Contemplating a new board


Well-known member
I have never started a board from scratch before. The one I admin was an offshoot of an older board that closed down. Some members wanted to keep the community going so three of us formed a loose committee and made decisions like purchasing Xenforo and choosing a host. So we had a built-in community ready to rock and based the forums largely on the old board (I and others have since rejigged some of it). Not exactly starting from scratch, IOW.

Now I am using an idea I had for a board to play with XF in my dev and get to know it better as well as try out some of the new features when I get my hands on a 2.2 beta. The original idea was to come up with a new design and test other ideas for the board I admin. Now, though, I am getting kind of enamoured with the idea of buying my own license, finding a host, and taking this thing live, assuming I get it to a point where I would feel comfortable doing so. I even have a name in mind that I could register for the domain.

But, as I said, I have never started a board from scratch before. Are there threads or resources, here or elsewhere, that I should read? I'm particularly concerned about attracting members. It's a writing board concept and I am on a couple of those already (not running Xenforo and, frankly, in need of it which is part of my attraction for doing it with XF) but I can't exactly go in there and start luring away members. I like the owner and get on well with her and I'm not sure she would appreciate it. Basically, I'd need some people with some interest and skill to write some stories. That would be my core content. There would also be discussion forums for writing and some general ones, too.

Happy to hear your thoughts.


Well-known member
You might want to check out before laying any ground work. They're using XF.

I found them about six years ago when I thought I wanted to be a fiction writer and was looking for an active writing community.
Oo, thanks Matthew. I am actually looking for a new general writing site that has a bit more life in it than one of my current ones. And the design is nice.

I'm thinking I would focus more. Rather than a general writing site, I'd target "spec fic", so S-F, Fantasy, Horror, maybe Paranormal Romance (not really into it myself but it is a branch of fantasy and is very popular right now).

Matthew Hutchinson

Active member
There can never be too many writing forums but you mentioned feeling a need for an XF-powered one and I just wanted to point out there already is. Now, maybe, thanks to you, there'll be two. :)

Best wishes!


Well-known member
Right now, I working on the nodes and navigation layout, using just discussion forums for everything (it's 2.1, eh). Once I have 2.2 (I'll start when the betas come out):

For stories, I would use Article forums for each broad genre. People posting stories could then use prefixes or tags to denote sub-genres, tropes used, etc. I might also use prefixes as "flags", e.g. "Mature Content" and leave subgenres to the tags. Articles would be moderated so someone would make sure they meet at least a minimum standard of English spelling and grammar as well catching any rules violations.

Then there would be a couple discussion areas, one for writing and literature discussions and a general one. General would be a few very broad discussion forums since they aren't really the focus of the board. Writing would be more specific forums. A place for writers to discuss writing, a place for literary discussion, maybe an article forum for reviews.

Haven't really figured out how to use Question and Suggestion forums yet. I'd like a voting system for stories but since those pretty much need to be articles which don't have the voting system, maybe a parallel "suggestion" forum where readers can "upvote" favorite stories? Or maybe just tailor reactions to do it that way.

Haven't even done anything about a style yet. Using default for the moment. Am casting about for something suitably "space-y" given the theme of the site. Might just fiddle with default to build my own but I always worry about taking on design jobs like that. I'm hideously colour-blind for one thing.