.
As much as people enjoy a good fight, they hate a bad one even more. If you want to drive people away, let an argument fester. Here are some bad controversies:
  1. Any argument unrelated to your site topic. Politics and religion can be particularly nasty (although unavoidable if you run a religious or political forum). An exception might be made for arguments about sports, music or other general interest topics as long as they are segregated in their own category so members can easily choose to avoid them.
  2. Personal attacks. Even if a person you like is attacking someone you canít stand, donít allow it.
  3. Libel, slander and unsubstantiated accusations.
  4. A discussion dominated by one person simply restating his opinion over and over.
At SEOR we started out trying to run things wide open but soon realized the need for rules. By eliminating the noise you allow more of the conversation to be heard.
7. Be visible.
Iím convinced that forum operators need to be active members of their online communities even if, as was the case with me, they are not particularly knowledgeable about the topic. People are more likely to help, forgive and defend their friends than strangers. At some point - when you crash the server, offend someone or pull some other stupid stunt Ė youíre going to need all the friends you can get. You gain friends by interacting with your members.
6. Customization can make your life hell.
Every time you add a feature or customize your forum you risk breaking something. Even if everything goes well, it will complicate the update process when the time comes (and it comes far too often). Worse case scenario, members come to expect a feature only to have it disappear when itís incompatible with an upgrade.
And, by the way, when you do add a feature, backup first and document the process. Oh how I wish Iíd done that!
5. Members go off their meds.
Seriously, it happens. A fun-loving, energetic and knowledgeable contributor can suddenly turn toxic. If a member becomes disruptive or begins to require too much of your time to monitor, ask them to leave or ban them (temporarily or permanently) for the sake of the forum and your own sanity.
4. Be honest.
When things go bad Ė and they will occasionally - let your members know what happened and take responsibility. Keep these phrases handy:
  • I was working on xxxxxxx and crashed the server.
  • I didnít even know that was possible, it wonít happen again.
  • Iím sorry that happened again.
If youíre honest and have a good relationship with your members, theyíll forgive a lot.
3. Itís a good thing we donít pay our moderators. We couldnít afford them.
A good mod is a combination playground monitor, priest, big brother/sister, psychiatrist, professor and more. They perform those functions not just for the members but for you as well. There will be times when you are ready to toss the server off the roof and follow it. It takes the support of a good team to talk you down.
2. Your forum exists by the grace of others.
Value your members. No matter how much you have to offer and no matter how valuable the information you distribute, your forum canít exist without its members. Treat them well, donít exploit them, keep them informed and try not to surprise them.
And the number one lesson Iíve learned about managing an online forum:
1. Start a forum for love, not money.
Starting a forum is a lot of work and the financial rewards come slowly and irregularly if at all. During the lean times, your passion is what will sustain you. Actually, it doesnít even have to be YOUR passion. Both of my forums were someone elseís idea. Initially I was just along for the ride. It was their commitment that dragged me (and the forums) through the tough times. Eventually, as I became part of the communities, I was able to develop and contribute some passion of my own.


This post was prepared as a service to the DCSportbikes.net community. Neither the DCSportbikes.net ADMINS nor any of the moderators, makes any warranty, expressed or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product, link, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by DCSportbikes.net. The opinions of this author expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the DCSportbikes.net community, and shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes.
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February 7, 2007, 11:10 AM

I wonder how much Rob makes from this running this site
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February 7, 2007, 11:11 AM

zippy


This post was prepared as a service to the DCSportbikes.net community. Neither the DCSportbikes.net ADMINS nor any of the moderators, makes any warranty, expressed or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product, link, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by DCSportbikes.net. The opinions of this author expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the DCSportbikes.net community, and shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes.
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B
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February 7, 2007, 11:16 AM

It's all donations by us to help run it. And the membership package is actually worth more. He does some advertising for shops in the area, I believe they contribute as well.


SV650s for SALE!!!
- 2007 SV650 Racebike-Superbike KWS/Thermosman suspension/Swenz bodywork/All GSXR Parts
- 2009 SV650 Streetbike Race blue with white stripe/No wrecks/fully faired with M4 full system

Shoot me a PM or talk to Nate (Nudist) if you're interested in purchase.
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February 7, 2007, 11:16 AM

Really? Damm lets start a GIVE MONEY TO ROB FUND
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B
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February 7, 2007, 11:21 AM

Do you notice the red lettering under our screen names?

Premier membership? That means you donated.


SV650s for SALE!!!
- 2007 SV650 Racebike-Superbike KWS/Thermosman suspension/Swenz bodywork/All GSXR Parts
- 2009 SV650 Streetbike Race blue with white stripe/No wrecks/fully faired with M4 full system

Shoot me a PM or talk to Nate (Nudist) if you're interested in purchase.
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February 7, 2007, 11:22 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArRrR6
Really? Damm lets start a GIVE MONEY TO ROB FUND







<-------------See the RED Letters


FOREVER #47 "Walking In The Echo...."
Are you a 'Secret Believer"? Do you Conceal your faith from your family, friends and co-workers? Isn't it about time to step out of hiding and let others know whom you follow?
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February 7, 2007, 11:31 AM

someone has gotta pay for the website maintanence....
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February 7, 2007, 11:36 AM

THanks guys...

Yeah, I run this site for fun but do run it as a business... Keep all the extra money (the millions I make off of premier members and advertising) and keep it seperate so when the time comes to buy a boatload of T-Shirts for ya'll, I have the fundage.

But I do completely agree with #2... DCSportbikes wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my fun-loving bunch of crackheads that proudly call themselves members.

<3


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Help support DCSportbikes.net! Become a Premier Member today!

Katie #135.



Nudist: If Ben isnt still riding me, then I need it
B: that sounds odd
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February 7, 2007, 11:37 AM

I just shed a tear.


Right up the 1 hole.
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B
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February 7, 2007, 11:54 AM

I just sharted.


SV650s for SALE!!!
- 2007 SV650 Racebike-Superbike KWS/Thermosman suspension/Swenz bodywork/All GSXR Parts
- 2009 SV650 Streetbike Race blue with white stripe/No wrecks/fully faired with M4 full system

Shoot me a PM or talk to Nate (Nudist) if you're interested in purchase.
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February 7, 2007, 12:12 PM

I just verped.


God Speed Jeff! You'll never be forgotten.

BOOSTZX3 : in all seriousness head injuries ain't no joke. I've had around 10 concussions and now I ride a Buell Don't let it happen to you!
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February 7, 2007, 12:15 PM

I posted this to point out the obvious. Some folks wont agree with everything that goes on with this site. We do the best we can, and the members that stick around is really what it is all about to me.


This post was prepared as a service to the DCSportbikes.net community. Neither the DCSportbikes.net ADMINS nor any of the moderators, makes any warranty, expressed or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product, link, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by DCSportbikes.net. The opinions of this author expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the DCSportbikes.net community, and shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes.
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Alex
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February 7, 2007, 12:19 PM



How exactly do we take a mod serious again??


God Speed Jeff! You'll never be forgotten.

BOOSTZX3 : in all seriousness head injuries ain't no joke. I've had around 10 concussions and now I ride a Buell Don't let it happen to you!
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  (#15)
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February 7, 2007, 12:24 PM





This post was prepared as a service to the DCSportbikes.net community. Neither the DCSportbikes.net ADMINS nor any of the moderators, makes any warranty, expressed or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product, link, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by DCSportbikes.net. The opinions of this author expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the DCSportbikes.net community, and shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes.
__________________________________________________ ________


Alex
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