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New Webmaster Forum: Everyone is NOT welcome to post :)

Discussion in 'General Business' started by Merkersarl, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. Merkersarl

    Merkersarl Peon

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    #21
    You're right. That's a vB4 design thing that I need to get rid of or find a workaround for. This forum page is what I want as the home page. That's the page that it's easiest to navigate from. The "Front Page" that vB sets up takes specific posts from the forum and uses them as the main content and then you have to click through the link at the bottom of that "article" to go read the fulll thread. That's just one of the many ways it duplicates content!

    Maybe that "categories" should come out altogether. I can't see the purpose of it. Anyway, this is the page I'd like people reading this thread to land on. That's where the forum is.

    Thanks for the feedback.
    SEMrush
     
    Merkersarl, Jan 14, 2010 IP
    SEMrush
  2. mezner

    mezner Peon

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    #22
    I don't like the design. I will say though that building a forum for ONLY intelligent individuals will be a challenge. You can delete posts/threads all you want, but people will still sign up and join. The content could be a lot better than DP. Why? Because half the threads in the business section are along the lines of "I have $25, how should I invest?". Then people reply with stupid stuff like "If I were you, I would invest that money". Great source of information right there!
     
    mezner, Jan 15, 2010 IP
  3. Merkersarl

    Merkersarl Peon

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    #23
    I don't see it as being "only for intelligent individuals". But the average village idiot is certainly not welcome. Whether someone is still there a few months after registering depends not on his intelligence but on his intent - if he wants to help others or learn things himself, he's welcome. If he sees it as a way of building up post count to then apply his self-promotion, he'll find himself chucked out. Some posters who are more used to other forums like DP may need a nudge to explain that a "me too" post or a post stating the bleeding obvious, for example, aren't valid contributions.

    The rules forbid fluff posts and post count manipulation. Posters making persistent posts like your example will get warning then get bans. The mod and admins are final arbiters on which posts don't add to the conversation and which do. That way lower quality posters can be eliminated. I'm not talking about non-English speaking ones - a PhD in English isn't required - but the ones that talk a lot and say absolutely nothing. I appreciate there are several flavours of this behaviour. For example, the poseur. He pretends he knows a lot about a topic or possesses something desireable and indulges in boastful (false) claims because he knows he can't be proven wrong ... like "Yes, I used to own a PR9 site once". Or "I made $500K sellling sites last month". Initially he'll get a quiet word explaining how things work. If he then desists and works on demonstrating what he has via answering questions and/or creating helpful threads, he can continue. Otherwise - wham! - he'll be chucked out.

    And if they are the wrong type they'll keep getting banned and the member list will keep getting cleaned. I don't understand the obsession with member count. I'd rather have 100-200 members contributing quality content than 200,000 jackasses.

    And members who aren't contributing will be thrown out as well. There's no point in registering to get profile age reputation. What's a good cut off point for lack-of-participation dismissal?
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2010
    Merkersarl, Jan 16, 2010 IP
  4. w3bmaster

    w3bmaster Notable Member

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    #24
    Anorther forum ... there are hundreds so what's special ?
     
    w3bmaster, Jan 16, 2010 IP
  5. goliath

    goliath Active Member

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    #25
    Well that's hard to say. You're creating a very specialized forum. The number of people who are focused on those activites, and have something new or constructive to either demonstrate or share with the community on a daily/weekly basis is not going to be many. Speaking relatively to a broader topic or a forum with a wider focus, I mean.

    If you don't allow any idle chatter or socialization on the forum, it will never be a community, and a large number of members will only be participating on a casual or occasional basis, to address a specific need they have.

    Again, let's say I'm an occasional domainer. I actually have a number of domains and sometimes I need to buy/sell/trade one or more of them. So I may want to come to your forum and address some issue or simply catch up on the current state of the market as regards what I'm trying to do.

    Now, you're telling me that when I arrive I may have to re-apply, or create a new account to be active in any way. While at the same time, you're indicating that a new account will be viewed warily until they have proven themselves a valuable part of the community.

    How long is it until a valuable member is not welcome to return strictly based on the fact that they've been focused on something outside the scope of your forum for a while?

    I say there is no time limit. If you can maintain a high level of moderation then you deal with spammers when they show themselves as such, regardless of the age of the account. An idle account shouldn't cost you anything and you specifically say that you don't want the kind of light chatter that would be encouraged by people who are forced to maintain a daily, weekly, or honestly even monthly activity quota to stay active in such a specialized forum.

    It's just altogether over-ambitious. You're wanting to step on your own toes to be "exclusive" in a very particular fashion. The issues of your presentation aside, there are certain evolutions of an online community and you can't evade them all and have any sort of "community". It sounds like you're prepared to moderate heavily and that can keep some trash out. But if there's no community a forum is, at best, a message board. And people don't interact with message boards.

