It's Quality, not Quantity, Man!

Megan

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Jun 30, 2005
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Megan submitted a new Article:

It's Quality, not Quantity, Man!

It's Quality, not Quantity, Man!
Seven ways to improve the quality of your forum.

Quality is a big problem faced by forum administrators. If we're not careful, things can get out of hand and our precious forum can turn to rot. This article will outline a number of measures you can take to improve the quality of your forum.

In my travels around to other forums I noticed that many of them had a large portion of their posts concentrated in the off topic, forum-specific, and advertising forums. Informal calculations showed that in some forums these areas held up to 72% of the posts, while at others it was as low as 22%. When the majority of posts are contained in these areas the post counts are quite high but very few are doing what the forum was intended for – helping people on the topic.

Of course, there are many other quality problems that forum face: members posting useless or immature responses, people who like to write in “IM speak”, spamming, unanswered questions, and many other problems can also affect the quality of a forum.

The following are several methods you can use to keep the quality level of your forums high.

Emphasize the Content

Many forum designers like to start the forum listings with administrative topics and/or general discussion. This is great if that is where you want people to be posting. But what about your topical forums? They are now pushed down where members will need to scroll to see them. Make it easy for people to participate in the topical sections of your forum by pushing your off topic and administrative sections to the bottom of the list. I found that the forums with the highest percentage of posts in the off topic areas had them positioned at the top. Of course, there will always be room for off topic discussions if you choose to allow them. Introductions and market place type forums are also important but they should play a supporting role rather than taking over the focus of your community.

Control the Spamming

Restrict what is and is not allowed in advertising areas and throughout the forums. Advertising or “Buy/Sell/Trade” type forums should be there as a resource for your members – not for spammers! Remember that your forum does not exist as a source of free advertising. Create a clear set of guidelines that allows members to post useful resources and keeps out the spam. Members who repeatedly abuse these guidelines should...

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Kathy

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Jan 1, 2004
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Really good points, Megan. Thanks for the article. Good stuff!
 
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