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  • #993240
    GuestMember
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    People come and go. It’s the nature of fora. But I’ve been watching for a while now as members come and go from Flying Solo. Why is the rate so high? Here are some of my thoughts:

    • Many people (‘people’ from now on) seek business advice and leave. They don’t get involved and share their own knowledge, ideas and opinions.There was another discussion on this one.
    • Some even introduce themselves as looking forward to getting some advice.
    • Spammers. They drop an advert in and leave. This also includes nicely written ‘introductions’ that are soft sell.
    • Some feel they don’t have anything of value, especially if new to business. They actually have transferable skills and knowledge and naïvety can bring novel solutions but they may not see it that way.
    • It doesn’t feel safe at times and everyone has a different view on what this means. I said someone was ‘off-topic’ and all hell broke loose even though the contributor said he was off-topic himself. He felt ‘hurt’ and ‘slapped’ – like the recipient of abuse. Other people feel they’re treading on eggshells and want to be more forthright and organised. Both groups feel uncomfortable and common ground may be hard to establish.
    • People ‘warranting voice’ – this one usually comes out when people feel threatened in some way. Someone is undermining their business agenda, is more knowledgeable, etc. Out comes something like, “When you’ve been in this industry as long as I have…”, or “Having being on Flying Solo for many years”. People want to feel welcome and safe, not that their contribution is less worthy than the person working to establish authority.
    • People trolling others, looking for negative things to say. For a while it looks like just an opinion but when you watch closely, patterns emerge. A small number of individuals routinely leave negative comments but only for certain people. No one dare say it is bullying and it hovers just the right side of getting admin involved. It’s more about tone.
    • People putting words in people’s mouths. I’ve had this one scores of times and no doubt occasionally have done it myself. It can be pretty frustrating to be left to unpick something you never said.
    • Threads descending into ‘process’ (discussing how we should discuss) rather than ‘content’ (discussing). I’ve been guilty of tackling a few people on this. It’s not pretty for the others involved.
    • Public feedback. Some feel feedback should be public. It’s open, transparent, is often what others are thinking, etc. Others feel offended by it. Some would call that low self-esteem. From their perspective, they’re fine; it’s the person giving feedback who is being aggressive. Yet PMing doesn’t seem courteous either. Some would prefer these matters be public rather than being locked into a private discussion with no public accountability for what they say.
    • Time. Writing posts, commenting, and sometimes dealing with conflict, all take time.
    • The membership number on FS. Is that active members? 81k. People often say they are back on here after a lull (often to get advice and then not help anyone else while they’re here, it seems). It’s a relatively small number of regular faces.
    • Not getting customers. Some are here to help. Some to be helped. Some to add value to people’s lives and businesses to simultaneously get their face and businesses known. If no leads and ultimately, conversions, occur, they’re off.

    These are some of the reasons I’ve noticed on my travels. Why do you think people sign up and then don’t stay involved?

    #1190502
    Jason Ramage
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    Paul

    Interesting post, interested in what has inspired said post although i must say that your thought and insight into the topic of conversation is quite deep and pretty well versed. From my perspective, you have covered what i would have seen as well albeit in greater detail.

    The engagement factor is interesting though, some that have been here a week that spam heavily and then those like you or I (or others) that have been around over 12 months with decent contributions and volumes of input at different degrees – some over 1k posts and others under 500, although what does that hold in itself.. ( to assess someones valid inputs its great to see there ratio of likes v posts – nice gauge on quality input generally )

    The only thing that i could potentially add to the equation would be the expectations of the OP’s themselves. Some wanting free advice (which you cover) although do not get what they perceive to be of HIGH VALUE or those that are seeking valuable monetary advice for FREE. Something you may see in your professional mentoring business or I in my field. This is one of the reasons i have begun to omit my name, my appearance and so forth as the words i write are not related to my name nor my business in this space and any advice is offered freely and generously, not offered to be chastised or muted by another.

