I like seeing everything custom-made. Pre-mades and defaults really turn me off as far as forum-look goes. I generally won't join a forum if its admin has not taken the time to design their board. Because really, that's what it comes down to. Has the admin taken the time to make their forum beautiful? The answer lies in the front-page look. If the admin doesn't take the time, that tells me right away that the admin doesn't care enough, and that the admin probably won't stick around for a long time. They probably aren't reliable.
Various things attract my attention to a forum -- first and foremost, the English. I understand that no one (I repeat: no one) is perfect with grammar and such, but if no one is going to take the time and edit themselves or no one else is going to try and help them, I don't want to sit through a post and have to translate every single word. So yeah, English is a major plus when it comes to a forum, and good English is not only showing that you pay attention in class , but it's just plain moral. Do you want to translate paragraphs from another language?
The contents themselves are also incredibly important, like how organized the board is. For example, if it's an Avatar: The Last Airbender, there should probably be a board for each nation (assuming it's role-play) or a board for each book (assuming it's discussion), maybe? Sometimes it's difficult to have the right amount of boards -- if you have too few, then threads get too clustered and tend to go off-topic. If you have too many, the main page would probably load more slowly or just appear to be too clustered.
The number of members is also important, though loosely -- too many members does not always ensure activity and oftentimes intimidates me. Too few members makes me feel like the site will just shut down at any second, and while I prefer starting out fresh, it's always a bit depressing when a site ends because members stop coming or participating.
The skins are probably the first thing I look for, but I don't always base my decision on how beautiful the skin is; the most exciting and enjoyable forum might have a horrible skin, for instance. But if I can barely even look at the forum without my eyes bleeding. For me, I tend to favour dark colours; they are easy on the eyes, in my case, and my eyes are very sensitive.
I usually look at the skin first. I don't mind light colors as long as they match; no lime green with bright red. I also don't like the ''computer virus'' look (you know, black with really bright colors like yellow and green)
The second thing I look for is the number of members. If the site has over 40 members, then I'm a bit turned off, especially if it's a roleplay site. Also, if there have been 50 members online in the past 24 hours, then I probably won't join. I usually join sites that have 5-15 members; I guess I feel sympathetic towards the creator.
Post by luv2ride801 on Oct 10, 2008 15:40:40 GMT -8
The first thing I notice when I'm looking at a new forum is the banner, skin, and forum title. If those three things can draw me into the site I will spend time looking around and looking at the boards.
I also think it's important to give the guests a good preview of what your site is going to be, without showing all the boards that can be accessed when you register for a site.
So if the Banner and Skin attract my attention, and I'm liking what I'm seeing as far as boards and threads, then I probably will join the forum.
Post by karkarkarei on Nov 14, 2008 8:41:28 GMT -8
Well, the first thing to see is the forum skin. While I think a good skin is important, I would join a forum with just about any skin as long as I can read everything just fine.
If the rules are not too restricting or too lax and the site has a good plot then I'll join. I prefer new sites; larger sites tend to be somewhat cliqueish and it's hard to find your place. Plus I love to help out with new sites, with advertising and stuff. Just 'cause I like to watch 'em grow. That's always really fun. <3
Not only that but the admin(s) must be friendly and active, as well as the members. When I join a forum and post around, I hope to be responded to. If I can't get involved then I leave. Otherwise what's the point?
Custom templates are a plus for me. Reason being is that i know the owner and staff on that forum are serious about it and in it for the long haul. Sites that go above and beyond draw me to there forum.
I've been a member on forums that the staff hardly ever visited the forum or made any changes to it. The forum was a waste of bandwidth basically. There are to many pre-made templates floating around. The key to running a successful forum is to have a active staff who are looking to get a head of there competitors and contribute to the forum. Have no fresh content on forums tends to keep the search engine bot's away from your forum. They need fresh food to eat.
Last Edit: Nov 15, 2008 16:18:09 GMT -8 by Snakeair
I have never put much stock in the way a forum looks, although clashing colors or a really busy background (like a straight up screenshot from a show, tiled) are dealbreakers. I like sites with a lot of active members because it's more likely I'll be able to find someone on at the same time as me.
The two most important things to me are 1) how much I have to read before I'm allowed to join. If I have to go through a dozen topics of explanation and background, I'm probably not going to join. And 2) the attitude to staff and members. I usually spend some time skimming the OOC forums to see if they are friendly and open-minded.
Here's the simple breakdown of what draws me to forums:
--Similar interest base - Obvious. Unless I feel like trolling, theres no way I'm going to linger on a site comprised of themes I dislike or hate.
--Layout - I'm not particular or picky on how fancy or unique things are. I want non-blinding color schemes and a coherent layout for things. Banners I don't much care about because I'm scrolled down too far to even see it 99% of the time. Overly flashy things are admittedly a turn-off. Some color schemes are admittedly a turn-off as well. Black and red is sooooooooooo 1983, dude.
