Tag Archives: Twisted Fairytale

Choosing Your Staff

Choosing staff is one of the easiest things to mess up on when you are administering or building your forum. You could be making your forum for the first time, or be an experienced webmaster and still make a mistake on hiring staff. In this article, I am going to teach you how to choose staff wisely, carefully, and correctly. Continue reading

Most Recent Changes on Forum Promotion

I am both happy and sad to announce the following changes that has taken place on Forum Promotion.

New Administrator

Other than our new owner, which was announced a couple weeks ago, our Newest Administrator is Twisted Fairytale. He is taking over for Nerdie, who has left us, due to his selling FP to Master A, and is now ready to continue to other things in his life.

Twisted Fairytale was the Team Leader over the Editorial Team, which had changes regarding it’s goal not too long ago, and has done a fantastic job as such. And is now ready to take up a new job that has now been given him.

Administrators That had Left

Nerdie has now left us as an Administrator. This is always be a sad day, when the forum owner has to move on from the forum, but we will wish him success in the future! He will always have a place in the memory of those who enjoyed their time while he was the owner of Forum Promotion.

Using Custom Forum Icons

Custom icons for each individual section of your forum can truly make a difference by adding uniqueness, brand identity, and character. A basic theme can be made to appeal strongly to a particular niche by using flavorful icons related to it. For example, if a forum dedicated to Naruto has an icon of a different character for different sections of the board, then that forum can look more colorful. These icons can prove that the administrator has put a lot of effort into putting their forum together.

Here is an example.

FEForumIcons

As you can see the different icons allow the user to more easily find what they are looking for, and overall, make the design much more colorful.

This blog post is a guide which describes how to add these icons.

Step #1: Get Ready

Before you can choose good icons for your forum, you have to figure out a number of things.

1. What niche is your forum in? — This is important because the icons which make sense for a business forum are different than the icons which make sense for an anime forum. A business forum needs to be neat, tidy, and professional. An anime forum needs to be exaggerated, over the top, and flashy. A gaming forum needs to be hard core and dedicated. These attributes all describe how the design should appear, and custom icons are part of the design.

2. What design are you using? — Forum icons must be chosen in conjunction with a forum theme. If your theme uses two colors, blue and green for example, then the icons you choose will need to be one of those colors, or a color which goes good with those two. An entire blog post could be written on how to choose colors that go good together, but for the purpose of this post, you will need to simply pay attention to which colors you believe go best together.

Step #2: Find Your Icons

When selecting your icons, it is crucial that each icon look visually similar to every other icon. They need to be the same style, the same shape, and the same colors. If one icon is flat, then the other icons need to be flat. If one is glossy, then the others should be glossy. A good way to accomplish this is to choose a single icon which you really like, and then use other icons from the same icon set, or by the same author. If you find an icon which was the only icon made by that author, then choose another icon.

There are a number of good websites where you can find icons for your forum. This article will discuss two. The first is called IconArchive. It is a free website which allows you to filter by a number of factors, including color, license, and name.

IconArchive

To start, type something in to the search bar. Since all forums have announcements section, that is a good place to start.

IconArchive1

As you can see above, there are only a few results. The first one look good, though, so click on it to see a full description.

IconArchive2

As you can see, the license is freeware, which means that you can use this icon with free restrictions. To cover your legal bases, it is a very good idea to leave a backlink to the author’s website, however.

You can download the icon by clicking on one of the green buttons, as seen in the screenshot, but if you scroll down, you will notice that there are more icons in this icon set.

IconArchive3

To be more precise, there are a hundred icons. The ones you see above could be used as custom forum icons for several different sections in a forum. They can all be downloaded to your computer, and then uploaded to your website. Step #2 describes how to do this using the MyBB forum software.

In addition to IconArchive, another good site to use is called IconFinder. It contains a good selection of premium icons as well as free ones. Below are links to both IconArchive and IconFinder.

http://www.iconarchive.com/

https://www.iconfinder.com/

Step #3: How to Upload Custom Forum Icons

Installing custom forum icons can be done in all major forum systems. Below are links to tutorials on how to do this.