    Although some may personally wish for me to not add to topics with advice slightly out of the box or with statements that are a little left of field (not irrelevant) doesnt mean that others may not benefit in some way shape or form or enjoy the discussions in general in the friendly lounge we reside so freely. All advice given, offered or spoken of is purely for the OP with a sincere message in everything typed and thought of – whether it sparks a thought parallel to the original question or is directly on topic, can help either way and my name is irrelevant.

    I flutter in and out of here, for many of the reasons you cite. Another reason some leave is that they do not receive that merry old pat on the back and confirmation that their thought is CORRECT in some way.. Bit self centred, i know, although it still occurs in society today.

    Its always going to be a difficult task for those adminions in this space to keep abreast of the challenges to retain awesome contributors or thought provoking individuals with oodles of talent in their respective fields, such as yourself (we have engaged previously with positive commentary), for reasons that you also mention such as time to post said replies or topics, no customer pipelines built (that we know of immediately), etc..

    Overall, love your post (s) and i feel that the underlying reason for the post is more intriguing than the actual post in light of the last few days. Reading between the lines or putting thoughts and reasons for why someone does something is really dangerous, i even began at the start of this sentence to do it and then changed :), although a few of your reasons why appear to be emotive more than subjective, correct me if i am wrong though – please?

    Personally, even though anon, i value everyones input in this forum.. EVERYONES… Rarely will you see me call out anyone and ask them to be quiet (politely or not), suggest they are way off topic or even suggest not on topic at all and to revert back to something else.. although you will see this from time to time from others, as not all value others advice if it is not in line with their own – another valid point you raised.

    Love your posts, love your comments and most importantly i would like to say that the community is better for having a wide range of individuals who are successful in their own rights and the community will only get stronger and stronger the more we ALL PUT OUR BEST FOOT FORWARD and help graciously without expecting any gratuities.

    Keep on writing.. Looking forward to reading more…

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: hello@lucasarthur.net.au   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    #1190503
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    Thank you for your in depth thoughts and kind comments. I can see you’re interested in the inspiration behind the post! It was a long time coming and I had most of it prepared. The post we were on today contained some of the familiar issues and prompted me to crack on with it as I found I was addressing them there.

    This one you said is enormous:
    “Another reason some leave is that they do not receive that merry old pat on the back and confirmation that their thought is CORRECT in some way.”

    I agree. People want to feel validated and acknowledged. We’re social animals. There’s not enough of that around here and I will do even more of that (whilst remaining genuine). It’s so easy for us to agree quietly as we pass through a thread and then invest in the negative that got us going for some reason.

    It’s prompted me to add another similar one on why some might stay active:

    • People often negate other people’s views on why they are wrong, rather than simply saying what they think. They should either calmly add to the mix of thoughts or if they must, ‘challenge point, not the person’.

    Take this:
    “I think social networks are a waste of time”
    Reply 1
    (personal, dismissive, presumptuous, generalising): “You’re missing the point. What I’ve found is that people who say that are not doing social correctly.” (these are the kind that get my back up).

    Reply 2 (helpful, challenging the point – implicitly – not person, relaxed, presumes competence): “I’ve found Twitter useful and grew my network fast by…”

    Reply 3 (relaxed, enquiring, interested, agnostic, they’ve got time for you): “Which networks have you tried?”

    Practically the same message in 2 and 3, just nicer tone. I need to do more of 3. Ask questions. Because I’m time poor, I sometimes make statements without finding more information. Assumption also breed in that environment.

    It’s not ‘just language’, it’s actually all we have on fora. I’m a specialist in language use and train it but at some level, maybe unconsciously, many people feel uncomfortable with comments and they can’t quite put their finger on it. If you’re not comfortable, you move on.

    #1190504
    Gizmo
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    Being all individuals I’m sure there just as many reasons as there are members.
    I dropped off for a long time due to lots of new projects and work.
    Also the change in forum software added to my drop off.
    Seems like its improved a lot since it was released, well done FS Team.

    #1190505
    bb1
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    I typed up a long reply, and deleted it, as I think Harry has said a lot, but I will ask one question, and it is not to be negative, or to speak for the community or to stray of topic or many of the other things stated, just a simple question really

    Is it a high attrition rate?

