cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Advice needed re forum administration

Not applicable

Advice needed re forum administration

My new website/forum is in the embryonic stage i.e. domain name registered, alerting people to my need for help in running it (got a few interested parties already), web designer starting work and thinking about structure.
It is with reference to the latter bit of the equation that I need suggestions.
Have never moderated a forum before, never mind run one so it will be a bit hairy at first.
I am constructing the rules and sections that I want to use.
In respect of the former, here are some of my requirements:
There will be strictly no advertising (will ban anyone who tries to circumvent this).
It will be a closed forum i.e. access to view via registration and acceptance/activation by moderators to prevent lurkers/spamming of the board.
I want the forum to be a community so if people are not posting reasonably regularly then I plan to suspend membership. Don't want to be too dogmatic about this, but thought that about one post a month might be acceptable.
Obviously no trolling or abusive posts.
No private messages - this is to prevent advertising/procurement.
This is just a brief outline but if anyone has any helpful suggestions would be happy to take these into consideration.
22 REPLIES
matt_2k34
Grafter
Posts: 1,300
Registered: ‎09-07-2007

Re: Advice needed re forum administration

You dont have to block Personal messages to stop spamming...
Most forum software allows administrators to intercept peoples "Private" message - to stop abuse of course.
Depending on the package your using determines how you should manage it - Making it invite only or accepted by Mods only is fine - aslong as yo ucan get enough interest - else the board will be quiet and people would not be able to post once per month - what about setting it to once in 3 months ? incase someone has a long holiday for example ?
Administrating a forum is easy peasy - good software takes alot of the pain out of it - but its all down to how good your team of mods and administrators are Smiley
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 27,343
Thanks: 1,894
Fixes: 174
Registered: ‎14-04-2007

Re: Advice needed re forum administration

Quote from: Matt_2k34
Administrating a forum is easy peasy - good software takes alot of the pain out of it - but its all down to how good your team of mods and administrators are Smiley

Bear in mind that moderators are dealing with personalities, opinions and emotions Wink Smiley

Customer and Forum Moderator. Windows 10 Firefox 64.0 (64-bit)

Not applicable

Re: Advice needed re forum administration

Oh I love that last sentence as it is a reassuring one and I am terrified of making a mess of things!
My moderation team is growing slowly which is fine 'cos the site isn't built yet. Time will tell if we all get on and do a good job together.
I reckon (and hope) we'll get enough interest, even if it is registration acceptance only because there isn't another one in the UK.
I can't have the private message facility or anyone displaying email addies because it may be abused in order to circumvent the advertising rules. However, I didn't realise that there is software to allow mods to intervene so that is definitely good to know.
Your suggestion to extend the time frame of posting is a good one and I will definitely take that into account. 3 months sounds about right.
Much appreciate your advice - thank you.
*You posted just before me Strat so take your point. Was told that you need to have a thick skin to adminstrate a forum so will have to develop one! The only positive thing is that this one will have a good gender balance, although possibly more women than men so I am not anticipating a lot of bother.
matt_2k34
Grafter
Posts: 1,300
Registered: ‎09-07-2007

Re: Advice needed re forum administration

Of course!
its always worth baring in mind that when you select people for being mods/admins you pick someone who is level headed - firm and fair, preferably someone you have seen around for quite some time - this is a good baring as to how "good" they will be for you...
If you have people who take similar interest in your forum and follow the same 'vision' you have - things should run smoothly Wink

edit: you have good thoughts as to what to do with your forum - best thing to do would be to tinker with your forum as soon as you get it ! Smiley Play with as many big red buttons as you can in the admin panel and see what they do Smiley !
Not applicable

Re: Advice needed re forum administration

Thanks for being so positive in your views Matt - it is what I need at this stage.
The majority of people who have been contacted about this are all very keen on the idea and several will help in an informal way. The ones who have offered to moderate are experienced in the field and are very enthusiastic.
The first one to offer is male and very keen indeed - also he is good with computers so I feel that I have made a good start early on in the enterprise. Can't wait to see what my web designer comes up with.
And yes, I am looking forward to pressing big red buttons even though I'll probably make a mess of it!
matt_2k34
Grafter
Posts: 1,300
Registered: ‎09-07-2007

Re: Advice needed re forum administration

Just remember absolutely everything you do to a forum can be undone. .. sometimes its not easy to undo it - but if your tech guy knows how too you cant make a mess ;-)
also backing up the forum and user database is a good idea (download it to your pc if you wish?) You'll get these things when you play - however id recommend doing it probably weekly to start (when you get started you have littel to lose) but when you have alot of things going on and depending how busy it gets, id do it 3-7 days... Some forum software allows you to automate this to an ftp site for instance Smiley
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 27,343
Thanks: 1,894
Fixes: 174
Registered: ‎14-04-2007

Re: Advice needed re forum administration

@Poppy You know I wish you the best of luck with the project Smiley and maybe we can all learn from your experiences Wink

Customer and Forum Moderator. Windows 10 Firefox 64.0 (64-bit)

Community Veteran
Posts: 6,111
Thanks: 1
Registered: ‎05-04-2007

Re: Advice needed re forum administration

Hmm. Several years ago I had my own website to which I tried adding some forums, and after a concerted amount of effort they did start to be noticed/used... alas, at the same time various things meant I could no longer devote much time to the site so they never got much further than starting to take off. Nevertheless, I have perhaps a few bits of advice which I think might be worth sharing:

  • Make sure you're willing to take sole responsibility for the forums if necessary. I know you say you have willing volunteers, but for various reasons their enthusiasm might dwindle, so be prepared for the fact you might have to put in more effort than envisaged.