MyBB — http://community.mybb.com/thread-92128.html

phpBB — https://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=72&t=1945255

SMF — http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=3604

vBulletin — http://www.vbulletin.com/forum/forum/vbulletin-legacy-versions-products/legacy-vbulletin-versions/vbulletin-3-7-questions-problems-and-troubleshooting/258856-custom-icons-per-forum-where

IPB — http://community.invisionpower.com/files/file/2457-hq-forum-icons/

Conclusion

Using custom forum icons, you can make your forum more colorful and unique. Using websites such as IconArchive, this process is completely free. While the method varies between different brands of forum software, each major software vendor supports custom forum icons either natively, or through a third party modification.

Making your Theme Shine Part 2: Customizing your Forum

In the previous installment of this series, you learned how to customize your forum’s header. Using the MyBB default theme, we made a significant change which made the website look less like a default MyBB site, and more like a unique website which has had some serious effort put into it. This tutorial expands on the work from the previous tutorial, describing how to edit the main body of your forum, and how to really make it shine. Continue reading

Making your Theme Shine Part 1: Customizing the Header

Most people do not have the time or funds to have a custom theme designed for their forum. Working with a designer is a long and expensive process, filled with revisions, errors, and a lot of waiting. A theme has to be designed from scratch, coded, and finally debugged to make sure that everything works. This process is important for large websites which can afford it, but for small ones which are just starting out, there is an easier way which can be just as effective. Continue reading

Postloop Review

Postloop

Review written by Joshua Farrell

For those who generally need a little extra kick in their overall forum post and topic totals, one would tend to try to utilize post exchanges of any sort that they can go after. So what would this article be on? A posting exchange service that is one of the few that actually launched plenty of forums into activity. The service? Postloop.

What is Postloop?

Postloop is a website where you can actually do a number of things. First, you can exchange posts or comments with fellow forum and blog administrators. Second, you can earn money from posting on forums or blogs. Third, you can pay people to post on your forum or blog. That is the basics of Postloop.

Postloop was established in 2010.

So, now on to the review.

First Impressions

When I load Postloop, I notice a number of things as it loads. First, I see that they have a relatively uncluttered and “quick to inform you” type of menu. It has a home link, a “How it Works” link that leads you to the page that describes a little more of what the website is about, a register link, links for the type of websites that you can post on, which are forums and blogs, a link to their support board, and a login link.

Below, in the main area of their home page, you see two things, a description of what you can do if you are there to earn money, and a video. The video is informative, and it covers everything that one can do. The description on the other hand, only covers those who want to earn money, and you don’t find anything about exchanging posts, or anything for forum or blog owners. This can be improved if the owner wants less confusion when someone lands on the page, considering that first impressions are everything, and the site is supposed to be catering to everyone, not just those who want to earn from posting. Infact, how many people will watch an introductory video, if they are assuming that a website is about one thing, when it shows that it is dedicated around something else?

Under the above mentioned section, you then find under the video, the current posts exchanged through Postloop, which at the moment, is at an amazing 2,785,000 posts exchanged or earned! That is allot that had been posted! And that is allot of posts exchanged on generally any site in general! BUT, one would have expected more, even though they had only been running for 4 years so far. Still, that is pretty amazing to see that forum and blog owners were able to get that many posted for them, in the course of the site’s current age.

Now at the bottom, but not in the footer, you will find three boxed off areas. The first is for forum and blog owners, telling them what they can do at the website to get activity. That is great, but this could have been mentioned in the introductory area above this, next to the video! The second box shows a few reviews that were given of the site, but is mislabeled for what it is about. The third box shows news of the website, but doesn’t make mention of the 2.5 million posts that was earned through them.

Inside Pages

The How It Works page, tells you a little bit more on what can be done there, but entirely misses the third point of the site, which is the pure exchange aspect of it, which is I post on your site, you post on mine part of it.

At the bottom of that page, you will find links to more parts of the website, like a link to the FAQ.

Generally speaking, the menu system for everything isn’t exactly user friendly. I can see why people find it slightly difficult to work with, to figure out answers to stuff, without posting on their support board.

Their support board appears to be semi active, but could be more active, based on the number of users that are just registered on the support board.  It also appears as if the staff are not doing as much replying to various support related topics. I have been observing topics made, and not many of the questions have been answered by staff for some time. So this may be a worry, if the item is not deemed urgent by them.

Logged In Pages

For the most part, everything that is in the “My Dashboard” area is pretty good on what needs to be shown. It shows your average point per post, your overall rating, and some other important information.

When you go through the dashboard, it has a area that lists all of the forums or blogs that you have submitted to get posts on. Then you have the subscriptions page, which shows you which forums you have subscribed to, and the posts you did, along with the points. Next you have the messages page, where it shows you the conversations you had with fellow Postloop users. Then you have the ratings selections, which you can see the ratings you received, or had given out to others.

