The fact is I really don't have the time to come in here but I do because I like it here and I need to at least try and know what is going on with add-on's and such since I want to get moved over.
Where does the time go?
If I let it I can be on the phone all day with members. It can be a bit of a dog fight. I don't have my number on the forum but I do have it on my store. This is a wild guess but I would say that 24 out of 25 calls is about the forum and one about the store.
What are these calls about? They vary all over the place but I will touch on a few of them:
A: I could be wrong but I am starting to think that maybe 1% or 2% of forum posters are on forums because they don't have any place to go. Some of these people just need someone to talk to and I feel bad about that. It is not very many people that do this but it does not take many to make life hard. There are some people that if you let them will call every single day. Eventually they some get offended and think I am mean when I tell them I have to work. If I allowed people to do this to me I could easily be on the phone 24 hours a day and would eventually end up living on the street.
B: Conflicts among members. My group is not a homogeneous group and people are there for a variety of reasons. I prefer it that way, if my people became a homogeneous group I will have failed. That creates problems of its own. While the vast majority of people get along fine there are people that stir the pot. They will make blanket statements that while possibly true for some people are situations it is not universally true. Then it becomes "If you don't believe in XYZ you shouldn't be in the forum" Some times a big dust-up can create a blizzard of messages and phone calls that can be massively time consuming.
One thing that drives off some of my best members are experts in things that they have not done before or have little experience. I have also had members with twenty years or more experience at something but they often get driven off by the guys that who have never done the subject at hand.
The generates the message from the experienced person "I am out of here" and from the people that have never done the activity "You only have like minded people in the forum" It make me want to scream at times.
C: Not a single day goes by that I find someone trying to join the forum that uses multiple accounts on other forums. Actually It is usually more than one and have at times been five. Plenty of people are smart enough to know not to have multiple accounts posting on the same IP but I usually don't catch them before they join with IP address's anyway. Some people do get past the 6 checks that I do on all new members.
99.99% of multiple ID people that get by my screening are not called out publicly but by a private message. Only once did I confront someone on another forum, it was pretty tacky of my to do what I did. I found this person had 4 usernames on one forum and I found a total of 7 that he was using. He had at least 2 usernames on every single forum I found him on. When I confronted him about it he said "You don't know the half of it" (post #7)
I also can't seem to get people to not reply to a PM notifications email.
D: It is not all of them but people that want to try and make money off of my forum can be a very big time suck. They are constantly wanting me to do things for them and currently I don't make any revenue off of them. Some of them want to eat up my time so that I can't take care of my own store.
There is no one thing that eats up all my time related to the forum but tons of 15 minute things here and hour things there and it add's up to a full day before I actually do any work.
Right now I have more than 1000 PM's that I have not yet read. I have even more unread e-mails. When I don't have my phone off during the day 5 minutes after I get off of one call someone else calls. I have more than 100 members I have not screened and approved yet and I am way behind on the messages from my store. A wild guess is my time is broken up 95% forum 5% store.
I know all forums are not the same and each may have their unique issues but my problem has become time management in a big way. When I come out here I actually get further behind but once in awhile I need a break from my place and this place is generally relaxing.
My forum is small, I have no idea how large forums manage nor do I understand how people with multiple forums manage. I am obviously doing something wrong.
How have you guys been able to manage the demands for time on your forums?