General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Is BT Dead? Another Spam Forum and Time To Move On? Rss Feed  
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2018-07-11 12:06 PM

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Subject: Is BT Dead? Another Spam Forum and Time To Move On?
I think its evident the forum isn't being monitored at all.

All this spam which occurs regularly now isn't being cleaned up for days if that. It fills the forums...which are not used much anymore anyways.

So no forum admins, little input on topics....is it time to move on?


2018-07-11 4:14 PM
in reply to: TheCrownsOwn

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Subject: RE: Is BT Dead? Another Spam Forum and Time To Move On?

I think forums in general are dying, and have been for years (the spam and lack of monitoring certainly doesn't help).

What I've noticed is that traditional social media groups (thinking Facebook and Strava specifically) are SO much more active, especially local and race-specific groups. And that fills a big gap that BT is missing. With Facebook, it's so much more "real time" - I'll get a notification when there is something I want to engage with - and I can access/engage immediately from my mobile device, on the fly, in a matter of seconds. On Strava, I can scroll through my friends' training through my "following" feed, easily engage, and there is no rabbit hole of clicking and clicking like there is here. For BT, I have to manually come to the web site and sift through forums and list of friends, filter through the spam, click incessantly, etc. to engage. It's not BT's fault, it's just the way forums are designed - old school I suppose.

I still come here to log my workouts and blog (12 years worth of thoughts and training data still holds value to me), and am active in a mentoring group here (all though again, I'm much more engaged with those same people on Facebook and Strava), but the general forums lost their appeal for me a long time ago.

2018-07-12 8:49 AM
in reply to: lisac957

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Subject: RE: Is BT Dead? Another Spam Forum and Time To Move On?

slowtwitch is still booming, i wouldn't blame facebook.

2018-07-12 9:21 AM
in reply to: dmiller5

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Subject: RE: Is BT Dead? Another Spam Forum and Time To Move On?
Not dead!

The reason we are targeted by spammers is because the content (articles, forum posts) rank high in search, so we have good domain authority, which is attractive to spammers who want links from our site.

We do clean up spam quickly. (It's not *days* unless it's a weekend.) And we have a new moderator, Scott, who is helping, as well as me and my office assistant who can take care of it on weekdays.

We are implementing a new tactic to try to prevent it. Honestly, it's gotten a lot worse lately and it's not because we aren't paying attention, but because the attacks are more persistent and are likely being perpetrated by artificial intelligent systems instead of real people. That means more spam, more quickly. So we are changing strategies to keep up.

Head to SlowTwitch if you like. We'd prefer you stay here.

I'm dedicated to maintaining a FRIENDLY place for beginners and advanced triathletes to interact and have their questions answered respectfully. It's a different focus, that's all. SlowTwitch has their strong points, and we have ours.

I have some things developing in the background that will be announced soon, as well.

Meanwhile, thanks for being here and contributing to the community!

Here's a list of things we've done this year:
1) Implemented new, fresh logo
2) Made design changes to homepage to modernize the look (got rid of dashed-line borders, etc.)
3) Added new moderator
4) Added new article authors
5) Posted articles on social media and in forums
6) Improved communication to advertisers

-Alice
2018-07-12 9:34 AM
in reply to: alicefoeller

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Subject: RE: Is BT Dead? Another Spam Forum and Time To Move On?
Thank you alice for all your hard work and I appreciate your site a lot. Personally, I feel this site is one of the most helpful as a new triathlete. I've found tons of great information. The forum members are much more respectful of new aspiring athletes here than I feel at ST. However, you can never have too much triathlon information. So, I'll read both.
2018-07-12 9:55 AM
in reply to: lisac957

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Subject: RE: Is BT Dead? Another Spam Forum and Time To Move On?
Originally posted by lisac957

I think forums in general are dying, and have been for years (the spam and lack of monitoring certainly doesn't help).

What I've noticed is that traditional social media groups (thinking Facebook and Strava specifically) are SO much more active, especially local and race-specific groups. And that fills a big gap that BT is missing. With Facebook, it's so much more "real time" - I'll get a notification when there is something I want to engage with - and I can access/engage immediately from my mobile device, on the fly, in a matter of seconds. On Strava, I can scroll through my friends' training through my "following" feed, easily engage, and there is no rabbit hole of clicking and clicking like there is here. For BT, I have to manually come to the web site and sift through forums and list of friends, filter through the spam, click incessantly, etc. to engage. It's not BT's fault, it's just the way forums are designed - old school I suppose.