    So if you can't show up occasionally, catch up on what's going on without applying for account re-activation or creating a new account it often means that the users will just say "nevermind" and find another place to go.

    If you want to eliminate incentive for junk posters to use typical "forum metrics" to appear authoritative, you make it not worth their while. Turn the entire forum nofollow, and disallow signatures and any sort of gratuitous linking from profiles and descriptions. The people who want to participate in the discussion won't mind at all.

    Titles based on post count, for instance, are a ridiculous invitation to inflate your post count. If you can't base titles on rep or another community generated metric than they are really just a distraction from the goal at hand. Having a forum doesn't mean using every single bell and whistle. Look at which features enhance the experience you want for your users. The same sort of tools and controls that can be useful at (for instance) digital point, are simply and encouragmeent to the types of activity you don't want at your forum.

    Just like you don't have to have every plugin active on that home page that I keep ending up at, you don't need (or normally want) to use every single bell and whistle of the software. Go through your control panel. If something does not add directly to the experience you want to create, turn it off.

    Don't want users tooting their own horns? signatures off...

    Don't want people leveraging account age for authority? display join date off...

    Don't want people leveraging post count for the impression of authority, reinforced by some meaningless title? display post count and titles off...

    That way if users have something to say they can say it, and each post can be judged on it's own merits and the user's actual reputation on the forum. Want to know about a user? search for them to see, not just some post count, but what they posted. You can enforce the behaviors you desire without resorting to name calling and bludgeoning.

    If you don't want people to eat chips at your party, don't put the chips out on the table and say "I'll just kick out anyone who comes for chips". How's that for a stupid metaphor?

    TL;DR? Yeah I wander. Summary:

    You don't enforce activity in a specialized forum You let your valuable users come and go when they want so that they can contribute when they have something of value, not because they have to produce content in order to stay active.

    Also if you don't like how people value specific metrics, stop displaying those metrics. It's more effective than asking others not to manipulate them.
     
    goliath, Jan 16, 2010 IP
  6. SmallPotatoes

    SmallPotatoes Peon

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    #26
    I will often register for a forum because I want to ask or answer a question, then follow it for a few days, then get busy with other stuff and neglect it for months or even years. It has nothing to do with making my account look old; I couldn't care less what my profile looks like.

    Later on, I might become more interested in the topic and recall that the forum was interesting, and renew my participation.

    If, when I go back, I find that my account has been deleted, I'm less likely to register again, it just seems kind of annoying to have been axed for not meeting some arbitrary standard of participation.

    I agree with goliath; if you are concerned about people registering and then neglecting accounts in order to have an artificially old signup date, then don't display the signup date. Who cares about that? Or, as a compromise, if someone is away for too long, reset their signup date or stop displaying it altogether. Deleting accounts will just alienate people.
     
    SmallPotatoes, Jan 16, 2010 IP
  7. Merkersarl

    Merkersarl Peon

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    #27
    Some excellent information and advice. Give me a chance to mull over and come up with a reply.
     
    Merkersarl, Jan 16, 2010 IP
  8. The Empire

    The Empire Peon

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    #28
    Dont bother with the forum guys. Just got banned for posting MY OWN content which I HAVE copyrighted and also quoting content about virus's
     
    The Empire, Jan 16, 2010 IP
  9. Merkersarl

    Merkersarl Peon

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    #29
    My policy on bans is to first have a quiet word with the violator and point them to the rules. If that doesn't work, the user gets an infraction. Anyone accumulating sufficient infractions within a short space of time gets a ban. I am not going to discuss individual ban decisions here.

    Moving on.

    goliath, I accept your sound reasoning. I'd like to create a community but need to fight the spam. The issue of members hogging usernames for malicious purposes later is not justifiable reason to block those who may have valuable contributions (but not necessarily frequent ones). The specialised nature of the forum makes infrequent posting more likely, not less. And as SmallPotatoes said, not meeting some arbitary participation threshold is a petty reason to require re-registration.

    I didn't realise I could hide their signup date, I'll check that out. As with the titles based on post count. And others.

    And the fact that there's a high level of moderation intended - even a paid moderation service if required later - further decreases the need for a time limit.

    Excellent stuff! I'm very grateful for the time both of you have taken and the insights you've shared.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2010
    Merkersarl, Jan 16, 2010 IP
  10. Beim

    Beim Peon

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    #30
    The design is icky, not anything interesting, and a very very small community.
     
    Beim, Jan 16, 2010 IP
  11. The Empire

    The Empire Peon

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    #31
    Well that didnt happen.... it was more the other way around.
     
    The Empire, Jan 16, 2010 IP
  12. Merkersarl

    Merkersarl Peon

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    #32
    Actually, thinking about it, a lot can be achieved by just deleting some of the "tools" enabled by default. I'll look into this.
     
    Merkersarl, Jan 16, 2010 IP
  13. alamest

    alamest Well-Known Member

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    #33
    I found it little bit confusion..

