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Your Suggestions To Make Our Forum Highly Active Like Before

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:sl:

 

Dear members

 

Back in March 2006, our members used to post an average of 20,000 posts per month, and sometimes 1000 posts in a single day.

Now, our average is about 2000 posts per month, which is only 10% of how we used to be.

 

The administration would like to keep this forum live and active, and we need your help. Maybe you can help us pin point the problem or problems that are causing this huge drop in activity rate. Why do you think members are now less active than before? and what do you think we need to change in the forum to regain our activity back? If you are more active in other communities, what do you enjoy there that you don't find here?

 

Any ideas or suggestions would be much appreciated. This is an open discussion for all members and forum officials.

 

:sl:

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Salaams peeps,

 

I take it Rule 08- Questioning rules, is suspended for the sake of this topic? What I mean is, can members speak freely about what they think may be wrong with the forum without the fear of repercussions? Respectfully, of course.

 

Peace

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Salaams peeps,

 

What is unique about this forum is the cultivation of a pleasant atmosphere. Nasty people with nasty comments are kicked out and controversial topics are kept to a minimum. This is very advantageous as the reliability and credibility of the forum is kept intact. Members and non-members who visit the forum can clearly see the respectful way discussions are carried out which is a good portrayal of Islam.

 

The problem I think this forum is facing is trying to find the balance between creating a pleasant Islamic atmosphere and allowing for flourishing discussions. Many other forums I used to visit had much higher activity than Gawaher but were far less moderated. The result was a sustained level of activity but discussions of greater heat which at times bordered on unpleasant.

 

I do feel that Gawaher is over moderated. What I mean by that is that there are many examples of mods closing topics because they deem the thread to be of 'no benefit'. A forum is for people to have discussions, and therefore it should be left up to the people reading and contributing to decide what is beneficial and what is not. Unless a rule is being broken, threads should not be closed, they should be allowed to reach a natural conclusion. Closing threads discourages people starting new ones, hence the drop in activity.

 

I feel there needs to be greater freedom in the Advanced section. I can only speak for myself, but having joined in 2006, I don't always wish to contribute to topics I've covered before. I'd rather leave this to newer members. Since my knowledge in Islam has evolved and increased, my questions and thoughts have as well. I cannot start many threads in the Advanced section about aqida, manhaj, fiqh or tafseer becasue such question naturally have to touch on the issues of interpretations and sects, which is not allowed. A relevant question might be, are older members getting bored and leaving?

 

The forum's organisation is brilliant, better than any other forum I've been to. It is easy to use and easy on the eye. It is my opinion that if the forum is to re-gain some activity, it will need to relax some of its moderating. There is a trade-off between creating a high-quality, content rich environment and high activity.

 

InshAllah this was of some help.

 

Peace

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:sl:

 

Thanks brother for your comments. Surely, you can discuss freely, and we appreciate any positive or negative feedback.

 

I can see that, for the most part, you're satisfied with the forum. As for moderators, actually many of them do not moderate much like before. I can say that the forum is least moderated these days. We also haven't change our forum rules, and we didn't add any new rules for a long time now.

 

Much of the topic we close are due to public request. Members themselves, when they feel that a topic is getting out of hand, do request that we better close it. We usually evaluate the situation and think carefully before closing any topic. However, there are times when we get complaints, and if justified, we re-open those topics. As you said, we always try to make a balance, and always try to maintain the quality of posting for the sake of the whole community.

 

So, I still can't figure out why our activity is dropping so much.

 

:sl:

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Assalamu alaikum, JazaakAllahu Khairan brother dot for making this thread and JazaakAllahu khairan brother Josh for your thoughts ad suggestions, I am sure the whole team appreciates them.

 

One main reason why Gawaher has less active members is that many of our members who were very active about 3 years ago, and many of them were Moderators started their own forums and took many of our active members with them. I have been on a few of those forums for a few months, but I found them very distracted, confusing and more arguments and throwing filth at each other, this is what people enjoy, which is sad and so they stay with what they enjoy, brother dot knows what I am talking about about.

