Creating Your Own Message Board/Forum
Think About it
Creating your very own Message Board (MB ) or forum is quite easy. Just do a Google of free Message Boards/Forum and make your choices.
Some give you a wide range of options, others just a few. It depends on
what you want.
If you want a place that you can virtually throw the doors open and anyone who
wants to enter may, that's one thing.
If you desire a private "invitation Only' kind of venue, that's available as well.
Why Create a Message Board?
Often you will be on a site and want to do more than leave comments or PM. You have a topic you wish to discuss and want a place to do it.
At work it would suit you to have a kind of 'board meeting' on a Message Board instead of emailing endless addresses and past responses choking the bandwidth then having to physically attend a meeting.
On a Message Board, it is a continuous conversation, and topics can be introduced, and responses channeled. Various categories can be created, all opinions obtained.
No one has to stop what they are doing to 'attend' the meeting. They can respond at any time. If there is something not on the 'agenda' they can open a new topic and place it there.
In social situations, one might want to keep members up to date in a club. One might have a particular interest and wish to find others with the same interest. One might wish to relay a set of experiences in a manner that opens it to public participation.
Many people, from kids to Octogeniarians create message boards.
After you've selected the host and done the 'housekeeping' you have
to make the decision of how people join.
When it's new very often the gates are open wide and anyone can wander in.
Sometimes you set it so that only Members can post, sometimes only Members
can read, meaning that you restrict access.
Sometimes you may start with open doors and over time move to restrictions.
A Word About Restrictions
There's a particular Message Board which has more restrictions than a Nuclear reactor. Not only are there moderators but every other member is a 'watchdog' who watches the Moderator.
What you can and can't post, how you can and can't post, is such a complex topic that the majority of posts are in the Thread of 'Rules'.
Where this topic may have 42 posts, and that one a whopping 249, the 'Rules' have 3432.
Many people join to actually see the rules, and crack up, because its the stupidest way of running a Message Board and should be honoured by Guinness.
Sensibly you don't need many rules.
People can post anything they want. You and your mods will delete it.
Remember, Freedom of Speech has two factors.
There's your right to say anything you want.
My right not to hear you.
It is like leaving stupid comments under an article where the author has the power of delete, it depends on one's level of stupidity how many times they post and their keystrokes go down the great cyber toilet before they stop.
Some people stop the first time they realise the power of delete, some can go on and on until their medication is changed.
Your next step, as soon as you've gotten a few people to join is to give two or three Moderator positions. This is vital. Firstly, the MB becomes 'theirs' so they have a stake in it. Secondly, they can prevent a lot of garbage from being posted by Trolls.
For that is the major danger of any kind of human interaction on the Internet.
Trolls, NutJobs and Others
When someone spews obscenities and personal attacks, it's kind of easy to hit the delete key. It is not so easy to do so when a user appears to have made an actual comment.
After all, this is an 'opinion' and there is the ever abused "Freedom of Speech".
The way to protect a Message Board from a Troll pretending to write a comment or express an opinion is to raise the banner of 'Relevance.'
The Power of Relevance
The best Moderator I know has been able to keep the Message Boards she is Hired...(yup it's a paying job in some quarters) to manage clean and neat, by inserting a sentence into the entrance blurb which mentions 'Relevance'.
She can then delete at leisure without anyone starting the 'Freedom of Speech' crap which 99.99% is the Slogan of a Troll.
Real people will rarely join an MB which is dedicated to what they aren't.
Why join a Vegan MB to extol the values of Burger King?
A normal person wouldn't do it.
A troll would.
A troll will seek out Fora which should never allow him to join in the first place.
If the Owners or Mod are stupid enough to allow him to join and post, then feel unable to delete his crap because of 'Freedom of Speech', kiss the MB goodbye.
However, one totally skirts that topic by Relevance.
Hence Carnivore's extolling of the Great Burger King is deleted because it is
irrelevant to the topic.
Relevance always trumps freedom of speech.