    What kind of forum it is and it shows that you have nice Alexa ranking but no good page rank, you need to focus more on page rank rather than ranking.

    Because both factors are important like page rank, alexa ranking and popularity but I never heard from other people but I will give a try on that..

    Thanks
    Alam
     
    alamest, Jan 16, 2010 IP
  14. new

    new Peon

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    #34
    LOL
    Domain Registration date 01-jan-2010
    Registered Members =64
    I didn't know that out of whole internet only 64 people are something in buying/site selling business
    and as soon as you opened the forum, all of them jumped in join?
    what are you steve jobs or Steve Ballmer ?:rolleyes:
     
    new, Jan 16, 2010 IP
  15. Merkersarl

    Merkersarl Peon

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    #35
    There are probably less than 64 people "in the business" and I'm looking to expand that. I was not talking about people who are buying/selling but people in the buying/selling business. For various reasons many of the people you may think are in the "site selling business" aren't. The largest marketplace is Flippa and you'll find that the vast majority of "sites" sold there are new, unestablished sites. Within the business those are called templates, turnkeys etc. rather than fully-blown sites despite the fact that - technically - a domain name with an index.htm page saying "hello" could be considered a website. Among the sellers/buyers of real websites, most are people who make a one off sale/purchase and don't return.

    Over 75% of sales are done at the Flippa marketplace (represented on our forum) previously run at the Sitepoint marketplace (represented on our forum) and a handful of the top brokers (represented on our forum).

    In case you didn't notice, those people aren't famous of their knowledge of the website trading niche. Their main contacts aren't the regular buyers and sellers of websites, brokers and the marketplace owners. Mine are.

    Over my ten years in the business I've had occasion to meet with them, work with them or help them. I emailed/phoned around and, yes, they jumped in.

    I will add one caveat which maybe I should have added earlier: All my references are to English language sites. There may be a massive trade in Chinese websites at some PR10 Chinese broker that I know nothing about.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2010
    Merkersarl, Jan 17, 2010 IP
  16. AveUgotaWkdSide

    AveUgotaWkdSide Active Member

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    #36
    To be honest, its not to good
     
    AveUgotaWkdSide, Jan 17, 2010 IP
  17. Merkersarl

    Merkersarl Peon

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    #37
    This thread is turning out to be a good example of what typically happens in DP. You get people with sensible comments - even if uncomplimentary - then you get the moronic ones that contribute nothing (or contribute misinformation) and seem to exist solely for the signature link. I'm hoping the former will win out in the end ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2010
    Merkersarl, Jan 17, 2010 IP
  18. fulldowns

    fulldowns Peon

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    #38
    great topic thank you
     
    fulldowns, Jan 17, 2010 IP
  19. Merkersarl

    Merkersarl Peon

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    #39
    Just an update: the forum's doing far better than my very best expectations. :)

    Thought I'd share some of what I've learnt.
    It wasn't as difficult as I thought and I've worked out a few ways to keep the fools out. I'm happy to share how I did it. One of the main drivers was being ruthless in deleting accounts of people who can only make dumb ass posts. There's a rule (rule 3) in our forum that you can't talk unless you're saying something and you can't post unless you're engaging (discussed here). New members now don't get a signature, don't get to edit their profile and can't even start a thread till they've proven themselves. If they haven't done it within a certain time their accounts get deleted. That would normally kill a forum off. In our case it increased the popularity, attracted quality posters and ensured a level of discussion that you don't get in any webmaster forum I've seen so far.

    Also, if new members screw up they now don't get an infraction, they don't get a ban. The whole account is just deleted. :)

    A lot of those implementations were as a result of goliath's advice - he called the forum over ambitious but said that if we wanted to build the forum with that kind of exclusivity we'd need to be ruthless - and I thank him for that. We were ... and it's working

    Amazingly, implementing the tight controls he suggested and putting all new members automatically into a group with very little privileges and making them earn the right to be normal members has made the moderation super easy - hardly any work to do on that front now! :)

    Turns out it didn't need a makeover. I haven't changed the interface and that hasn't stopped the forum developing very nicely. It appears that quality posters - intelligent, articulate posters who make posts of some substance - aren't bothered by default looks and aren't shallow enough to need a custom skin before they take the forum seriously. Unlike some of the posters who specialise in inane one line posts here. So, goliath, I know you're big on custom skins but it appears that some audiences need it more than others.

    There's socialization and there's pointless drivel. I think we've managed very nicely to keep the nonsensical, irrelevant talk out without being too serious about ourselves. All in under two months ;)
     
    Merkersarl, Mar 4, 2010 IP
  20. Hosting24

    Hosting24 Member

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    #40
    I just checked this forum again, and it looks like another board full of persons who post messages for a few cents
     
    Hosting24, Mar 4, 2010 IP