The Admin Zone welcomes another Big Board to our growing list of administrators. Read on to learn more about MartialArtsPlanet.com: FORUM BASICS: What is the name of your website and a brief description of the theme/topic of the forums. What is the url? www.martialartsplanet.com is one of the top martial arts forums on the web (or so says Bigboards) allowing friendly discussion of martial arts and related topics by practitioners of all arts in all countries. List some of the most popular forums and describe its discussions. Our General Martial Arts Discussion forum is by far the busiest arts forum as most topics have been covered in there at some point, e.g. traditional vs. mixed martial arts, "why did you start MA?" etc. The forums for better known styles like Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Filipino MA (kali, arnis, escrima) and Ninjutsu naturally get more traffic than Kuk Sool Won and Koryu Bujitsu with topics generally being about techniques, history and tournaments though they can through up some interesting new takes on things. What prompted you to start your forum? What was your launch date? As I didn't start the site I cant say why it was started but we opened for business in 2001. Do you have any special forum features or activities? We always had a clubs directory which unfortunately isn't compatible with the latest version of the site (but we're working on a totally new one) and we have forum meets for training in other styles once or twice a year with all proceeds going to a local charity. SOFTWARE: Which software do you use for your forums? vBulletin from the start. We're currently on 3.6.8 and were planning on moving to 3.7 at some point next year but I think we can wait until 3.8 is released. Do you use any add-ons scripts to enhance your site? Which ones? FlashChat, vBAdvanced CMPS, ibProArcade, vBJournal (not vBulletin Blog) and more random bits and pieces than I care to list! HARDWARE: What is your current server set-up? Do you have multiple servers for your big board forum? Who manages your servers? All I know is that we're with Liquidweb. One of my colleagues manages the server side of things. MEMBERS: Membership stats? How many members? 45,000 members at present, with 800 banned over the years. What are the demographics of your site? (Percentage of men, women, age groups, locality related) The majority of members are from the UK and USA but we get a good amount from Australia and everywhere from Norway to the Marshall Islands with roughly a 50/50 split male/female from what I've seen from the Intros forum. 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. 5 Admins at present. One is the site founder, one is pretty much AWOL at the moment and doesn't have much to do with the site now, we have a server boss, finance director and software guy (aka me). We have 9 global moderators who have knowledge of various martial arts styles so they can jump into the forums without too much hassle and 17 topic moderators. I'm the main developer (it was my job alongside global modding before I was asked to join the admin team) and some of our topic mods help with testing. REVENUE: How do you generate revenue to cover your expenses? (Ecommerce, subscriptions, advertising, affiliate links, etc) The ever-trusty Google-ads, subscriptions and a load of affiliate links that really need to be highlighted more! Do you offer upgraded members groups for a fee? What benefits do they get for subscribing/upgrading? Supporting Members get a bigger avatar, space for more private messages, a shiny badge on their postbit, access to a supporters forum and anything random that I can find for them. ADMIN: What is your name? Anthony (Anth) Gaskell 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'm 21, from County Durham, England and as can be expected from a martial arts forum administrator my main hobby is martial arts (I hold the grade of 1st degree black belt in kamishin ryu karate). I've had two years of university education that came to an end when I got sick of bad lecturers and am now unemployed spending most of my life on the site. 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? First task is always to read the days posts to see if there's anything that need my attention. Emails are then checked for account problems and banmails (we email everyone who is banned) and I authorise any new users that nobody else has sorted. Being unemployed and living with my parents my computer is in my room so I can go from developing a new feature to shooting people on the Wii or playing guitar at random What has been the biggest obstacle you have faced in starting or running your forums? How did you/do you handle it? One of the biggest problems have been when one forum pretty much decided they wanted it moderating to their own rules and closed to anyone from outside of the style. As that goes against the purpose of the site they were told "no chance" and we ended up with two moderators "leaving" on the end of our boots for terms of service violations. That particular forum is just starting to get back on its feet now and has calmed down a lot. The other big problem we had was a major database crash that lost a weeks posts. We took that opportunity to rebuild the site from the ground up with software upgrades etc. Four days to rebuild was pretty good going considering I was the main person doing the work What 3 things have helped your forums to be a success? The work of my forerunners, decent moderation and a good community spirit Congrats to you Anthony on the success of your forum!