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What to do wrong-a tutorial on losing your forum
Reposted from another forum as per request.
This is long, but probably a worthwhile read. It shows my mistakes, the metaphor, and a whole lot of ways to ruin your forum.
1. Hire only mods you can afford to fire.
I hired moderators for the wrong reasons-one was incredibly popular on two other forums in the niche and claimed he would refer everyone he could (he held his part of the deal, thank goodness). But if I fired him, he would probably end up talking negatively about the site... So I couldn't. One was responsible for doing all of the work on a certain very important part of the forum and therefore irreplaceable. Hiring anyone you can't just say "sorry, you're fired because I'm sick of your shit" to is a TERRIBLE idea. Why? See point 2.
2. When you and several other people you trust all feel like something is being done critically wrong, and the mods who are in critique threaten an uprising, don't step down and let them have their way.
I suppose this is really the first big mistake I made. I posted that I was upset how the mods were being trigger-happy and that they should lay off a little, and the response was an immediate "I quit" from one, and flames from several others. I became apologetic and tried to fix the situation by just dropping it and letting them have their way; above all because I had moderators who I couldn't afford to lose. If I could've let go of them, it would've caused a rather large uprising, but no big deal, right? I digress... it ended poorly.
3. When mods leave because they are fed up with you and the way you want to run things, do not make compromises to keep them there.
Ugh. 4 mods (3 of which I "couldn't really get rid of") (all of my global mods were included) decided to turn in their resignations at once. And the Co-Admin goes to them and begs them to stay, asking them what they want to stay (I don't blame him). And their demands weren't exactly great for the forum either-Banning a member who had recently been on a bad streak but had contributed a lot for the forum and was, in general, a good guy; removing a moderator whose advice and opinion I considered extremely valuable, merely because she was not as active as she should be, and creating something I will discuss in 4.
4. Don't allow a secret club of trolls on your site.
One of the mods requested a mimic of the MTGSalvation Gutter. Essentially, it's a forum hidden from everyone else, where only a certain request-only usergroup can post or view things. And it pretty much only has one rule-don't do anything that would endanger the site's status on the server such as upload porn. It's a forum where you can troll and flame to your heart's content. And I allowed that to happen-no, encouraged it. Stupid.
5. Don't allow yourself to be banned from said club.
Ugh. Eventually they convinced me that I was better off not viewing that forum, and that only moderators they considered good should be allowed in. WHY WAS I SO STUPID? The next step, of course, was that there was no regulation. And then they started ganging up on members, and I slowly lost control.
6. Help the people who you think are good for the forum if they have problems.
Especially if their problems are those who are BAD for the forum. Like the trolls of the Gutter. I stood by as those guys did things that should've qualified as trolling, merely because I couldn't explain myself well enough and couldn't embarrass myself in public when they appealed their infractions. It got absolutely ridiculous-to the point where, after an argument about metal singing which erupted in flaming, one of them put the following banner on as a sig:
An obvious jab at the other side. Clear-cut trolling right there. And then he has the gall to go on chat and argue his infraction with me. And I can't explain myself well enough to tell him why if he removed the "dear butt" it would still be trolling-or, he just doesn't want to listen. Fuck.
7. Don't ban yourself from your own forum without a trace.
Pretty self-explanatory. If you are an admin, don't ban yourself. Do something about the thing that is causing you to ban yourself.
8. Don't give the other admin the codes to the backend when he didn't do anything.
First thing he does is change the password and email for it. I spoke with him and managed to get a deal (he explained it quite civilly and meant no harm, and he's a good guy) going; I honestly would expect nothing less.
So I lost my forum. For good. It sucks. I feel rotten. But then again, in the end, I'm pretty sure I made the right choice to distance myself from the forum. It was just depressing me too much to see what I wished it had become disappear, and I've found(ed) another forum which is basically everything I wished it could be.