    #1190506
    Robert Gerrish
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    Hi All

    Thank you Paul for starting this interesting thread! It’s one that comes up from time to time here and probably most discussion forums.

    Here’s an excerpt from a post Peter wrote a while back on the same topic:

    We’re always looking for better ways to encourage people to engage and participate (indeed that’s what separates a community from general content sites).

    We’ve done a fair bit of research on this topic over the years and the gap between lurkers and contributors is well documented online, it’s sometimes called The 1% Rule.

    On wikipedia it is defined as…

    “The 1% rule states that the number of people who create content on the Internet represents approximately 1% (or less) of the people actually viewing that content (for example, for every person who posts on a forum, generally about 99 other people are viewing that forum but not posting).”

    There’s no denying we see a good number of active members come and go and yes, these are people who have technically joined the 1% – but it’s worth noting that we have a generous community who work hard to make newbies feel welcome and at FSHQ we do our bit to gently cajole those who may have never posted on a forum before.

    The consequence of this is a slightly heightened influx of newbies and for many the impact of an initial post may not be the instant gratification that they have come to expect on social networks like Facebook.

    To all us forum regulars, we get that ‘slower and deeper’ has distinct benefit, but that’s not necessarily the expectation of today’s new small business owner.

    Thankfully it’s discussions like these and their demonstration of shared, considered opinion that will continue to provide help, support and encouragement to the 99%.

    And that’s why we’re all here.

    Robert :)

    #1190507
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    Thanks for hopping on Robert. You’re right that there are always people silently following.

    In terms of content producers, likers and commenters, just a few stalwarts remain over the months and years. Over this more stable group lies a high turnover of newcomers who stop contributing.

    Whether they’re disappearing forever, or they’ve retreated into observation-only mode, only the stats and those involved can tell, but the effects are obvious front end.

    I do training. We get the vocal ones we have to temper for the benefit of the group. They dominate airtime. But some folk are very quiet and they’re also a problem. We ask them to contribute and they say, “Oh I’m just listening, learning, and giving everyone else opportunity to speak. It’s the respectful thing to do.”

    It’s not, actually, because it deprives other people of THEIR views and the learning and discussion that comes from this.

    Writing, thinking, and editing take time. Reading is super fast. Some may be getting maximum benefit with least input.

    If we could get that 1% (for the sake of argument) up to 2% (whether by retaining the high turnover group, or re-engaging some of the 81000 members who are read-only, that would be hundreds more people contributing.

    So something is going on. I’ve identified some of the issues. I hope some people can add some of their thoughts, maybe even some of the people who have been quietly observing!

    #1190508
    Gizmo
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    [USER=5]@Robert Gerrish[/USER]
    Thanks for what you raised.
    Another issue I have recently experienced is that you cannot link to your own services in posts, even where it seems its well placed.

    It also seems its more accepted to link to someone elses services.

    Of course we are all here to share and learn.
    And I’m sure we all want positive outcomes which could be described as a win-win-win
    The reader wins
    The forum wins
    The author wins

    So why when we can teach about what we know why can’t we link to relevant information we may have on our websites?

    e.g. in a recent post in a thread asking about how effective google advertising is I linked to a case studies done that compared it with other advertising channels.
    I believe this was removed.

    Had I posted to another case study not on my site… would it have been removed… from what I have seen previously it would not have.

    I know you need to stop spammers, but to allow us to promote external services that may not be our own over our own it in my opinion a hindrance to people who want to help.

    Just voicing on how I think this forum to be more fair and more of a win for active contributors.

    #1190509
    JohnTranter
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    Gizmo, post: 223681, member: 43147 wrote:
    [USER=254]@Robert[/USER] I know you need to stop spammers, but to allow us to promote external services that may not be our own over our own it in my opinion a hindrance to people who want to help.

    I think the signature at the bottom of posts is fine as far as I’m concerned. The Linkedin forums are a good indication of what happens if you allow too much self promotion, lots of people starting new threads and very little interaction.
    Nothing wrong with “Get in touch if you want more help”

    Personally I’d like to see the archiving of old posts. The amount of times old threads have resurfaced because a newbie has searched for their topic of choice and responded to a 2 year old thread.
    It’s particularly annoying when it’s a hot topic and we have to sit through the same old tired arguments. e.g. “Which is better, Shopify or Bigcommerce?”

