What Makes a Good Forum?

I spend a lot of time visiting and participating in different Zune Forums, which is great if you want to get useful information about your Zune. If you ever have a question, you can most likely get it answered on a good forum. So, what makes a good forum? I’ve often wondered that, since I’ve noticed that some forums are very active with postings while others seem almost dead. Of course, a highly active forum with lots of members posting good stuff would naturally draw in more members, but how do you get those members to join in the first place if initially there are no members? A real catch-22 situation.

Now, anyone these days can put up a forum at a nominal cost. There’s lots of free php-based forum software that will essentially self install and get you up and running in less than 1-hour. All you need is a domain site hosted by a provider with php and MySQL capabilities (in most cases), which would cost roughly $80 per year. That’s why you see forums popping up covering just about any topic you could imagine. And, who do you think runs these forums? I came across one newly started forum where the forum creator stated that he was going to switch to a new, permanent domain name, “… after I talk with my Financial Advisor (my Mom)”. So obviously, this forum owner was living with his parents and most likely a teenager (or at least let’s hope so!).

I give kudos to those young forum creators who take the initiative to creating a new forum, however, it’s a little disconcerting at times when you see their immaturity showing when they “ban” people from their forums for certain infractions, or play silly games by creating a rival forum and post nasty comments about members in the opposing forums, etc. There can be a lot of unnecessary drama that you have to weed through to get to the good posted information. But, I guess that’s par for the course.

So I think having forums is generally good for everyone, and a good forum needs to have lots of active members. So if you’re lurking around on a Zune forum looking for answers to your questions, I suggest you try participating and answering a few posted questions from others as payback. It’s good Karma, my friend!


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