I still come here to log my workouts and blog (12 years worth of thoughts and training data still holds value to me), and am active in a mentoring group here (all though again, I'm much more engaged with those same people on Facebook and Strava), but the general forums lost their appeal for me a long time ago.





Well said. I read this twice. Perhaps I was a bit harsh in my op.


2018-07-12 10:40 AM
in reply to: alicefoeller

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Subject: RE: Is BT Dead? Another Spam Forum and Time To Move On?

Originally posted by alicefoeller Not dead! The reason we are targeted by spammers is because the content (articles, forum posts) rank high in search, so we have good domain authority, which is attractive to spammers who want links from our site. We do clean up spam quickly. (It's not *days* unless it's a weekend.) And we have a new moderator, Scott, who is helping, as well as me and my office assistant who can take care of it on weekdays. We are implementing a new tactic to try to prevent it. Honestly, it's gotten a lot worse lately and it's not because we aren't paying attention, but because the attacks are more persistent and are likely being perpetrated by artificial intelligent systems instead of real people. That means more spam, more quickly. So we are changing strategies to keep up. Head to SlowTwitch if you like. We'd prefer you stay here. I'm dedicated to maintaining a FRIENDLY place for beginners and advanced triathletes to interact and have their questions answered respectfully. It's a different focus, that's all. SlowTwitch has their strong points, and we have ours. I have some things developing in the background that will be announced soon, as well. Meanwhile, thanks for being here and contributing to the community! Here's a list of things we've done this year: 1) Implemented new, fresh logo 2) Made design changes to homepage to modernize the look (got rid of dashed-line borders, etc.) 3) Added new moderator 4) Added new article authors 5) Posted articles on social media and in forums 6) Improved communication to advertisers -Alice

Hello, you had an outage this morning and it struck me that being offline for a period of time would be bad for business, no matter what online business you are in. I noticed that there were Windows updates that may have been the culprit. Our simple solution at our place of business is to not run updates into production boxes without thoroughly testing them. Admittedly, we have run short of thorough testing at times. But those times have increased our understanding of the importance of testing. I'm not sure if you have a stage or test environment, nor your reliance on cloud based computing, but all of those things might be in the back of your minds as you continue to improve the end user experience.

And yes, I too am quite appreciative of all you folks are doing to keep this whole thing up and running as well as possible. I know it can be a challenge at times. So thank you all.

2018-07-12 11:54 AM
in reply to: cdban66

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Subject: RE: Is BT Dead? Another Spam Forum and Time To Move On?

Originally posted by cdban66

Hello, you had an outage this morning and it struck me that being offline for a period of time would be bad for business, no matter what online business you are in. I noticed that there were Windows updates that may have been the culprit. Our simple solution at our place of business is to not run updates into production boxes without thoroughly testing them. Admittedly, we have run short of thorough testing at times. But those times have increased our understanding of the importance of testing. I'm not sure if you have a stage or test environment, nor your reliance on cloud based computing, but all of those things might be in the back of your minds as you continue to improve the end user experience.

At the risk of turning this into an I.T. thread, which isn't my intent - While having a test environment is an excellent approach in a theoretical sense, it isn't always a practical approach in the real world of a non-enterprise level I.T. environment.  Back when I was a full-time I.T. Consultant, I had 62 small/medium business clients at one point.  Of those 62 clients, ONE could afford to have a test environment in addition to the production environment.  Ironically, the one that had the test environment experienced a higher downtime percentage than any of those that didn't have the test environment - simply because of the increased complexity.  At the enterprise level, there is high motivation to reduce or eliminate downtime as downtime costs can be measured in tens-of-thousands or hundreds-of-thousands of dollars per minute.  At the small/med business level, spending thousands or tens-of-thousands of dollars for a test environment to mitigate something that might only happen once a year simply doesn't make economic sense.  The alternative then is to have reliable and frequent site backups so the site can be restored quickly - which is precisely what happened this morning.  Maybe the better discussion is why Microsoft continues to release updates that break things - but alas, that's a discussion for another venue.