    And if I see yet another “Have you thought about changing to WordPress?” post in an unrelated thread, then I may scream.

    #1190510
    Gizmo
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    Yes agreed spammers opening threads in self promotion should be removed.

    However if a good thread is started and you have something valuable to add and can link to relative infomration on your website you should be allowed to IMO.

    #1190511
    getcontented.com.au
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    Paul Peace, post: 223561, member: 54653 wrote:
    People come and go. It’s the nature of fora. But I’ve been watching for a while now as members come and go from Flying Solo. Why is the rate so high? Here are some of my thoughts:
    • Many people (‘people’ from now on) seek business advice and leave. They don’t get involved and share their own knowledge, ideas and opinions.There was another discussion on this one.
    • Some even introduce themselves as looking forward to getting some advice.
    • Spammers. They drop an advert in and leave. This also includes nicely written ‘introductions’ that are soft sell.
    • Some feel they don’t have anything of value, especially if new to business. They actually have transferable skills and knowledge and naïvety can bring novel solutions but they may not see it that way.
    • It doesn’t feel safe at times and everyone has a different view on what this means. I said someone was ‘off-topic’ and all hell broke loose even though the contributor said he was off-topic himself. He felt ‘hurt’ and ‘slapped’ – like the recipient of abuse. Other people feel they’re treading on eggshells and want to be more forthright and organised. Both groups feel uncomfortable and common ground may be hard to establish.
    • People ‘warranting voice’ – this one usually comes out when people feel threatened in some way. Someone is undermining their business agenda, is more knowledgeable, etc. Out comes something like, “When you’ve been in this industry as long as I have…”, or “Having being on Flying Solo for many years”. People want to feel welcome and safe, not that their contribution is less worthy than the person working to establish authority.
    • People trolling others, looking for negative things to say. For a while it looks like just an opinion but when you watch closely, patterns emerge. A small number of individuals routinely leave negative comments but only for certain people. No one dare say it is bullying and it hovers just the right side of getting admin involved. It’s more about tone.
    • People putting words in people’s mouths. I’ve had this one scores of times and no doubt occasionally have done it myself. It can be pretty frustrating to be left to unpick something you never said.
    • Threads descending into ‘process’ (discussing how we should discuss) rather than ‘content’ (discussing). I’ve been guilty of tackling a few people on this. It’s not pretty for the others involved.
    • Public feedback. Some feel feedback should be public. It’s open, transparent, is often what others are thinking, etc. Others feel offended by it. Some would call that low self-esteem. From their perspective, they’re fine; it’s the person giving feedback who is being aggressive. Yet PMing doesn’t seem courteous either. Some would prefer these matters be public rather than being locked into a private discussion with no public accountability for what they say.
    • Time. Writing posts, commenting, and sometimes dealing with conflict, all take time.
    • The membership number on FS. Is that active members? 81k. People often say they are back on here after a lull (often to get advice and then not help anyone else while they’re here, it seems). It’s a relatively small number of regular faces.
    • Not getting customers. Some are here to help. Some to be helped. Some to add value to people’s lives and businesses to simultaneously get their face and businesses known. If no leads and ultimately, conversions, occur, they’re off.

    These are some of the reasons I’ve noticed on my travels. Why do you think people sign up and then don’t stay involved?

    That’s an interesting post. I’m just curious. Why does it matter? Seriously. These kinds of questions often pop up. The number of interested people will be the number of interested people.

    A story: I program in a few (computer) programming languages. One of them is a less-than-popular one called Haskell. It has a high focus on math, and various other things that most people consider to be “difficult” (which I personally don’t agree with, but that’s neither here nor there).

