AVA Forum Feedback
I think your efforts launching the new AVA forums are well intentioned, I wish you the best of luck and will do what I can to help.
But, based on my thirty plus years of experience with on-line communities, I think that there is not yet enough organic critical mass on-line in the AVA to support phpBB forums.
Over the past five years the AVAMembers@yahoogroups.com list has averaged less then 15 posts a month. This means that, even if all the AVAMembers@yahoogroups.com traffic was on the AVA forums instead, on most days members who bother to check the forums will find that there are no new messages and they will feel that they wasted their time checking. Other AVA Yahoo lists get even less traffic.
IMHO, mailing lists really are the best solution for communities, like the AVA, that tend to have less then one posting a day. The AVA might do better with some other forum package that has better e-mail integration and support for RSS [or similar] subscriptions, much like Yahoo Groups does. The down side to running a mailing is that many ISPs are blocking independent mailing to prevent spam and charging thousands of dollars to unblock them. Thus service providers like Yahoo Groups, MSN and Google are the current best options for low traffic groups.
Another way to kick start the forums, is to make sure there is something new and relevant posted at least once a day. For content to entice people into the forums, you might want to dig through the message archives on the yahoo lists [here & here] and post some summaries on various topics to the forum, then announce your posting on the various yahoo mailing lists.
When you mail your announcements about the forums, be sure to include a direct link to your forum post. To get from your e-mail to the AVARegionIII list to your post in the AVA forums I had to:
- type the URL of the AVA Members site [AmericanVaulting.org/members] from memory;
- if I hadn't already been logged in I would have had to also type my username and password;
- then click on the "Forums" button on the side bar (or the featured item button);
- then refer back to your message and click on the "General Information" subject link,
- then click on the "ARMBANDS and Vaulter numbers" subject link.
Other content ideas to kick start the forum might include e-mail interviews with AVA notables, like WEG participants, Judges, respected horse trainers, "A" Team coaches, etc.
I hope this is at least a little helpful.
BTW -- I've been kicking around the idea of starting a monthly vaulting podcast with some of the content ideas that I'm giving you above. I've even got the "VaultingCast.com" domain name registered. At this point I'm looking for a co-host that's willing to commit to an hour a month of prep time and an hour a month on the phone recording.
Region III, Mover & Shaker
Wanted: Star Map
If you have access to the tools to make such a map and can produce a 11"x17" or bigger plot for under $20 I'd be very interested in getting a copy.
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