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Old 19th March 2015, 12:13 PM   #1
Helloforum
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how did you make it so popular?

Hey! I'm making a forum about nothing in particular, just a general forum where ppl can discuss any topic freely without any rules or anything. I see this forum is pretty popular and I'd like to know how you got this far. Got any tips for me?
Thanks
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Old 19th March 2015, 12:35 PM   #2
marplots
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It helps to give away automotive cleaning products. People love them and will return to the forum often to see when the next give-away will be.
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Old 19th March 2015, 01:20 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Helloforum View Post
Hey! I'm making a forum about nothing in particular, just a general forum where ppl can discuss any topic freely without any rules or anything. I see this forum is pretty popular and I'd like to know how you got this far. Got any tips for me?
Thanks
This forum was associated (started by) the James Randi Educational Foundation. (It has since been "divested"...) It had a vision, of sorts, and because of Randi's name and his challenge to bogus psychics and others with paranormal claims, the forum attracted a dedicated coterie of like-minded individuals.

The "secret" as to the mix? Can't say. For years, members of these forums have been getting together in the great big world at TAMs and skeptic cruises and any time someone was passing through a town where someone they'd been communicating with for seven/ten years lived. In that respect it's quite different from most forums.

Mostly it's about the "skepticism" though. It's not just a buzzword in a forum name. We're on a mission from not-God.
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Old 19th March 2015, 02:04 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Foolmewunz View Post
This forum was associated (started by) the James Randi Educational Foundation. (It has since been "divested"...) It had a vision, of sorts, and because of Randi's name and his challenge to bogus psychics and others with paranormal claims, the forum attracted a dedicated coterie of like-minded individuals.

The "secret" as to the mix? Can't say. For years, members of these forums have been getting together in the great big world at TAMs and skeptic cruises and any time someone was passing through a town where someone they'd been communicating with for seven/ten years lived. In that respect it's quite different from most forums.

Mostly it's about the "skepticism" though. It's not just a buzzword in a forum name. We're on a mission from not-God.
Alright so that's not an angle i can try. I'm not associated to any foundation or anything like that. People here in portugal don't do forums much. I'll just have to do it all online.

LOL "on a mission from not-god" my boss is actually a jehovah's witness so i got used to keeping the god subject out of the conversation. He knows I'm an atheist and he not gonna convert me, but we'd rather not talk about it? You know how those Jehovah's witnesses get when the conversation gets holy!
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Old 19th March 2015, 02:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
It helps to give away automotive cleaning products. People love them and will return to the forum often to see when the next give-away will be.
Why "automotive cleaning products"? Won't ppl take anything free? I know i wouldn't be interested in automotive cleaning products, my car doesn't get any prettier when i clean it....
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Old 19th March 2015, 02:13 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Helloforum View Post
Why "automotive cleaning products"? Won't ppl take anything free? I know i wouldn't be interested in automotive cleaning products, my car doesn't get any prettier when i clean it....
You need to find out who to take seriously and who to chuckle along with.

And liars, don't fall foul of the liars.

Me, I've only ever told one lie.

And that's the line above.
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Old 19th March 2015, 02:32 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla Sama View Post
You need to find out who to take seriously and who to chuckle along with.

And liars, don't fall foul of the liars.

Me, I've only ever told one lie.

And that's the line above.
LOL yea i know. I'm not gonna give out anything for free don't worry!
I'd just like it if ppl used my forum sometimes. It would give me something personal to work at instead of thinking about my boss's company all the time
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Old 19th March 2015, 02:46 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Helloforum View Post
Hey! I'm making a forum about nothing in particular, just a general forum where ppl can discuss any topic freely without any rules or anything. I see this forum is pretty popular and I'd like to know how you got this far. Got any tips for me?
Thanks
That's going to be your problem. Without rules a forum can too easily devolve into nothing but flame wars and spam.
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Old 19th March 2015, 03:02 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
That's going to be your problem. Without rules a forum can too easily devolve into nothing but flame wars and spam.
Yeah, in my opinion the rules are one of the things that keep this place great. I've never stuck around posting on any other forum because I'm just not interested in stupid garbage posts and flame wars. This one really is a cut above, and the moderation is a BIG reason for that. (In my opinion, of course.)

