Have a forum? Make it a community!

quentin

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Feb 11, 2004
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quentin submitted a new Article:

Have a forum? Make it a community!




You have been through the hard first steps of the online forum creation. You now have an established member base and quite a few quality posts in database.

So, what's the next step? Transform your forum into an online community!

What's a community? A quick look at the dictionnary gives:

Community: a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society.

So what's the difference between a forum and an online community? Well, a forum is a place where people come to chat, get answers to their questions, access and discuss information. An online community, as the "living together" part of the definition suggests, is closer to a second home for its members. It can take the form of a forum, but also many others: blogs, [ame="[URL]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page[/URL]"]Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia@@AMEPARAM@@/wiki/File:JayPritzkerPavillionSP.JPG" class="image" title="The Jay Pritzker Pavilion"><img alt="The Jay Pritzker Pavilion" src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...illionSP.JPG/100px-JayPritzkerPavillionSP.JPG"@@AMEPARAM@@commons/thumb/6/61/JayPritzkerPavillionSP.JPG/100px-JayPritzkerPavillionSP.JPG[/ame], sharing services, and many other things in-between. The common point being that the members of a true online community have a much stronger relationship with it than with the average regular website.

In this article, I will give a few ideas and steps that can be taken to transform your forum into an online community. I will provide as many examples as possible to illustrate these ideas.



Advice 1. Target your audience, and understand it.

If you look back at the definition:
Community: a group of people with a common characteristic or interest

It's important if you want to create a community, that you identify what is/are the common characteristic(s) and interest(s) of your members. Knowing your members, their interests and their expectations is needed, because depending on these common characteristics the ways to make them feel home on your site will be different. On the need to...

Read more about this article here...
 
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aomtealfox

Enthusiast
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Jul 27, 2005
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126
Agreed, very informative and very complete overview of some of the things to really think about.
 

porksy

YoungCoder
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Dec 27, 2004
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220
Thankyou I shall be going over this with the designer of my new style :)
 

WebForging

WebForging.com
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Apr 2, 2005
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260
Bravo!

I believe great marketing is great common sense coupled with great common courtesy. The author has contributed an easy-to-read and well-illustrated article espousing both common sense and common courtesy.

Thank you.

Regards,
Keith
 

The Sandman

Administrator
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Jan 1, 2004
Messages
29,140
For anyone who doesn't realize it, this was the TAZ Article Contest '05 First Place winner. :jiggy:
 

Demosthenes

Resident Mancunian
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Mar 10, 2004
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1,690
No wonder it was first place, absolutely superb article, great job, quentin :D
 

loki

Participant
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Jun 11, 2005
Messages
78
Thanks for sharing the knowledge, keep up the good work. Hope to see more such posts in future.
 

stoic

Admin Apprentice
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Oct 22, 2004
Messages
464
I've heard too many admins say that chats destroyed their forum. I'm guessing no one here has had that experience?
 

ProperMethodz

Aspirant
Joined
Oct 5, 2005
Messages
18
Thumbs up on this one!


I'd like to add something to this. In order for a board to start you will need a good leader. You need someone who is fair and who can make decisions based on multiple accounts of stories. You also have to be someone who can seperate yourself from friends so you also don't get caught in the gossip. When running a community, you become a member of it. You also share part of who you are with the rest of the site. They will want to know about you, they will talk about you and all you can do is hope that your decisions are correct and just. Sometimes that's not the owner. In my case, the original owner passed the site to me. Now I'm stuck with a site which I really don't know how to use fully. I'm learning and have acomplished a lot in the past year, but am now starting to find all the resources I need to help me (this site).


I have an advantage that my community is local. We are all within a couple of hours from each other and can all do regular meet-ups. We do these roughly every couple of weeks. We generally shun off outsiders because we are local and the main purpose of our site are the LAN parties. Since these require you to be in the general area of each other, it has caused my site to become a clique type of environment which I actually don't mind. The majority of them are high school students who are immature, but smart beyond most "expert" sites I go to.

For instance, we found the fix for a major game before the game developers did. We also found and created a hack based on a hole in another game. We don't advertise the site as we should because we like the fact that we are a community and that we know each other's names.

I know that my site is addicting. I also know that it won't die anytime soon.

Thanks for the words, I will be using some of your advice.
 
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