--Ease of Accessibility - This one's big for me before joining. I like lurking about as a guest, poking in boards and threads to see the quality of the RP levels and what character types are taken before joining. Not being able to see that makes me laugh and leave the forum without a second thought. I can see cornering off a section for staff discussion, but why bother hiding IC posts from guests?
--Activity - Is there life? If I haven't seen a post made within a week or so, or if the "Active users in the past 24 hours" box is empty or nearly empty, I'm gone.
--Literacy - Since I often lurk about on RP sites, this is a biggie for me. I loathe and despise sites where the roleplay posts are one or two lines in length. Sure it may work for some, but not for me.
--Complexity of Rules - Some places have too few. Some have too many. While this isn't a key factor in getting me to join, it can weigh in heavily.
--Celebrity Claims - Can be a key factor on certain types of sites. Personally I find it to be terribly stupid, as it means that to join I must spend the next three or four hours digging about the internet, trying to find a celebrity that ISN'T the one of five "hawt" guys and girls that you see ON EVERY SITE EVER and fits in with my character description. If you want to use it as a "Oh hey my character just so happens to look like so-and-so, so please don't anyone else use him/her as a base," fine. But "You MUST be a celebrity" is stupid. I LIKE using people from my art folders sometimes. And what if I want to play an alien or something? Huh? What then?
--Loyalty to content - Since I often waste my life away in RPs set in established settings (namely comic book and Star Wars RPs), I am a real sticker for keeping in harmony to the established settings, themes, and character traits. I understand the leeway needed to make things move as an RP, of course, but if I see crap like Superman marrying Catwoman or a happy Batman, I'm gone in a fit of rage.
That's pretty much the basics. Beyond that is my typical nitpickery.
If I were to put what I look for, I would be repeating everyone here, obviously. But alas, the first thing I look for is activity. If their layout isn't horrid, then I assume I can help them make it better- as designing is my trade. But if there is little, to no activity showing to me (the guest) I won't join.
However, I see alot of people saying "If there is more than 40 people I will not join". Why? I always look for forums with more people, which to me says that they are either popular, active, or been around for some time and well established (in most cases). So I was just wondering the reasoning for that.
Personally, I’m drawn to a forum that looks neat and well designed. It doesn’t have to be flashy (that often negates from the neatness) and it doesn’t have to look like a professional web designer created it. If the topics are ordered in a logical way, the board descriptions are well-written and concise, and the coding itself has a sense of structure, then I’m happy. For example, a main page with a 700px wide Cbox on top of a 250px info table, followed by a forum 500px wide would fail to impress me because the coding looks messy.
I’m also drawn to a good color scheme. Clashing colors are obviously a turn off and I find bright colors to look a bit unprofessional. I’m more likely to be impressed by a forum that’s soft and easy on the eye. The text has to be readable too. I’d rather it be black and slightly clashing than have the main page look beautiful in a grey text that’s hard to understand.
Nice graphics can also draw me to take a closer look at a forum, but they’re not the be all and end all of my decision. I don’t mind if a forum uses a very simplistic or premade banner, because I’m there for the writing, not the pretty pictures. That being said, a clashing banner that looks like it was poorly cut together in MS Paint is definitely a deterrent because it reflects on the level of care and effort the admin put into their forum.
Some of the best communities I’ve been a part of have had pretty standard looking main pages. Overall, as long as it’s something that won’t give me a headache, I’m likely to take a closer look.
Post by Le' Purple DOOM*!? on Dec 1, 2008 14:25:39 GMT -8
When I'm looking around for sites, I find it necissary for them to have either 1) an interesting title, or 2) an interesting affiliate banner. If they do not have one or both of these, I will not even bother to look at them.
Following that, the skin has to work well, and the site, in general, needs to be organized and easy to navigate. I don't like sites with clashing colours, or with a billion boards that could be shrunken down if there were sub-boards.
A Cbox is also nice, so that I can ask questions before I join and read past messages to get a feel for the kind of people that are on the site. If the people aren't nice, or helpful, I definitely won't bother because I'll get freezed out of conversation, or discussion, or roleplay or whatever I'm there for.
Activity is also a large portion of what I look for. Are there at least a handful of members on everyday? I don't mind joining sites that are having activity problems, so long as there is SOMEONE there, and then helping the site gain activity again.
Along with the people on the site, staff, as well, are important. If they interact with their members, and participate, I'm generally down with them.
I will only ever look at a site if the topic interests me. If it doesn’t then I’m going to find it very boring so why should I look, unless I am giving it a rate?
When I do go on a site the first thing that hits me is the skin and the graphics. This is mainly because it will be the first thing you see if you glance at the site. If the skin and graphics are bad then it is unlikely that I will join but I have before joined sites that looked appalling. In these cases I sometimes make suggestions and lend a hand if I can.
I then look at the rules and the plot of the site. If they are too complicated or tedious then I won’t join. But if they are simple and interesting then it is likely that I would.
I generally don’t look at the activity or what the other people are like and because of this I have joined sites that have not been active for months. In the future I am going to look at the activity but whether it’s low activity or high I don’t really mind.
Spam bots are definitely off putting. If there are too many of these I will not join a site.