The deposits and withdrawals page allows you to either add points to your account via real money (if you are paying for posts), and it also allows you to withdraw points into real money too, via Paypal.

The referrals page, allows you to see all the users you had referred, and how much points you earned from them. For future note, they currently give you a 20% rate on the points your referrals earn or buy. They also have promotional graphics and such that has your referral link in it.

All of the stuff relating to this, is nicely organized; which I like to see. 🙂

Subscribing to Forums/Websites

The one thing I dislike about the forum and blog listing pages, is the fact that the list that is provided, is a long list. They don’t start the second page, till 100 forums/blogs are listed! Which makes the page seem even longer, due to the amount of information that is provided on the page! I believe these pages should be worked on just a little, to make the list seem shorter, yet still have the same number of listings on it.

Final Comments

Though I like the concept of the site, some of the things on it needs to either be changed, or more clear.  I think it is a great idea to allow people to use a service that basically lets you get members and posts, without spending a lot of time promoting! I also think it is a great idea for those who also want to earn money, by spending a little bit of time each day to post!

Though the biggest concern I had with the whole thing, is how the service appears from the beginning, and how some of the site is not user friendly.

I think that the website has even more potential, considering how few and far in-between websites like these are found on the internet! It is just, that if the owner wants to be able to provide a service that can provide a even better job at providing an exchange medium, he needs to make some changes that will let people find things much easier!

And that wraps up my review! I hope you enjoyed reading it!


Joshua Farrell is an Administrator of Forum Promotion, and a member of the Editorial Team that runs this blog. He can be reached on the forum of this website, via PM if you would like to suggest things to be added to the blog, or if you have any questions or comments in general in relation to the blog itself. He can also be reached by commenting on the articles he writes. Feel free to comment on any of his, or anyone elses’ articles.

Building Content Using Post Exchanges

When a forum is first created, it has only a single post; usually a boilerplate message from the software, posted by a user named “phpBB” saying something to the effect of “Welcome to your new website! Do log into the admin panel, do such and such.” As the owner of a new forum, it is your job to fill up all of that empty space, so that people will want to join your website. There are several ways to build content on a forum, but this post will focus on using post exchanges, because it is perhaps the most effective method.

First of all, what is a post exchange? Simply put, a post exchange is an agreement between two forum administrators, where both people agree to post a certain amount of messages in each others’ forum. Admin #1 (that’s you) will post 15 messages on Admin #2’s forum, and in exchange, Admin #2 will post 15 messages on Admin #1’s forum (again, that’s you).

The best way to start a post exchange is to go to the post exchange section of ForumPromotion.net, which can be found here. If you want, you can start your own thread, but often that is not necessary. Simply scroll down the list of threads until you find a forum which meets your fancy. For example, if you are interested in webmaster forums, find a post exchange offered by a webmaster forum’s administrator. Just make sure that, at the very least, you receive one post on your forum for every one post you make on someone else’s. Otherwise, the exchange is not fair from your point of view.

Once you find the exchange thread you are interested in, ask the poster whether they want to do an exchange with your forum. Make sure to post a link. If they say yes, then create an account on their forum and start making the posts. If you want, you can go ahead and post all of the messages you agreed to post as part of the exchange. Or you can make the posts as the other person makes them. This is your choice, so long as you fulfill your end of the promise.

That’s all there is to it, really. Keep doing post exchanges, over and over again, until your forum has a few thousand posts. Make sure to reply to the topics and posts which other people make, that way you receive even more new posts on your forum than you made on other peoples’ forums. Also make sure to post a lot of new topics on your forum so that people doing exchanges with you will have threads to reply to.

In summary, to build content on a new forum, you need to:

  1. Create a lot of topics in your empty forum so that people will have something to reply to.

  2. Go to the exchange section of FP and participate in post exchanges with other members until you have a good number of posts.

  3. Start promoting your forum via traditional methods (links, SEO, ad banners, etc.)

It may take a little while to build content on your forum. Months, definitely. If you’re busy, then maybe even a year, but if you follow this process, you will build content. With every post, your forum becomes better. Given time, this process will guarantee that your forum receives enough content to be marketable.

