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Welcome to MONSTERLAND FORUMS! We are a casual and friendly online community of movie fans who like to talk about giant monsters, horror and sci-fi in cinema, on television and on Blu Ray/DVD. There are forums for sports, casual chat and video games as well. For those of you who like making art, writing stories and creating videos, our community includes a forum for these submissions as well. Check out our main index page and other board forums! Anyone is welcome to join our community!

MONSTERLAND FORUMS was created on January 29, 2006 for the purpose of giving fans of giant monster films and other sci-fi/horror movies a friendly online meeting place to discuss all of their favorite films and other things of interest like video gaming and sports.

MONSTERLAND FORUMS has 298 members and over 168,000 posts. This online community is Zetaboards' fourth most active online community in the "Movies" category(among over 300 message boards).

Fall is here!

Our online community isn't the largest on the web but I think it's the best group with which to discuss all the movies we love to watch and also talk about other shared interests! For those of you checking out this message board for the first time give our forums a look: I think you'll like what you see!

GODZILLA(2014), produced by Legendary Pictures and directed by Gareth Edwards, has generated over $500 million in worldwide box office receipts and will release to Blu Ray/DVD on September 26th(2014)!


-Lee "Packmule" Merritt
site founder






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The Admin Chronicles; Observations & tips on message board administration
Topic Started: Sep 29 2008, 02:32 AM (1,135 Views)
packmule
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One of the first things I discovered, after starting Monsterland Forums back in late January, 2006 was how much work it was going to take in order to have a chance to build a message board that would simultaneously look decent to others on the web looking it over and also appeal to those who took the time to register and then started posting here.

This thread is a "diary" of sorts, in which I will post some observations, suggestions, gripes and other objective, and subjective, content on my experience as the message board administrator for Monsterland Forums. It will also chronicle how I went about building this site, including mistakes I made and what I did to fix them. It is my hope that this topic thread, which will be "read only", will prove useful to others reading it who run their own boards or those who may be considering starting up their own discussion sites on the internet. I also hope, in the event of any absence on my part, either temporary or permanent, from this site, that this topic thread can prove helpful to those staffers still here who will ultimately be tasked with continuing to keep Monsterland Forums going.

I will strive to post on a regular basis in this thread but only when I have
things I believe should appear here in this thread.


_ _ _ _ _

-From the first few moments of this message board I knew right away that several things must happen very quickly in order for this site to gain any kind of attention from potential members:

1. a forum banner had to be installed, one which was related to the primary theme of Monsterland Forums and also looked good as well. As I have never been very good at Photoshop I communicated with several other people at various message boards. all of whom were kind enough to make me usable, and very decent looking forum banners.

2. the main index page: it's what people see first so it had better look good. Initially, and for months, MF was not as "lean" as it should have been. There were too many topics about that died out after 2-3 posts, which contributes what I call "clutter", and something I've seen in great amounts at the really large kaiju themed message boards as well as Gojira's Sanctuary. I believe related topics and forums should be consolidated whenever possible. The site main index page here at MF has undergone numerous changes, which I expected from the start. It now has better structure than ever before, which makes navigating it easier for members and non-members alike.

3. construction of board rules: this was obviously important and had to be one of the first things posted on the main index page, a list of rules that would provide a guide which every member(including myself) would have in order to have a reference for the site do's and don'ts regarding message board behavior and etiquette.

4. Forums, forums, forums and topics, topics, topics: the quickest way to spook away those looking over a message board is to display huge voids on the main index page of the site, and nothing does that more than no topics in forums and/or no forums. First, categories must be created, then forums, and finally topics. In that order!

5. security: I learned quickly that NOT selecting admin validated member email registrations(under board settings in admin cp) was an open invitation, while MF was hosted by Invisionfree, for spambot and other program generated email member registrations. Some of these, from what I've been told, can result in the posting of pornography and links to porn sites on the index page.

I have been asked, at other message boards, about what has helped me stay motivated to continue to put forth work into the continuation of this site. Mostly it's seeing so many boards abandoned and/or ruined, mostly the former. I knew beforehand that this site would take, realistically, 2-3 years to establish itself. I also started up MF without the "entitlement" mentality I see so often with admins elsewhere: that people should join a board just because it's there.

