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How to set up a successful Forum?

edited June 2006 in Vanilla 1.0 Help
Well how do you set up a sucessful forum. Whats the best way to get it off the ground. What puzzles me is how someone can go from an empty forum and then get people who want to come back and post. Does it start off with getting friends to post or what?

I want to start a forum about forums and such but how would i go about and get members and posts. Please can someone help me.


  • Hmm, good question
  • 3stripe3stripe ✭✭
    edited June 2006
    Yes. it is. I've just started one and it's just a loada posts by /me and no-one else. That said, I did start up a dedicated Basecamp for a project a while back, and successfully entice about 15 other users, solely by posting messages on existing forums.

    You need to think about your target audience, and what places they visit on the web. Word of mouth is the best method, and then the likes of delicious etc... In your case, erm, there's plenty o' forums about already... so get hunting for phpbb gathering places etc I guess?
  • MarkMark Vanilla Staff
    You should also work to set your forum apart from other boards. Something as simple as ensuring that all discussions stay on topic and don't stray from the subject matter can be a big draw. One of the things I've done on this forum is that I never let people get away with "Nevermind, I fixed my problem" messages. I try to always make sure that a support question has an answer. There's nothing more annoying than going to a support forum, finding someone who had the same problem as you, and then reading a comment from that person saying, "I fixed it!" and not explaining how. Basically, once you get a few people on there, keep them on track. Make sure that flamewars don't start. Make sure that trolls don't get in, or get kicked out quickly if they do get in. Getting an audience is one thing, but keeping it is another altogether.
  • edited June 2006
    ok regarding all that, say i finish my forum would some of you be willing to post and such so i can advertise elsewhere and show it as an active forum and progress from there? is the link, yet i have not made a introductiony type thread yet.
  • I guess the answer is search engine (slow recognition). People who search for a certain keywords, will they find your forum. I have found many leads to comp. related problems from forums. does any search engine discriminate forums? forums should have higher rank 'cause a forum will create criss-cross links Advice from the blog world, it's all about your post's headline. will somebody click on it., is it that interesting. it's just few seconds decicion
  • mmm im still puzzled about how to start it all off. If someone could help me or something that would be great. I know it sounds really stupid but i really really dont understand. And couldnt do it.
  • lechlech Chicagoland
    edited June 2006
    I guess the real question is, what topics of discussion are you planning on covering? Advice? Software? Programming? Reviews? is it language specific? That area has to and should be chosen by you, whether it's for public or private usage. The main thing is consistancy and features. If you're running a magazine, this could be an outlet to discuss articles and upcoming features, but in the end it's all really what you make of it. Take into account, that most forums generate hits via word of mouth. I don't think I'm alone here in saying that most of us wouldn't have found Vanilla without someone first saying "hey check this out!" or when you were looking for new software, someone who already knew about it probably dropped the name. Mark called most of us in here just to test things out, now the rest is pretty much history :)
  • A tip: Don't get it hosted at anything unsolid. There is one forum which I am now running, which was nice, but a series of crap hosting (and a sabotaging admin), loss of data, etc, has now caused the forum to have less than fifty members :/ I think that you just need to find something that people are willing to come back to. Looking at your domain name you'll probably want to do something with either modificating forums, or moderating forums. Pick one, find places where people who would be interested hang out, and post there. And post content yourself. Should be a start at least. :)
  • For the record, i didnt find vanilla by word of mouth. I think it was a more sub conscious link. But yeah, for a popular forum you need something people find worthwhile, whether it be a decent community or helpful discussions (or both, like here!)
  • ok the mission has begun. It would be great if some of you could register and post something, anything. I especially needs posts, i have some members as i set up the forum for some cms yet people registered but didn't post.
  • gigingergiginger New
    edited June 2006
    I think, you really need to start some basic discussions yourself at first. What sort of threads would you like to participate in etc; Maybe start a thread in each category with the same title eg:

    What is your ideal mod for Vanilla?
    What is your ideal mod for Mybbb?
    What is your ideal mod for K4bb?

    Start a few threads in the same vein. Give some of your own ideas. Maybe put something a little bit controversial that somebody would feel the need to discuss on. Communities thrive on the quality of discussion.

    EDIT: I meant to add that the discussions can only be as good as the quality you set from the start.
  • hehe i thought of something :P I feel some of you may post on this.
  • If your forum is called ForumMods you really need to change your favicon to something that's erm, a mod, or at least not the default icon :D
  • lol yeah, need to find out what to use to make the icon files?
  • 3stripe3stripe ✭✭
    edited June 2006
    Hav you got photoshop?

    You can make 'em easy in Fireworks as well by saving a gif with the .ico extension
  • yes i have photoshop, is it as easy as that?
  • lechlech Chicagoland
    16x16 image, exported as gif, transparency *should* be allowed as far as I recall. I think png files with alpha layers might work as well. I've been using an ancient version of Microangelo to whip up quick icons for past projects and the vanilla icon. But if you visit 3stripes homepage, you'll quickly learn that even animated gifs work amongst most standards compliant browsers which allow them.
This discussion has been closed.