Author Archives: Cosmic

Creating a Staff Member Experience

In order to motivate staff, a Forum Administrator must craft their staff members’ experience to appeal to what staff members want and expect. Deep down, any staff member who is not being paid for their work is instead given a position of authority over the community, which itself can be a form of payment. Every person wants to have authority, and to be an important member of a community. This is especially true for Forum Administrators and Moderators. There are a number of things which a Forum Administrator can do to appeal to this built-in sense of ambition which every person has within them. Continue reading

Forum Promotion 3.1 Upgrade Complete

Hey all!

The Forum Promotion 3.1 upgrade is now nearly finished! As you can see, we now have a new theme. Several other changes have also been made around the forums. Here is the change log.

We are still fixing a number of things, so please bear with us while we resolve the remaining problems.

If you find any issues, please post them on this thread.

Thanks, and we hope you enjoy the new FP!

Cosmic

Interview with Web Designer Ramona Iftode

The following article was originally posted on The Infinity Program. After the forum closed down, the administrator, Medora, a long-time member for Forum Promotion, graciously submitted this article to the blog. Below is the full text of the article. Thank you, and we hope you enjoy!

– Cosmic / Sinon. Editorial Team Leader. Forum Promotion.


 

Ramona Iftode is a web designer. In 2002, she created Dojo.ro, a Karate website in Romanian and the first website she designed. Miss Iftode started designing Continue reading

Forum Economics 102: Inflation and Deflation in FP$

Roughly speaking, inflation and deflation happen when the amount of a currency increases and decreases. So, for example, if the United States Federal Reserve prints a billion dollars, then the US Dollar is inflated by that amount. If a billion dollars are destroyed, then the US Dollar is deflated by that amount. Inflation and Deflation are concepts which are not limited to real currencies, however. Virtual currencies such as FP$ are also subject to inflation and deflation. This article discusses how the FP economy changes over time. You can also use the concepts in this article to evaluate another virtual currency, such as the point system used by your own forum.


Inflation – How is FP$ Created?

At the beginning of the day, there was no FP$ in the economy. When the points system was originally installed, the total quantity of FP$ was 0. However, the supply of FP$ began to quickly inflate, as people earned points by posting around the forum.

There are several ways to earn FP$. Below is a rough list.

  • Posting a Reply: 2 FP$
  • Posting a Topic: 4 FP$
  • Posting a Reply in Community Reviews: 15 FP$
  • Submitting  a Blog Article [Rejected]: 50 FP$
  • Submitting a Blog Article [Good Rating]: 300 FP$
  • Submitting a Blog Article [Excellent Rating]: 400 FP$

These are all ways in which the FP economy is inflated. Whenever a member does one of these things, FP$ appears out of thin air and lands in that user’s FP$ bank. It is equivalent to the Federal Reserve printing dollar bills. What does NOT inflate the FP economy are exchanges between members. When a member donates 100 FP$ to you for completing a service in the marketplace, 100 FP$ is being removed from their account, and then added to your account. No inflation or deflation is taking place.

There are also several ways in which staff members earn FP$. Whenever a user requests a review, they are deducted either 100 FP$ or 300 FP$. The reviewer is paid exactly that amount, which means that there is no inflation or deflation to the FP economy. However, the package team has many different packages which they offer with vastly varying prices. Depending on what package is being requested, the amount which package team members are paid results in either inflation or deflation. Perhaps the one greatest source of inflation for staff members are submitted blog articles. Every time an editorial team member submits a blog article, he or she is paid the same rate as a regular user, which means that 400 FP$ is added to the economy.


Deflation – How is FP$ Destroyed?

Every dollar bill which is printed by the United States Federal Reserve has a certain lifespan. Eventually, after that dollar bill has been passed from hand to hand enough times, it will deteriorate and become useless. Also, dollar bills are regularly lost, thrown away, destroyed in fires, and so on. Every year, a consistently predictable number of US dollars leaves the economy, and US dollars are printed by the Federal Reserve to compensate.

FP$ is no different. There are several ways in which FP$ can leave the economy. From a technical standpoint, this happens when users request services which are deflationary. These services include a few services offered by the Editorial Team, such as a stickied topic or Featured tag, and also all services which are offered by the Administrative Team. In a way, the primary purpose of the admin services are to control the quantity of FP$ which is in the economy.

The ways in which FP$ can exit the economy are as follows.

  1. Text Advertisements: 80 FP$
  2. Signature Advertisements: 50-100 FP$
  3. Featured Site: 400 FP$
  4. Social Advertising: 200 FP$
  5. Auctions: All auction proceeds are deflated from the FP economy

There is another way, also, in which FP$ is removed from the economy. Whenever a user goes inactive, that user’s FP$ supply has effectively left the economy. It’s as if someone locked away a fortune in a bank vault, and never bothered to re-visit it. If that user returns, their FP$ can be re-entered into the economy if they begin to spend it in the marketplace. But otherwise, it will not have much of an effect on the value of FP$.


