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Home Forums Other Revamping the forum. Thoughts? Reply To: Revamping the forum. Thoughts?


It’s in the nature of the Internet that people will NOT follow rules/advice on a forum unless you absolutely, literally force them to.

No matter how often (or where) instructions are placed, some people will still skip over it.

I once ran a forum for a very popular band (2500 members, about 500 messages a day) and as an experiment, I added some additional instructions here and there. This was to see if people would actually read these instructions. Basically, the instructions said that every single message posted HAD to end with your favorite album by that band (I said it was to counter spam), or else it would be deleted.

It didn’t matter if I used a popup for the instructions, sticky posts, a highlighted message in at the top of the post message page, or in the sidebar…less than 20% of the people actually did it. Even something ridiculously obtrusive (a very clear “are you sure??” warning that would show right after hitting the POST button) didn’t help.

It’s sad but new visitors are usually in a hurry (and too lazy?) to read all the rules.

The only thing that helps, I believe, is what we usually do here already: simply not help them unless they DO follow the instructions. “Sorry, we simply can’t help you unless you give us a site or create a test case on Codepen. See instructions here“. It’s annoying, it’s not 100% user friendly, but at least most of these new people won’t make the same mistake again.

tl;dr — in my opinion it’s a waste of time to keep trying to make people follow instructions. Give basic instructions, and when they don’t follow, tell them to try again.