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#1 Charles

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 09:00 AM

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We have all had these experiences when visting a community...

Rules and Regulations

I know I have visited communities where their rules, guidelines, terms, etc. are longer than most of their topics. I really do not like that approach as it's not very welcoming and, really, honestly at the end of the day no one reads or cares about the rules. People know what is proper and improper behavior and do not need to be told not to use profanity, make personal attacks, post in the wrong areas, etc. - written rules or not people will still be people and do that.

Take the rules here on the IPS Community:

If your post content, signatures, profile images, etc. are disruptive and impact our clients' enjoyment of our community we may ask you to refrain from such actions or revoke your access to this community.


I think that gets the point across. Don't be a disruption and you're good!

Way too many forums and sections

This is mostly true for new communities. You're starting a new community and are understandably excited so you create many categories, forums, and sub-forums. So many in fact that your home page scrolls and new members have no idea where to post. Not to mention the fact that your site looks like a ghost town with topics scattered about dozens of forums.

Having many sections makes sense once your community is established and you need organization to keep things easy to read. But when you are first starting try not to overwhelm your visitors with too many areas.

Too Wordy

Does your News forum really need a description that says "This is where we post news and information about updates to our site. I hope you read it and comment often as it's very important. Read this first!" ... I mean the title "News" kind of says all the same in one word. There's nothing wrong with description when needed but just because IP.Board has a "Forum Description" box there when creating a new forum does not mean you have to fill it out.

Ask yourself if a forum you're creating needs a ton of explanation perhaps it's not needed. And surely not every single forum needs description text - it just starts to clutter things up and creates a lot of scrolling to see the list of forums.
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#2 Cyrem

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 09:21 AM

Three excellent point. I keep my rules simple, I have around 10 dot points of the important rules, then a breif explaination of how the warning system works. You can censor profanity, so there is little point telling people not to swear. Most of the rules are common knowledge, but I have them pointed out as a refrence to give to people if they do break some rules.

I have seen a lot of new forums where they make the mistake of creating lots of forums, it makes their forum look completly dead and isn't inviting.

#3 Ryan H.

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 09:27 AM

Very important advice.

Keep it simple, especially when your site is starting out. When things start getting out of control, then you can think about how it might be best to expand.

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#4 AndyMillne

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 09:37 AM

Whenever I think about forum software I always go back to one thing in my mind.

You do not create communities, communities already exist.

The job of good software (and admins) is to help those communities organize themselves. Try not to mold the community with preconceived ideas of what categories and forums may be needed and instead react by organizing the content that is actually created.
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#5 Rimi

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 11:34 AM

Good point Charles...I might just remove my forum descriptions now. I remember when writing them I just couldn't figure out what to put there. I realize now it's because I felt that all the information was clearly already there in the title.

#6 Heyhoe

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 11:56 AM

I am also considering removing some of my descriptions!

#7 Rimi

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 11:57 AM

I am also considering removing some of my descriptions!

This is where IPS removes forum descriptions from the core software. :laugh:

#8 Charles

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 12:06 PM

There are times they make sense ;)

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#9 Jυra

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 12:36 PM

Many forums use the forum descriptions to make up for the themed, flavored, or abstractly named forums. Some forums use them because of language reasons, as I've seen forums where members said the forum uses too much "American English" or words they haven't learned in English yet.

But if forum titles are already clear and simple, I think removing them is fine and better than some bland description saying obvious things.
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#10 Heyhoe

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 02:36 PM

I like to keep the names of my forum simple and usually no longer than two words. So the description is still needed, :)

#11 cloudy

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 10:43 AM

Exaclty... and its awful to see some forums with like 5000 forum sections and only like 3000 posts and then all these flashing lights and all that crap around the forum...

#12 Sandi_

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 11:18 AM

My forum rules have always been simple and precise.

Rule 1: Do not piss of the Staff. Ever. ...especially the owner.

Rule 2: See rule #1.

Egregious transgressions will get you a suspension or ban.