2018-07-12 12:06 PM
in reply to: alicefoeller

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Subject: RE: Is BT Dead? Another Spam Forum and Time To Move On?
Originally posted by alicefoellerNot dead!The reason we are targeted by spammers is because the content (articles, forum posts) rank high in search, so we have good domain authority, which is attractive to spammers who want links from our site.We do clean up spam quickly. (It's not *days* unless it's a weekend.) And we have a new moderator, Scott, who is helping, as well as me and my office assistant who can take care of it on weekdays.We are implementing a new tactic to try to prevent it. Honestly, it's gotten a lot worse lately and it's not because we aren't paying attention, but because the attacks are more persistent and are likely being perpetrated by artificial intelligent systems instead of real people. That means more spam, more quickly. So we are changing strategies to keep up.Head to SlowTwitch if you like. We'd prefer you stay here.I'm dedicated to maintaining a FRIENDLY place for beginners and advanced triathletes to interact and have their questions answered respectfully. It's a different focus, that's all. SlowTwitch has their strong points, and we have ours. I have some things developing in the background that will be announced soon, as well.Meanwhile, thanks for being here and contributing to the community!Here's a list of things we've done this year:1) Implemented new, fresh logo2) Made design changes to homepage to modernize the look (got rid of dashed-line borders, etc.)3) Added new moderator4) Added new article authors 5) Posted articles on social media and in forums6) Improved communication to advertisers-Alice
I think you are missing one important ingredient. You need to get more discussions going on here, especially in TT. Articles and all that other stuff is fine but if you do not get conversations going this site is going to continue to dry up. I don’t like comparing this place to ST but I would wager half the people there don’t know there’s an article section. If they do they don’t read it often. The few new posters I have noticed here lately have posed the same question. Why is this place so quiet. My biggest recommendation is you and it looks like K9car is a mod now, plus anyone else on your payroll get active on this site. Answer questions , promote dialog and DO NOT OVER MODERATE conversations. The last one potentially being the most difficult. I honestly thought when I couldn’t get on BT this morning that this place was gone.
2018-07-12 12:26 PM
in reply to: Goggles Pizzano

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Subject: RE: Is BT Dead? Another Spam Forum and Time To Move On?
Originally posted by Goggles Pizzano

I think you are missing one important ingredient. You need to get more discussions going on here, especially in TT. Articles and all that other stuff is fine but if you do not get conversations going this site is going to continue to dry up. I don’t like comparing this place to ST but I would wager half the people there don’t know there’s an article section. If they do they don’t read it often. The few new posters I have noticed here lately have posed the same question. Why is this place so quiet. My biggest recommendation is you and it looks like K9car is a mod now, plus anyone else on your payroll get active on this site. Answer questions , promote dialog and DO NOT OVER MODERATE conversations. The last one potentially being the most difficult. I honestly thought when I couldn’t get on BT this morning that this place was gone.


We want to have quality posts ... so we are posting the articles as discussion posts, so people can comment and don't have to go look at the Articles sections. That way we have well-researched discussion items by reliable writers.

(I've been doing tris for 20 years now ... I just don't have any questions to authentically post for myself. And I'm too busy running the site, courting advertisers, deleting spam, updating design, answering customer service questions by email, etc., to post answers. Which is why you and other members of the community are so important, and I'm grateful for you.)

I would ask you to provide an example of overmoderated conversations in the last 2 years? I can't think of a single one. I delete spam. I've not deleted a forum post that I can remember. I have the power to change the subject line of this thread, for example, so it's not so negative at the top of the forum. But I'm not doing that because I don't think it's ethical or in the spirit of free discussion we have here.

I'm glad you're still with us and providing feedback! Thank you! It shows you care.
2018-07-12 12:38 PM
in reply to: alicefoeller

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Subject: RE: Is BT Dead? Another Spam Forum and Time To Move On?
Originally posted by alicefoeller
I would ask you to provide an example of overmoderated conversations in the last 2 years?


I have never seen you over-moderate. Never
There was some bad moderation prior to your arrival and I believe this drove away some valuable contributors.


2018-07-12 12:57 PM
in reply to: alicefoeller

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Subject: RE: Is BT Dead? Another Spam Forum and Time To Move On?

Originally posted by alicefoeller

I've been doing tris for 20 years now ... I just don't have any questions to authentically post for myself. And I'm too busy running the site, courting advertisers, deleting spam, updating design, answering customer service questions by email, etc., to post answers. Which is why you and other members of the community are so important, and I'm grateful for you.

