Top Five Mistakes as a Forum Owner (and how to avoid them)

Each forum is unique but many of have been confronted with similar problems. Although some of these are harder to avoid, with a little planning you may be able to sidestep the most obvious pitfalls of a new forum admin. 

1. Problem:
Not being a leader/Catering to everyone
Setting up a forum requires a lot of time and dedication. Often in the initial phase it is easy to just do whatever you can to get people posting on your site. You cater to their wishes. You don’t step on toes. You encourage posts. And then finally when you realize you have a thriving site, you also realize that you have created a situation where everyone expects to be catered to all the time.

How can you avoid this? Well, some of it is inevitable but if you set up clear rules from the beginning you will save yourself some headache. Growing your site through giving in to everyone is only a recipe to creating a site that you probably won’t want to spend any time on. So think ahead about the type of site you want it to be in a year, not only what kind of a site it is today.

2. Problem:
Getting into confrontations with people publicly
It is so easy to get into a word war with members, but there is nothing more damaging to a site’s morale than a whole lot of negative posts.

People should be allowed to openly air their opinions but if something starts to escalate to becoming personal between you and a member – take it to a private area.

3. Problem:
Appointing mods/admins that are not ready or are power-hungry.


There are a number of ways to avoid this but I recommend either taking a vote or asking your top posters what they think. Also, you may want to consider taking on a mod on a trial basis to start and let them know clearly that you are just seeing if it is a good fit.

4. Problem:
Deleting files. Whether it is deleting objectionable files and then getting complaints from the members, or accidentally deleting files as you move things around. It is easy to do and it can be devastating.

When VB asks you if you are sure you want to hard delete…well double check. Always make sure you have a back up of your files. I can’t say that strongly enough. Back up your files.

5. Problem:
Promising to not put up ads on your site

Let your members know that you intend to put up ads from the very beginning. Sites don’t run by themselves and there is no shame in covering your costs.


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January 2011
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