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International visitors - can we help them help eachother?

Discussion in 'Forum Management' started by Stuart Wright, Dec 22, 2014.

  1. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright Well-Known Member

    We're ostensibly a UK forum, but only 50% of our traffic is from the UK. 15% is from the USA and followed by Canada, Australia, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, France, Spain, Ireland, Sweden, Poland, India and the rest are < 1%.
    Because we are a .com website, people don't know we're UK based. To a certain degree, it shouldn't really matter too much. I don't think it's necessarily a good idea to 'localise' us by publicising the fact that we are British.
    Quite often we have people from the US asking questions about products/stores in America which only other Americans could answer. Rather than sending them off to the AVSForum, I'm wondering whether we could do more to bring American members together?

    Do you think we should
    • Make people from other countries feel welcome, maybe by identifying and displaying which country they are from? 'We welcome visitors from Greece' for example?
    • Help people find other people from the same country?
    • Have a search to show threads/posts by people from the same country? Specifically threads with zero replies?
    iTuN3r likes this.
  2. sbj

    sbj Well-Known Member

    I don't exactly understand the problem. Are you talking about your mainpage/showcase or about your forum sections?
    Where do you need a seperation?

    I think you could create some subforums for foreigners (like Americans, Canadians), so they have their own subforums to be able to talk about their own locations.
    Or, you need a custom add-on for this, you can force people to choose a country flag/name when they create a thread which are shown in the threadlist.

    Like "[US] I need help with ...", instead of "I need help with ...".
    So it would be an intuitive way for integration of foreigners.

    Or, instead of forcing them to choose the country name/flag, you could automatically do this with using the IP of the user. So it would automatically choose the country flag/name of the user while creating a thread. And you could give them an option to change the default setting. Like for example some people are in holidays posting from Croatia but their thread is related to Germany. So they could change the automatically chosen Croatian flag with the German one.

    But of course this needs custom development.
  3. CyclingTribe

    CyclingTribe Well-Known Member

    I think I'd go with a user settable country flag on their user profile, that is then used throughout the site for their content and comments (small country flag that can be clicked to sort content by other's with the same flag?). This would seem a reasonable way of helping the membership identify their countrymen (and women) and better engage with them.

    Presumably you'd want to retain English as the only language used on your site/forums? I mention it because it would make moderation challenging in multiple languages, but might make people feel more at home with a variety of allowed discussion languages.
    wedgar likes this.
  4. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright Well-Known Member

    Our four top visiting countries are
    1. United Kingdom 48.42%
    2. United States 15.68%
    3. Canada 3.21%
    4. Australia 2.49%

    And since the moderators can't be expected to speak a foreign language, we are going to keep English as the only allowed language on AVForums.
    But I would like to direct Americans to other threads by Americans somehow.
    We don't need them to pick a flag because we already have their country from their IP. This will probably need storing as a user option and editable but set by default from their IP when they register or from their most recent post for existing members.

    So I'm thinking maybe we can have links in the sidebar - a widget - which shows new threads and or posts by people from their country? Maybe only show this for non-UK people?
  5. BusyBee

    BusyBee Member

    Agree with above comment :)

    i dont see your website as UK content only. i will read all contents that i like to read if thats good and informative.

    this works and tell all members that your forum are not just UK readers only means globally read and well known.

    They come to your site not for looking peoples with same country i think...

    no point if the threads dont solve their problem means useless, better create wiki or FAQ.
  6. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright Well-Known Member

    No, you can't create a FAQ or Wiki for the kinds of questions they are asking. E.g. what do you think of this deal on this TV from this shop?
    If the TV is only available in the US and the Shop only exists in the US then that thread needs the attention of visitors from the US, because nobody from the UK can help.
  7. BusyBee

    BusyBee Member

    try create "official representative brands" section this works at some forum in UK so far i know ie: Hexus.
  8. EQnoble

    EQnoble Well-Known Member

    My actual answer to this is quite lengthy but for the New Year I am going to start being more short with words so I will get a bit of practice in now.

    You ask 'Do you think we should' and list some options yet when you ask me to think, I get philosophical and I am left with the idea that the answer to this is more a 'practice and preach' than is a 'solved by code' thing.

    Sure a custom widget which grabs threads started by people from X region will help them find other folks with easy access to the same components but I don't think this would necessarily help with answers to a specific (regional) issue nor stimulate growth and traffic for that region.

    The search by region would surely help in your site's case but it itself may not be of great benefit if there is not a lot of product reviews ,guides, questions (etc) for products and suppliers of that specific region.

    I say this from the perspective of an American with a possible AV issue about a specific product I purchased from a store not located in the UK as well as someone who could make a widget which functions similar to what you speak of and personally profit off of it so my points actually cutting out my only possible viable interest in this.

    I will refrain from going any further into my ideas as an American consumer of electronics goods here and just say that if you are going to cater to specific parties, don't bring takeout. Either cater to a region and try to boost that area or just worry about your bread and butter. If you want to cater to the US you'd need a staff member from the US to manage that segment; doing research for answers and things of the like for products which actually pertain to the market readily available to them.

    The same would go for any other country as well though for the most part many of the same things which are available in the US are also available in Canada though many times at at later date (things like cell phones and such) and as a result a person from either country would be suitable to manage most product concerns for North America.

    It's not that you couldn't pay someone from any country to do such a thing, but I feel like if you want good work you would have to pay someone more if they have to do research on things that have no bearing on products which are actually available to them. If you are getting lot's of 0 replies in regional areas but lots of visits and questions in same region it may make people in that region feel that there is nothing for them there and move on so in that case it may be worth getting someone in there to handle regional product questions to make that market segment feels more welcome and invited or even at the most selfish level like there is something in it for them there and then once you have a flow of people getting info relevant to their region you will eventually start picking up people who are from that area who can and want to help and I believe that based on the principle that it is easier to get people to join something in motion than it is to get a random crowd to push a train for you starting from a dead stop.

    Like I said this is mostly my own personal philosophy but you did ask what we think and while I could go on and expand quite a bit more, this is my shortened response to your question which overall suggests a different view of the problem at hand and the approach to solving it.
  9. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the replies.
    I think the problem is more that people place classified ads for products abroad which relatively few of our members will be interested in. And there are 0 replies to threads asking questions because most people can't answer them and they disappear off the first page before anyone who can help reads them.
    I'm not going to recruit someone abroad specifically to help local people because
    • the diversity of topics on AVForums is too wide for one person to be knowledgeable about enough of them
    • I think the community should help itself in principle
    • we don't have any budget for it
    I prefer the idea of being able to search for people in the same country. Or filter the thread list.
  10. Verringer

    Verringer Active Member

    The flag idea is a great idea, users would see where they're from and be able to answer for their country or not at all.

    I honestly don't see it as much of an issue, your lowest that you listed is still an english speaking country and if 1/100 people aren't English, that's not enough to worry about. Most non-english countries learn english, anyway.
  11. Alfa1

    Alfa1 Well-Known Member

    The solution I am going for is social groups per country. Identify users from a country (standardized location field values) and automatically add them to a social group for that country. This allows users from a country to find each other and centralize discussions that relate to the country. It will also allow you to keep track on how much discussion there is relating to the country. Eventually some of these social groups will grow big.

    A dilemma is if you want your site to grow in other languages. Obviously there is a demand for that, but the absence of other languages makes AVF popular in English speaking countries mostly. I can understand your reasoning for not wanting other languages. But its untapped potential that you leave open.

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