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Acknowledgments

Foreword by Chrispian H. Burks

Introduction: Is This Book for You?
    How This Book Is Organized
    Communities, Forums, and Boards
    Book Website
    After You’ve Read the Book

Chapter 1. Laying the Groundwork
    Fundamental Decisions
        What Will Your Community Cover?
        Whom Do You Want to Attract?
        What Will the Benefits of Your Community Be?
        How Will You Support the Community Financially?
    What Is Your Situation?
        Create a Brand-New Stand-Alone Community
        Launch a Brand-New Community and Content Site at the Same Time
        Launch a Brand-New Community as an Addition to an Existing Content Site
        Purchase or Take Over an Existing Community
    What Skills and Characteristics Do You Need to Have?
    Conclusion

Chapter 2. Developing Your Community
    Choosing a Name and a Domain Name
        Communities for New or Existing Content Sites
        Naming a Stand-Alone Community
            Extensions
            Dashes and Numbers
            Spell It Correctly!
            Length
            Prefixes
            Don’t Curse!
        Domain Name Registrars
        Web Hosting
    Choosing Your Community Software
        vBulletin
        phpBB
    Basic Options
        Software Options
            Requiring Registration to Participate
            Smilies
            Flood Controls
            Word Censors
            Post Counts
            Old Posts
            Purging Accounts
        User Options
            Signatures and Avatars
            Username Changing
            User Titles and Ranks
            Ignore List
            Private Messaging
            Allowing Users to Be “Invisible”
        Setup Options
            What Guests See
            How Many Forums Should I Have?
                Advertising Forums
                Private Forums
                Other Forums
                Why You Don’t Want a Feedback-and-Suggestions Forum
            Starting with Staff
    Design, Layout, and Customization
        Don’t Just Install a Ready-Made Template
        Designing for a Community
        Stick to One Look
        Customizing Your Community
            Improve the Usability
            Add an Important Feature
            Add a Requested Feature
            Make Your Job Easier
    Be Smart, Be Safe
        Follow the Instructions and Recommendations
        Check Your File and Folder Permissions
        Protect Your Admin Areas with .htaccess
        Have Separate Passwords for Everything
        Create a Separate Database Account for Each Database
        Backup Your Database–Constantly!
        Keep Your Community Software Updated
    Conclusion

Chapter 3. Developing Guidelines
    Guideline Ideas
        What Do They Apply To?
        Cross-Posting, Duplicate Threads, Etc.
        Post-Count Boosting and Bumping
        Styles of Communication (No CAPS!)
        Advertising
        Affiliate Links
        Copyright
        Illegal Activities
        Hotlinking and Bandwidth Theft
        Legal Advice, Medical Advice, Suicide Threats, Etc.
        Personal, Real-Life Information and Privacy
        English Only, Please
        Respect
        Obstructing the Flow of Discussion
        Vulgar Language and Offensive Material
        Freedom of Speech
        Multiple Accounts
        Automated Account Creation, Participation, and Scraping
        Signatures
        Avatars
        Privilege Restrictions
        Deleting Accounts and/or Posts in the Future (Leaving Your Community)
        Who’s the Boss?
        If You Break the Guidelines, There Are Consequences
        The Guidelines Are Not All-Inclusive
        We Can’t Watch It All!
        Have Fun! And, If You Need Help, Let Us Know!
    Real-Life Examples
    The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (C.O.P.P.A.)
    Privacy Policy
    Get Them out There!
    Conclusion

Chapter 4. Promoting Your Community
    You
    What Is Not Considered Promotional Can Be Promotional
    Preparing Your Community for Search Engines
        Make Your Community Spiderable
        Descriptive Page Titles
        Welcome Messages
    Before You Launch
    Directories
    Partnerships
        What Can You Offer a Partner?
        What Can a Partner Offer You?
    Buying Advertising
    Link Exchanges
    Contests and Giveaways
    Post Exchanges and Paying People to Post
    Offline Promotion
    Let Your Users Promote You!
    What Not to Do
    Conclusion

