Welcome to another successful forum specifically for Army Wives. Read on for great information about this ever-growing big-board! FORUM BASICS: What is the name of your website and a brief description of the theme/topic of the forums. What is the url? We are Army Wives Forums and we are a community of Army Wives, Girlfriends and Fiances mostly from the United States. List some of the most popular forums and describe its discussions. Our most popular board is The Couch - which is our rant board. There is much to complain about in the Army Lifestyle and everyone really appreciates a place to get it off of your chest. There's lots of advice and comic relief passed back and forth on The Couch. Our Off Topic board is second most popular, of course, because even an Army Wife's life is about more than just being the wife of a soldier. And the third most popular board is the "Army Question & Answer" board where members can ask questions specifically about the confusing details of the Army lifestyle. What prompted you to start your forum? What was your launch date? My husband was deployed in early January of 2005 and I tried a few Army Wives forums and immediately thought - I can do this better! So I started with a ProBoards board and the support of my sister (also an Army Wife) and a friend. We launched on February 6, 2005. Do you have any special forum features or activities? We have Generations. Because the membership has grown and grown, every few months, members were feeling lost and like they'd lost the closeness they'd experienced when they first joined the forums. So we implemented "Generations" - private boards created every 4 months. Your Generation is determined by your sign-up date, so you can share things with only those who joined around the same time as you and foster a closer kinship with those members, if you choose. We also have a Post Review section. Members who have lived on or near an Army Post can post their reviews of what it was like living there. This is really helpful when families find they are moving to a Post they've heard very little about, or when soldiers are given the option between different posts. You can read the reviews or contact someone who has lived on that Post and ask them further questions. SOFTWARE: Which software do you use for your forums? We now use VBulletin. Do you use any add-ons scripts to enhance your site? Which ones? We use several hacks such as the Chatbox, a chat room and the Arcade. HARDWARE: What is your current server set-up? Do you have multiple servers for your big board forum? Who manages your servers? We are currently hosted through a Virtual Private Server through Lunarpages. MEMBERS: Membership stats? How many members? We currently have 4,000+ members - about 1,000 of them active members. What are the demographics of your site? (Percentage of men, women, age groups, locality related) Our forum is for women only. The ages range from 17 all the way through women in their 50s and 60s. We are mostly located in the United States of America, but we have several members from Europe, both natives and wives who are stationed there, South Korea and Australia. STAFF: Tell us a about your staff including how many admins (and their functions), moderators, mentors, web-developers, etc. Explain how your staff is organized. I am the only Administrator on my site. We have 7 Super Moderators, 14 Moderators, 16 Guides and 8 Generation Leaders. As Administrator, I do all things technical on the forums and make final decisions on Rules and Regulations and policy. Super Moderators moderate the entire forum, mentor the Moderators, deal with interpersonal issues between members, handle signature violations, contribute to policy-making and generally keep things running as smoothly as possible. Moderators are each assigned 1+ sub-boards to moderate. They read all of the threads and posts on their sub-board and modify posts if needed, as the Rules dictate. They also participate in policy discussions. Guides are Mods-In-Training. They are also assigned a board (or more) to watch over. They bolster activity on their boards and report any violations they see to the Board Moderator. Generation Leaders are regular members who joined during the dates their Generation pertains to. They assure that all posts on their Generation comply with our Rules and Regulations and are the liaison between me and their Generation. REVENUE: How do you generate revenue to cover your expenses? (Ecommerce, subscriptions, advertising, affiliate links, etc) At this time, all of our costs are covered by subscriptions and donations. Do you offer upgraded members groups for a fee? What benefits do they get for subscribing/upgrading? We have several different subscription options. Our Debate Board is accessible after a minimal donation, as is our Arcade. Other subscriptions may come with support ribbons that sit in their postbit, increased avatar size, increased PM storage, access to a private Site Supporter Board and a different colored username. ADMIN: What is your name? My name is Carly. Please share a few things about yourself. (Bio, family, education, background, hobbies, your favorite pizza topping, your favorite vacation spot, your choice of transportation, etc) I am a 24 year old mother of two little ones - Chloe is 9 months old and Mason is 22 months old. My husband was deployed from January 2005 until June 2006 as he was a soldier in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. He has since returned completely to civilian life and works as an electrician. I am a stay at home Mom. I have a couple years of college under my belt - I shifted majors from Education to English and back again until I gave up and decided I'd go back when I actually knew what I wanted to do. I love the ocean, avocados, and spending time with my family (not necessarily in that order!) How do you spend a typical day as admin on your site? What do you enjoy about your job as admin of your site/forums? Do you office in your home or in a separate office space away from your house? My first order of business is always checking and responding to private messages. Then I like to roll up my sleeves and get to work on whatever threads have been reported. I check in on all of my staff boards. Then I check the Tech Support Board and the Suggestions Forum. Then I try to make sure I spend a few minutes every day just being a regular person and interacting with the members of the site. My "office" is my laptop and nearly every room in my house. What has been the biggest obstacle you have faced in starting or running your forums? How did you/do you handle it? My biggest obstacle has definitely been making those fine-line decisions. I sadly learned the lesson that there really is no way to make everyone happy, though I often wish I could. I struggle with some decisions and wonder whether I am taking the right path or not, sometimes. What 3 things have helped your forums to be a success? The three things that have helped my forums to be a success are: - A no-nonsense, descriptive site name. There's no guessing what our forums are about. Search engines love it. - A staff that supports my vision and is all at once friendly, professional and involved. - A mature, level-headed approach to people management. Congrats to you, Carly, on your success!