To allow or disallow, this is the question (a little help needed!)

Discussion in 'Members & Staff' started by JimF, Sep 29, 2004.

  1. JimF

    JimF Aspirant

    My site is a fan site for NY Yankees fans. For those that don't follow baseball, the arch-rival of the Yankees are the Boston Red Sox, and fans of both teams are very passionate about their teams.

    My forum is the largest independent (ie, non-media) forum for Yankees fans out there, and is generally regarded as a very intelligent and active community. The equivalent to my site on the Red Sox side is a site that is tremendously popular due to events that have made the Boston sports media take notice in their site, so to limit some of the nonsense, they have closed registrations except for those who have been referred by an existing member in good standing. Sort of like a country club.

    I've always tried to be very hands off in running my forum, and have made specific efforts to not restrict anyone from any part of the board, and have always made it clear that we welcome fans of all teams, as long as they're not trolls. And for 4 years, this worked. But ever since the Red Sox board closed registration, there has been a huge influx in Red Sox fans to my site. They don't cause trouble, but they have kind of "taken over" a forum on my board meant for discussions of other teams.

    This, naturally, has PO'd some of my members, and I'm not quite sure how to handle it. People have suggested starting a Red Sox sub-forum, but I really don't want to do that -- plus what's to stop them from posting elsewhere on the site anyway?

    Basically what I'm looking for is a good way to re-route some of the Red Sox discussion, while not restricing forum access for certain groups or disallowing registrations for certain groups. Some of our better all-around members are fans of other teams, so I don't want to start allowing only Yankee fans.

    I would appreciate any tips any of you might have if you've dealt with this sort of thing youselves. Either that, or maybe some advice or ideas? I'm truly at a loss, and don't want this to turn into something ugly.

    Thanks :)


    PS: Long time no see to many familiar names I've seen on this site
  2. Mike Feury

    Mike Feury Habitué

    My first thought is to go the separate section [forum and subs if needed] route to cater for the Sox crowd. Why don't you like this, and what problem would it be if they did post elsewhere?

    I dealt with a somewhat similar situation 4-5 years ago. A start-up company basically spawned a new industry sector in early '99 which developed a large public following. I was the equivalent of super-mod for the main 'serious' discussion board on the industry.

    Within 6 months, competing companies had sprung up and there were well over 100 by late 2000--maybe about 20 serious players plus lots of small-time companies.

    While the original start-up remained the dominant player, many of our members were also interested in the competitors. We changed our board from being company-specific to cater to the industry. After the number of competitors grew, we reverted to a company-specific board for the leader and opened other boards to accommodate the competition.

    We never encountered any serious problems during all this, despite often passionate positions for and against various companies. I believe this is because we had our forum culture well established in the first 6-9 months, so that we attracted people who welcomed serious and civil discussions.

    Of course some of the early members who remained loyal only to the industry leader were annoyed, they didn't want the 'interlopers' getting air time. There were some clashes but we quickly stepped in to cool things down and it never became a serious issue.

    You seem to have a great culture well-established, so I think you should be able to cater for the Sox guys in their own section without much problem. The early days are the important ones, that's when you establish the kind of behavior expected. Pretty soon it'll become self-policing.

    Alternatively, depending on your own desires and ambitions, you could open a separate board for the Sox community. This would prevent clashes if you're worried about that, but would lose any benefits from comparitive discussions.

    That might be a better alternative, since I guess most team fans aren't all that interested in comparitive discussions between their team and others? Put one of your most trusted staff members in charge initially until leaders emerge from the Sox gang.

    You're going to get objections whichever way you go, so go with whatever you and your senior staff feel is best for you all. Good luck :)
  3. Purple

    Purple Adherent

    As usual, Mike is right on. But I can't help but be a bit concerned over the potential fireworks, when you get Sox & Yankees fans together.

    I would like to have a similar problem. ;)
  4. JimF

    JimF Aspirant

    While waiting for a new reply notification, it's probably a good idea to check which email account you register on a board with, and then check that account for new mail :). Sorry for the late reply, I was actually wondering why there had been no replies so I came here to check it out. Good thing I did :).


    I really appreciate your reply; it was very detailed and contained some great thoughts. I've finally decided I'm not really comfortable opening a team-specific forum for fans of the other team; I think that sends a mixed message to my users as to what my "mission" is, and to the Red Sox fans as to how welcome they are.

    I guess we're just going to try and wait it out, while being a little more tough on the Red Sox fans than on our normal members.

  5. Scribbller

    Scribbller The dude

    Why dont you do what the sox fan is doing, My forum is similar to yours in nature it is about my country's cricket team and our biggest rivals are india so their fans register and start talking about their team on our board which is really starting to annoying me.
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