Monsterland Forums is, to me, much like a restaurant or other retail business: the members are the "customers". You keep your customers coming back in a retail business by making them want to come back. It's no different, IMO, regarding a message board. Things like interesting features, forums and topics, coupled with a casual and relaxed atmosphere seemed to me the best way to make registered members want to participate in the forums around here. I've also found that being a good admin also involves asking your members questions. To me the best message boards are those where the staff work to get members involved in topic and forum discussions.

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Wishing the entire member community a safe and happy Christmas holiday!




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packmule
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Other things that I quickly realized after Monsterland Forums began to accumulate more members and posting activity:

1. the variety of differing personalities among the members, which while a good thing also meant I had to constantly monitor posting exchanges between these members to watch for any hostilities that might arise as a result of a personality "clash".

2. it's very important, as I discovered quickly, to stay updated about the hosting service of this message board, initially Invisionfree and now Zetaboards. I would strongly recommend that any message board admin login several times per week to his/her respective board hosting services support board, for updates.

3. the support ticket system responses can often be delayed from the support site, which, I realized last year, is still no reason to panic.

4. adding coded modifications to this message board can be good, as it can add additional functions for members to use, or bad if the code conflicts with other (permanent) codes in place in the board templates(in admin cp). Bottom line: be careful what you add to your board by way of modifications and only add a function/feature that members would really use.

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Some other things that I have noted that have helped our community here at MF:

1. the use of the "website maker" function in admin CP: using this feature I have created both a separate "page" by which members here can access movie trailers I post(two at a time) and also public domain sci-fi and horror films, which I install as HTML embeddable codes.

2. the use of the "board template" feature in admin CP, which I have used to install HTML coded clickable links, at various locations around the main index page, of notable websites.

3. the preponderance of "Ask ________" member topics, which have provided a steady flow of posting activity while affording members to post questions among themselves, something that enables our members to get to know each other better.

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Some more ramblings which may hopefully prove useful to all of you future message board admins out there:

-after considerable contemplation I'm convinced that having at least six(6) board theme options is the way to go. I like having at least one(1) predominantly blue colored theme and a mixture of greens, browns and other "earth" tomes like oranges.

-the "ask (member name) topics" continue to generate lots of posting activity because people, I think, enjoy talking about themselves. These topics can prove a valuable tool in building comraderie among board members thumbz up

-I'm more convinced than ever that time, perhaps more than anything, is an important factor in the growth of a message board community. This board took over eighteen months before posting activity really began to take hold and become a daily and weekly occurrence.

-the board rules are a dynamic and not static feature of a message board and need to be flexible. There may be times when a board founder may need to amend them or even make a change to a rule, albeit with an explanation to the board's members explaining the change

-having an accompanying web page for Monsterland Forums appears to have had little effect in promoting the growth of this message board community...perhaps because the web page, simply called "Monsterland", is a "sub" domain, which doesn't propagate the web via Google and Yahoo "crawlers"(search bots). A full domain, which would require a mpnthly payment, would seem to be the way to go here.

-the time demands for effectively running a busy message board community like Monsterland Forums are much greater than I ever estimated. I average several hours a day around here, which includes posting and other routine things like checking the admin CP daily for member registrations, checking the Zetaboards support/services board daily for any important updates and also scouring the internet daily for any potential additions to the emoticon and (customized) avatar galleries

-I also strongly advocate using some of the 16 MG bandwidth allotted to each Zetaboards message board to install "custom" avatar images(by customized categories). The default avatars are okay but having avatars that include many of the board's themes is recommended

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I am more convinced than ever that "Ask ________" topics are an effective way to keep a steady stream of posting activity going at an internet message board. Members like to talk about themselves without coming off as arrogant to others and these topic threads are a great means by which to do that.

I am also convinced at this point that sending out monthly or quarterly bulk emails is NOT an effective tool at prompting more tenured and inactive members to return to return to a message board and post again. I believe these bulk emails have prompted a handful of inactive members to briefly return here, "lurk" without posting and then they're off again.


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