Launching a Colorado Soccer Forum. Really?
I debated long and hard about starting a Colorado soccer forum, but in the end, obviously, decided to try and give it a go for several reasons.
- I enjoy participating in soccer forums (well, mostly reading them).
- There is no existing Colorado soccer forum and I thought it would be useful to others. When we moved here it would have been helpful to talk to others with knowledge of the soccer landscape, the clubs, the weather, the league structures, etc.
- I think we can create a non-toxic community of Colorado soccer enthusiasts.
- I enjoy building software, and wanted to build a forum.
Now, most forums, and in particular parent soccer forums, are generally lowest-common denominator cesspools. But we won’t allow that here. I think with a combination of common-sense moderation, software design choices, and noble ambitions, we can build a useful, thoughtful community for the Colorado Soccer community.
We have deliberately chosen not to use off-the-shelf forum software for several reasons. First, most of them are … not good. They’re bloated, buggy, spam-magnets. All threads inevitably devolve into two guys arguing with each other, quote by quote.
I think I can do better. As I mentioned, I enjoy building software, and I believe I can build a better forum for our particular use case. We have modeled our forum software after an old, now closed, tech site forum I used to frequent, and the current Hacker News discussion site. There are differences, not everything is implemented here (yet), that is implemented in those, but they are our current standard.
We have purposely created a no-frills forum. No email notifications, no signatures or embedded html or emoticons. No registration required. Much of our inspiration came from a blog post by Joel Spolsky (creator of that old, now closed, tech site forum and co-creator of Stack Overflow). Building Communities with Software lays out a strong case for avoiding the pitfalls of common forum software, which we’ll try to do here. I highly encourage you to read the article.
Our forum guidelines (unwritten for now) closely follow the Hacker News guidelines. In short, be civil, on-topic and have something intelligent to say.
So can we do it? Can we create a Colorado soccer forum that isn’t full of trolls and actually lifts our atmosphere of thought (our culture) instead of dragging it to the bottom? I think so, but why don’t you come over and discuss it on our forum!