“A forum is one of the most effective ways to generate continued participation on the Internet by a group. If the forum manages to survive the difficulties presented during the first weeks if it accumulates both numbers of participants and rhythm in the conversation, a significant part of the participants will acquire the habit of visiting it daily or almost daily. Part of the participants will also acquire the habit of actively dialoguing, participating frequently, and sustain and enrich the forum. If enough inertia is acquired towards dialogue, it can improve the group’s internal communication and, of course, enrich the debate that keeps it going.
A forum is a more reflexive, deliberate, and constructive type of participation, more frantic, and more immediate. A forum is concentrated on a small nucleus of issues. It turns again and again with different variations and nuances, making it possible to build together a rich vision of the problems that matter to you.
Things You Will Need
- A lot of time, at least at the beginning. You have to be proactive when you start and encourage discussions in the forum.
- Reward members who contribute with a lot of material and write often give them a ‘moderator.’ This will benefit, making them feel more like part of the community. For that reason, they will work harder.
- It does not happen initially, but it has to happen: forum users have to feel at home. They have to feel part of something, part of a community, part of a group of people that meets daily to talk. Each day they will remember the previous day’s conversations, and they will continue if they feel like it and if it motivates them.
Rules Of Use Of The Forum
The forum rules are a great tool to mark the limits of civilized coexistence in the forum. You can find different examples of rules in the forums to inspire you. Still, the most important thing is to define, broadly and with abundant doses of common sense, what you, as a community that uses the forum, find acceptable and what is not.
Some rules always work, derived from common sense and education (prohibition of insults, personal attacks, etc.). Other depends on what kind of environment do you want for the forum: you can accept that they talk about politics or not accept it; you can give scope for the threads of conversations to be dispersed where the forum participants want to go at that moment, or try to make the participants follow the theme of each conversation thread, etc.
The best thing, without a doubt, is to start from a nucleus of civilized norms: nobody has to be explained that insulting or being rude is not acceptable, but it is convenient to make explicit that insults repeatedly will be expelled or banned. From there, to adapt the rules as the forum evolves and, as far as possible, involving the members of its writing, to increase the sense of ownership and connection.
It is advisable to make these rules clear and explicit so as not to confuse the newcomers. People will be encouraged to participate a second time (and more) if they perceive that their opinions are valued and generate a response from other forum users.
Always thank, and explicitly, a contribution worked, of those that it is noted that it has cost a lot of time and effort to write.”