• Check out the new Feedback and suggestions forum. This adds the ability to add ideas for the site and upvote/downvote them. It would be great to hear from you all in how we can boost site activity and who would like to assist with some exciting ideas from Rob and I.

Generating forum traffic

Stuart

Site Admin
Staff member
Hey all, looking for idea and idea owners to generate forum traffic. Hopefully more people here to share information and thoughts, generate Marketplace traffic, write blog posts or image libraries etc.

Hit me up here and lets see what we can do.
 

E.Shell

Not so new Member
I am a new member in the eastern United States and arrived here during my research of Ridgetail Monitors (Ackies), of which I have four, and Argus Monitors, which I'd like to have but probably cannot house.

I read through ALL of the archived material pertaining to these monitors that was available prior to the forum update and found it incredibly educational and very valuable.

I joined the forum to keep up with new posts and to help add to the population and traffic, and as a side benefit, I am learning to read Australian. ;-)

Although I have kept reptiles since I was about 7, and am in my mid-60s now, I do not have enough specific knowledge to contribute very much here on anything, except very general topics and a few things I am personally experienced in.

My thoughts:

There is a vast amount of knowledge available here, both in active members' current contributions and in the existing posts.

Advice given is usually sound from the beginning, as evidenced by agreement by several experienced forum members.

With the large number is extremely experienced members present, it would be great of one or several could develop 'care sheets' for the various animals discussed here. Information that many members take for granted is buried in single posts answering specific questions: "Is xx degrees warm enough for my Woma?" gets answers like "everybody knows this is too cold/hot", whereas if a care sheet existed, everyone would know.

I quit school and went to work in construction when I was 15. I have worked my way up through the ranks, served in the military, finished my education and got some college, ran my own business as long as my health would allow, and currently manage a business building homes, "Thin-skinned" is really not in my vocabulary, but when I see comments like "the Americans think ____ care is appropriate, hahaha", I wonder if those persons would or could substitute actual knowledge for their criticism of inappropriate care. Thus the suggestion of compiling some care sheets that could be available through the site. I would personally give more credence to a care sheet generated at a site local to the animal's habitat, vs a foreign seller that just wants to make the animals seem easier to case for and thus sell more easily.

The information that initially drew me to this forum now seems unavailable. Are the archives gone, or have I just failed to see access? Having some sort of access to that huge repository of information, and search engine recognition, would seem to be a big plus with regard to drawing new members.

There is often a condescending tone used by experienced members when a new keeper is asking "stupid" questions, which I personally find as a little 'off putting'. Perhaps it is only a cultural difference I have yet to fully understand and I am mistaken, but I am describing what it seems.

As a very long term member of other forums specializing in other subjects (ham radio, firearms), I get that answering the same old questions by people who could have done a bit more research can be tiresome. Candidly speaking, a little patience and tact would go a long way toward making this a bit 'friendlier' to inexperienced keepers/new members, a source of the desired 'site traffic'. I often have "casual questions', but after seeing the treatment some members get, I keep these questions to myself and try to research my way out of it, when I could have just asked. Certainly, there are times when a member asking a question probably deserves a bit of derision, but these 'stupid questions' are exactly what others read when researching stuff and DO have intrinsic value, so a good answer does more than just serve the presumably lazy member that asked.

I hope not to have ruffled any feathers, but as a new member that visits almost daily, these are my impressions.
 

Rob

Administrator
Staff member
The information that initially drew me to this forum now seems unavailable. Are the archives gone, or have I just failed to see access? Having some sort of access to that huge repository of information, and search engine recognition, would seem to be a big plus with regard to drawing new members.

You will need to elaborate on this in order for me to provide a definitive answer. There was some data loss when the site was under different ownership, though that was well over 5 years ago and Stu has since managed to restore a great deal of it. Apart from the Admin area, there is no restricted access. Shortly after Stu took ownership of the site, we implemented a Veterans forum, though that was recently pruned due to no traffic - We only have a couple of Veterans regularly posting and they are flat out keeping up with the general forums.


There is often a condescending tone used by experienced members when a new keeper is asking "stupid" questions, which I personally find as a little 'off putting'. Perhaps it is only a cultural difference I have yet to fully understand and I am mistaken, but I am describing what it seems.

OK, this one has blindsided me somewhat. In days gone by I would have just said "that old chestnut" but I don't believe this statement to be applicable anymore. Sure, I may allow a little banter between regulars but new member interactions are monitored very closely so that the above is avoided. Having said that, I've been on this site a long time, near on 9 years on this account alone (8+ in Admin), so perhaps my eyes do not see the same as a fresh pair would. I always make myself available to members (via PM) if required, and any such posts should be reported so that we can look at it more closely.
 

E.Shell

Not so new Member
Hi Rob,

I don't know where to find them (which is the problem I stated), but when I joined, there were pages and pages of locked threads. These threads seemed to be locked due to aging out at one year. Since the forum update (when the default display went to green, which I like), I don't know where to find these threads anymore. As I had said, maybe I AM missing them and they ARE available, but there is a whole encyclopedia of reptile knowledge locked away in those old threads.