In the spirit of constructive criticism, the bolded part struck me as short sighted. I am not a content curation expert, but I don't think it would be difficult to generate some lively discussion topics for the site - even if they don't necessarily apply to you personally (or whoever posts the topic). Surely you remember what it was like to be a beginner - I do and it's been more than 10 years for me - start discussions with some of those questions/insecurities/anticipation in mind. 

Some mildly random ideas:

- Reach out to specific members and ask them to become content influencers (and incentivize them)
- Bring in some pro triathletes or sponsors for feature threads (ask me anything, a conversation with..., all things {product} with {sponsor}, etc.)
- Create more digestible chunks of content (three things you need to know about XYZ) - current articles are really long - immediately drives away folks who just want a quick read.
- Make sure your authors are checking their articles for questions in the comments. One random article I clicked on has an unanswered question, which will make people not want to engage if no one is going to engage back.
- Create a more consistent cadence for articles. Looking at what is posted now, all five of the newest were posted on the same day - maybe spread them out?

2018-07-12 1:03 PM
in reply to: alicefoeller

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Subject: RE: Is BT Dead? Another Spam Forum and Time To Move On?
The over moderate comment wasn’t directed at you. Sorry if I was not clear. Marcag sentiment is what I was driving at. Also Lisa pretty much nailed what I was thinking.
2018-07-13 9:21 AM
in reply to: alicefoeller

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Subject: RE: Is BT Dead? Another Spam Forum and Time To Move On?

Originally posted by alicefoeller 

We do clean up spam quickly. (It's not *days* unless it's a weekend.

Not trying to argue, but there are still spam posts in Cup of Joe from July 1 (12 days ago) and July 5 (8 days ago).

The most recent posts in two forums (Challenge Me and Cup of Joe), which show up on the main Forums page are still spam from yesterday. Now that's only been a day and a half, but still. This is why people perceive that it's "days" before it gets cleaned up. They were up when I visited yesterday, and they're still up today...

 

2018-07-13 9:35 AM
in reply to: lisac957

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Subject: RE: Is BT Dead? Another Spam Forum and Time To Move On?

Originally posted by lisac957

Originally posted by alicefoeller 

We do clean up spam quickly. (It's not *days* unless it's a weekend.

Not trying to argue, but there are still spam posts in Cup of Joe from July 1 (12 days ago) and July 5 (8 days ago).

The most recent posts in two forums (Challenge Me and Cup of Joe), which show up on the main Forums page are still spam from yesterday. Now that's only been a day and a half, but still. This is why people perceive that it's "days" before it gets cleaned up. They were up when I visited yesterday, and they're still up today...

I've cleaned these up.  I check the forums twice a day.  My main focus is on Triathlon Talk and the Mentor Groups so admittedly I'm not checking every single forum every single day.  If you come across SPAM I invite you to PM me and I will take care of it.

2018-07-13 7:57 PM
in reply to: lisac957

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Subject: RE: Is BT Dead? Another Spam Forum and Time To Move On?
Originally posted by lisac957

Originally posted by alicefoeller

I've been doing tris for 20 years now ... I just don't have any questions to authentically post for myself. And I'm too busy running the site, courting advertisers, deleting spam, updating design, answering customer service questions by email, etc., to post answers. Which is why you and other members of the community are so important, and I'm grateful for you.

In the spirit of constructive criticism, the bolded part struck me as short sighted. I am not a content curation expert, but I don't think it would be difficult to generate some lively discussion topics for the site - even if they don't necessarily apply to you personally (or whoever posts the topic). Surely you remember what it was like to be a beginner - I do and it's been more than 10 years for me - start discussions with some of those questions/insecurities/anticipation in mind. 

Some mildly random ideas:

- Reach out to specific members and ask them to become content influencers (and incentivize them)
- Bring in some pro triathletes or sponsors for feature threads (ask me anything, a conversation with..., all things {product} with {sponsor}, etc.)
- Create more digestible chunks of content (three things you need to know about XYZ) - current articles are really long - immediately drives away folks who just want a quick read.
- Make sure your authors are checking their articles for questions in the comments. One random article I clicked on has an unanswered question, which will make people not want to engage if no one is going to engage back.
- Create a more consistent cadence for articles. Looking at what is posted now, all five of the newest were posted on the same day - maybe spread them out?




This girl is pretty smart....IMO

And for the record, I still have all my logs here too and post my all of my race reports here. I still think of myself as a BT graduate. Most of the really important stuff, I learned here at BT not at ST. But.....as Marc alluded to, many SIGNIFICANT contributors have left. You should try to build back a force of strong contributors going forward.

but, thanks for all you do Alice. Ron made it a great site but you can still make it better.