Chapter 5. Managing Your Staff
    How Should You Lead?
    Communicating with Your Staff
        Staff Forums
        Talking Things to Death
        Staff Leaks
    The Chain of Command
        Regular Users Who Think They Are Staff
        Moderators Policing Moderators
        Only One True Admin, Please
    Moderation: The Process
        Step #1: Recognizing Violations
        Step #2: Removing Violations
        Step #3: Documenting Violations and the Action Taken
        Step #4: Contacting Users
        Responses to Guideline Violation Warnings
        Process Summary
        Old Violations
    Staff Guidelines
        Staff Guideline Ideas
            Job Duties
            Behavior
            Use of “Powers”
            Documenting Violations and Related Issues and Notifying Members
            Discussing Site-Related Issues with Members
            Avoiding Controversial Discussions
            Staff Forums
            Interacting with Other Levels of Staff
            Choosing New Staff Members
            Saying Thanks and Being Available
        Example Staff Guidelines
        Situations Guide
    Make Your Staff Stand Out
    Staff Member Benefits
    Choosing Your Staff
    When Is It Time for a Staff Member to Move On?
        Inactive Staff Members
        Resignation in Good Standing
        Resignation After Disagreement
        Wow, I Let This Person onto My Staff?
    Conclusion

Chapter 6. Banning Users and Dealing with Chaos
    Real People, Real Cases
        The Bad
            Forum Spam Bots
            That Doesn’t Look Like Spam …
            Introtisements and Adverquestions
            Violations in Private Messages
            I’m Locked out of My Account!
            Why Use of “Micro$oft/M$” Is Bad
            Content Thieves and Scrapers
            The Reply-to-Every-Post Guy
            “Freedom of Speech”
            Me vs. You
            “You Are So Biased”
            “I’m Creating My Own YourSite.com __________!”
            When Users Say Good-Bye
            Threats (… or I’m Leaving!)
        … And the Worst
            “Remove All of My Posts and Delete My Account!”
            “Hate Him, My Minions! Hate Him!”
            Admin to Users: “Attack!”
            The Grand Delusion
            Personal Crusades: What It All Comes Down To
        Persistent Idiots
    Solutions
        Post Reporting System
        Turning Negatives into Positives
        Helpful Notices
        Innovative Tools
    Banning
        Give Every User a Chance
        Public Humiliation
        When Should You Ban?
            Responding to Banned Users
            Lifting a Ban
        Banning Methods
            Banning Usernames
            Temporary Bans
            Banning IPs
            Users Who Use the Same IP
            Doesn’t That Look Like … ?
            Get Creative
                The System Is Down
                Make It So That Only They Can See Their Posts (Global Ignore)
                Simulated Downtime
            Automated Banning and Point-Based Systems
        Banning URLs
        Contacting a User’s ISP
    Conclusion

Chapter 7. Creating a Good Environment
    Respect Is Everything
    Welcoming New Users
    Be Human, Be Fun, Be Involved
    Answering Questions
        Don’t Have an Attitude of Expected Knowledge
        Don’t Link Users to General, Unhelpful Sites
        Don’t Tell Users to Search
        If a Question Has Been Asked Before
    Make Your Users Feel Involved
        Ask Users for Input
        Announce Changes
        Share Your Successes
    Customer Service
        When a Problem Occurs, Apologize and Explain
        Responding to Bad or Rude Suggestions
        How to Handle Private Contact with Users
        Don’t Take It Personally
    Allow All Wrath to Be Directed at You, Not Your Staff
    Politics, Religion, and Other Very Controversial Discussions
    Conclusion

Chapter 8. Keeping It Interesting
    New Features
    Newsletters and Mailing Lists
    RSS Feeds and Syndication
    Bots
    Posting Games
    Arcade Games
    Contests and Giveaways
    Member of the Month
    Articles and Content
    Chat Rooms
    Awards Programs
    Conclusion

Chapter 9. Making Money
    Advertising
        Displaying (Some) Ads to Guests Only
        Start with Ads
        Advertising Networks
            CPM and CPC Networks
            CPA Networks and Affiliate Programs
    Selling Advertising
    Other Ads
        Ad Threads
        Classifieds
        Sponsorships
        What Else … ?
    Merchandise
    Paid Memberships
    Donations
    Conclusion

End Note

Appendix A. Online Resources

Appendix B. Blank General Templates
    User Guidelines
    Staff Member Guidelines
    Contact Templates

Appendix C. Glossary

Index

About the Author