Which Type of Forum Admin Are You?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Taking care of an online community is no small task, especially on the long run. That's why you gotta be up to the challenge as a forum admin. While some us prefer to lurk in the shadow and let their forum evolve on its own, others are going to be part of the community, just like any other member.

It's pretty easy these days to start a community and make it somewhat active. But are you going to be able to keep up with it and make it happy and active for the years to come? It's likely that after the honeymoon is over, your overall behavior and presence as an admin will change. Perhaps it already has...

Which type of forum admin are you?

The Active Admin

Many admins are very active in their community. They post, discuss and take part in the day to day forum activity just like any member does. Such admins are usually very appreciated and close to the members, contributing a lot to the overall community atmosphere every good forum has. When required, the active admin is going to put on his moderator hat or his administrator hat from time to time, then becomes a regular member again. The active admin is a member first. This is the type of administrator every community should have.

The Man Behind The Curtain

That's the type admin who's only taking care of the technical stuff. Forum software updates, new features, just a little bit of moderation when it's really, really needed. He makes sure the board is running correctly, but doesn't care much about the community itself, although he might have back then. There might a thousand reasons as to why he's not involved in the community. Lack of interest? Lack of time? Who knows.

The Lone Poster

That one's a classic. You find a forum with quite a bit of content, but as you read through it, you notice that 90% of the posts are made by the same user: The admin! Newly launched forums will go through such a phase that might last a few weeks or a few months, but after a long time, a forum should be able to take off and have its members generate content on their own. I once heard this: "Make a forum and they will come!"... If you believe that, you'll end up being the lone poster admin.

The Self-Important Admin

Being an administrator is indeed a position of power one should use with care. I've seen forums on which the admins and staff members see themselves as incredibly exaggerated authority figures. They are an elite group that wouldn't give much attention or respect to ordinary members. The result is mostly the same every time: A very slow forum full of self-important douchebags making fun of the new comers. Lame.

The Absent Admin

We all visited one of those boards that thrived only for a short time. After a little while, you notice the admin didn't visit for a week. Then for a month. Then a year. You find out no one knows where he is and at some point, no one even remember if there was an admin in the first place. Of course there was one... but he's gone and the members are now on their own. Don't be that guy.

Conclusion

Being an authority figure, the administrator's behavior can possibly have a huge impact on how things are going in a community. You can be absent, active or somewhere in between, it doesn't change the fact that the interactions you're going to have with your members, as well as what you do for the community as an admin will be defining factors for your forum's present and future prosperity.

Which type of forum admin are you?