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Managing Online Forums: Everything You Need to Know to Create and Run Successful Community Discussion Boards Paperback – Bargain Price, April 10, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“I feel that Managing Online Forums is a worthwhile book to buy and absorb. There are TONS of great resources in there, and lots of real world examples for you to follow. This alone makes the book a great resource to have on the shelf.” —Chris Brogan



"If you are thinking of starting a community, or are newly involved in one, this book will help you in the human side of managing the site." --Online Magazine



“While Managing Online Forums is obviously aimed at forum hosts and moderators, it can also be used to educate a general audience about online forum activity.” —Book News, Inc./SciTech News



“In his book Managing Online Forums, Patrick O’Keefe provides thoughtful, detailed recommendations on developing and enforcing guidelines based on running several thriving communities.” —Lois Kelly, author of Beyond Buzz (http://blog.foghound.com/383/)

Book Description

Every day, millions of users log on to their favorite online forums and interact with others to get advice and discuss everything from the latest news and trends to their hobbies, professions, and whatever else strikes their fancy. Admin­istrators have to lead these communities, deal with difficult users, and choose moderators. Legal constraints, spammers, and technical issues can turn the excitement of running an online community into chaos. With the right guidance, however, running forums can be a pleasure. Patrick O’Keefe has spent years developing and managing online communities. Now, he shows readers how to make the right decisions about every aspect of their forums, including:

• choosing a name and domain name

• picking the right software

• deciding on user options like avatars and private messaging

• setting guidelines and dealing with violators

• ensuring that posts stay on topic

• settling online disputes among users

• involving users and keeping the site interesting

Managing Online Forums is the one book that shows site owners and administrators how to create a safe and entertaining community that users will return to again and again.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: AMACOM (April 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081440197X
  • ASIN: B002KE5SN8
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,915,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael G. Kimsal on April 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
I had the opportunity to read through this book over the last week, and I'm just floored by how much good information it's got in it. This book is years of Patrick's experiences running successful forums (22 forums now, I believe!) and all the tips, tricks and wisdom he's picked up during those years. I ran a moderately successful forum years ago, and would have saved myself months of headache and heartache had I the information in this book at my fingertips back then.

The book is definitely opinionated - these are Patrick's recommendations based on his experiences, and it shows. His voice is natural, and the wording is down to earth. This isn't some theoretical treatise, but a 'from the trenches' view of what works, what doesn't, and why.

The book includes many sample forms which have example language to use for welcoming members to your forum, working with moderators, dealing with abusive or disruptive visitors, and much more. They're all available on the book's website too, so you don't need to retype it all in, but can quickly customize them to fit your own needs .

The one thing lacking in this book is that it doesn't go in to much detail about the major forum packages out there, so the reader who is just starting out will have to do some more research as to what packages have which features discussed in the book. Having said that, this keeps the focus of the book more on the human/people side of internet forums, and doesn't devolve in to a technical manual. I would have preferred a small feature comparison of the big forum systems out there, but I'm more of a technically-inclined person to begin with. If you're not technically inclined, you likely won't even notice the information not there.
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Format: Paperback
Managing Online Forums is a great resource for both those starting out in the world of online forum management and seasoned veterans looking to improve and grow their online communities. The effectiveness of this book as a resource is founded upon three main strengths. The first of these is the author's experience and knowledge of the subject based upon years of administrating online forums. He knows what works and what doesn't. By tapping the author's knowledge, a forum manager can avoid wasting time and effort going in directions that are, ultimately, unfruitful. Instead, he can focus on only those things that are proven effective. Second, the book is organized in a logical sequence. It begins with suggestions on choosing a domain name and progresses through ideas on keeping an established forum interesting. Third, the book is effortless to read, avoiding technical jargon except when necessary. This effortlessness can transform into absorption, at times.

Ultimately, if you are interested in starting and running your own online community, Managing Online Forums is a great place to start. However, its usefulness does not end once a forum is up and running. As your community grows you will once again be able to reference the knowledge that exists in this book to further develop your community.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great reference book for anyone who is starting or beginning to manage online groups. It can be a challenge trying to corral so many different personalities in one space. But it is possible. Even though I've been managing online forums for years, this book helped me immensely.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is everything it promises to be, but in the Kindle version on a Kindle Fire, it's tough to read in its default format. There was obviously little thought in the conversion to a digital format, which is sad, since this book is so suitable for a digital format while working in a digital medium.

As for the book itself, there are some parts that are limited by the author's experience working in a Unix/Linux environment with Apache and primarily PHP based systems. A Windows user with an ASP.NET solution, which are gaining popularity and maturity, can be easily confused in some sections of the book. Otherwise, most of the information is relevant and good advice.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're considering to build your own online community or forum, then this is a must-read book. Patrick O'Keefe covers everything from how to start a forum to how to develop and police it. I particularly appreciated that much of this book covers managing people rather than technology. There are lots of other books on how to physically build a site, but this one goes into depth on how to build the actual community of the site. O'Keefe advices how to recruit new members to your site without spamming other sites, and also gives good advice on how to deal with difficult members by offering a lot of examples and how he handled it. You won't have to run a site to recognize some of the difficult types that he describes.

If you're going to start a forum or community site, or if you already have and you would like advice on how to manage the human side of running a site, then I recommend that you read this. If you're not, then I think you would still enjoy reading this. You'll find out how hard it is to run a site and you might appreciate those who do a little more.
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