The Difficult Aspects of Moderation

As we all know, running a forum can be rewarding at times, but it can also be difficult and stressing. One way it can prove to be difficult is the moderation and administration side of things. Now of course, while administration tends to be tedious as far as technical aspects go, it is pretty much veiled to the community with the exception of the Staff. Whereas with the moderation side of the forum, this is where it can ultimately make or break a forum in so many ways. I’ll touch base on three different sections regarding the difficulty of moderation with an in-depth report on each issue.

 

We will start with setting up moderation on the forum. Life is not perfect, and the same can be said for the internet. One of the tasks that may prove to be daunting for an Admin is setting up rules and developing a moderation policy to be put in place for the community. Now you might be thinking that it might be a piece of cake and not to sweat it. While that can be said for some forum topics, the same can not be iterated for other serious topics. This first issue may be commonly found in heated forums such as political forums, religious forums, and other topics that tend to follow with arguments. So when working on the moderation policy and guidelines, one should always be keeping in mind how things will play out. Obviously you want your community to be welcoming to those who stumble upon it so they can root themselves in and become active, but you also do not want for it to become a playground for those to run around and do as they please with violations. While it might not be the most pressing issue covered in this article, it’s one that does merit some deep thought when in the early stages of your forum.

The second issue is consistency of moderation within the community. So I’ll give you an example: Billy Bob signs up to my forum and decides to insult one of the staff members. His post is reported and he receives a PM about the vulgarity rule. A few hours later, John Doe insults a new member inside a political topic on the forum. His post is reported, but the report is closed without any further action. John Doe is a former staff member with no previous moderation history on the forum. The issue with this is that the moderation was not consistent between the two reports. Even though John Doe was a previous staff member, his moderation history is the same as the new member, who got a PM for insulting someone else.

This brings me to my second point as I mentioned with consistency of moderation. Regardless of the member’s position or history on the forum, it should not warrant an override of your policy. Moreover, it eliminates all fairness to other members who were in the same situation in regards to moderation history. While it may be hard to not give a friend a grace pass or just to turn your head away to the violation because you’re worried about what will happen(we’ll cover this in the third section), it’s not only fair to your members, but it also shows your staff that you’re consistent in your decisions and policies. Even if the member was a former admin, they are still held to the same standards as a regular member, which does include following the rules and being subjected to the moderation policies set in place.

The third and final issue is member correspondence to moderation within the community. So let’s continue the scenario of John Doe not receiving a PM for insulting another member, while Billy Bob got one. Sally Sue saw the report on John and decided not to issue a PM. You might be wondering why he didn’t get a PM while the other member did. The reason he did not get a PM was because of his previous staff tenure. Sally did not want to cause any issues between her and John that would have occurred from John receiving the moderation PM from Sally. It has happened between on countless occasions to where rule violations have been passed off in fear of losing friends, damaging their reputation, etc. However, this can not impede the moderation of the forum. As a staff member, the first and foremost job is to essentially  serve the community and moderate it within the guidelines and policies, regardless of all personal views/opinions. So if it comes down to them issuing a PM or Warning to their friend, while it might not work out good on the personal side, it’s strictly business; and it is strictly business since moderation is your job that you applied/were invited to do for the community. Of course as I said, life isn’t perfect and some will not like your actions as a Moderator, but in the end, your actions will good intentions will only serve to better the community.

 

So with guys, that pretty much wraps up these three difficult aspects of Moderation. You may find more as time goes on, but I just decided to touch base on these three commonly found issues.

 

phpBB 3.1 Launch around the corner

After many months of work and beta releases, the phpBB Team has announced the launch of phpBB 3.1, formally known as Ascraeus, on October 28, 2014. While the gold release is revealed on 10/28, you can download the newest beta release which was released today here. For those wanting some statistics on the development of Ascraeus, phpBB has announced the following:

  • Over 1K bug fixes

  • 1.5K Improvements

  • 11K commits

In the Ascraeus release, you’ll find quite a few large improvements to phpBB on all sides. For the Administration side of the forum, modifications have been replaced with the new extensions system. With extensions, all manual code edits have been done away with as all extension installations are done within the Admin Control Panel. Additionally, all updates are applied automatically by installing the new package within the Admin Control Panel.

The Moderation side of phpBB has received quite a few improvements including Soft Delete, and improved Global Announcements. Soft Delete allows you to effectively delete(hide) posts within topics from non moderators. As far as the Global Announcements, the permission system has been improved which allows you to tie one into a specific forum. Finally, The Team page can be customised to have separate tables for each usergroup. For those who use an external modification for a contact us page, 3.1 includes a built in Contact Page to contact an Administrator.