 

Alhamdulillah here on Gawaher we try our best to be more Cultured and Dignigfied, Mature and Respectful to our members, and the new members who join see that it is more of a serious and Dawah oriented Forum, so the serious ones stay, others stay for a while but then leave because they cannot do much Mud slinging here, and we do not need them anyways.

 

I have to say this though there was a time when many members were banned from the forum because they had some Zionist ideas or seemed to support Zionism, I think they should be talked to with wisdom and they might understand, yes it would need a lot of patience from our side, which we have to learn to have because one of the main pupose of Gawaher "The Islamic Forum" is to give Dawaah of Islam to Muslims as well as Non Muslims. If we bann them as soon as they say a word against Islam then how can we get anything past them.

 

One other thing is name calling, Alhamdulillah it is much under control now, but it was too much in the last couple of years. Also we have to be more tolerant of the Non Muslims and their views about Islam while trying our best to present the true Islam to them. What they say is what they learn from the Media or their Governments. We should be tolerant of Muslim and Non Muslim members who have problem with the English language, because I have noticed that many times because of language problem they want to say something say something that might not sound right and they get warned.

 

Saying all that, brother dot, check out as many Islamic Froums as you want to, you will still see that the number of Guests on Gawaher beats any other ones, which means that Gawaher is being used and in it's own way and passing on the message of Islam to the Guests.

 

InshaAllah the traffic will increase and new members will come and old mmbers will return hopefully.

 

BTW. are people allowed to come and promote their forums or advertise for their forums on Gawaher?

 

Assalamu alaikum.

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Salam

 

The quality of a forum does not depend on how many members post. The fact that right now there is less activity than three years ago, does not mean that it is the fault of this forum. Three years ago, member probably had more free time and now they are busy and have obligations that they did not have long time ago.

 

Many members founded their own forums.

 

This could be a seasonal thing and in a few month the activity might increase again.

 

I think lately there have been many members who did not appear very mature when discussing and this can drop the quality of the forum as a whole. When I read discussions from 2005/2006, I find more mature discussion than right now.

 

Sometimes, it is better to have less activity than too much, because I know a forum where everything is so fast. I post a new topic and next day, I find that so many people posted that my question is already on page 2 or 3 being ignored. I also don't like when a single member asks 10 questions at once and I find on the first page only question by this person and my question is far behind being ignored.

 

Maybe, you could chance the design a little bit, because people maybe like to see some changes.

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Salaams peeps,

 

I can say that the forum is least moderated these days. We also haven't change our forum rules, and we didn't add any new rules for a long time now.

 

As you said, we always try to make a balance, and always try to maintain the quality of posting for the sake of the whole community.

 

Is it safe to say this is because there are fewer posts to moderate? Perhaps the culture needs to change, with less emphasis on deletion/banning/closing and more on warnings and intervention in threads. I don’t wish to labour the point but the following are recent discussions closed despite not breaking any forum rules:

 

(you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetgawaher(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/index.php?showtopic=727966.html&"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetgawaher(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/index.php?showtopic=727966.html&[/url]

 

(you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetgawaher(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/index.php?showtopic=727817&pid=1199072&st=40entry1199072"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetgawaher(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/index.php?showtopic...p;#entry1199072[/url]

 

(you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetgawaher(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/index.php?showtopic=728576&pid=1202368&st=0entry1202368"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetgawaher(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/index.php?showtopic...p;#entry1202368[/url]

 

Now these discussions may not have been going anywhere beneficial but by closing them, you discourage people from starting new discussions. This may have been okay in 2006 where there was enough activity to not see the effects of closing threads, the effects now are felt heavily.

 

I have to say this though there was a time when many members were banned from the forum because they had some Zionist ideas or seemed to support Zionism, I think they should be talked to with wisdom and they might understand, yes it would need a lot of patience from our side, which we have to learn to have because one of the main pupose of Gawaher "The Islamic Forum" is to give Dawaah of Islam to Muslims as well as Non Muslims. If we bann them as soon as they say a word against Islam then how can we get anything past them.