2018-07-16 1:40 AM
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Subject: RE: Is BT Dead? Another Spam Forum and Time To Move On?
Thanks everybody for the feedback.

Here are my follow-ups re: forum and articles:

Some mildly random ideas:

- Reach out to specific members and ask them to become content influencers (and incentivize them)

I already do that. Most of the people who write decent articles are members here. Good idea to ask about having them contribute to the forum, too.

- Bring in some pro triathletes or sponsors for feature threads (ask me anything, a conversation with..., all things {product} with {sponsor}, etc.)

I have a partnership with USAT to get access to pros, so this fits well with that strategy. Did you see the Andy Potts article? Often the pros just want to do a quick phone interview and that's it, but I can try.

- Create more digestible chunks of content (three things you need to know about XYZ) - current articles are really long - immediately drives away folks who just want a quick read.

Good idea. We write long because it's better for SEO, but I'll try writing catchier headlines and adding more subheadings and bullets.

- Make sure your authors are checking their articles for questions in the comments. One random article I clicked on has an unanswered question, which will make people not want to engage if no one is going to engage back.

That's a good suggestion. I usually give them the link to share on social media, but I don't mention about the comments. I don't check mine for comments, either.

- Create a more consistent cadence for articles. Looking at what is posted now, all five of the newest were posted on the same day - maybe spread them out?
Every month I have a dream that I will write and/or edit (and PUBLISH) two articles each week. It never happens. Every month on the 29th or 30th I'm up until midnight. Anyone want to volunteer to curate articles? ;-)
2018-07-16 7:24 PM
in reply to: alicefoeller

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Subject: RE: Is BT Dead? Another Spam Forum and Time To Move On?
sounds like you are trying to 'get it' Alice.

I'd suggest, for starters, you reach out to four people that I think seem exceptional.


Lisac957-ask her what she thinks she can/wants to contribute. She's a gem. She has her pulse on the vibe of the site, knows the issues and seems to really care. As do many...

macag-ask him if he'll write something about power. he taught me all the beginnings of power on the bike in the 'power mentor' thread years ago, good stuff and it was generic/basic and enlisted the help of another nice coach in Shane. But, I do realize that coaches have other interests and it would be unfair to give 'free' advice' in some aspects. Maybe something can be worked out. Many new triathletes are new to power and that takes them to the next level.

https://beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid...

k9car363-ask Scott if he'll continue to write/support information for the 'beginner triathlete' regarding swimming. My fear with real swimmers are that they really don't treat BT'ers like the people that they are-often adult onset swimmers. That's a different ballgame, and he seems like he gets it.

https://beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid...

and consider a fourth-dreamchaser-He's busy with life/work/kids and training but I know for a fact impacted me personally in terms of becoming a triathlete, not a 'beginner' triathlete, but that is how is always starts. He has given back to your place specifically with an interview, if I recall, many years ago with a podcast. Doing more of those podcasts could be something alluring also.

https://beginnertriathlete.com/cms/article-detail.asp?articleid=2004

And I learned everything I needed for long course triathlon in the epic 2012 IMLP thread-one of the most posts ever!
(only eclipsed by other IM Distance threads for CDA/LP in other years...

https://beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid...

JorgeM has been instrumental in guiding athletes here-especially with training programs. I'm not sure if that is still continued...

https://beginnertriathlete.com/cms/article-detail.asp?articleid=1946

There are so many others that I could pick, but you probably know them. Do what you need to do and make it happen.

2018-07-17 5:27 AM
in reply to: dtoce

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Subject: RE: Is BT Dead? Another Spam Forum and Time To Move On?
Originally posted by dtoce

macag-ask him if he'll write something about power. he taught me all the beginnings of power on the bike in the 'power mentor' thread years ago, good stuff and it was generic/basic and enlisted the help of another nice coach in Shane. But, I do realize that coaches have other interests and it would be unfair to give 'free' advice' in some aspects. Maybe something can be worked out. Many new triathletes are new to power and that takes them to the next level.

https://beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid...



Thanks Dale for the kind words. A couple of things

That mentor group was fun. Fun because I think the members really got into it, contributed, asked a lot of questions and got something out of it. That makes it all worth while. But to do something like that and hear crickets would be less fun.

