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Old 08-18-2003, 08:54 AM   #1
vous
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Any ideas on how to make a Forum Site cooler?


Hello All,

I have been given the assignment of improving our Forum Site (which is kind of like this one) within the company. Do any of you have any cool ideas ideas, groovy applications (realtime or not), etc that could be added to a Forum Site in order to make it cooler?

Please let me know...
 
Old 08-18-2003, 08:57 AM   #2
Mega Man X
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This thread is placed at a very wrong place Give it more 5 posts to one of the mods to change it to general . Well, use avatars, I love avatars and I wish this forum had support for it. Jeremy has one though, a pretty cool Tux
 
Old 08-18-2003, 09:06 AM   #3
vous
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Hopefully it doesn't get moved...it is a valid question about software-applications....?....which in this case asks about Forums....so what's the big cheese???? By the way...who's Jeremy?
 
Old 08-18-2003, 09:12 AM   #4
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yeah, my mistake, you really is asking about a software too, sorry, I've missed it . Well, Jeremy is the "root" of this forum, we can say
 
Old 08-18-2003, 09:42 AM   #5
vous
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I did a bit of research about avatars. Not that I know anything about it yet, but is it sort of like a gif/jpg that visually represents you, or is there more to it?
 
Old 08-18-2003, 10:44 AM   #6
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Do any of you have any cool ideas ideas, groovy applications (realtime or not), etc that could be added to a Forum Site in order to make it cooler?

"Cool" IMNSHO is a wrong definition for changing things, unless your forum uses grey backgounds (nuttin wrong with that btw) and blue underlined links (nuttin wrong with that either). Like "turbo" stickers, "go faster" stripes or double exhaust pipes won't make a car go faster, flashy gizmo's "applications", shiny icons or avatars are superficial additions and don't make a bad forum good or a good forum better.

What makes a forum good is (in no particular order):
- having a forum that is about a good range of subjects. This makes anyone who joins able to post something they care about. Think that's stupid? Put yourself on a security full disclosure list, and I'm sure you won't have a thing to say.
- if the forums are moderated, make sure the moderators are knowledgable and socially capable as well. If members don't have self-moderation capabilities, they will turn any dispute into a war, which will deteriorate any atmosphere.
- make sure your forum is accessable as a forum. Obvious, but if your site is an informational site in the first place, with a forum tacked on "cuz mgmnt wanted it that way" then don't expect it to be a flourishing community soon. Consider setting up a site devoted to the forum.
- If this is a company forum, and you would like to keep an open mind, allow people to post under an alias, useing a handle, nickname and make sure you dont record name/IP details and promote it as a "free speech" forum. Once people trust you, you can expect much more sincere and outspoken posts on which mgmnt can react, which is good for the company me thinks.
- reconsider your layout. If it's been forced on you because you use and OSS Forum/Bulletin Board templates or proprietary SW templates you can be onehundred percent sure it's not configured for your forums needs.
- find out what drives people, The basic mindset to accomplish this is 1. set yourself up with a goal (think "shopping" for explicit information) 2. describe your steps, the time it took, and the problems you encounter while trying to achieve your goal. If you're accustomed to the forum, let ten people who aren't do that and watch their behaviour. This is basic usability stuff.
- find out what people expect and need, and dont decide for them (well, to some extent of course).
- track peoples behaviour clicking tru the forum, generate stats, look at them and try to get a grip on what things/items people are interested in.

Finally, try to brainstorm with users and be accessable (mail), dont be preoccupied or dismiss ideas instantly.


HTH
 
Old 08-19-2003, 02:23 AM   #7
vous
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Hello unSpawn,

Well thanks for your lengthy response and there were definitley a lot of pointers (specially for starters) in there that are very handy, but the forum that we have is already set up and running for a couple of years and we've done quite a bit of that and now were at the stage where we want to "spice" it up a bit...or just add any eye catching functionality, fun stuff, interesting applications, etc...

Any thoughts in that direction?
 
Old 08-19-2003, 04:12 AM   #8
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Well, I'd have to agree with unSpawn here. I think that most forums will basically look about as cool as each other in that they all have the same basic layout. What attracts people is the discussions in the particular forums. You may of course be thinking of changing the stylesheet on your forum, but that's about it. If you have too much in the way of animation etc, it just gets in the way of quick forum browsing. hth,
 
Old 08-19-2003, 04:34 AM   #9
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Well yeah...of course content is indeed the basic idea and that is what'll make 'em come back.... But I was hoping to hear more ideas that'll make your experience visiting the site a bit improved or enhanced. Perhaps ideas in the field of....for example, the simple fact of having a section on the side of the post the gives you a status: Member, Newbie, etc...& a counter that indicates your amount of replies... we've seen this sort of things really get to people, they take it into account, it gives them a sense of "personality" and a sense of confidence that you are getting an answer from a guy that has posted 1,500 replies (I know, I know, this does not mean that the guy is a genius, or even that he knows what de is talking about, but then again it's as close to a CV that we can have in a forum). That clicks well with users....

Ideas in the area of possibly co-browsing...voice and or video interaction, etc...

Any other thoughts?

Last edited by vous; 08-19-2003 at 04:36 AM.
 
Old 08-19-2003, 04:57 AM   #10
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Gimp gallery

ADD A GIMP GALLERY!!! it'ld be loads of fun, like post a topic once a week for a gimp challenge like at www.b3ta.com. I am very diverse when it comes to stuff like gimp and photoshop and people could post hints tips tutorials and their pretty pictures...infact...that be a forum on its own!!!!
 
Old 08-19-2003, 05:00 AM   #11
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Look at this site for excellent ideas, and browse other forums. I must say that I don't think that LinuxQuestions could be improved much more, Jeremy has done a good job. User feedback from the forum could provide a way for your forum to be improved, such as "I would like to see this feature here".
Anyway, all of those things are good ideas: the status, dates on posts, profiles, quick reply sections are a great idea. I don't think that voice/video animation is a good idea, it would eat up bandwidth and not be necessary - if two people wanted to video-conference, they could arrange it separately from the forum. However, some form of Instant Messenging service is a good idea, IMHO.
And there is another benefit of the status part I've just thought of : it motivates people to post more to acheive higher status, and thus you get a good turnover rate of posts.
 
Old 08-19-2003, 07:09 AM   #12
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benny515, yup, that's a good idea. Contest of that kind always attract users...I'll follow up on this one...Tx!

ho_10, also a good idea to check in this site to see what has been suggested as improvements here...should be able to get me some interesting ideas....Tx!
 
Old 08-20-2003, 03:29 AM   #13
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Have any of you had experience implementing co-browsing functionality in your sites?
 
  


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