Regarding the perceived tone of many posts: Again, this may simply be a cultural difference that I am not fully understanding, making it seem worse than it really is. I am reluctant to report posts that "seem to me" to be terse, impatient, belittling, disdainful, condescending, etc.. These posts, when taken alone, don't seem especially bad and none actually break any rules, but after reading every day for the time I've been here, a certain feel does emerge.

I've been general manager of a successful luxury home building company for 25 years and we have had many employees come and go over the years. I have to admit that I have learned something from almost every one, good or bad, and we have had much innovation as a result of comments on things we did "because we've always done it this way"...

Two points here:

One, I'm not from around here and may not probably do not flly understand the 'banter'. Were one to visit one of our construction sites and listen in on the banter, they would swear the guys were going to kill each other any minute, but the truth is that they would kill FOR each other.

Two, I like it here. I enjoy the forum and don't mean to criticize. I am just stating the impressions I have as an outsider when I think of how to encourage traffic and new members.

Ed
 

Allan

Well-Known Member
Trusted Seller
Currently, there are no links to APS when you google "Australian Reptiles " or Australian Snakes" They only appear when you google some more species specific keywords.
 

reptilesforlife

Not so new Member
Hi Rob,

I don't know where to find them (which is the problem I stated), but when I joined, there were pages and pages of locked threads. These threads seemed to be locked due to aging out at one year. Since the forum update (when the default display went to green, which I like), I don't know where to find these threads anymore. As I had said, maybe I AM missing them and they ARE available, but there is a whole encyclopedia of reptile knowledge locked away in those old threads.

Regarding the perceived tone of many posts: Again, this may simply be a cultural difference that I am not fully understanding, making it seem worse than it really is. I am reluctant to report posts that "seem to me" to be terse, impatient, belittling, disdainful, condescending, etc.. These posts, when taken alone, don't seem especially bad and none actually break any rules, but after reading every day for the time I've been here, a certain feel does emerge.

I've been general manager of a successful luxury home building company for 25 years and we have had many employees come and go over the years. I have to admit that I have learned something from almost every one, good or bad, and we have had much innovation as a result of comments on things we did "because we've always done it this way"...

Two points here:

One, I'm not from around here and may not probably do not flly understand the 'banter'. Were one to visit one of our construction sites and listen in on the banter, they would swear the guys were going to kill each other any minute, but the truth is that they would kill FOR each other.

Two, I like it here. I enjoy the forum and don't mean to criticize. I am just stating the impressions I have as an outsider when I think of how to encourage traffic and new members.

Ed
I honestly can agree that I have seen some slightly condescending and not-so-nice behaviour towards people asking questions and newbies
 

msxcbvc

Not so new Member
It’s a real shame to see this forum become quiet and not so beginner friendly, it used to be highly recommended on blogs etc as the best place to find information, now a lot of those blogs are dead and as far as I know there is not much to replace them.
As far as new traffic, a lot of the questions that used to be asked here are now asked on Facebook, maybe arranging a sponsor type thing with an existing group, or writing articles or care sheets as suggested above and plugging them in said groups can get a lot of those new owners over here again, especially now that animal sales are banned on Facebook
 

Stuart

Site Admin
Staff member
It’s a real shame to see this forum become quiet and not so beginner friendly, it used to be highly recommended on blogs etc as the best place to find information, now a lot of those blogs are dead and as far as I know there is not much to replace them.
As far as new traffic, a lot of the questions that used to be asked here are now asked on Facebook, maybe arranging a sponsor type thing with an existing group, or writing articles or care sheets as suggested above and plugging them in said groups can get a lot of those new owners over here again, especially now that animal sales are banned on Facebook
Thanks mate, those are great suggestions. The issue I have is time and getting someone to own doing some of that legwork voluntarily. Any advice or guidance you can offer to maybe get some people involved in doing that?
 

Wolfgang5

Not so new Member
I tend to agree with others comments that the forum isn't really "newbie friendly",

If someone comes along with a basic question or one that is fairly common, its not unusual for the comment to be ignored or a really short answer given, you just have to look at the threads and check the answers.

Without offending any particular person, I think more experienced users have understandably moved on from the basics and can find it a bit frustrating having to answer the same questions over and over, and those of us who are newer keepers and newer to the groups, tend to sit back a bit as more experienced members can come across intimidating, eg, I know I'm not the most experienced keeper, but I try to answer questions if I can but I'm also very concious that more experienced members are watching and judging and this can at times make me sit back rather than get involved.


I know we have newbie and FAQ sections but maybe we need to look at streamlining/ highlighting these sections more so that new user go here first.

The threads on heating and eating are really interesting and provide good info, but more people either skip over it, or don't know where to find them.

I know when I got my first python, I found it easier to search online for specifics and general info rather than get info here, now that I'm a little more experienced, I find it easier to navigate my way through the forums and can hold my own a little more with other members too.