Maybe, just thinking out loud, BT has to put less emphasis on the B. There are way more athletes that need a place to discuss things that aren't necessarily beginners. If you limit your audience to people in their first year or two of tri, very english oriented, very North American, you really limit your audience.

BTW, I do not coach. I did for a few people but not any more. I am pretty involved in the cycling world but not as a coach. I am more than happy to help people with my opinions (they are that, opinions, not fact).. I get to work with some pro tour teams and really find that cool, but honestly I enjoy sharing with joe shmoe just as much. Several times I thought of doing a mentor group on aero since it's an area I have been heavily involved with.

There is a FB group FULL of ex BT members that aren't necessarily the ST type. Go out and bring them back. Yanti, Bryann D.....some big names. Make this a place they want to hang out.
2018-07-17 9:53 AM
in reply to: dtoce

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Subject: RE: Is BT Dead? Another Spam Forum and Time To Move On?

Originally posted by dtoce

k9car363-ask Scott if he'll continue to write/support information for the 'beginner triathlete' regarding swimming. My fear with real swimmers are that they really don't treat BT'ers like the people that they are-often adult onset swimmers. That's a different ballgame, and he seems like he gets it.

https://beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid...

Thank you Dale.  I too appreciate the kind words.  It's nice when people notice.

I think though, more than an individual contributor or group of contributors, its about participation.  An on-line discussion forum, almost by definition, it "by the people for the people."  If a contributor writes the most knowledgeable, eloquently written post ever seen and nobody clicks 'Reply' then the forum appears "dead."  I thoroughly enjoy engaging in the forums, but I'm with Marc, it's not so much fun when you submit a post and there's nothing - that isn't content or lack of content, that's lack of participation. 

I mentor one of the mentor groups.  Every year when things start-up in December/January, it's all I can do to keep up with the group.  It's nothing in January to check the group in the morning, then go back in the afternoon and have the thought, "Are you kidding me?" as I look at thirty new threads.  By the way, that isn't a complaint, I love the interaction.  Come summer-time however, the level of participation has dramatically declined.  In January, I can't wait to have the opportunity to check the group.  Come summer, it's a chore because nobody's home.  That's lack of participation.

It was suggested earlier that perhaps some of the content is too long because often people are here looking "for a quick read."  I'd submit that people who are here for a quick read aren't here to participate so much as they're here to be "entertained."  When did it become incumbent upon Alice or the moderators or any particular group of individuals to become "the" contributors to drive the site?  I'd argue that duty if you will falls to all of us.

To that end I challenge everyone to click "New Thread" and start a thread; or click "Reply" and participate in a thread.

Just my humble two-cents.

2018-07-17 10:54 AM
in reply to: k9car363

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Subject: RE: Is BT Dead? Another Spam Forum and Time To Move On?

Originally posted by k9car363

It was suggested earlier that perhaps some of the content is too long because often people are here looking "for a quick read."  I'd submit that people who are here for a quick read aren't here to participate so much as they're here to be "entertained."  When did it become incumbent upon Alice or the moderators or any particular group of individuals to become "the" contributors to drive the site?  I'd argue that duty if you will falls to all of us.

My suggestion to reach out to content contributors was driven by watching other successful accounts on social media. I think there is a lot of value to securing "influencers" to drive engagement and conversation - particularly on a "beginner" site.

Successful best practices I have been watching do a few things really well to drive engagement online:

  • Enlist contributors to do "takeovers" for a week at a time. Contributors would have planned content they space out to keep the audience engaged, asking questions, driving conversations, and yes, entertaining a bit. Nothing wrong with inserting a few light-hearted topics or laughs. This is easier with a vehicle like Instagram Stories, but could be modified for a forum like BT.
  • Owners and moderators, yes, are responsible for starting conversations. It's part of the gig. They also encourage others to chime in, you are right that it has to be a two-way street, but the onus of starting conversations is often on the channel owner(s).
  • Strategically partner with relevant professionals and sponsors. This is a win-win for both the site, the partners and the members/participants. The site gains a reputation for being a leader in the space, the partners/sponsors get exposure and the members/participants gain from the knowledge. This could look like an "ask me anything" thread, a contest/giveaway, an educational article where you feature the sponsor, any number of things. Make it clear that you are partnering together and endorsing one another.

There's a whole science to content curation and influencers... like I said I'm not an expert but I know what works for me personally. 



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