Lastly, the community can expect an advanced notifications system which will tag members when their post is quoted. And one can not forget the staple theme prosilver which is included in the default phpBB release, which has been cleaned up to be delivered with a modern look on all avenues of viewing the forum.

If you’re wanting to see the full list on what has been added to Ascraeus, check out the Launch Page here.

 

 

Interview with Lucky: WebFerno

Greetings, Forum Promotion! It’s been awhile since I’ve brought you news and interviews, but I’m back now! To kick off my return, I’ve brought Lucky!, the owner of WebFerno to the interview chair. He caught my eye months ago with his “coming soon,” banners for WebFerno. If you’re not familiar with WebFerno, it’s a new webmaster based website (you read it right, not forum – website) that boasts some cool features you should definitely check out. Here is my sit-down with Lucky!:

Twisted: So how did you come up with the idea for WebFerno?

Lucky: I have been part of many promotional forums and webmaster forums, but I haven’t been on a website that was designed to have a place where they could network. I spent some time googling to see if there were some, and I didn’t find any, I set out to find a script to power Webferno.

Twisted: Did you end up settling on a script or writing your own? That is, if you can share your secrets, that is.

Lucky: After a lot of time looking, I found one that I really liked and offered features that would complement my idea of a webmaster community. On top of the base script, we have certain features that I have customized to fit Webferno.

Twisted: That’s definitely much easier than writing one by yourself! You said “we.” Do you have anyone else one your development team?

Lucky: I had some help by someone that I meant online. His name is Dan and we’ve done a lot of work together to bring Webferno to where it is now. He brings a lot of business knowledge to the table, so that’s helped a lot.

Twisted: It’s always great to have a partner, especially for a project as cool as WebFerno. If you can’t tell, it’s actually been one of my favorite new projects since I started to see “coming soon” banners around Forum Promotion. Do you feel like you and your team did a good job generating hype before launch?

Lucky: It’s a double edged sword. We had a slow launch and then we moved servers, which left us offline for a month. During this time, we had nothing to show for, other than a blank page. I have tried to spread the word, get advertising space, but it’s hard that we were offline for a month. However, I am looking forward to seeing people use WebFerno and watch it take off.

Twisted: I remember you mentioning something about that earlier when we spoke, I’m sorry to hear that; being offline for that long can definitely kill hype. I know that WebFerno has some awesome unique features. Why don’t you explain some of those for the readers?

Lucky: Well, first we have spaces. Spaces is where our users can make their own page for their blog, forum or group. Within that space, they have the chance post things on the page, post discussions and more. We have an article section that users can read webmaster related articles. We have forums were our users can discuss webmaster relayed topics with others. Our most unique feature is a combination of webmaster tools that only our members can use.

Twisted: The spaces and webmaster tools are the two that really catch my attention! When I was browsing WebFerno, I got the chance to look around the Spaces, but didn’t really get to see the tools because I wasn’t registered. Could you elaborate on some of the tools you offer?

Lucky: Our tools include useful items that webmasters would use. WHOIS lookup, domain lookup, and more. However, It’s nice because all of these tools are all in one place. It’s fast and slick. I don’t want to go too far into detail because it’s reserved for our community.

Twisted: Those tools sound really useful! I completely understanding keeping something for the community, it will give the readers a reason to go check you out! Do you have any future plans for WebFerno that you could share?

Lucky: Other than expanding on what we have now, not really. Of course, we leave it up to our community to offer suggestions on what they want to see. We will always be looking to be better!

Twisted: Well you’ve certainly gotten me interested in registering! Is this your first web project?

Lucky: No, I have built a lot of forums, but this is my first website based idea, not just a forum. However, I just like the Internet!

Twisted: I like how you’re breaking the mold a bit with WebFerno! If you could say one thing to get people to register, what would you say?

Lucky: One thing I could say is we’re unique and offer something that most webmaster sites cannot offer. Come experience a new idea with the rest of the community!

Twisted: Sounds perfect! Thank you for your time, Lucky, and I wish you the absolute best with WebFerno. You may see me around there soon!

Lucky: Thank you for the interview! It was nice answering your questions! Hope to not only see you around, but the rest of the community!

If this interview has interested you in WebFerno, go check it out at http://webferno.com/ and leave your feedback below in the comments. Thanks for reading, and happy foruming!