How Do Inflation and Deflation Effect the Value of FP$?

In the previous article in this series, we defined the value of FP$ as 1 FP = $0.01 USD. That value, though, is one that is subject to fluctuation.

If people began requesting a different rate for posts in the marketplace, in either FP$ or USD, the value of FP$ would either decrease or increase. Whether people change the rates they request depends on how much FP$ they need, and how much FP$ people have, and are willing to pay. If the supply of FP$ increases, then buyers will be willing to pay more for posts made on their forum, or similar services. Sellers will recognize this fact, and begin to charge more. If the amount of FP$ which buyers have decreases, then sellers will be forced to charge less, and therefore the value of FP$ will increase, because you will be able to buy more with it.


Conclusion

This article discussed how Inflation and Deflation effect a forum’s economy. A future article in this series will discuss the different ways in which a forum administrator can control inflation and deflation to set the value of their currency. In addition, a future article will discuss how a forum currency can have an official value, by allowed people to exchange the currency for a real product.

Forum Economics 101: How Valuable is FP$?

JoshuaBux

Many forums, particularly promotion forums, have a virtual currency system which allows you to exchange “points” earned by posting for services, either from the forum staff or from other members. Most of you will already know this, and Forum Promotion is one of those forums which has a particularly interesting virtual currency. FP$ can be exchanges for several types of services, including posts, reviews, and advertisements. These types of services can also be bought for real money, which implies that it is possible to compare the value of FP$ against the value of real money, by looking at how much of each currency it costs to buy a particular service.

How Valuable is FP$?

The question which this article is asking is: “How valuble is FP$?” The type of answer which I am looking for is not “very valuable,” or “not very valuable.” Instead, I am looking for a specific number of US dollars which can be used for the purpose of assessing value. It states in the Forum Promotion guidelines that FP$ cannot be exchanged directly for real cash. However, if you are assessing whether or not to purchase something like a post using real cash or FP$, or if you are assessing whether or not someone is selling an advertisement at a reasonable cost in FP$, it is important to know how much real money that advertisement or post is being sold for, when you take into account the value of FP$.

So, how do we figure out how valuable FP$ is?

When economists deterine the value of the US Dollar against the value of the Euro, they monitor supply and demand. That means that every time I have a euro and want to exchange it for dollars, the value of the US dollar goes up. However, FP$ is not allowed to be exchanged for US dollars directly. But, you can do this indirectly, by exchanging FP$ for something which you could have, alternatively, exchanged for using US dollars. So, to figure out how much FP$ is worth, what I will do is figure out the cost of a post on a forum in FP$ and the cost in US Dollars, and them compare the two.

A single post on a forum, bought from the FP marketplace, is worth about $0.10. That means that if you want someone to make ten posts on your forum, you have to pay them approximately $1. If you want them to make 100 posts on your forum, the going price is about $10. This rate will occasionally change, and better deals are offered, but this is a very common rate which can be found from a number of topics in the board. Here are a few examples of current exchanges in US dollars which use the rate of $0.10 per post. Example #1, Example #2, Example #3.

Now that we have established the value of a post in USD, what is the value of a post in FP$? The going rate for a post in the FP exchange boards is currently 10 FP$ per post. That means that for 100 FP$, you can get someone to post 10 posts on your forum. For 1,000 FP$, you can get someone to post 100 posts on your forum. Here are a few examples. Example #1, Example #2,

These examples indicate that $0.10 and 10 FP$ have the same value. That means that the value of USD and FP$ is governed by the following very basic mathematical equation.

$0.10 = 10 FP$

To make this equation simpler to use, I will use a very simple algebraic rule: I will divide both sides by 10. That means that the equation is still valid, just expressed in a slightly different way.

$0.01 = 1 FP$

That means that every single FP$ is worth one cent in USD. Now that we have established this relationship, it is very easy to figure out the value of a number of other things. Here is a table. Note that the current exchange rate for USD to EUR is $1 =€0.91

United States Dollars (USD)

1 FP$ = $0.01
10 FP$ = $0.10
100 FP$ = $1
1,000 FP$ = $10
10,000 FP$ = $100

Euros

1 FP$ = €0.01
10 FP$ = €0.09
100 FP$ = €0.91
1,000 FP$ = €9.07
10,000 FP$ = €90.77

Using the above tables, you can approximate the value of your own FP$ supply in USD. You can also figure out the exact amount by simply using a calculator to multiply your current FP$ supply by 0.01. At the moment, I have 4,816.96 FP$. In USD, that is worth approximately $48.17.