Something to consider.
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Old 19th March 2015, 03:23 PM   #10
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Just having a general forum probably isn't going to go anywhere fast. People need a reason, a subject that they want to discuss. Pick a subject (like you said you were interested in Pokemon) and make a board for discussing that. You are far more likely to get people to come to your board, and more importantly to stay with your board.
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Old 19th March 2015, 04:50 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Macgyver1968 View Post
Just having a general forum probably isn't going to go anywhere fast. People need a reason, a subject that they want to discuss. Pick a subject (like you said you were interested in Pokemon) and make a board for discussing that. You are far more likely to get people to come to your board, and more importantly to stay with your board.
Yea i thought about that. I've actually had a pokemon forum but it never went anywhere... I just thought that with a general forum i could appeal to everyone instead of trying to choose a topic that has enough ppl interested but at the same time i know enough about so i can post about it without looking like an idiot..
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Old 19th March 2015, 04:53 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by isissxn View Post
Yeah, in my opinion the rules are one of the things that keep this place great. I've never stuck around posting on any other forum because I'm just not interested in stupid garbage posts and flame wars. This one really is a cut above, and the moderation is a BIG reason for that. (In my opinion, of course.)

Something to consider.
Of course i wouldn't let it get out of hand! Spammers can go straight to hell before coming to my forum! I just meant that ppl could talk about any topic and use swearwords if they wanted to, without starting wars with eachother. It has a censoring thing that ppl can turn off if they want to.
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Old 19th March 2015, 05:11 PM   #13
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Simply starting up a Board about everything will lead to failure, unless you have some marketing in mind. "If you build it he will come" only works in Movies.

Build up your Twitter and Facebook base to a level of critical mass, then open your Board by inviting your friends on these Social Media sites to join your site. Work out what you want each of your sub Forums to be headed so that the whole thing does not become a hotch potch of unrelated topics, so that nobody will ever find anything.

For a Board to reach sustainable level (unless somebody famous endorses it) also requires you to come within Google's radar, and the more google hits you get, the more members you will get.

Also unless you have a couple of Administrators to delete stuff, you will find that the Spambots which spider the Web 24/7 will join in such numbers (once you get to critical mass), that it will become a full time job just deleting bogus members. Unless of course you want to buy Viagra, Russian Brides or furniture from overseas (and, no I won't mention Porn)

It is easy to start a Board. It is a grind building it up, and maintaining it as you want it to be, especially even if you only get to a couple of hundred active members. What did you learn from the failure of your Pokemon Board? Start from there.

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Old 19th March 2015, 07:56 PM   #14
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Good luck with your endeavor, Helloforum. But I echo the sentiments of most people here. In the words of Gypsy Rose Lee (in the musical, Gypsy).... "Ya gotta have a gimmick!" In the case of a forum, I think that means a "hook". You have to have some reason to get people to stop there in the first place and then you have to have enough content (this forum gets about 1500 posts a day) that the drop-in says, "Say, this isn't just a Pokemon Conservancy Site, they've got some interesting people here discussing stuff that's interesting TO ME."

Right now, our most active sub-forums are Politics and Social Issues/Current Events. Most members, though, came here when it was the old JREF Forums and were attracted by de-bunking of charlatans, bad science, quackery, etc... and stayed for the casual (and pitched battle) discussions on less subjective material. (My political party's better than your political party! Is not! Is too! Poopie head! LOL PWND!) But there's still a strong undercurrent of critical thinking and skepticism. You won't see people arguing politics on Youtube citing logical fallacies the way you will here.

The bad news? Forums are dying. This one is active, perhaps, from your perspective, but it's down by about 50% of its peak users about six years ago. Social media has taken up all the people who are just here for the lulz and the camaraderie. Social media is not a good platform for a decent debate or heated discussion, though, so many of us still like the forum format. But while it's not dead or not even dying, it has receded to a tertiary position to the click click click generation. If someone posts here, in Forum Community, "Show us your breakfast" you get fifteen responses and 112 "views". People view/respond if they're interested. On FB, everyone has to look at the pictures of your porridge and juice.
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Old 20th March 2015, 12:35 AM   #15
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Hum, u guys gave me a lot to think about. I'll difinitely take all this into consideration and reformulate what I'm doing. Thanks guys!
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Old 20th March 2015, 01:11 AM   #16
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Helloforum, I think you get it. I think things change so fast these days, that getting popular seems like such a great idea. It is so unimportant though. Be honest, and we will follow.

Reminds me of a line from a movie.

“There will come a time when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten and all of this will have been for naught. Maybe that time is coming soon and maybe it is millions of years away, but even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever. There was time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be time after. And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that’s what everyone else does.”
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Old 20th March 2015, 01:13 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Helloforum View Post
Why "automotive cleaning products"? Won't ppl take anything free? I know i wouldn't be interested in automotive cleaning products, my car doesn't get any prettier when i clean it....
It was a meta point. First, people will not take anything free. They will take free stuff they think is more valuable than free though.

