If you have been following my blog you know that a couple of weeks ago Patrick O’Keefe contacted me via Twitter to see if I would be interested in reviewing his book; Managing Online Forums, I said of course without even hesitating. I used to listen to Patrick’s podcast that he used to do a couple years ago. It was a shame when he stopped. Well I finally finished reading it from cover to cover and ready to give it my full review.
So onto my review:
Whether you are a seasoned forum owner, just starting out or thinking about staring a forum this book is for you. It is an easy guide from choosing a topic along with a domain name and to setting up a forum without getting to technical and moves on to how to manage and deal with difficult members as well as choosing and managing your staff and much more.
The chapters are well thought out and planned so whether you’re either thinking about or just starting a forum you will be able to read along as you’re starting the process. One thing that I did find myself doing was taking notes, not just for this review, but for my personal use.
Patrick uses real life experiences that he has dealt with and gives plenty of examples from developing your forum guidelines, to examples of dealing with those difficult members and how you should manage your staff. These real life examples include e-mails that he uses when there has been a forum violation or dealing with an absent staff member. All are there for you do read and implement them on your own forum.
One of the curious things that he states in the book is that he does not have a feedback/suggestion forum for his members and he gives a reason that he/administrator has the final say and you shouldn’t let your members decide what should be implemented into your forum. The other thing is that most problems could only be fixed by him/administrator so now he just asks that people contact him directly and he can deal with the suggestion or feedback first hand. I kind of like this idea because as I have seen on other forums, including mine, once a member comes up with a suggest on what to add or implement everyone starts commenting and then your almost left in the position to have to implement the suggestion.
I could go on and on about this book, but I am telling right now this is a must read and I will be pulling off my shelf from time to time.
* The above is my own personal opinion and I did not receive any compensation other than the book itself.