Conclusion

FP$ is a currency which has a tangible value, even though it cannot be converted directly into a real-world currency. In this article we established a baseline for comparing the value of FP$ and USD. In future articles in the Forum Economics series, I will be discussing how the ideas of inflation and Deflation effect forums, how much other things are worth in FP$, and how to assess the value of your own forum’s virtual currency.

Forum Promotion March Madness

It’s March Time, Baby!

This month, Forum Promotion is going to have a come back. We have four events lined up which will knock your socks off. Between all of them, we will be giving away $125, over 10,000 FP$, a ton of free service passes, and more! We hope that these events will help spark the FP community, just in time for spring break and of course, March Madness!


1. 2015 Site Battle Madness – Starting Today!
More Information: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=128721

It’s that time of the year again! Similarly to the NCAA’s March Madness, we will also be hosting our second annual tournament here on FP. We’re offering some great prizes, including $95, a plethora of free services, FP$, and other goodies! Users will also receive FP$ for voting! Click the topic above to read up on the details and find out how to submit your website. Signups are open until March 17, and the tournament will commence shortly thereafter and conclude in mid-April.


2. 2015 Article Competition – Starting Today!
More Information: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=128745

Interested in showing off your knowledge of how to manage a forum? The 2015 article competition will allow you to submit your sage advice to the FP blog, with the highest quality submission receiving a $10 prize, along with a total of 5,000 FP$. Members will also receive quality awards for second place, or even just sending in an entry. If you’re interested. please check out the global announcement linked to below.


3. Forum Promotion Community Survey – Starting Today!
More Information: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=128752

For the first time ever, we’re conducting a community-wide survey. We would like to know your views on the state of Forum Promotion, and how we can improve the site. We have an external survey set up and will accept comments through PM. All it takes is five minutes of your time, and you’ll be rewarded with125 FP$, and a chance to win $10 and several free services. We look forward to hearing from you!


4. A Very Special Announcement – The End of the Month

Come the end of the month, we’ll have a special announcement that will shake the community as we know it! We’ll be monitoring participation in these events this month and decide how much information we will release come March 31st! Feel free to speculate, but you won’t get any more hints from us!


Talk about a lot to do! We hope to see everyone get involved! If you have any comments, feel free to post them. We are very eager to hear your thoughts and ideas, both on these new events, and on how to improve FP in the future. Thank you very much for helping to keep Forum Promotion around, and we very much look forward to this month’s excitement! We hope you have as much fun as we do!

The FP Staff Team

Forum Promotion Meticulous Reviews

Today, after much discussion, the Editorial Team has decided to offer a new type of review in the Forum Promotion Community Reviews section. This type of review is called a Meticulous Review, and it represents the very highest quality review which we can offer.

Here are the details!


The Meticulous Review – What you Get

Whenever you request a meticulous review, you will receive the following.

  • A close examination of your website by no less than two reviewers.
  • A thorough, nine-category review by each reviewer.
  • Careful critique of your forum both by reviewers, who will each create an account on your forum, and use it for a total of at least one week before completing the review.
  • The reviewers will make posts on your forum to get a feel for the community.
  • A written summary and final score by the Editorial Team Leader.

How Do I Request?

To request a meticulous review, simply post a topic in Community Reviews and select “Meticulous” as the review type. The price for a Meticulous Review is 2,500 FP$. Why so expensive? Because this type of review is incredibly detailed and thorough, and perhaps the best way to get feedback on your community.

The requirements are…

  • You may only request a Meticulous review for a forum.
  • If requesting for a forum, it must have 1,000 posts or more.
  • You must have 2,500 FP$ on hand.

If our current review team is not familiar enough with your genre to properly provide a meticulous review, we reserve the right to deny your request and instead offer an Advanced Review.

Pros and Cons of SSL on a Forum

SSL is a technology which secures communications between your users and your website. In the case of a forum, it allows you and your members to log in without having to worry about whether your password is entirely safe or not. You can tell whether a website has SSL by checking for the green lock beside the address bar when visiting the website. However, there are also negatives to using SSL. This article discusses both the positive, and the negatives, of using this technology on your forum.


The Positives: Why to Use SSL on your Forum

There are several reasons why SSL is a good idea for your forum. Here are the reasons why.

  • Security: Using SSL, you can be certain that your members’ passwords are entirely secure. That means secure, not only from a hacker, but also from government agencies, and anyone running a program similar to FireSheep on the same wifi network as you or your users.
  • Confidence: When using SSL, web browsers will display a green padlock beside your website’s link in the address bar. This can make your website look more official and more safe. Particularly for any website which takes credit card information, this is entirely essential.
  • Search Engines: SSL is known to positively impact a website’s SEO. For example, Google has a publicly known policy in which websites which have SSL are given preference in search results to websites which do not have SSL. For this reason, a website which seeks to have good SEO should consider using SSL.