 

I agree with this too, as I was banned for supporting Zionism. Again, the emphasis needs to move away from stopping discussions and contributors and more towards intervention in the threads i.e. mods issuing warnings in the discussion. This will allow topics to flourish whilst maintaining the required standard.

 

The quality of a forum does not depend on how many members post. The fact that right now there is less activity than three years ago, does not mean that it is the fault of this forum.

 

I respectfully disagree brother. A 90% drop in activity is not good for this forum and suggests there is something wrong. Brother dot, could you tell us if there has been a steady rate of new members since 2006? I noticed recently you announced that new memberships are now closed.

 

Older members may not be posting due to reasons out of the control of the forum. And realistically, no forum can survive solely on original members. What we need to figure out is why newer members have not joined and contributed at the same rate as older members. Why has the baton not been passed on? I hope members don't mind me posting again. I would like to help get this forum more active.

 

Peace

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:sl:

 

New registrations are not changed. Since 2005 till now, its always around 200~300 new members per month. This shows that the rate of activity of new members is much lower than that of our old members, even though the forum now has many more new sections than it had before.

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(you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetgawaher(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/index.php?showtopic=727966.html&"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetgawaher(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/index.php?showtopic=727966.html&[/url]

 

(you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetgawaher(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/index.php?showtopic=727817&pid=1199072&st=40entry1199072"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetgawaher(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/index.php?showtopic...p;#entry1199072[/url]

 

(you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetgawaher(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/index.php?showtopic=728576&pid=1202368&st=0entry1202368"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetgawaher(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/index.php?showtopic...p;#entry1202368[/url]

 

:sl:

 

Since two of the examples you quoted pertain to me, I hope you will allow me the opportunity to explain to you how I personally made the decision to close those topics.

 

For the topic in the first link, the topic starter turned out to be a disbeliever in Hadiths. He did not create that topic with a desire to understand the Hadith, but to shed doubt on its validity.

 

For the topic in the second link, the topic starter himself made it clear that he no longer had any interest in continuing his discussion, nor did he have any interest in reverting to Islam. At that point, the only thing left was for him or another member like him to drag Islam's image through the mud, because of lack of sincerity in learning about it. If you believe that allowing someone to increasingly voice his opinion that Islam is the wrong religion is a beneficial discussion, then I guess that's where you and I disagree.

 

None of our decisions are made without consideration. But we're still human and if you think that there might still be benefit in a topic that was closed, then you're more than welcome to PM the person who closed the topic and discuss the reasons.

 

And there has been a lot less forum moderation for a while, overall. There doesn't seem to be as many posts to moderate to begin with, so it evens out, IMO.

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Salaams peeps,

 

Since two of the examples you quoted pertain to me, I hope you will allow me the opportunity to explain to you how I personally made the decision to close those topics.

 

Of course sister, I hope you understand I wasn't critisizing your personal moderating. I picked those three because they were the recent ones I could remember. I have no doubt topics are closed after careful consideration. What I'm suggesting is perhaps more warnings within a thread to get the discussion back to an acceptable standard, rather than closing them.

 

Peace

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Salaams peeps,

Of course sister, I hope you understand I wasn't critisizing your personal moderating. I picked those three because they were the recent ones I could remember. I have no doubt topics are closed after careful consideration. What I'm suggesting is perhaps more warnings within a thread to get the discussion back to an acceptable standard, rather than closing them.

 

Peace

 

:sl:

 

I didn't think you were criticizing at all, but I did want you to understand why I made those decisions so that you would know that we take our job seriously. But I do appreciate your explanation and insha'Allah, I will take your suggestions to heart.

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Assalamualaykum

 

I think one factor might be the name change option. Once people changed their names, other members did not see familier members and may have found it hard to associate with people?

 

Me personally, ive kinda lost interest in forums and have been busy in education/work etc

Edited by fisabilillah ö�í ÓÈíá Çááøå

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:sl: all,

 

Might I include these pointers..

