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On Sat, Oct 06, 2012 at 06:42:42PM -0400, Marc Paré wrote:
Le 2012-10-06 17:20, Bjoern Michaelsen a écrit :
On Sat, Oct 06, 2012 at 04:26:18PM -0400, Marc Paré wrote:
No sure if we were talking about "empty hall", I am hoping to help
fill them. :-)

Yes, just like a night club opening with fewer floors in the early
evening, so
that they are not that empty -- and open more floors later. ;)

Sorry, doesn't work for me. If the place is too full with noise, I
can't hear myself think and I go elsewhere where people like me
congregate ... in this case the AOO forums.

_If_ the place is too full with noise, we will quickly be able to split out
forums. My suggestion is just not to do that earlier. ;)

Do you think we will have some 3-5 regulars in a templates forum?
If not, I
would postpone separating those out until such a group condesates
and asks for

Well, I would rather give it a try, we do have a template site that
we should be supporting with a forums. This would give us a chance
to get more traction right from the start.

I dont believe that a separate forum gives you more traction, if you do not
have 3-5 regulars in it -- rather the opposite. As both closing forums and
underpopulated/abandoned forums are demotivational and unhelpful, I am stand by
my opinion that not having one at the start is better. Once 3-5 regulars for
that topic are around and ask for it, we can add that forum -- which is
motivating as it suggests growth and gives the forum a better kickstart (esp.
since we can make an announcement for the start of that forum on its own then).

All in all I can't say I agree on your approach to forums. You seem
to expect the brunt of all activity on a forums to come from the
participants. More of a "let's wait for them to come" approach.
Hence, the lets start with few categories and break out later. This
is more of a passive approach to running a forums

I, however, think that a good categorization of a forums will have a
better appeal to our users and with good moderation will fill. I
also think that we should not only moderate, but also create "buzz"
on our forums. Moderators are not only there to help direct traffic
(un-obtrusively) but also create "buzz" and discussion. If
moderators sign up for the job, then they should commit to grow
their forums and make them attractive for user appeal. If a forum
has become silent, then it would be up to the forums admins to sit
and determine the actions to market and help popularize it. This is
more of an aggressive approach to growing a forums.

You currently have 5 forum coordinators, which is a very good size to start
off (a bigger group will only lead to more communication overhead). If you want
to actively vitalize the forums, you should not start with much more than ~2 forums
per coordinator, otherwise you stretch yourself too thin.

As you grow the team, win more regulars, admins and coordinators, you can
easily add categories. You will do anyway -- no matter what initial
categorization you setup. Thus the _initial_ categorization is important to be
optimized to generate growth in the first 2-3 month, it should not be the
'final' or 'perfect' categorization for a huge board system (because the first
is the precondition for the second).

You should also make sure to empower those joining you as forum regulars and
coordinators and there is no easier way to archive that than by letting them
take part of the growth by creating 'their' additional forum.

Linus Torvalds said on 2004-10-25:
Nobody should start to undertake a large project. You start with a small
trivial project, and you should never expect it to get large. If you do, you'll
just overdesign and generally think it is more important than it likely is at
that stage. Or worse, you might be scared away by the sheer size of the work
you envision. So start small, and think about the details. Don't think about
some big picture and fancy design. If it doesn't solve some fairly immediate
need, it's almost certainly over-designed. And don't expect people to jump in
and help you. That's not how these things work. You need to get something
half-way useful first, and then others will say "hey, that almost works for
me", and they'll get involved in the project. 

^- THAT is critical advise here.

We should also keep in mind that some of our long-time users are on
the AOO forums being helped and the categorization there seems to
work quite well. You only need to look at their numbers to realize
that common sense categorization works[1] and where new forums
appear these are more of a targeted and deliberate choice (as in the
case of the US marketing forums, this is more of a concerted group
effort from the part of the whole TDF/LibreOffice team).

The best way to involve them then is to invite them to take part in the organic
growth of the forums. The best way to do that, is to start with a small and
minimal set of forums, be open to change and let them take part in the growth.



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