SEO Chat is quite possibly the most overly commercialized forum I have ever seen. They get their content free, and I think most of the moderators worked free too. Recently they once again made changes without informing the moderators, and this time they pissed Rand off pretty good.
The irony of it is that they said they were fixing up the site for SEO reasons and did not ask any of the SEO moderators about the changes beforehand. Pretty stupid, IMHO.
Surely there is a great deal of noise they are trying to contend with, but after a system becomes noisy you can't change it without breaking it.
Channels can have a bunch of noise and still do well, but if some of the things that add some of the noise draw people toward your network then you are going to lose big when you remove them, especially if you do it in a disrespectful manner.
You only need about a half dozen to dozen members to make a good community, and if you lose them then you are a bit SOL.
As recently stated by a friend I met at Pubcon, creating a hierarchical framework can work to help moderators think that you are helping them by letting them be a moderator, but there still needs to be some level of respect.
I see Digital Point forums doing well long term because
- being uber technical and monetizing page views Shawn will have no problem dealing with the massive server load
- it is built around openness with minimal editing
- Shawn created a bunch of free useful tools that are easy for anyone to use
Going forward I think most successful communities will be more about setting up a functional social framework and letting the best framework spread rather than advertising top down systems which do not respect their users.
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