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Revision as of 22:51, 27 January 2012 by (Talk) (Examples of Messages for Common Situations of Your Forum)

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Helpful forum management guides and samples of messages for common situations in forum management.

The sample text has been tested and refined by Forum Managers in many situations. If you find text works for you, they should need only minor modifications.

Many of these resources were drafted before our large expansion into neighborhood Issues Forums, but are still relevant.

First Step to Opening a New Forum

After you've gone through the Start A Forum process, worked with staff to technically create your forum, and started recruitment efforts (using our example forum invitations), you can now prepare to open and manage your community's new Issues Forum.

  • The first few messages to the forum ought to accomplish the following goals:
  1. We highly recommend starting with an initial round of "Introductions" to humanize the forum - You may do this with 50 or more members to help you build "who's who" momentum to attract the next 50 your need to open. Getting 25 of 100 members to introduce themselves publicly is a good start. Introductions are a simple way for people to learn how to post to the forum and it creates the impression/reality that the members themselves are the content producers/sharers.
  2. Ask them to invite others to become members (provide a sample invitation for participants to pass along to others) - one idea is an e-invite signed by at least seven initial members for forwarding
  3. Introduce the purpose, local scope, and rules of the forum
  4. Make sure that participants understand how the forum works ... or that they will be getting lots of e-mail, unless they change their delivery settings
  5. Make sure that they understand the different ways to read and post (One message per post, "digest", and "web only") - Assuming we've set up the Facebook Page and Twitter feed, introduce that option separately down the road
  6. How to sign up for other forums
  7. Introduce an opening topic or simply ask participants what community topics they would like discussed o the forum. You can use the list generated down the road when forum traffic is light or when you want to direct attention away from a topic that is less civil than you'd like by trumping it with something more interesting to members.

Examples of Messages for Common Situations of Your Forum

Startup Messages

NEW - Example Hamline Midway "priming posts" pre-opening from 2011

Examples Messages for Other Situtations

Administering Your Forum - Drafting

Facilitating Your Forum - Drafting

  • Encouraging introductions
  • Welcoming new members
  • Rules education and enforcement
  • Information seeking - Monitoring local websites (gov, media, orgs, etc.) for items of interest like new documents on your local government or neighbourhood/neighborhood website
  • Discussion starting -
  • Neighborhood links template - While we do have a "links tab" on a forum home page, these links are not yet editable via the web admin. Even if they were, there is value in opening a simple longer links directory for local websites. You will need to copy this template to its own wiki page - like Cedar Riverside or Frogtown - and fill it out considerably to get your forum members to "crowd source" the rest.

Other Resources

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