Why do so many new forums have too many sections?

Spider

Aspirant
Joined
Aug 7, 2017
Messages
17
How many boards and sub-boards would you guys say is too much for a new rp forum?

This has helped me think of ways to condense what I have. To go from 21 boards and 16 subs to about maybe 14 boards and 10 subs? Might play with it in excel and ask about it in a thread if I feel stuck.
 

Lisa

Chaotically Proportional
Joined
Jan 6, 2004
Messages
27,488
To go from 21 boards and 16 subs to about maybe 14 boards and 10 subs? Might play with it in excel and ask about it in a thread if I feel stuck.
I'd try and reduce it further, if you can. 24 areas (even if some are subforums) is still way too many for a brand new site, unless you have a lot of people ready to fill them up as soon as you start.
 

Matt C.

Gaming Fanatic
Joined
Jul 8, 2017
Messages
86
I've noticed that sometimes people have way too many sections because they copy other forums.
 

skrinkle

Participant
Joined
Nov 19, 2017
Messages
97
My problem right now is that I run a forum which really died off after a new owner took over several years ago. The site originally had maaaaannnyyy active forums, and offered user created forums for a fee. Now that I’ve started trying to get the site back in shape, I have people coming back and looking for specific forums and user created forums. We don’t have enough active members to bring it all back, but at the same time maybe people aren’t coming back because when they do they see the forums they were active in have been removed. It’s a constant battle in my head whether I should bring a forum back, or hide it.
 

Nabix

127.0.0.1
Joined
May 20, 2010
Messages
463
Maybe you could hide those forums from every user except certain people. Create a usergroup that have special permissions for it. Make it an incentive for those users.
 

Nev_Dull

Anachronism
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
Messages
2,069
As with anything, the best approach is to have a plan. When you're starting a new site, create a content plan. Map out how you envision the forum to be, with every section, forum and sub. Then roll all of those up into the fewest number of forums you can. You should end up with a small number of fairly broad and general topic areas that cover the basics of your subject. As the site grows, you can review your plan and start to split the larger, more active parts into more specific forums, as needed. Just be prepared to modify your vision, as forums often go in directions you didn't anticipate.

The same goes for an older, inactive site you've acquired. Create a content plan that shows how you see the site ending up, then start consolidating and renaming what you have into the fewest number of more generalized forums you can. Once people start using the forum again, you can work towards breaking those general parts into specific forums that stay active.
 

Hangman

Tazmanian
Joined
Dec 19, 2005
Messages
4,124
I have started with one board for my new forum... I find it is much easier to keep it fresh and appear more active. With good thread titles I hope it shouldn't cause much of an issue. Long term (if it gets that fr), splits can gradually take place as the content grows.
 

Xiammes

Aspirant
Joined
Mar 10, 2016
Messages
26
I would start out with all the boards you think you will use, and then add somethings that might be relevant, like if you were a D&D forum, you might have subforum for other table top games. After that, I'd add some off topic area's. More boards requires there to be a demand, just because you create it doesn't mean it will be used, I've done experiments on this. We are largely a anime forum, when Attack on Titan season 2 started, I had a entire subsection created since it was one of the most popular and talked about anime of the time, however the subsection was a ghost town outside of dedicated episode threads. The activity was so low, that it would have been more active if I kept all the discussion in a single thread.

Creating sections have to suit the demand, otherwise you can split and hurt activity. If you had a off topic section and you notice half the threads are for video games, then you can create a video game section.
 

Apple

Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 27, 2015
Messages
136
From what I've observed with forum owners, especially people who've never owned a forum before, is that they think that having lots and lots of boards will make their forum look bigger and that more people will join. In fact, it has the complete opposite effect.

I had this discussion with a very young guy who had just started his own forum and it wasn't doing well. I told him that he needed to combine sections on his forum, and make them more general. For example, this guy had a large gaming section on a very general forum, but under this gaming section, he had a ton of game specific sub-forums. He didn't believe me when I told him that it made the forum look dead. He should have put the whole thing as once forum called video gaming. He could then stick some prefixes in there for subjects that he thought might be popular. If there are enough threads being made under one particular prefix and the first page of that section is full of threads with last post "today," THEN it is a good idea to move them into their own section.

Sometimes people don't really want advice though, and you have to let them soldier on.
 

zappaDPJ

Administrator
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Messages
7,360
From what I've observed with forum owners, especially people who've never owned a forum before, is that they think that having lots and lots of boards will make their forum look bigger and that more people will join. In fact, it has the complete opposite effect.
Absolutely. Less is more is a good maxim no matter what the subject. I was looking at a forum yesterday that had nearly a million threads. I think it had two main forum categories; on-topic and off-topic.

