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Social Behaviour on forums

A while back I began researching into forum behaviour as I help look after two forums.
I wanted to get an idea on how people use the forums and what things I might have to look out for.
I ventured on to many forums and asked 4 main questions and a general “how do you behave” to see how many would want to talk about it.

The four questions I asked were:

Do you lurk around reading what others say or do you dive in and post as much as possible?

Are there certain sections you tend to stick to or do you like to read the whole thing?

Do ranks and post number mean anything to you? Do they make you post more?

How many forums do you belong to? Are they on lots of different subjects?

The overall results were that users considered their behaviour on the forums to reflect how they behave in real life. They try to be courteous and try and help or be part of the conversation if they have the time and knowledge. The forum’s ethos can have an impact on how they behave but this doesn’t stop everyone so you may have to watch out for a few forum renegades.

Many will focus on certain sections but will read the whole site to see if there is anything interesting. This can depend on the size and subject of the forum.

Users will also be members of many forums (on average 3 -4) and not necessarily on the same subject but many will sign up to multiple sites on the same subject if it is a hobby or activity they participate in.

Post ranks and badges etc don’t seem to bother most but there are those who love to get certain badges if they mean anything to the forum. For example a trading site will have badges for good traders so users will want to get them. This can also depend on the age of the forum as younger users like to collect and boast about their post count and rank.

I will hopefully be posting more information soon, i hope it is of use to some one 🙂