This forum is popular because a lot of the cool kids come here to post.

For example, I come to read what Gawdzilla Sama posts. I find it at times amusing, inspiring, and thought provoking. Never inane, never simply fluffy and calorie-free. Those posts bring others who want to respond and contribute in turn.

I don't think good forums are created so much as carefully nurtured and grown. (Also trimmed by skilled nurserymen/mods.)
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Old 20th March 2015, 01:25 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
This forum is popular because a lot of the cool kids come here to post.
My apology for posting on this thread as I did earlier today and representing the older generation. In future, I will take a back seat to the cool kids.

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Old 20th March 2015, 01:39 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by fromdownunder View Post
My apology for posting on this thread as I did earlier today and representing the older generation.
That is silly. Never think that. You were quite insightful.
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Old 20th March 2015, 04:27 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by fromdownunder View Post
My apology for posting on this thread as I did earlier today and representing the older generation. In future, I will take a back seat to the cool kids.

Norm
[gump] Well, Norm, mama always said, "You don't have to be young to be immature." [/gump]

I've been a cool kid for five decades, now.
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Old 20th March 2015, 09:45 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Foolmewunz View Post
This forum was associated (started by) the James Randi Educational Foundation. (It has since been "divested"...) It had a vision, of sorts, and because of Randi's name and his challenge to bogus psychics and others with paranormal claims, the forum attracted a dedicated coterie of like-minded individuals.

The "secret" as to the mix? Can't say. For years, members of these forums have been getting together in the great big world at TAMs and skeptic cruises and any time someone was passing through a town where someone they'd been communicating with for seven/ten years lived. In that respect it's quite different from most forums.

Mostly it's about the "skepticism" though. It's not just a buzzword in a forum name. We're on a mission from not-God.

Actually, this is not true anymore, if it ever was. This site is about pushing an agenda--specifically in regard to obfuscating the science, (or lack thereof) concerning the official investigation of the building collapses in 2001.

In fact, it's probably because of this lack of scientific rigor (accidental or not) that the original JREF proprietors split. Even Randy couldn't take it anymore.

I'm not without justification. Indeed, my criticism is the lack of justification allowed for certain claims.
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Old 20th March 2015, 10:18 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by jay howard View Post
Actually, this is not true anymore, if it ever was. This site is about pushing an agenda--specifically in regard to obfuscating the science, (or lack thereof) concerning the official investigation of the building collapses in 2001.

In fact, it's probably because of this lack of scientific rigor (accidental or not) that the original JREF proprietors split. Even Randy couldn't take it anymore.

I'm not without justification. Indeed, my criticism is the lack of justification allowed for certain claims.
Are you... joking? I honestly can't tell.
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Old 20th March 2015, 12:26 PM   #23
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It's been a false flag all along...
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Old 20th March 2015, 12:35 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by isissxn View Post
Are you... joking? I honestly can't tell.
Find his other posts and you might find out...
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Old 20th March 2015, 12:51 PM   #25
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I also agree with having a hook. I have 2 forums I have visited for years-the mma weekly forums and the Stern fan network forum. Both had a solid hook-my love for mixed martial arts and my love of the Howard Stern show. I rarely discuss either subject at either of those forums now, but the relationships forged keep me coming back.
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Old 20th March 2015, 09:08 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by jay howard View Post
Actually, this is not true anymore, if it ever was. This site is about pushing an agenda--specifically in regard to obfuscating the science, (or lack thereof) concerning the official investigation of the building collapses in 2001.

In fact, it's probably because of this lack of scientific rigor (accidental or not) that the original JREF proprietors split. Even Randy couldn't take it anymore.

I'm not without justification. Indeed, my criticism is the lack of justification allowed for certain claims.
@helloforum

PROTIP! Recruiting.

Part of the popularity of the forums here is that while we might censor bad words, kiddie porn and spammers, we do not censor ideas. We have had various boosts in interest/membership over the years at various times because we're the place that lets dissenting voices speak up as long as they stay within the MA (membership agreement). While other sites have admins/mods who will actually jump into an argument and suspend or ban a person taking a contrary point of view, we try not to do that.

This has happened with Bigfoot, 911 CT, Holocaust Denial, Amanda Knox, and a few other topics. It's not that the majority of the board isn't of a dominant position on those topics. We do somewhat agree (there's no bigfoot, 911 CT is fantasy, holocaust denial is horrific bigoted fantasy, Amanda Knox was railroaded) but we will discuss nuances, but more important to people on the fringe who want to promote those contrary beliefs, we will let them have their say and will pick apart their arguments. Other boards get tired of all the crap and shut down the conversations.