Maybe I'm way off but this has been my own personal experience.

That said, there are a lot of really knowledgeable members here, the majority of which are very helpful and easy going just sometimes you need to reach out to them first.

Maybe all we really need is to streamline our forums into more basic groups, beginner, intermediate, and advanced, this might help those who are a little more advanced feel less frustrated with mundane questions, whilst giving newbies a more comfortable experience.

Anyway, that's my thoughts,
Thanks guys, and gals....
 

Sdaji

Almost Legendary
APS Veteran
Trusted Seller
I tend to agree with others comments that the forum isn't really "newbie friendly",

If someone comes along with a basic question or one that is fairly common, its not unusual for the comment to be ignored or a really short answer given, you just have to look at the threads and check the answers.

Without offending any particular person, I think more experienced users have understandably moved on from the basics and can find it a bit frustrating having to answer the same questions over and over, and those of us who are newer keepers and newer to the groups, tend to sit back a bit as more experienced members can come across intimidating, eg, I know I'm not the most experienced keeper, but I try to answer questions if I can but I'm also very concious that more experienced members are watching and judging and this can at times make me sit back rather than get involved.


I know we have newbie and FAQ sections but maybe we need to look at streamlining/ highlighting these sections more so that new user go here first.

The threads on heating and eating are really interesting and provide good info, but more people either skip over it, or don't know where to find them.

I know when I got my first python, I found it easier to search online for specifics and general info rather than get info here, now that I'm a little more experienced, I find it easier to navigate my way through the forums and can hold my own a little more with other members too.

Maybe I'm way off but this has been my own personal experience.

That said, there are a lot of really knowledgeable members here, the majority of which are very helpful and easy going just sometimes you need to reach out to them first.

Maybe all we really need is to streamline our forums into more basic groups, beginner, intermediate, and advanced, this might help those who are a little more advanced feel less frustrated with mundane questions, whilst giving newbies a more comfortable experience.

Anyway, that's my thoughts,
Thanks guys, and gals....

A lot of this rings true. I know that I often don't have time or inclination to answer a question for the thousandth time, and frankly, short of being paid, I'm not going to consistently do so. Sometimes I will, generally I won't. Most people in shoes remotely similar to mine will say the same. Nothing is likely to change that.

This does leave basic questions (which as still valid and important) going unanswered, or being answered incorrectly by people wanting to have a go, often giving out misinformation. This leaves someone like me in the position of either leaving someone misinformed and spreading of misinformation going unchecked, or looking like the bad guy who just wants to shoot people down. I used to try to help, but was rewarded with being 'hated for being an arsehole', so now I generally stay quiet and just roll my eyes while scrolling on. If you get punished for helping, eventually the motive to help wears thin.

Definitely, fear of being 'shot down' does prevent some less experienced people from attempted to help. Often this is probably a good thing given that it often seems literally most information being shared is incorrect, and a lack of information is better than misinformation, but this situation is easily remedied by a qualifying 'I'm a newbie and unsure, I may be wrong, but my understanding is...', which allows for much easier correction without anyone needing to look bad or losing face.

Ultimately, it's the job of the moderators to foster a productive and appropriate culture on a forum, and to step in with basic advice when no one else does it. To be blunt, I just don't see that happening on APS. When it was Australia's overwhelmingly largest forum, many experienced people wanted to take it upon themselves to get involved here, despite some utterly hideous people involved in the running and ownership of the forum at the time (I'm absolutely not referring to anyone involved currently or at all recently). These days, APS does not have such a monopoly and will only thrive with passionate, dedicated and smart leadership. I don't see anything actively wrong being done, but the owners/moderators seem very passive, which just isn't going to get much done. Sadly, most of the old timers view APS as... well, they view it unfavourably, largely due to some of the people who used to run it, though they'll say it's for other reasons.

I've run forums, I dare say I've done a good job based on the amount of members and traffic generated, but it's a dirty job you get a lot of abuse for if you do it well, you're constantly managing idiots, being polite and diplomatic to those who don't deserve it, your great work goes unthanked and unappreciated, and any small mistakes you make get held against you mercilessly. Being human, you'll make small mistakes. Switching off my last forum was a huge relief and while I enjoyed it for years, I wouldn't want to go back to it.

Telling members what to do won't make them do it. They need a carrot of some sort. In the glory days of online forums that was generally the dopamine gained from positive responses, but Facebook now has a monopoly on that dopamine stream, so forums need to be very creative to be competitive.

Haha, I'm glad it's not my job. I do think Facebook is absolutely hideous for many reasons and I would like to see Australia have a thriving online herp forum away from it. For reasons described by Wolfgang and others, it's challenging to support this forum, but I do hope APS can reestablish itself in a meaningful way.
 

kankryb

Active Member
I put this on my instagram and I think that if everybody put more everyday things on here like birth feeding cagebuilding and so on + a better tone so new people don't get put off, we will do well. I love this forum and wish it was better known
 

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