 

New Users

 

1. There are a lot more distractions now available esp to younger people than 4-5 years ago. Maybe they are just not interested in sitting in front of computer trying to understand a forum?

 

Old/Existing Users

 

1. We have to understand people have a life out side of the forum. Many are single but most are either married and/or live with families and have other commitments like work or college or something else. Lets say for example a user signed on with the forum 4-5 years ago at the age of 16-17.. well back then they were a school student so had more free time on their hands. Now they are most likely in college or university or even working so they have almost no time to spend for the forum.

 

2. People just get tired of the same stuff. Need a change/break and they will surely return.

 

Honestly can't think of other reasons.

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Assalamaulaikum,

 

I mostly only visit this forum because work is slow and I have the bad habit of wasting time on the web.

 

I rarely post here though as:

1.) There is too much regulation IMO. Everytime I post my post has to be approved by a moderator. Even this post asked me "did you make 50 posts yet?" The people who post 50 times probably don't have a problem with the forum.

2.) The community is very narrow minded. The opinions are mainly Salifi and if anything else is discussed it is deemed bidah or regulated as it is a controversial issue. e.g tasawaf

3.) People seem to think that they know everything and that their opinion is the only correct view. Often in Islam their are valid differences and unless you are mujtahid imam you can not derive fiqh from random hadith you find in Bukhari (If you were a mujtahid imam you would have memorised bukhari anyway). I have had PMs from people telling me the facts. A student of knowledge recently told me the more you learn about Islam the easier the less restrictive it is. How true.

 

If there was more balance and less attacks on those who differ then the forum would flourish.

That is opinion anyway. Feel free to disagree.

 

Wassalam,

Aussie

 

Just to add, there are also too many 'look what al-qaida did'/'look what the kufar did' type threads.

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Assalamaulaikum,

 

I mostly only visit this forum because work is slow and I have the bad habit of wasting time on the web.

 

I rarely post here though as:

1.) There is too much regulation IMO. Everytime I post my post has to be approved by a moderator. Even this post asked me "did you make 50 posts yet?" The people who post 50 times probably don't have a problem with the forum.

2.) The community is very narrow minded. The opinions are mainly Salifi and if anything else is discussed it is deemed bidah or regulated as it is a controversial issue. e.g tasawaf

3.) People seem to think that they know everything and that their opinion is the only correct view. Often in Islam their are valid differences and unless you are mujtahid imam you can not derive fiqh from random hadith you find in Bukhari (If you were a mujtahid imam you would have memorised bukhari anyway). I have had PMs from people telling me the facts. A student of knowledge recently told me the more you learn about Islam the easier the less restrictive it is. How true.

 

If there was more balance and less attacks on those who differ then the forum would flourish.

That is opinion anyway. Feel free to disagree.

 

Wassalam,

Aussie

 

Just to add, there are also too many 'look what al-qaida did'/'look what the kufar did' type threads.

 

I agree with most of the point made above by brother Aussie, and i also know that here we do not allow sect discussion because of fear of confusing new muslims as i have read some time ago. But atleast i can suggest not to close topic but regulate and control it, so to not make abusive. And like for example the post about music, every post or new thread made about music is closed because we have our 100 pages thread on music running since the advent of this forum. Nobody likes to read 100 pages (for instance), and everybody likes to be involved in discussion, a link to old thread would be more than sufficient, why close the topic itself and close the source of creating one more discussion and spreading knowledge. I for one never read that thread on music to be frank coz of its age and length.

 

I would suggest the administrative team, to allow discussions and not to close topic even if it had been discussed a thousand time, if there is good thread on the subject, please post a link, and do not close the thread itself.

 

Hope it helps

 

:sl:

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:sl:

Brother, if there is a forum with several topics discussing the same identical thing, then this is a sign of lack of organization and bad moderating of such forum. One of the basic duties of any good mod is to merge threads discussing the same topic. If that didn't happen, members will miss a lot of valuable info that has been collected before, and it would be a waste of forum resources. This is a general rule that all well organized forums follow, not just us.

