What does it takes to be a sucessful forum admin?

Discussion in 'Managing an Online Community' started by fixer, Jun 15, 2019.

  1. fixer

    fixer I'm In My Prime

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    ralphcomputer copy.jpg
    • Sustainable passion for the subject matter
    • Natural leadership skills
    • Everyone CONTRIBUTE BELOW......
     
  2. sbjsbj

    sbjsbj Fan

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    Define successful.

    Generating a side income?
    A thriving community?
    A place which gets cited from other sites (such as Wiki) as primary source for particular subjects?
    A closed board which functions only for a handful of people? Like a pilot forum only for pilots of one particular airline? So just functioning is good enough?
    All of it?

    It depends on what we want to achieve. Considering that 99% of the websites try to generate revenue somehow, the first point seems to be the general idea of successful.

    What does it take to get to that point is that you need a real job first. You need money. Then you have to invest that money. And only then you might get something out of it. You need to specialize in something, anything, which people might want to invest money in. It is too broad to say what exactly is needed. But overall you need a vision and set goals.

    PS: There are 2 typos in the thread title fixer
     
  3. Nev_Dull

    Nev_Dull Anachronism

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    I completely agree with the above. Different outcomes demand different criteria.

    I'd also add you need to define "forum admin". Do you mean owner, manager, technical lead, staff title, etc.?
     
  4. fixer

    fixer I'm In My Prime

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    Yes
     
  5. LeadCrow

    LeadCrow Apocalypse Admin

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    If you got mood issues, no patience and no expertise in your chosen niche, welcome to the internet superhighway to hell. Maybe it'll work somehow......
     
  6. fixer

    fixer I'm In My Prime

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  7. Penguin

    Penguin Aspirant

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    I would say a good forum admin would have a good sense of impartiality, the ability to not rise to situations and competent technical skills.
     
  8. cheat_master30

    cheat_master30 Moderator

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    The first two are definitely important yet underappreciated skills. Far too many people take sides and pick favourites when running communities, at the expense of enforcing the rules equally. It's sadly especially true on social media sites like Twitter and YouTube, where those in the 'in crowd' seem to be virtually immune to punishment whereas those with less money/popularity get the short end of the stick.

    Still, good community management means a willingness to be unpopular and make decisions at odds with everyone else when necessarily. To put the rich and successful celebrity to the metaphorical guillotine when they break the rules. To accept that sometimes, the world's foremost expert in a subject has to get banned for bad behaviour. To give people a fair chance regardless of off site reputations or personal grudges.

    It's tough, and it won't make an admin popular (in the same way an impartial judge, lawyer or a good police officer won't necessarily be popular). But it's the kind of impartiality that a good community manager needs to have none the less.
     
  9. R0binHood

    R0binHood Habitué

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    Strong arms, to swiftly swing a big heavy banhammer with confidence and grace.
     
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  10. Joeychgo

    Joeychgo TAZ Administrator

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    No.. I have seen many forums go down because of this kind of thinking.

    Yes, impartiality and patience. Its easy to jump on the bandwagon and start banning people but that's the wrong approach IMO. Strategic and long term thinking and the discipline to not take the bait and overreact.
     
  11. R0binHood

    R0binHood Habitué

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    My post was in jest. But I have seen problems arise when mods are too scared to ban anyone.

    A ban doesn't have to be permanent. Sometimes people just need to be forced to take a break for a while.
     
  12. Joeychgo

    Joeychgo TAZ Administrator

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    I know, but some other member will come along who doesn't know you and will take you seriously.. :)

    Absolutely. Sometimes its better to give a day or two off to get the member to reset their thinking a bit and let them know they pushed too far. Unfortunately, too often people do month or even longer bans for stupid stuff, causing the member to never return or return with an even worse attitude because they felt unfairly treated.
     
  13. R0binHood

    R0binHood Habitué

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    Yeah, a month is a bit long. I think temporary bans can be healthy when they vary between 1-7 days.
     
  14. cubdriver

    cubdriver Aspirant

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    Almost 20 years of forum operations, I don't feel "successful" if you do, you probably are missing something else you need to do. One of the things that has helped me greatly in community building is the old "praise in public, criticize/correct in private". When somebody strays outside of the defined boundaries (usually politics), I use PM's to gently remind them of the rules regarding that sort of thing, or explain why I removed their post. They are not always happy, and I often cheerfully refund their membership money (if they are even a member). It has paid off in the long run.

    Not overreacting - or really, not reacting as others have said is as important as anything. Try to be Switzerland! :)

    sj
     
  15. southernlady

    southernlady Coder/Designer

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    I have one board where anything goes. There’s a warning that if you have thin skin or tend to get your panties in a twist, don’t go and read. But I also have it closed to visitors, bots, new members. Members have to have 30 days and 50 posts to access it. Someone can be a member for a year but not have enough posts to get in.

    If someone strays, esp in politics, I PM the member and ask them to edit the offending part of their post out. Everyone so far has cooperated so my editing isn’t needed. We do have a fine line when it comes to health care issues as that is very much a focus but can easily get political.
     
  16. 2dub

    2dub Adherent

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    I think the first thing on your list is the most important. The owner/admin needs to be passionate about their niche. They need to bring the confidence to their members as a leader, they need to be knowledgeable of their niche and share their passion.

    Sure, I could create an admin account for any of you and you could "administrate" my board well. But you'd do no better than me at your site.

    People come for the authority, the information, the since of community and they return and participate when they've found it.
     
  17. Ingenious

    Ingenious Fan

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    You do need a thick skin. You need (sadly, as it goes against instinct at times) to be diplomatic to those acting like complete c***s and to try hard not to get involved in other people's disputes... I'm not sure how much longer I can be arsed to be nice to people to be honest, I am sure it's all being pent up somewhere. Is there a therapist in the house who specialises in forum admins?

    Joeychgo phrases it well:

     
  18. R0binHood

    R0binHood Habitué

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    Please step into my office....

    ....what's your mind, my friend?

    [​IMG]
     
  19. zappaDPJ

    zappaDPJ Administrator

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    I think it very much depends on the nature of the forum.

    In general the ability to put your opinions, beliefs, political leanings etc to one side and tread a middle path is essential. In fact balance in everything is usually a good maxim to live by no matter what.

    On the other hand if you want easy traffic, extremism rules the day. Triggering the so called snowflake generation is guaranteed to get you a busy forum. Does that make you a good admin? Probably not but it'll certainly get you a busy forum.
     
  20. fixer

    fixer I'm In My Prime

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    fwiw if this was directed towards my site, my site is 100% void of any nah sayers, its hard enough to get right wingers to join a “militia” site let alone a left winger they wouldn't touch my site with a 10 foot pole, if they did they wouldnt last long

    i only play the triggering game on social media , where any exposure is good exposure
     
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