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Old 15 May 2007, 17:12
JeffreySmith JeffreySmith is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
A super long post. I need advice on running a community.

Hi,

Okay this is a bit of a shotgun blast of info, but I really do need help from experiences forum admins.

I recently started a forum for my little brother's clan and now I have I think painted myself into a corner here. See, the thing is the site is new but it is getting some good traffic, but I feel like it will never be a large forum because it is just a single clan site. The members are active, but most of them rely to heavily on the shoutbox. For example the site has been up for just under 90 days and we now have close to 180,000 shouts now. I'm not complaining about that, it is just when you compare that number to the 1,500 threads, and 9,500 posts. It seems like the forum is more of a chat room than it is an actual forum. I mean in one of our forums the Playstation Forum, we have only had 7 threads started in 3 months. Pretty weak. Some of the forums that have around 100 threads are the General Interest forums.

So I have been looking at other forums, and some of them are on the big-boards site (hey, I'm a big dreamer) and compare mine to theirs. One of the things I noticed is that none of them have a ShoutBox on their forum at all. Some of them are even phpbb installs that have 0 hacks or mods and have a free skin, but yet they have 100,000+ posts and threads. Some have their post bits set up so that there is no signature, very small or no avatars, no post counts and yet they fill up page and pages. I on my forum allow large avatars and large signatures, and have plenty of extra profile fields so some of the posts even if they are just one sentence can take up 600 vertical pixels. I have a nice pre-made vB skin, some of theirs have very simple skins.

I guess I am questioning myself and wondering if I should have a shoutbox at all and should I get rid of the large avatars and large signature boxes to make it easier to read post to post. Instead of doing a complete scroll on the mouse wheel to get to the next one.

I know there are some ppl here who have probably had this same issue about the shoutbox and I was wondering if any of you who have succesfully weaned your members off of it for the sake of the forums long term well being, or if they kept it because that is what the users wanted.

On the same token my site is just a small clan forum, and I was also wondering if any of you guys have made the transition from clan site to full on gaming site?

I had an idea to allow other clans to use our site and take advantage of all the hacks I have installed. If they agree to become an 'allied clan'. This could help bring in more ppl and help with the transition as we get more gamers on the site. I have seen a couple of large gaming sites and saw that they have a section for clans to talk to and I like that idea, but I'm not sure how my members would like sharing our site. Then I would have to rename the site so the 'allied clans' wouldn't mind using it, cuz right now it is dmclanforum.com and Im sure they would like to use our URL more if it was a more general of a name.

We have also been expanding into new games in hopes that we will recruit more members from those games which will hopefully bring in more mature and forum savvy users. So far it hasn't really done that much for us, our members from the first game the ones expanding into it and we are having a hard time keeping the members from the new game because, well they seem like they are 10 or 13 year olds and can't focus that well on being loyal to a clan.

My little brother and I want our forum to be a huge success (of course) but now I feel like I have a bunch of children tying up all my bandwidth using the shoutbox and not using the forum. I am grateful to have traffic because I have had a forum fail before so at least Im not having that problem again.

So are all these hacks that are super cool that I install and have to redo everytime vB comes out with a new release all in vein? or is this how you get their attention and loyalty then over time it wont matter how many hacks or what kind you have because the site is so large?

I know this has been a long post, but I am just venting most of my thoughts about the topic. I really hope one or two of you read the whole thing and can help me out a little with some advice or guidance pulled from your personal experiences.

Thank you so much if you read it all.

Jeff

Last edited by JeffreySmith; 15 May 2007 at 17:20.
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  #2  
Old 15 May 2007, 18:02
Maxman1544 Maxman1544 is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
I agree about the shout box. I never installed anything that takes away from posting. The chat room even scares me a bit. Anyhow why don't you just change things around and remove the chat box. People will complain a bit at first but then they will start posting.

Good luck!
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  #3  
Old 16 May 2007, 01:26
tort tort is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Hey, I also run a gaming website, and have thought of similar problems. But, having said that, I think you are being a bit too hard on yourself. Gaming websites are different than other websites, they are more exponential than other types, (I have ran more than one website and can attest) because friends pull each other more in gaming forums. You have over 400 members. At the time that I visited you had about 20 something people on at one time. That is really good, and those of us that just started WISH we had that much. But good things come to those that wait. I would trash the shoutbox as its too intensive on the servers, and it encourages a lack of posts.

You can check out my community at http://www.madcastgamging.com.
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