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:sl:

 

Thanks for explanation brother, but what i really meant is to allow the discussion rather than to kill(close) them.

 

And a very good and a must thing to increase the traffic is to filter good members and remove dirty(bad) ones. And how would we'll go about doing this is to bring an additional question like "Why do you want to join Gawaher" at the registration page and the contents of these post should be read and evaluated by the moderators to allow registration, if the said thing is good and matured then we will allow registration. Until then the members will not have posting rights. If you want brother Dot check this website you are not allowed to post links yetteam-bhp(contact admin if its a beneficial link) and register over there to get an idea. I seriously think that this idea should be implemented.

 

:sl:

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Salam

 

Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. Well dear brother Dot, how about something called a mobile gawaher, where it would allow members to connect to gawaher through their phones? What do you think? Will it increase the activity rates?

 

Also, how about intergrating a gawaher chat channel may be within the same gender allowing guests too?

 

Dear members , what do you think about this. Please leave a comment.

 

Salam

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:sl:

Brother Samy,

Technically, your suggestion can be applied. But its not that easy to judge people from their first post, or even first posts. There are bad guys who even pretend to be Muslims and register as such, while they are not. But I'll keep your suggestion in mind, perhaps we apply it in some circumstances.

 

Brother Vishah,

Gawaher currently can be reached from mobile phones already.

As for adding chat, this was discussed before more than once. I feel that chat would be a waste of valuable info and discussions, while posting archives those discussions and so future visitors can benefit from all discussions. With chat, all the info evaporate as soon as the chat session is closed.

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salam

 

Yes you are right... May be many of the users arnt aware of the mobile access. How about a little banner ad on the home page for at least a month to see if there is any change in the activity rates.

 

Another idea could be how about a little campaign atleast in the main page, about the services and features of this forum, like Short fatwas from authentic sources, Islamic discussions on hot topics in the Islamic civilization, Blogs, Islamic Library, audio, video...... etc...

 

Well this may help to improve the services and may also help the current and new users to dig more in to this deep forum. You could also promote the "Islamic forum in other languages " part

 

So what do you think about this?

 

Salam

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Assalamualaikum everyone and almost ramadhan mubarak!

 

I've been following this forum for a long time and always enjoyed the posts. It's been a speed dial setting on my Opera web browser for many many years but I too have noticed I barely visit the site anymore. I have never been much of a contributer more a "lurker" and learned a lot whilst browsing the forum sat at work!

 

I think in the last few years "forums" likes this have faced a downturn across the board and not just this forum.

 

You must also factor in the Facebook, Twitter and MySpace effect. I work in the web industry and new websites do not feature forums like this at all anymore as they are considered "old skool". It is now all about collaboration, groups and user communities. There is a subtle difference but the new breed of internet users are more savvy with facebook groups than with debating on a turn-based-thread. It's just not intant enough.

 

There is also the fact that users (from the UK anyway) are facing an identity crisis regarding which type of Islam they practice. This forum has always been moderated by those with a "salafi" methodology and in recent years in the UK the trend has been towards more "softer side of Islam" i.e. tasawwuf, etc. This is corroborated by the fall in numbers of HT and other such "hardline" groups and the increase in more "esoteric" Islam. There is also now a backlash against more hardline groups and as much as this forum is not hardline (its not btw) perceptions remain that it is.

 

I do not think the massive number in forums helps either it seems like there are too many I never know where to look so any interesting threads just dissappear because I am too lazy to flick through every forum.

 

Lastly I do not think it is healthy that any debate about muslims behaving badly (e.g. taliban bombings today, etc) seem to never appear anywhere. This gives the impression the forum has collectively stuck its head in the sand which I know is not the case.

 

I know I sound like a criticising moaning git but I do like this forum and think the work done by Dot is nothing short of amazing :sl:

 

jazakkallah and may Allah bless you dot and the rest of the crew for the excellent work you guys have done over the years. salams, mohammed.

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:sl:

Thanks so much brother Moseed for your kind words and valuable insights. You're right, most members nowadays do not like to discuss politics. Topics started in the political section hardly get any replies nowadays. We Muslims need to be more involved.

