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Stop creating forums

Author: akiratheoniDecember 23rd, 2008

I wish that there was a background check on creating forums. It would be easy; it would check to see how many forums you’ve created and then their shutdown date. Then depending on those stats, it would approve or deny your creation of a forum. If it denied it, it would give a small reason why, like “you suck” or “learn English” and singlehandedly ruin a person’s self-esteem, because then they would really know that they suck instead of living in denial.

Hold up. I just got a call on my cell phone from some random company that tells me that my car warranty is going to expire. My car is 18 years old so I think my warranty expired already. I’ve gotten calls from these people in the past and it’s obviously a scam. What’s even more odd is that someone who received the call on her cell phone is on the National Do Not Call list. And plus, it’’s illegal to solicit on cell phones.

Holy shit! I figured out why this happens… I’m referring to both the call I just received and why I think people should stop creating forums. The answer has been quite obvious but I think it’s coincidental that the call I received shares something similar to the blog I am writing. To make it simple, the reason why people do these things is because there is no consequence.

But, I’m sure you already knew that.

There is no consequence because we’re on a free host, and the company that called me hasn’t been caught yet; while there have been complaint about it, there is no lawsuit against them. But suddenly add in a small price, then quality of forums will increase; add in the lawsuit for the companies, and they will stop their service and lose revenue.

Well, they aren’t exactly alike. But I hope you know what I mean.

There’s no way Invisionfree or Zetaboards is going to charge for their services though. So, I propose a solution. It’s called the 150 hour rule.

There is a show called Heroes and the writers use this rule. It states that if you come up with a great idea, wait 150 hours. Then if it’s still as awesome as when you first thought of it, use it. If it’s lost its flair, then don’t use it.

The point of this rule is to filter the good ideas from the bad ones. When we think of something awesome, we tend to think too far ahead and idealize the concept — putting it on a pedestal, if you will. And since we tend to over think it, we act on a whim and spend too much time into the idea, then we realize that it’s not going to work. That’s the worst thing that can happen, because wasted time isn’t something you can get back.

Now, you don’t NEED to stick to 150 hours, of course. Most of the time all it will take is a good night’s sleep and several hours off of forums will be all it takes to make sure you realize that idea you thought up is absurd.

Quite often as an administrator of Zantherus, I come up with great ideas. If the ideas all worked out as I planned, then I’d be the ruler of the world. But they don’t. I followed what Mark Rosewater, a Magic: the Gathering developer, coined the Bullseye theory. It’s not the exact wording, but the idea still stands:

If a novice archer were to shoot enough arrows at a target, he would eventually hit a bullseye. Likewise, if an administrator were to come up with enough ideas, he would eventually hit upon a “key” idea and become successful.

Simple enough, isn’t it? I think a lot of forum owners use this theory far too much. And well, it’s not exactly a good thing.

I think that this issue stems from several problems; now of course, there is the inherent problem that these forums are free and the only investment in it is a little bit of time. The second problem is that the forum owners become too far engrossed in their idea that they fail to see the reality of it. And this is why the 150 hour rule is so helpful in this regard; the ideas that we put on a pedestal when we first thought of it will no longer be on that pedestal. Waiting awhile before implementing ideas allows you to see the idea as other people will see it — well, not exactly, but you will see it in a more pragmatic manner.

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