Monday, December 13, 2010

Forums ...

Well, I have access to a pretty robust vb forum, and have made a clone of it to build into some tournament/whiskey40k related forums.

I want to keep it simple, and minimalized.  It has a really nice shoutbox, and a 1000+ game arcade as well.

What are the KEY things a forum MUST have?  Input please :)


  1. I think the biggest thing you'll need is a a general discussion/off topic area. After that well-divided forums, each with a clear subject, will help keep it simple at a top-level, then allow you to get more granular so you can avoid thread clutter. I personally am a big fan of sub forums that support their parent forum to keep traffic clean and clear

    - Upcoming Tournaments
    - Tournament Scenarios
    - Tournament Formats
    - - NOVA (since the Nova format is a big drive for you, this could also be its own parent category)

    - General Discussion
    - Rules Discussions
    - Codex Specific Sub-Threads
    - - Codex Specific GD
    - - Codex Specific Rules
    - - Army Lists

    - Works in Progress
    - Finished Models
    - Terrain

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  3. Must haves:
    General/Off Topic
    --NOVA FAQ
    --NOVA Scenarios

  4. I really, really, really want to see someone implement a rating system into an Army List forum so that people can search for highly rated army lists for a particular codex... like CoolMiniOrNot but for Army Lists.

  5. I ran a few forums (one quite large at 20,000 members) for quite a few years, and by all accounts am pretty good at it.

    What you're going to need is simple:
    -Announcements (Unless you do all your announcements on the blog, it's good to have a place to do them and get feedback, and it won't be pushed to the bottom of the blogroll so you can keep conversations going, and get feedback on making the forum better.)

    -New Members (Having a place to say "Hi I'm here now" seems trivial, but a lot of people just need that first post to get going.)

    -General Discussion (Break it up by game, but no more than that.)

    -Rules (Needs its own forum.)

    -Tactics/List Discussion. (Honestly, these could be one forum, but forum/subforum seems to work okay.)

    That's the bare essentials. If you want, homebrew is a cool section to have as well, but not really that frequented unless you've got a decent sized user base. Just don't hide it like BoLS does. =) Off-topic can be nice, but requires a LOT of policing and honestly, forums function perfectly fine without them.

    As far as tournament forums go, just have one. That's all you need, because honestly, how many posts per day do you think people will make about tournaments? One section could easily handle them all, and if it can't you can easily split more off later.

    The one point I must, MUST stress, is that you want as few forum sections as possible. Having a lot of forums means people often won't even look at most of them, and will feel overwhelmed before they even sign up. Fewer=better. In the same vein, not every possible topic needs a subforum. Especially when your new, create VERY general forums and split off new ones as needed. Subforums are to be avoided if at all possible, they tend to be VERY rarely used unless they're a bit topic. (Like army lists.)

    I'm willing to help out if you want, and of course I'll provide feedback. =) What kind of community are you trying to create, exactly?

  6. A forum, or just about any resource (a person, a book, a story, a blog, a document..) must fill a need, and do it better than what ever else (if anything) is currently filling that need.

    Besides of all the very excellent advice here (especially the one about not having too many subforums, until you get very large) I would ask this;

    What need will this forum fill which others are either;
    * Not covering a specific area of topics.
    * Or, not covering the specific topics well.

    If it is the former, awesome!
    Just have a specific purpose.
    If the later, it has to address the gaps current resources do not.

  7. I suggest a couple of 'team mates' to help out with sutff and keep an eye on your forum.

  8. Personally I see no value in an OT forum as I will visit a site to read about 40k, I could care less about other peoples political views or inane subject matter. I would just start off with the bare bones basics and take it from there. Forums take a lot of work compared to a blog. The more popular forums such as Dakka, Bolter and Chainsword, Warseer all started off small then blossomed over time due to their intrinsic individualistic values.