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:

Political Rallies, Forums Scheduled for Polk County
The Ledger
Polk County voters have plenty of opportunities to attend political rallies and candidate debate forums before the Aug. 26 primary and nonpartisan elections. Most rallies have charges because food is served. And, there are free-of-charge forums ...

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New police chief to hold forums to discuss Little Rock's future
THV 11
The new Little Rock police chief, Kenton Buckner, is holding seven forums next month to meet the public. He plans to visit all seven wards, starting with Ward 2 at the Henton Neighborhood Resource Center. Buckner started on the force last month when ...

A tale of two candidate forums in Tucson
Tucson was the center of Arizona's political universe last night. Democrats and Republicans both put on a show. The Democrats' "Dream Team" of Fred DuVal, Terry Goddard and Felecia Rotellini appeared before a gathering of the party faithful at Dunbar ...

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Civil forums stepped up demand for dismissal of SAI coach
The Hindu
At least 34 civil organisations in Manipur have stepped up their demand to terminate the services of Chaoba Okram, a coach of Sports Authority of India, Imphal for allegedly molesting five girl sportspersons inside the SAI complex. They are not ...

and more »

Video of LWV 2014 Primary Candidate Forums Available
Video of League of Women Voters forums for 2014 candidates for Secretary of State, Superintendent of Public Instruction and Governor are available online and will be rebroadcast in the coming weeks by Charter Communications on cable TV in Cheyenne.
Assembly, Sheriff Candidate Forums Soon Available On LineDoorCountyDailyNews.com

all 2 news articles »

Windham County Senate hopefuls square off during forums
Deerfield Valley News
The first of four such forums sponsored by Windham County Democrats, Thursday's discussion was moderated by outgoing Senator Peter Galbraith and included incumbent Senator Jeanette White, Roger Allbee, Becca Balint, and Joan Bowman as ...

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From the forums: A knotty VA problem
MPA News
The great thing about MPA's discussion forum is that originators can bring their tough cases to their colleagues for advice. And forum user dbsdesk gave us a doozy a few days ago: I just got a call from an old friend who is also a Veteran in the ...

Board releases redistricting discussion forums
UI The Daily Iowan
Area residents will have the opportunity to air their opinions in the coming months to help redesign attendance areas for the Iowa City School District. The School District completed the locations and times of the attendance-area sessions on Tuesday at ...

Smith: Crime's warning signs are often posted publicly
Remember the good, got-old-real-fast days when Facebook was a forum for your friends to share mundane daily activities, their latest cute baby photo and updates on their ailing uncle's bunion? Or when Twitter told us what someone had for lunch or where ...

LaPESC to host school board candidate forums
The Daily Advertiser
... Parish School Board elections are Nov. 4. (Photo: File photo). 16 CONNECTTWEETLINKEDINCOMMENTEMAILMORE. The Lafayette Parish Public Education Stakeholders Council will host forums for the district's school board candidates in September.
LaPESC announces school board candidate forumsThe INDsider

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