Create A Forum - Support Forums

Support => Guides and Tutorials => Topic started by: Seldom Fail on July 08, 2011, 11:19:48 pm

Title: Sibyl's 11 Ways NOT To Have a Successful Forum
Post by: Seldom Fail on July 08, 2011, 11:19:48 pm
11 Ways To Not Have A Successful Forum: (by Simply Sibyl)

1.  Hide all of your boards from Guests.   
The logic seems to be this will make them register and login.
Seeing nothing of interest when they go to a forum gives them  no reason to want to join.   It makes people wonder what you are hiding, or it makes them feel its not worth the time.  You don't have to show them  all of the forums content.   But show them enough to make them think  "hey I want  to join in here!"    It is also inconvenient to your regular members who at times may want to drop by to see if there have been any new posts.  They might just see  something that prompts them to login and reply.

2.  Password protect your boards with codes.
Not only is this not foolproof because  they can read your source code and see the password in the code,  its just plain annoying.   While your at it don't forget to disable right click (until you get tired of not being able to do so yourself in many areas of the forum - specially in Admin.  There are so many ways (including disabling Javascript in their browser) that people can take information from your forum.  Disabling right click is not going to stop them if they want it badly enough.  Everything is already in their Temp Internet Folder so what do you think you are blocking?  It is a total waste of time and completely annoying. 
Forums should be easy to get around, and not feel like a its all under lock and key and you need a decoder ring and a tracking dog to do anything..

3.  Pay no attention to how content can slow the forum down
Put huge graphics, widjets, chatboxes, music boxes, youtube videos, animations allover the forum.  Toss in a popup that comes up every time they change pages.
Not only does it trash the look of the forum, and ruin its usability - it slows  the  load time tremendously.     Its nice to give members some fun things to do and to try to make the forum look "fantastic"  -  but keep in mind when doing so that you dont want a 2meg background image,  8 500k images in a portal block, a partridge in a pear tree, the kitchen sink and a forum that looks like there was a blue light special in the Codes Board.   (and because of it runs slow as molasses.    Keep - it - simple.  You can give them a lot to do, but overdoing it with all the bling and fluff will run them off.  Keep the file sizes down with your images.  Make sure to optimize them in your graphics programs when you save them.  Download PngGauntlet. Its an excellent tool for Optimizing .png images with NO color loss.  In some cases you will see dramatic differences in file sizes.  You may have a screaming fast computer and internet connection but remember that not all of your members will. If its nothing but a hassle for them waiting for pages to load they wont stay around for long.

4. Put up a "DONATE TO MY FORUM" button 2 days after you set the forum up.
Complain constantly that no one ever donates.   Move the button to new places, make it bigger to make sure they see it.   
You just set the forum up.  You have few members. little content and those you get at first likely will not donate. Give your forum time to grow - you'll just come across as bugging people for money.

5. Change the theme and forum settings on your forum 3 times a week. 
Each time make an announcement that you have "updated the forum and added this great new theme and we hope you really like it"   
Changing the forums theme won't bring the members in that you are not getting. Neither will enabling a feature on the forum - telling them all about it then the next day you suddenly disable it because "one guy caused a problem"   

which leads me to:

6.  When that "one guy" causes the problem:   
Post the PM conversation you had with him all over your forum and the forum of 5 of your friends.  Whenever you and a staff member have an issue make sure to fight it out publically.  When a member makes a simple mistake on your forum not knowing all your tight forum rules make sure to berate them publically.   Afterall that is what you would want someone to do to you right? 
That is a super way to show prospective members you have no respect for privacy (posting PMs) and no intention on dealing with anyone in a fair manner. Good members who are going to stick with you arent there for drama.  They are there for content, communication,  education, fun and many other things but drama and fighting will doom a forum fast.

7.  Modify your members profile settings for them.  
Don't let them think for themselves and decide how they want things set.  Make sure they know that YOU know what is best for them in using your  forum and  the fact that those preferences are there for THEM to make their own decisions on is totally lost on you.
Most people who use forums and are familiar with the smf software know how they like their settings set in their Profile.   Many will go there immediately upon joining to set them up. Don't irritate the heck out of your new (or old) people by taking it upon yourself to change their settings for them.   Create a help topic and post a couple of threads with some settings tips for thier Profile Section.  Point out the link to the forums Help pages.  Let them  know those settings are there for them to modify as they wish. 

8. There is little or no information.
A lot of forum owners believe that it is up to the users to add the content to their site when exactly the opposite holds true. People go to websites for information even if it is nothing but jokes or images. You must provide a wealth of information and update it regularly if you want people to come to your site and keep coming back.

9. Lack Of Organization.
Try to organize your boards to make it easy for users to find things. This will also make using the search feature a lot easier. Too many boards may overwhelm your users with too much information.

10. The Rules Are Too Harsh
If you start banning everyone who makes the slightest mistake you'll drive people away. They will be afraid to post anything for fear of being banned. Remember that EVERYONE, including you, will make mistakes. Gentle reminders often work best.  Don't make your members feel they are being watched constantly.   It won't be a comfortable, fun place to hang out.

11. Quantity does not trump quality
Pages upon pages of mindless prattle will deter a potentially useful and positive member.
Title: Re: Sibyl's 11 Ways NOT To Have a Successful Forum
Post by: Sagar_king on January 25, 2012, 09:14:30 am
Thanks nice info
Title: Re: Sibyl's 11 Ways NOT To Have a Successful Forum
Post by: PenguinBoyfriend on July 01, 2012, 04:42:17 am
I was just skimming through this and I thought, "Oh wow! If I don't let guests see all the boards, they will want to join!" Then I went through my boards and unchecked "guests" on every single one. After I was done with that, I go back on here and see that it says "How NOT to have a successful forum"..... T_T So then, I go all the way back and check all the guests on every board! Ugh, I really need to read more thoroughly! ;D
Anyway, very helpful! Thank you.
Title: Re: Sibyl's 11 Ways NOT To Have a Successful Forum
Post by: Silver734 on August 31, 2013, 11:51:30 pm
How can you disable the right-click?
Title: Re: Sibyl's 11 Ways NOT To Have a Successful Forum
Post by: FlashlightForum on September 09, 2013, 12:56:23 am
You forgot one:

Bad grammar/spelling.

I will never join a forum that has something like "hay guyz u shud join are forum!!! kthnxbye"
Title: Re: Sibyl's 11 Ways NOT To Have a Successful Forum
Post by: Silver734 on December 03, 2013, 12:51:31 am
@FlashLightForum: you're right. There's nothing more that bothers me than terrible grammar on an otherwise fine site.
Title: Re: Sibyl's 11 Ways NOT To Have a Successful Forum
Post by: james79 on December 21, 2013, 06:27:31 am
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