Grace-Centered Christian Forums [Big Boards] Featured Forum

Discussion in 'Featured Communities' started by Kathy, Apr 4, 2009.

  1. Kathy

    Kathy Tazmanian Veteran

    9,038
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    Another Big Board admin has agreed to answer our questions for the latest Featured Forum. Welcome to Lee and congratulations on your success forum.

    FORUM BASICS:
    My forum is Grace-Centered Christian Forums

    It's primarily for Christians to discuss just about anything. There's areas to discuss Theology, Marriage, Sports, Music, Movies, TV, Finances and others.

    List some of the most popular forums and describe its discussions.

    The Theology section is the most active. Just recently I added a section for different Christian denominations because of the discussion and debate about various doctrines and opinions.

    The second most popular forum is the Politics one. This one gets rough and moderators on patrol find plenty of work there.

    Honorable mentions include the marriage, news and general discussion forums.

    What prompted you to start your forum? What was your launch date?


    The official launch date was somewhere around July of 2001.

    Do you have any special forum features or activities?


    Not really. There's a "manna" feature where posters can award each other with "manna" for a good or helpful post. It's basically the "karma" feature that I just changed to be called "manna." The reason it's called "manna" is because when the Israelite nation was basically wondering around in the desert for a few years, there was a period of time when all they had to live on was "manna" (a bread of sorts) that fell from the sky. They saw this as "bread from Heaven" sent by God. It is a natural phenomenon in the desert where they were lost and it's actually not truly a bread even though it's similar and edible. Manna is seen by Christians and Jewish people as a sign of blessings. So that's why we call it that.

    In addition to that, members can select what "mood" they are in. That helps in that you can get an idea of what they were feeling when they posted something. It's helps in knowing how to respond I suppose.

    SOFTWARE:
    Which software do you use for your forums?


    Simple Machines.

    Do you use any add-ons scripts to enhance your site? Which ones?


    A simple blog feature. Ad management. Not much.

    HARDWARE:
    What is your current server set-up? Do you have multiple servers for your big board forum? Who manages your servers?


    MediaServe.com hosts my site and all of my sites except one (and soon that one). They've worked with me to keep the forum working efficiently so that my server expenses are at a minimum. I'm very pleased with them.

    MEMBERS:
    Membership stats? How many members?


    4600. Though the average member has 120 posts.

    What are the demographics of your site? (Percentage of men, women, age groups, locality related)

    1.6 men to every woman. 80 percent from the United States. That's as much as I know.

    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'm the only active admin though there are two trusted programmers who have admin rights. One of whom is a member of Admin Zone. There are currently 24 moderators. All business is taken are of in the moderator forum.

    REVENUE:
    How do you generate revenue to cover your expenses? (Ecommerce, subscriptions, advertising, affiliate links, etc)


    Google Adsense and affiliate links.

    Do you offer upgraded members groups for a fee? What benefits do they get for subscribing/upgrading?

    No. Members upgrade in membership title based on the number of posts.

    ADMIN:
    Lee Wilson

    Please share a few things about yourself.
    I'm 28 years old and have a wife and two small children. My favorite pizza topping is a beef and mushroom combination.

    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?

    A typical day is spent checking with the moderators in our section of the forum. I usually try to post a couple of times in the forum just to have an idea of what's going on and show members that I'm still involved. I office in my house in what used to be a guest bedroom. I like it because I can drive my son to school (my wife and I alternate) and I can take breaks to play with my 4 year old (or hang out with my wife). Though it's cliche', yes, I do work in my pajamas a lot.

    What has been the biggest obstacle you have faced in starting or running your forums? How did you/do you handle it?

    When I realized that Ikonboard was obsolete to my growing forum back in 2005, I had to not only find a good piece of forum software but then had to convert what I had to the new software. I didn't want to lose posts or memberships. I got help rather than trying to do it myself because I'd never done that before. After deciding on the software and finding someone to help convert it, the next obstacle was customizing the forum software to look better than simply the default. I wanted members to feel they were part of a unique community and not simply a piece of cookie-cutter forum software.

    What 3 things have helped your forums to be a success?

    1. Hard work. Anyone who tries to tell you that you can just build a forum and sit back waiting for members to come is ignorant. My forum has only recently gotten to the point that I don't feel I have to be there 6 to 8 hours per day. I spend that much time anyway, but I don't "feel" like it's essiential at this piont to the forum being what I call a success. If your forum is going to become big, you've got to build it.

    2. Timing. I started the forum in 2001ish. I haven't spent any money advertising though maybe I should have. Time only helps in terms of search engine traffic and membership referral. It compounds like a rolling snowball.

    3. Selecting moderators who have a passion for the forum and a cool head in terms of moderating. They are like ambassadors of the site and contribute a lot to the member experience. Be sure to pick out the right ones. I have a great group working with me.

    -Lee
    http://www.gracecentered.com/christian_forums
     
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