And the thing is that True Believers tell each other on other sites that "you're allowed to get into a good argument over at the JREFF/ISF". And if you give them a platform, they will come. If you have no members, though, you can get over-run. But if you can allow controversy and get some subject matter experts (we have numerous) to solidly counter the woo-ish beliefs, you can attract membership.

The quoted post is an example of the result. There are still 911 CTers out there. The poster is one of them and sees the entire forums through that particular interest. 911 CT debunking is greatly a pastime for most of us by now. I occasionally chime into a thread, but rarely. We have people who are very much better informed on the topic than myself, even though that's the thing that got me to sign up here, originally. They come for the CT or the UFOs or the Psychics and they stay for the cookies and peach pie!
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Old 20th March 2015, 11:07 PM   #27
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This will not be of much help to any new boards, but one attraction of a big board like this one is that if a member has a problem they can come here, state what it is and within a few hours have a reply from a member who knows what they are talking about. I have seen this so many times on so many subjects.

Yes, this board has been hit hard by people going to Facebook but it should survive. Other small forums have closed. But as others have said it needs a new gimmick or hook.
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Old 21st March 2015, 01:13 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Helloforum View Post
Hey! I'm making a forum about nothing in particular, just a general forum where ppl can discuss any topic freely without any rules or anything.
Others have given good advice - I'll just add a footnote about rules. You should absolutely ban anyone who is so lazy that they can't take the time (measured in milliseconds) to type "people" so just use "ppl".
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Old 21st March 2015, 01:53 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by SezMe View Post
Others have given good advice - I'll just add a footnote about rules. You should absolutely ban anyone who is so lazy that they can't take the time (measured in milliseconds) to type "people" so just use "ppl".
While I find this response funny, it is not as silly as it sounds. BB's which are international often have members where English is a second, or even third language, and do not understand txt spk (text speak). If you intend to run an English language Board, then insist on full words, and context so that people who may not have English as a first language can understand what the hell is going on.

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Old 21st March 2015, 03:10 AM   #30
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Thank you for all the great advice guys! I decided I'm gonna pick up my pokemon forum again, since that one has a head start with google and everything, and i made a facebook page with the same name and links to the forum to attract more people. I had already made an ad video for youtube at the time and I'm republishing that. Withing hours i had 5 guests in the forum, which is already a victory compared to what i had with the other forum (which is 0)
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Old 21st March 2015, 08:27 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Helloforum View Post
Thank you for all the great advice guys! I decided I'm gonna pick up my pokemon forum again, since that one has a head start with google and everything, and i made a facebook page with the same name and links to the forum to attract more people. I had already made an ad video for youtube at the time and I'm republishing that. Withing hours i had 5 guests in the forum, which is already a victory compared to what i had with the other forum (which is 0)
You need to promote it. We have some devious people here. Who, us? We single-handedly boosted a thread here on a scam called the Amega Wand. At one point, we were putting in mixed headlines using commonly Googled terms and Amega Wand. "Amega Wand didn't Seduce Victoria Beckham". Nowadays, you could combine Kanye West or Bieber.

And there are those who claim it didn't work - who are probably right - but all the fun and attention we gave the topic, you still find these forums as the 2nd pick if you Google "Amega Wand Scam". This is five years after the start.

"Pokemon Not Making New Twilight Film" or have a sub-forum "Pikechou XXX" and my personal favorite.... "Team Rocket Naked?"
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Old 21st March 2015, 09:36 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
That's going to be your problem. Without rules a forum can too easily devolve into nothing but flame wars and spam.
Spam is good if you grill it just right and add some chopped Habanero to it......................
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Old 21st March 2015, 09:40 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Foolmewunz View Post
You need to promote it. We have some devious people here. Who, us? We single-handedly boosted a thread here on a scam called the Amega Wand. At one point, we were putting in mixed headlines using commonly Googled terms and Amega Wand. "Amega Wand didn't Seduce Victoria Beckham". Nowadays, you could combine Kanye West or Bieber.

And there are those who claim it didn't work - who are probably right - but all the fun and attention we gave the topic, you still find these forums as the 2nd pick if you Google "Amega Wand Scam". This is five years after the start.

"Pokemon Not Making New Twilight Film" or have a sub-forum "Pikechou XXX" and my personal favorite.... "Team Rocket Naked?"
I think combining Kanye West and the Bieb is a great idea for a film. Brokeback Butt perhaps.
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Old 21st March 2015, 09:49 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Foolmewunz View Post
@helloforum

PROTIP! Recruiting.

