Serial Posts on Forums: The Good and the Bad

One thing that I have noticed on many forums, including ones that I have run myself, is the existence of serial posts. Serial posts are posts where there are hundreds of repetitive replies, such as posting different memes, or a word association game. They are typically used by members to increase their post count or to win contests, but they also can be a fun mindless game for members to participate in.

They are both good and bad, from the perspective of a forum owner and members.

Good Things

  • Increases activity on the forums, making it more active than it otherwise would be.
  • If it is structured as something people can reply to, it can increase replies by other users.
  • If it is content people want to view, then it may increase readership and page views.
  • Members feel as if they are contributing to the forum.
  • Some serial posts can actually be fun to post to or read.

Bad Things

  • Unless separated from normal posts, it can be used to increase post counts and points for contests.
  • People often post content they don't own, which may lead to copyright issues.
  • It may lead to spammy posts.
  • It can clutter up the activity feed for other users who are trying to read normal posts.

Possible Tactics

There are ways to deal with serial posts that maximize their benefits while minimizing the down side.

  • Have a special forum area reserved for serial posts, and move any serial post started in another forum area to this forum area.
  • Serial posts and their replies do not count in any contest or competition.
  • If possible, replies to serial posts do not appear in activity feeds. People have to go to the serial posts section to participate in serial posts.
  • Optionally disable increasing someone's post count based on replies in a serial post.

Using these tactics will increase activity on the forum, while keeping contests fair, while not cluttering up the rest of the forum.

About the Author

WisTex's picture
Scott M. Stolz

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