This forum is far from being a salafi site. You probably got that impression when we had a few salafi members at some point, but they left long ago.

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:sl:

Thanks so much brother Moseed for your kind words and valuable insights. You're right, most members nowadays do not like to discuss politics. Topics started in the political section hardly get any replies nowadays. We Muslims need to be more involved.

This forum is far from being a salafi site. You probably got that impression when we had a few salafi members at some point, but they left long ago.

walaikum salam dot thanks for your reply. I visited this board because of the nice mix. I noticed several years ago there were a lot of "angry young jihaadi" types. They have now grown up and probably out-grown this board.

 

I know now there is a much more "tolerant" voice except I do believe the perception has stuck. The political section has become more of a link submission site. I spend most of my time on Reddit to discuss politics because it attracts like minded people. In fact I even tried to setup a clone called Islamidaq for just such a thing. It is very hard to have sensible political debate and maybe therein lies the crux of the matter. The prolific debaters from several years ago have now grown up and realised gawaher won't give them the sort of intellectual stimulation that they crave and have moved on to pastures new. How you get it going again...hmmmm this is a hard one heck it's my job and I'm struggling!!

 

- Maybe removing a few of the forums back into the older more condensed structure? Could this be trialled?

- inviting prolific bloggers from across the net to join in here as "featured member" or something similar to stimulate debate.

- Removing the blog feature. Prolific writers should be encouraged to funnel their energy into the main forum instead of sucking people out?

- The site has evolved into a website almost. Maybe Gawahers future lies in being a multimedia resource with a forum instead of the other way around?

- I think users may be scared offering their political view on a site where they may fear being shouted down for not conforming to the most vocal's view? Maybe the moderators have a part to play in encouraging interesting chat?

- hmmmm lost!

 

I personally have never been much of a forum person. The one time I used a forum vigourously was to debate with an older English man the israel palestine issue which was doomed to end in a heated argument. But it was interesting of course because it garnered attention. Maybe moderators need to start more "contentious" threads just to stimulate debate in the hope that people get the debating bug elsewhere on the site!? This is one of the reasons people love youtube..so they can have a good ding dong in the comments section.

 

Not all of the ideas may be good ones. I wouldn't like to see Gawaher to go down in quality though.

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Praise be to Allah (The Glorified and Exalted).

 

 

Some things that may be done in order to make this forum more appealingly for people to join and contribute, may include the following in my opinion:

 

1) The light blue color should be changed to a darker blue, and the forum template should look more sleek (smooth and glossy), thereby making it more lively and visually appealing.

 

2) The forum is too overwhelming with the many sections. Some sections such as "The Backyard," etc should just be removed. The most important sections to keep would be the following: A Welcome section, Islamic Discussion, Question and Answer, Help for New Muslims, Conversion Stories, Islam in Your Country, Islamic History (Famous Muslim Biographies, etc), and a few others. The site has too many sections and also sub-sections within sections, in my opinion this makes it overwhelming, and readers do not end up contributing much at all to these many sections, so what is the point in keeping them.

 

3) All of the text on the right hand of the screen should simply be removed, because this also makes it appear as if too much is "going on," in that the page appears overcrowded and visually unpleasing and has the effect of overwhelming the reader.

 

4) The text size should be increased making it larger, thereby appearing more lively and visually pleasing.

 

 

Most of my suggestions revolve around the appearance of the site, in my opinion it is too overwhelming and visually unpleasing: small text, all of the text on the right side of the screen under the clock, dim colors, and too many sections. Perhaps if the text was larger font, the template was more sleek with a brighter color, and the sections were reduced to no more than 10-12, perhaps large numbers of readers will contribute. Sometimes having a simple layout, instead of this overcrowded presentation, as mentioned, helps in making the site more visually pleasing and lively. Of course there are good points to the site, but I am simply mentioning some suggestions which I believe hinder readers from contributing or sticking around for long.

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i agree with brother, site has too many unused forum, please remove them.

 

:sl:

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