It’s finally happening. Some of the skills I’ve spent years learning are becoming obsolete.

Thankfully the skill in question actually translates fairly well to other things but it’s still sad to see that its original use is going the way of the VCR repairman.

The skill in question is forum management. Time was that everyone and their dog was trying to setup a forum. It still happens but much less so. There’s a set of ways to do it right and a lot of ways that nearly guarantee failure.

The first thing being sparse conversation. Perhaps it’s attractive to some people but my experience tells me they’re very much in the minority. What I’m talking about in a rather circumspect fashion is simple – don’t spread the conversation out too much.

New forums often have five, ten, or even more subforums. Creating them feels impressive and important. I know, I’ve done it. But If you’ve got ten active forum members with a topic each that makes for one, maybe two topics in each section.


Better to have one or two sections with five to ten topics each! That way the place feels a bit busier and as if new sections may be required soon.

Furthermore rather than saying “Here is a subforum for subject X” only to find that the active forumites aren’t actually all that interested in talking about it there are other ways. By having a general section one can see which subjects get a lot of activity. Those things can then be spun off into their own sections and the topics moved across. Voila – a new active subforum.

With the decline of forums these sorts of tips are increasingly irrelevant but hopefully they can soon be repurposed for something similar. New forms of social media, perhaps.

One last thing: do you really need moderators? Probably not.

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