I am cautious to open a BBS on my site. One month ago, I posted: Shall I Open a Shanghai BBS. At that time, I still didn’t decide to open one. The major barrier is, I don’t think I have any spare time to operate a BBS. As everyone is aware of, to maintain a good BBS is not easy, even tougher than running a blog.
However, with friends’ encouragement, I finally step out to open one. It is to forester more voices and more topics beside the “Wangjianshuo monopoly” on my blog. :-D
More Topics, More Voices
After writing for this blog for two years, I (successfully) created a community around my ideas, my observations and topics I am interested. I will always cherish this community and keep it unchanged.
Meanwhile, with more and more visitors coming everyday, people find their questions and their needs are well beyond the scope I can touch. Imagine, there are constantly 110,000 page views every single day, 7 days a week on this site. There are all valid human actions. If you count Google bots, automatic reading machines (like RSS readers), hit rate is sometimes as high as 260,000 hits/day. Imagine how I can cover all the topics these huge number of visitors want. People are asking “I wanted to know this but I cannot find a right article on your site to post, so….” and “….so I am writing this email to you…”, or “…so I am posting here but it maybe out of topic….”.
Taking that into consideration, I am opening a new forum for people who are reading this site, who stumbled to this site via Google, to share, to help each other.
I Won’t be too Active on BBS, Though
Although I opened the BBS, please don’t expect me to be active in the BBS. I am not full time on this (if you consider that I have a very busy job to do already). To make sure you are not disappointed, I will keep the rule that I WON’T answer posts in the BBS. I expect my friends and frequent readers to help people with their questions. If I found some questions that I cannot help answering it, I will answer it in my blog. I will still monitor all comments on my blog as before. Does it make sense?
The good news is, earthmilk, and some other great readers have accepted my invitation to be be the moderates for each board. I bet they can help to make this BBS a great success.
Is there any risk to open a forum? Yes, surely there is. When I open a BBS, as a responsiable service provider, I have to make sure the data is well maintained. Nobody wants to post to a forum that disappear after one or two year. If the traffic is high, the maintaince cost well worthes it. However, if not many people come to the BBS, to maintain the forum (weekly backup the data, daily check for new posts – although this is not mine job…) will be a burden.
If it does happen, let’s say after three months, I may consider removing the links from the navigation bar of this site but still keep the data. As the usability guideline suggested, any new function is a road block for users to find the other functions. If I want to close the BBS in the future – I keep the right to do so, I will post a notice three month in advance so people can back up their articles and data. You see, to be a professional provider is not easy.