  • Spend time familiarising yourself with the intricacies of the forum software before showing them off to the world. You'll be glad when someone (quite possibly a bot) starts spamming the forums and you need to find the ban button - fast!

  • Don't be too draconian about controlling/restricting users' interactions. I bet you've sent/received quite a few PMs on these forums for example, perhaps to ask other members for e-mail/MSN addresses, maybe even phone numbers... would you really want that feature taken away? As for the limitations on who can view the forum and the post frequency thing, remember that a significant factor in attracting new participants to a forum is its busyness - i.e. the level of posts it already has. I therefore fear that what you're creating is sounding a lot like an invitation-only club rather than something that welcomes new users with open arms.

  • Be clear in your mind (or on paper) about what you're going to do in the event of unexpected situations on the forums. I know, you might be thinking that you'll never see anything 'wrong' happen, but I can almost guarantee you will. The internet amplifies the tendency of human beings to be a pain in the backside, so be prepared. When I started off my forums I came up with a list of all the different things I imaged could happen, and how I felt would be best to deal with each one of them - and I, in conjunction with the other moderators at the time, did the same thing when starting off the revitalised PN forums back in 2003. So it definitely works. Smiley


I realise that might've sounded a little scary, but the fact is that running a forum can involve some harsh realities, same as doing anything involving interactions with a large group of people. However, once you get in to the swing of things it really won't be difficult, as indeed Mat has said. And given enough time and effort, it can become very rewarding.
If you've got any questions, feel free to PM ( Tongue ) me.
matt_2k34
Grafter
Posts: 1,300
Registered: ‎09-07-2007

Re: Advice needed re forum administration

Or write a long essay in web and internet and allow lots of people to help ;-)
Theres alot of folk on this forum poppy and im sure alot have experience - just depends what your after Smiley
Not applicable

Re: Advice needed re forum administration

Thanks for the pointers Be. I decided to take sole responsibility when I started to progress my idea but obviously it would be a bit boring if there was only me so I am hoping that I can keep my volunteers interested enough not to disappear.
I think that the business of having it open or not is down to the subject/type of forum. I can't really have this one open because I suspect that it will be spammed by the trade right from the word go and if anything will stop people using the facility it woud be that. Also, it would be more work for us to remove posts (maybe). However, it would be worth discussing it with others when we have a team.
I am not sure that I can envisage unexpected situations so if you have any examples, please let me know.
I like the PM facility too so again, will need to discuss with other mods when we are setting it up. As has been said, they can be checked for signs of abuse.
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Advice needed re forum administration

my wife belongs to a small invite only forum, moderated by one person, about two months ago we had two very peculiar postings suddenly pop up from non members,  a quick bit of editiing got rid of them and a rewrite of the structure..
Not applicable

Re: Advice needed re forum administration

Thanks for that Pierre - wonder how they got in?
If anyone has the time, please can I have a few pointers about permissible graphic, file and avatar sizes?
Also signature rules - am a bit wary of the huge flashing gif images that you see on some forums, although don't want to thwart free expression as it were.
Have now got access to the template so can begin to play.
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,789
Registered: ‎08-06-2007

Re: Advice needed re forum administration

You definitely have to learn to have a thick skin!
My biggest piece of advice is to never take things personally.  As previous posters have mentioned, it's easy to reverse (most) things in forum software nowadays.
A few of things I would suggest:
1.  Have some 'private' boards where the moderators can discuss events that are occurring.  This allows all the moderators to communicate effectively, and present a united front when dealing with any issues
2.  Consider having a private board dedicated to discipline issues.  One user-per-thread, and record any run-ins that you may have had with the user.  It allows you to look back at a particular user's history very quickly.
3.  Evaluate several different types of forum software.  Each of the mainstream ones have various strengths and weaknesses, and also may suit your 'admin' style.  My personal favourite is vBulletin, although it is pay-for software. 
4.  Don't be afraid to amend your rules based upon past history.  If a particular incident isn't specifically catered for in your forum rules, consider adding a clause.  However, don't try to 'legislate' everything that happens.  Allow a 'mods decision is final' type clause - but use it as little as possible!
Hope that helps!
B.
Not applicable

Re: Advice needed re forum administration

Thank you - made a note of all that Barry - very useful information.  Smiley