What do you think are the biggest mistakes made by forum administrators/staff teams?

Discussion in 'Managing an Online Community' started by Lisa, Mar 16, 2019.

  1. Lisa

    Lisa Chaotically Proportional

    Talking about other forums you might be a member of - and since we're all staff/forum owners here - what are things other forum owners/staff members do that make you wince, or you feel is a big no-no for a site?

    For me, focusing on staff teams in general, it boils mostly down to two things (I'll probably think of more later):-

    Moderation without acknowledgement. By all means delete my posts, edit my posts, close my thread - but tell me you've done it. If possible, explain why.

    Seeing staff online, seeing spam online. Seeing that spam not disappearing for an hour even though the staff are actively posting. What is that all about?

    Focusing on a forum owner -

    Starting a new site with a million empty forums - just don't. Start with a few, expand as you need to.
    Adding a bazillion staff before you even have members to moderate.
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  2. zappaDPJ

    zappaDPJ Administrator

    All of the above plus...

    Telling me to search the forums after making my first post :mad:

    Staff that berate or ban members because their views are at odds with theirs.
  3. TheChiro

    TheChiro Devotee

    Agreed with the above. On top of that, having a billion forums/subforums to copy another site's structure that has been around for 10+ years and needs those forums...as a new site, start small and broad with your forums. Will make it look more active and not like a desolate ruin.
  4. Lisa

    Lisa Chaotically Proportional

    This really irritates me! Searching isn't always viable - especially if you're not entirely sure what keywords you should use.
  5. mysiteguy

    mysiteguy Devotee

    Mods wanting to ban or warn someone because the person rubs them the wrong way, because they disagreed with answers the mod posted, or even when the mod's feels their ego threatened (the new person has much more topic expertise than the mod has).
  6. cornnfedd

    cornnfedd Captain Futurama

    Over moderation and crazy admin that want to control everything
    Telling people to search forum when they ask a new question instead of answering the question (this is a real bug bear of mine I hate it)
    Admin giving up on forum when its 2 weeks old and closing it

    Also on a side note, I remember being a member of a forum and the mods used to CLOSE TOPICS consistently, as soon as they felt the question had been answered they closed the topic, it drove me so nuts.

    Mods who cant be objective and use their bias to influence the forums and ban members they disagree with but have actually done nothing wrong.
  7. southernlady

    southernlady Coder/Designer

    I don’t tell people to search. I add possible boards or threads they might really need to read with the hopeful expectation that they will eventually read the rest.
  8. LeadCrow

    LeadCrow Apocalypse Admin

    Bossing around and chasing people away (like with bans, or just targetted abuse).
    Its ridiculous to use that as the primary method of enforcing your will, no matter how abusive or injustified it might have been.

    And just as bad, fostering a culture of sucking up to 'authority'. Forums used to be about equal partcipation, so its a shame they had to lose that to social networks and even discord.
  9. overcast

    overcast Enthusiast

    I think there are many mistakes that admins make these days.

    1. Admins often don't pay much attention towards forums these days due to reduction in revenue.
    2. Lot of admins ignore the direction they have to take. And often let the members drive the forums, which is often wrong.
    3. Many admins use authority on wrong places. Some of the time owners are supposed to just sit back and let members have discussion.
    4. Many owners tend to allow trolls and the verbal abusers in the forum just because they tend to align with their views or in connection with them.
    5. Owners tend to allow politics affect their forum. I know owners who allow SJW and Left wing members to attack non left wing members. Often lot of people leave just because of that sort of politics in non politics forums.

    These are some of the things that I have observed so far in the place I am part of.
  10. Nev_Dull

    Nev_Dull Anachronism

    All of the above, which add up to a site that is devoid of community, which is why most of us go to forums. As I mentioned in this thread, a lot of my members complain about other sites in my niche. They've registered and tried to join the discussions, but end up being ignored because they are new and unknown, or their questions and ideas are met with derision or animosity because they aren't part of the "in crowd" of that forum.
  11. mysiteguy

    mysiteguy Devotee

    Add to that, it's also counter productive to a growing forum. Telling people it's already been answered, while that may suit those who have seen the topic before, newbies sometimes not only want an answer they also want to talk about the answer. The only time I think not starting the topic all over again is good is if it's recent, so two active threads about the same thing aren't going on at the same time.
  12. mysiteguy

    mysiteguy Devotee

    Year over year revenue for mine is a 142% increase (so far, its getting better every month). I'm getting better RPM than I did back in the 2007 forum peak. Recently did an ad audit for a client, increasing their year over year by over 400% with Adsense. And this didn't affect their direct advertisers either --- the optimizations actually increased the number of their ads displayed by over 600%. And all this without increasing the number of ads displayed per page.

    If a forum is seeing lower revenue these days they likely aren't doing a good job with mobile (my mobile ad revenue is more than double the RPM of desktop). The ad marketplace is very dynamic, unlike it used to be, and you need to keep on top of it rather than set it and forget it.
  13. overcast

    overcast Enthusiast

    I think in case of AMP it cuts down some of the ads. And ads too need to be properly fed to AMP supported forums. So I think revenue going down has many reasons. Not often in control of owners.
  14. Joel R

    Joel R Fan

    The biggest mistake I see is new community admins trying to focus on the technical side, and not enough on the community management side. They think every solution to their problem can be solved with a prettier theme, another mod, or another feature when they don't take the time to do the hard strategic thinking of offering functional value to visitors, cultivating a unique sense of community, and actually managing the human element.
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  15. Anton Chigurh

    Anton Chigurh Ultimate Badass

    Then when the above shockingly isn't working they start claiming, "I really don't care about the traffic, it's just a hobby" but then continue to spam a link to their site, every chance they get.
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  16. Bengie

    Bengie Aspirant

    What, you mean like this https://plymouthlink.co.uk :)
  17. R0binHood

    R0binHood Habitué

    That's why I visit TAZ. It might still be on an old, outdated, archaic platform, with a terrible theme and way too many mods, but there's a bit of good content and some half decent people posting interesting stuff from time to time ;)
  18. jimjam

    jimjam Neophyte

    I think the biggest mistake a forum owner makes is when he appoints his first moderator. In my experience, moderators are responsible for the ruination of so many forums. It was hard without mods ten years ago and took a lot of time, but with the crowd modding tools available today, even as the forums got large I've been able to completely avoid them. 10,000 users are so much easier to herd than 10 moderators. :)
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  19. Joel R

    Joel R Fan

    There was a request that came up on Invision Community a couple of days ago that perfectly encapsulates this issue.

    The admin wanted to request a global ignore feature (eg. So everyone could ignore a troublemaker).

    He wanted to use technology to try to overcome a distinctly human issue. It didnt address the underlying issue of why the user wanted to be troublesome in the first place. It also used technology in all the wrong ways by literally ignoring the underlying concerns user!

    Part of community management is managing the humans in the community. That means being brave enough to confront a user who is problematic and actually talking to him or her to find out what's going on. I know it's easier to install a mod from the ACP and to never talk to anyone in the process, but I think good community admins and managers will understand the innate limitation of technology and when human intervention is required. Community software is part of the solution but it's never going to be THE solution.
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  20. Joeychgo

    Joeychgo TAZ Administrator

    1. Over-moderation
    2. Too many addons, especially superfluous ones
    3. Running a forum with too much focus on what the admin personally likes or doesn't like. Should be objective in decision making.
    4. Making decisions without thinking about the long term effects or the effect on other similar situations.
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