6 Forum Management Essentials

If you are tasked with managing a forum, congratulations to you. If you find yourself weighed down by mundane management tasks, you are not alone. Let's examine some essentials to help you run an effective and vibrant message board community without the hassles of micromanagement.

1. Find a forum you like and stick with it. Yes, not everyone will be using vBulletin or one of the other wonderful PHP or ASP message board sites. If you like EZBoard or if you like making your own site up with PHP open source, then do it and stick with it. By now you know the pitfalls of the particular sites; can you really afford to regularly change to the latest and greatest technologies? Probably not, unless your site is already generating plenty of income through Google AdSense or similar types of PPC advertising. I am not saying to never update your site, rather weigh the costs of whether your site has to have a certain site or feel to be successful. Even ugly sites can prosper, witness Craig's List!

2. Find moderators who want to moderate. Not everyone who volunteers to moderate a particular forum on your message board is fit for the task. Some will sign up and then not moderate; better to go without a moderator then to have a "name in place." Keep your standards high and only the best will volunteer.

3. Envision long term. Unless you plan on rapidly growing your forum and then "flipping" it in a quick sale, you are better off looking at keeping your site for many years. Yes, in the land of the internet, everything changes so rapidly; still there are forums that can and do thrive the longer they are online, with proper management of course!

4. Reward your core constituency. Chances are your site is dominated by a small group of people who post regularly and are generally most helpful overall. Consider having a private forum viewable only to them on your site. Out of this group will likely come your moderators; run contests for this group only. Find advertisers to fund the prizes.

5. Ignore the squeeky, vocal minority. Yes, there will be the small amount of people -- usually less than 10% of your members -- whose demands on your time far exceed what is normal. They are the ones who want extensive hand holding and technical assistance...if they would only read previous threads or pay attention to announcements, your problems with them would be resolved. As much as it cuts against the grain for some administrators [heck, you are all about helping people, right?], you must cut them loose. You need not do it directly, but by not promptly answering their questions they will either figure things out themselves or move on.

6. Be well funded. Have a treasure chest or Paypal donation box on your site to welcome contributions. Run banner ads and join a successful PPC program. Find an advertising plan that works well for you. Seek grant money if your site is geared toward helping raise awareness about a particular health or social issue. You want to reap some monies from your site and you should pay yourself for your hard work.

Not all forums are meant to succeed on the internet, nor should they. The successful sites are well managed and positively impact members and guests far beyond the internet. If you have one of these sites, congratulations and good management to you!

Matt runs two successful forums which can be viewed at http://aviationemploymentboard.net/forum and http://corporateflyer.net/forum

In The News:


The Michigan Daily

Passion and substance drive RC Forums' campus missions
The Michigan Daily
Several of these types of groups meet weekly under the RC Forum umbrella, whether they're discussing social issues like Feminist and LGBT*QA Forums, or they're more focused on artistic expression like Poetry and Creative Writing Forums. RC Forums can ...


Candidate forums scheduled in South County
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In addition, area 3 candidates in the Sweetwater Union High School District will debate in a forum at the Montevalle Community Center at 840 Duncan Ranch Road from 6 to 8 p.m. Seat 3 is up for a four-year term. Four candidates are running for election ...


Prayut to attend forums in China, Myanmar
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KVAL

League of Women Voters hosts forums
Columbia Daily Tribune
League of Women Voters hosts forums. League of Women Voters hosts forums · Monday, October 20, 2014 at 1:00 pm. The League of Women Voters presents two election forums this week, with a candidates' forum on tap for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The forums ...
LWV: Upcoming candidate forums help voters make 'educated' decisionsSouthernminn.com
LWV to host board of education candidate forumsSault Ste. Marie Evening News
League of Women Voters of St. Paul to hold candidate forumsInsight News

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Palatinate

Students slate VC recruitment forums
Palatinate
Last week's Vice-Chancellor recruitment forums have left students feeling “unoptimistic” about the influence their opinion will have on the University's appointment of a new VC. Students have also voiced their anger over the fact that student ...

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The News-Press

State, U.S. House forums canceled in Bonita Springs
The News-Press
The Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce canceled the forums that had been scheduled for tonight and Oct. 28 because only one candidate had confirmed for each. For the Florida House forum that was supposed to be tonight, only District 76 Democrat ...


Emporia Gazette

Candidate forums
Emporia Gazette
Secretary of State forum with Kris Kobach and Jean Schodorf. 7 p.m. tonight; encore shows at 10 p.m. tonight, 8 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Kansas Governor one-on-one interviews with host Janet Thompson Jackson and Sam Brownback, Paul Davis and ...

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Public forums on presidential search to be held in November
AroundtheO
A series of public forums designed to solicit input from an array of university constituents to inform the presidential search will be held in November. “These public forums are a way for stakeholders and constituent groups to share with the committee ...


Strengthening participation in Welsh local practice forums
The Pharmaceutical Journal
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes. That is how one member of a local practice forum (LPF) steering group in Wales described progress made by the forums. The comment came during a Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) Wales 'LPF Development Day' in ...


New Mexico Telegram

Videos of congressional debates, forums
New Mexico Telegram
In some of these cases, video is available of the full debates or forums. NM Telegram will collect them here. Sam Donaldson, veteran ABC newsman and New Mexico resident, moderated debates for all three races. Not all below are true debates, but they ...

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