These benefits can be very important for a forum. However, there are also negatives which are very important to take into account.


The Negatives: Why to Not Use SSL on a Forum

There are several negatives to using SSL on your forum. Below is a list of the negatives which I am aware of.

  • Price: To use SSL on your website, you must have an SSL certificate. These are, unfortunately, not free. Prices generally hover around $90 per year. However, if you purchase from the right vendor, you can buy an SSL certificate for as little as $15 per year, or $25 for two years. I recommend buying an SSL certificate from HawkHost.
  • Slowness: An SSL connection takes time to initialize. This can be mitigated by generating an SSL key which is 2048 bits in length, instead of the 4096 alternative. However, connections to your site will still be slower with SSL than without.
  • Maintenance: An SSL certificate must be renewed every year (or a bit less often if you purchase in advance). It is similar to a domain name in this regard, but with one key difference. When your certificate expires, you must replace it with a new certificate. You cannot directly renew your old certificate. This is not very difficult using cPanel, but if you forget to do this, then your website will experience downtime while you figure out what to do.
  • Downtime: If you forget to renew your certificate, your website will experience downtime.
  • Advertising: When you sell advertising on your website and use SSL, people who purchase your ads will not be able to see in Google Analytics that traffic is being referred to their site from your site. This can make advertisers decide not to use your forum, because they cannot view the statistics.

Conclusion

SSL is a valuable feature for a forum, but every forum does not need SSL. If you decide to switch to it, you should evaluate carefully whether you really need SSL on your forum, or whether it will just add additional headaches for you, your members, and your advertisers.

Hiring Staff: One Thing to Look For

When hiring staff, it can sometimes be very difficult to choose the perfect candidate. There are many different qualities to examine, all of which have different values and levels of importance. However, there is one quality which is very important, and sometimes overlooked. There are many different words to describe this quality. One would be maturity. Another, which is the word that I will be using for the purposes of this article, is levelheadedness. This attribute, in my opinion, outweighs not only experience and age, but also the applicant’s level of skill in the job he or she is being hired for. Why do I believe this? Read on to find out.


What I mean by “Levelheaded,” and Identifying People who Are

Levelheadedness means intelligence. Not technical no-how, or academic knowledge, but being able to compose thoughts in an intelligent way, contribute usefully to discussions, and to rise above controversy and drama. Levelheadedness goes hand-in-hand with maturity, which should not be confused with age. Just because someone is 35 years old, does not mean that they are mature or levelheaded. The only way to identify someone who has this quality is by reading their posts. Not just their application, although that is also useful, but their posts. If possible, get a chance to know the applicant.


Benefit of Levelheadedness #1: Training

Experience is valuable in a potential staff candidate. However, if someone has plenty of experience, but does not have the right attitude, then that person will be a trouble to deal with. For example, that person could have personality issues, or just be generally difficult to work with. However, if you find a person who demonstrates that they are levelheaded, then even if they do not know how to do the job that they are being hired for, then they can be trained to do that job. Playing staff rolls on a forum does not require a great deal of technical knowledge, except perhaps being a developer. Moderation is a skill, but a skill that can be trained. So is administration, and reviewing, and posting. Almost every skill which can be imagined for a forum staff member is something that can be trained. If you can find someone who is willing to be trained, and has the attitude to conduct himself well after being trained, then that is the right candidate.


Benefits of Levelheadedness #2: No Drama

Drama can cause damage to a forum, particularly when exhibited by staff members who do not know any better, because they are not levelheaded. A levelheaded staff member knows to rise above drama and, whenever possible, not to get buried too deeply into it. Also, a levelheaded staff member is intelligent enough to, in general, not do things which will inadvertently cause drama.


Benefits of Levelheadedness #3: Professionalism

A professional staff member communicates in a way that people can understand, and does not say things which members interpret as unintelligent or misinformed. If a forum hires a staff member who is distinctively not levelheaded, then that staff member may cause embarrassment to the forum and its staff team. Not only can he or she waste the staff team’s time, but also, can make the staff team look worse in the eyes of members, and do things which staff members do not endorse or approve of inadvertently. Professionalism is very important in a staff member. Staff who exhibit levelheadedness will also be professional.


Conclusion

Levelheadedness is the most important quality for any staff member to have. Not because that quality, in itself, is vital, but because it leads to many other benefits, including the ability to be trained to properly fill his or her role. When looking for staff, always ask yourself: is this person levelheaded. If the answer is no, then do not hire that person unless you do not have any other options.