[EDIT] And here it is: https://www.neogaf.com/
 

Apple

Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 27, 2015
Messages
136
Absolutely. Less is more is a good maxim no matter what the subject. I was looking at a forum yesterday that had nearly a million threads. I think it had two main forum categories; on-topic and off-topic.

[EDIT] And here it is: https://www.neogaf.com/
Interesting. You know, I don't really like the layout. I didn't have an account on there, but was sure that Neogaf had sections. I could be wrong though. As it stands, it feels very impersonal and uninviting. I feel that having some structure ends in people developing their own sub-communities within your community, which can be nice for them.

EDIT: I looked back on waybackmachine and it didn't. Must be thinking of another games site. :)

Our previous forum had 3.5 million posts and had been around since 2002. (It was sold in 2014 and killed :(, a fate many old forums share.) Back in the 00's as you know, forums were mega popular. We found that in later years, we had to merge many of the sections and stick prefixes on to keep the neighbourhood happy, so that they'd feel that we weren't removing the places they visited most. hehe. So, I guess, what I said above about expanding can go in the opposite direction too, depending on your community.
 
Last edited:

zappaDPJ

Administrator
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Messages
7,360
Interesting. You know, I don't really like the layout. I didn't have an account on there, but was sure that Neogaf had sections. I could be wrong though. As it stands, it feels very impersonal and uninviting. I feel that having some structure ends in people developing their own sub-communities within your community, which can be nice for them.

Our previous forum had 3.5 million posts and had been around since 2002. (It was sold in 2014 and killed :(, a fate many old forums share.) Back in the 00's as you know, forums were mega popular. We found that in later years, we had to merge many of the sections and stick prefixes on to keep the neighbourhood happy, so that they'd feel that we weren't removing the places they visited most. hehe. So, I guess, what I said above about expanding can go in the opposite direction too depending on your community.
It does seem what works for one forum spells doom for another. I don't know much about Neogaf and there's nothing at all about it which makes me want to look past the landing page. Nevertheless '111 Members online' says to me they must be doing something right :)
 

Apple

Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 27, 2015
Messages
136
It does seem what works for one forum spells doom for another. I don't know much about Neogaf and there's nothing at all about it which makes me want to look past the landing page. Nevertheless '111 Members online' says to me they must be doing something right :)
Yes, I edited my post above while you were typing. Checked on Waybackmachine. It was always like that. I was thinking of another place.

You're right though haha! I feel exactly as you do about it. They are doing something right, and it's possibly something more than just their layout. I've definitely heard the name before.
 

KimmiKat

Adherent
Joined
Mar 21, 2005
Messages
353
When I had my mboard, I took over from another one who's owner wanted out of the forum biz and had quite a few categories, but gradually reduced a few to stream line things.
 

MyLead

Aspirant
Joined
Jul 27, 2018
Messages
28
In my opinion everyone has thir own vision when it comes to creating a forum. SOmetimes they think it's good to have so many sections because you never know how many people you actually will sign up and what subjects they'll want to talk about.
 

Questlot

Aspirant
Joined
Apr 23, 2019
Messages
14
Some forum have many sections because they want to cover a lot of categories for users. But that a wrong move for new forum owners. My own forum that started 2017 have about 15 sections and thankfully to the members almost all the section are active with users posting each day.
 

overcast

Adherent
Joined
Mar 17, 2019
Messages
486
What is wrong with having too many sections? Do people think that having one section for all type of threads is good with organization of thread and SEO?
 

PoetJC

⚧ Jacquii: Kween of Hearts ⚧
Joined
Jul 9, 2006
Messages
21,033
What is wrong with having too many sections? Do people think that having one section for all type of threads is good with organization of thread and SEO?
Well... The thread is about NEW forums having too many sections to begin with on launch.
The school of thought is that too many sections that contain no content may be a bit of a turn-off to prospective members; that you should minimize the amount of forums on launch to those of the most basic for your niche. Then add sections as the amount of content grows and additional sections are warranted.

I sort of agree with this approach. But honestly - I think if you're beginning a forum and have posted some decent content in the majority of forums on launch - then there really should be no issue. I'm using the main XF forum index - but also TH Topics for more of a content discovery type approach. I added quite a bit of forums -- which have some decent content most of them anyway -- but the Topics list (since you can choose multiple topics per thread) allows the forum to look a bit more active.

Anyway - hope this *sorta* answers your question...

J.
 

overcast

Adherent
Joined
Mar 17, 2019
Messages
486
I sort of agree with this approach. But honestly - I think if you're beginning a forum and have posted some decent content in the majority of forums on launch - then there really should be no issue.

Yes. That's my point too. One forum category and all niche thread is not good either. As it puts many thread topics down and less accessible.
 
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