Part of the popularity of the forums here is that while we might censor bad words, kiddie porn and spammers, we do not censor ideas. We have had various boosts in interest/membership over the years at various times because we're the place that lets dissenting voices speak up as long as they stay within the MA (membership agreement). While other sites have admins/mods who will actually jump into an argument and suspend or ban a person taking a contrary point of view, we try not to do that.

This has happened with Bigfoot, 911 CT, Holocaust Denial, Amanda Knox, and a few other topics. It's not that the majority of the board isn't of a dominant position on those topics. We do somewhat agree (there's no bigfoot, 911 CT is fantasy, holocaust denial is horrific bigoted fantasy, Amanda Knox was railroaded) but we will discuss nuances, but more important to people on the fringe who want to promote those contrary beliefs, we will let them have their say and will pick apart their arguments. Other boards get tired of all the crap and shut down the conversations.

And the thing is that True Believers tell each other on other sites that "you're allowed to get into a good argument over at the JREFF/ISF". And if you give them a platform, they will come. If you have no members, though, you can get over-run. But if you can allow controversy and get some subject matter experts (we have numerous) to solidly counter the woo-ish beliefs, you can attract membership.

The quoted post is an example of the result. There are still 911 CTers out there. The poster is one of them and sees the entire forums through that particular interest. 911 CT debunking is greatly a pastime for most of us by now. I occasionally chime into a thread, but rarely. We have people who are very much better informed on the topic than myself, even though that's the thing that got me to sign up here, originally. They come for the CT or the UFOs or the Psychics and they stay for the cookies and peach pie!
Minor quibble on one item... Amanda Knox was definitely railroaded by the abysmal stupidity of the Italian police/lab people and court system. But it is, thanks to that, never going to be sure whether she was guilty or not... I do not know because I was not there.
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Old 21st March 2015, 09:51 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by fromdownunder View Post
While I find this response funny, it is not as silly as it sounds. BB's which are international often have members where English is a second, or even third language, and do not understand txt spk (text speak). If you intend to run an English language Board, then insist on full words, and context so that people who may not have English as a first language can understand what the hell is going on.

Norm
tl/dnr
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Old 21st March 2015, 05:31 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by fromdownunder View Post
While I find this response funny, it is not as silly as it sounds. BB's which are international often have members where English is a second, or even third language, and do not understand txt spk (text speak). If you intend to run an English language Board, then insist on full words, and context so that people who may not have English as a first language can understand what the hell is going on.

Norm
Good point, Norm.
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Old 3rd April 2015, 11:59 AM   #37
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There's quite a bit of buzz on community building these days, so I would recommend searching for information on Community Management or Forum Best Practices. I like the Community.is blog and I also subscribe to Social Media Examiner.

Building a Forum is one thing. Maintaining a Forum, creating engagement, and fostering a real genuine sense of community can take you far. Of course, having an awesome subject matter is a great place to start! Promote, engage, and engage some more. Good luck!

[edited to add: Anytime I think of a successful Forum, I think of ours, or rather the original JREF Forum. The community aspect was phenomenal. I still point to it and use it as an example of how people all over the world can bond together with a shared common interest.]
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Old 3rd April 2015, 04:07 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla Sama View Post
You need to find out who to take seriously and who to chuckle along with.

And liars, don't fall foul of the liars.

Me, I've only ever told one lie.

And that's the line above.
If I'm not mistaken, your pants are smoldering.
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Old 7th April 2015, 11:23 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by MoeFaux View Post
Building a Forum is one thing. Maintaining a Forum, creating engagement, and fostering a real genuine sense of community can take you far. Of course, having an awesome subject matter is a great place to start! Promote, engage, and engage some more. Good luck!

[edited to add: Anytime I think of a successful Forum, I think of ours, or rather the original JREF Forum. The community aspect was phenomenal. I still point to it and use it as an example of how people all over the world can bond together with a shared common interest.]
The subject matter is inconsequential. I belong to a Forum that is interested in Wildlife in South Africa. Why? Because it it is honest and true, and strives for facts.

Starting a new forum is difficult. It takes time and commitment, that few of us have these days.
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Old 22nd April 2015, 01:58 PM   #40
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You definitely need a select topic or a group to rally around.

For example, I run an organization called Benji's Closet. After amassing a good amount of subscribers, I started a forum based on the blog for our organization. It's focused around LGBT+ issues, with a few categories where people can just shoot the **** within the community without focusing on queer issues.

We've grown fairly quickly.
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