Forum manager resources
This page provides our mostly volunteer Forum Managers helpful management guides and samples of messages for common situations in forum management. All of the material is copyright free and can be copied/amended to address your specific situation. Please keep in mind that these samples have been tested and refined by Forum Managers for many situations, consequently they should need only minor modifications.
Most 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 E-Democracy.Org 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:
- We highly recommend starting with an initial round of "Introductions" - 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 the 100 to introduce themselves publicly is a good start.
- Ask them to invite others to become "charter" members (provide a sample invitation for participants to pass along to others)
- Introduce the purpose and rules of the forum
- Make sure that participants understand how the forum works, or that they will be getting lots of email, unless they change their delivery setting
- Make sure that they understand the different ways to read and post (One message per post, "digest", and "web only")
- How to sign up for other forums
- Introduce an opening topic or simply ask participants what issues they think need to be discussed in the community. 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
Examples of Messages for Common Situations of Your Forum
- Example forum invitations
- Welcome message
- Messages to help get a new forum off to a good start, these are samples we used when launching the Roseville Issues Forum in July 2006 - feel free to use them as is, or modify them to fit your circumstances:
- Start-up advice/sample messages to be integrated into this wiki section
- Call for "Introductions" - Often in Moderated-mode before official opening:
- Invite Others: http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/post/2A3EkvYj0rECITt6lzcv91
- Invite Power Players: http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/post/1G14KBw25YTK9JPsRtCEAC
- Digest Instructions: http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/post/7lCS1YJDcvy1aFV0EPhScD
- Introductions: http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/post/3nXaoliWi4xKfiLrLExpkD
- Features Summary: http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/post/6WGyNMNwa1WVzVZic1wxim
Examples Messages for Other Situtations
- What is a Forum Manager
- Definition of Local Issues
- How to: Start A Discussion - A list of tips, directed at forum participants, on how to start a discussion in their forum.
- Subject Lines - Advice on how and when to change them
- Forum Guidelines Reminder
- Email Management
- File Upload Suggestions - Groupserver
- Official Warning - Example of warning message to forum member.
- Notice of Official Warning - Example of a message to tactfully inform other forum members about recently issued warning messages
- Forum features summary - Text to customize per forum
Administering Your Forum - Drafting
- Forum Managers Guide To Groupserver - A guide to using groupserver
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 - Note, if you use Firefox, check out the Update Scanner plug-in to track things like new documents on your local government or neighbourhood/neighborhood website
- Discussion starting
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