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#13 Michael R

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 11:58 AM

I guess I am guilty of lengthy rules. It seems like I am always having to add something. Every time a member crosses the line, they will come back with "well I don't see that in the rules". My site is mostly made up of older folks. They have no concept of "netiquette". They spam, troll, and sometimes even flame one another, but have no idea that its a bad thing. They post crap on their FB pages and think its okay to do the same on my site.
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#14 Magic Hands

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 03:44 PM

I guess I am guilty of lengthy rules. It seems like I am always having to add something. Every time a member crosses the line, they will come back with "well I don't see that in the rules". My site is mostly made up of older folks. They have no concept of "netiquette". They spam, troll, and sometimes even flame one another, but have no idea that its a bad thing. They post crap on their FB pages and think its okay to do the same on my site.

As I. I was used to (back in the day) with being in a community with rules about 2 pages long. Moderators kept linking to rules that no one ever read. Used to it now, I finally learned to make it to the point.

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#15 Con

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 05:46 PM

If in doubt about thoroughly covering every nook and cranny, use this:

No illegal or inappropriate behavior.
If you would like to know whether something would count as illegal or inappropriate on this site, ask us.


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#16 HellaWicked

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 11:57 PM

I guess I am guilty of lengthy rules. It seems like I am always having to add something. Every time a member crosses the line, they will come back with "well I don't see that in the rules". My site is mostly made up of older folks. They have no concept of "netiquette". They spam, troll, and sometimes even flame one another, but have no idea that its a bad thing. They post crap on their FB pages and think its okay to do the same on my site.


We too have lengthy rules & guidelines. We just got tired of certain members trying to fire back to the Mods a similar comment as the one you mentioned in your quote of "well I don't see that in the rules" or "I didn't know it was against the rules". I understand they're lengthy and nobody said they have to read them all, but it gives us a way to back ourselves up when certain members start breaking rules that they supposedly "didn't know were there".

#17 Nevo

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 03:40 AM

Honestly, i don't even make rules anymore on my sites... I expect people to have common sense, treat others the way they want to be treated and be fair. That's it, all the little children who have nothing better to do get banned and my community prospers on without having to enforce any rules unless someone goes out of line which is quite rare to be honest.... Just gotta know how to talk with your members and explain them the situation, 99% of them apologize and won't do it again and the 1% will enjoy your Ban Hammer. Still, rules couldn't hurt because they could be referenced but really... to a mature audience, i think its perfectly clear whats okay and whats not.
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#18 Michael R

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 08:33 AM

Honestly, i don't even make rules anymore on my sites... I expect people to have common sense, treat others the way they want to be treated and be fair. That's it, all the little children who have nothing better to do get banned and my community prospers on without having to enforce any rules unless someone goes out of line which is quite rare to be honest.... Just gotta know how to talk with your members and explain them the situation, 99% of them apologize and won't do it again and the 1% will enjoy your Ban Hammer. Still, rules couldn't hurt because they could be referenced but really... to a mature audience, i think its perfectly clear whats okay and whats not.


The problem I have had with the "ban hammer" is I've been accused of censorship or being a Nazi. Many of my members troll or spam -- not on purpose -- just out of ignorance. They don't even know what those terms mean. And I love when they throw the Freedom of Speech line at me. I've only had to outright ban 3 members. I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Many of my members tell me I am too nice and too lenient. But after a while there is only so much crap you want to put up with. Life is too short and my site takes up so much of my life as it is...
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#19 Wootable

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 03:17 PM

And I love when they throw the Freedom of Speech line at me.


I love this one too. This one happens so many times that I wrote a standardized email where I explain the meaning of freedom of speech. They will usually give up after they receive it.


In earlier times every village had their own village idiot. When the Internet arrived all the village idiots moved into the same village. :thumbsup:

#20 Rimi

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 04:55 PM

I love this one too. This one happens so many times that I wrote a standardized email where I explain the meaning of freedom of speech. They will usually give up after they receive it.


In earlier times every village had their own village idiot. When the Internet arrived all the village idiots moved into the same village. :thumbsup:

Can I see this email?




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