    Now, the “Haskell community” is half people who are very interested in making Haskell very popular, and half people who are kind of against it in a way, because of the disadvantages popularity has (most people don’t think about these very much, but there are things like it’s harder to change things when they’re more popular, or that there is a less concentrated set of thoughtful folk if things are more popular – put another way, there are more comments, and more activity, but often far less interesting activity and deep thoughts taking place).

    The major thrust of what I’m saying is that perhaps it’s worth considering if it’s “just at a good level” as it is – a point it needs to be at, for now. One can discuss what one can do to increase numbers, or attract more interested parties, but it’s possibly worthwhile considering the impact of such things, and exactly what they mean anyway. Do we want to holas-bolas increase numbers, or do we actually want to increase the quality of conversation? If we increase quality conversation too much, though, won’t it actually have a negative impact on the communication itself? (I imagine trying to follow a thread with 1000 participants in it, and I think I’d give up).

    Just some food for thought.

    Warm Regards,
    Julian

    #1190512
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    Good point Julian. More (quantity) of good quality in my opinion and removal of tired old threads like John said, would make way for fresh content that might keep people more active on here and encourage others.

    I nearly fell for a 2 years old one the other day. I would like to see a relaxed approach to people starting a new thread without people getting upset that it’s been done before, though. Whilst it is in rule (11), new people might have refreshing new thoughts and in business the same questions often do come round repeatedly and technology, economics, etc can change the landscape.

    If you can’t ask what’s been asked before, that does restrict things. Could be one of the many reasons people are not continuing to contribute (feels pretty awkward when someone says offline – “We’ve discussed this before.” So what? Discuss it again.

    Gizmo, I agree that some people might leave because of that restriction but it may be for the greater (lesser?) good.

    John hit the nail on the head. I created a LinkedIn group with NO outbound links (even to other people’s content). BTW, I wish I could link out right now because it’s highly relevant and I’m very selective and considered, so I feel your pain.

    Yes, a person in tech banned links on a LinkedIn group! I now have a healthy group that is slowly gaining traction as people recognise the refreshing benefits.

    Why was I so harsh? Because it’s a slippery slope. If I put a grain of sand in a room does that make a ‘pile’? If I add a grain, does that make a pile? How many grains make a pile? Moderation is like this. Moderating is time-consuming and painful because they have to decide what is in the thread’s interest and community interest (very subjective).

    People set precedents and others point to them. They’ll say, you let him post this, you let her post that. Too much politics and subjectivity, making moderation a nightmare. It’s rather like road bumps. A small number of bad drivers mean more hardship for those who are thoughtful. You might drive well but they don’t and we’re all (ha ha) tarred with the same brush. Bloody annoying but necessary.

    Soon enough, everything deteriorates into advertising. No one wants that. That’s what happens on LinkedIn groups as moderators get overwhelmed and demotivated and everyone loses respect for the group and now visit only to hammer in a blog signpost before leaving without reading (often without ever visiting in fact, scheduled in Hootsuite or Buffer). The groups look active but it’s deceiving.

    So whilst some might stop posting due to this, I have to say, it’s a necessary restriction in my opinion.

    #1190513
    bb1
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    JohnTranter, post: 223685, member: 20554 wrote:
    Personally I’d like to see the archiving of old posts. The amount of times old threads have resurfaced because a newbie has searched for their topic of choice and responded to a 2 year old thread.
    .

    If you are going to do something with old threads, just make them read only (cant reopen), but don’t archive, there is still a lot of good information in some of those old posts,

    #1190514
    Jason Ramage
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    Paul Peace, post: 223724, member: 54653 wrote:
    If you can’t ask what’s been asked before, that does restrict things. Could be one of the many reasons people are not continuing to contribute (feels pretty awkward when someone says offline – “We’ve discussed this before.” So what? Discuss it again.

    Evening Paul

    Firstly, let me apologise in advance as i know i tend to look at things particularly different than most and approach some things off kilter – its just my nature to do this… Moving on..

    Having read through your posts with vigour over the last few days, as we have engaged a bit, i must say that i can definitely see how you are approaching this comment above and what you are meaning.. My issue with this though may be coming from a side you are not seeing or have not noticed? i am hoping anyways.

    This comment about rehashing the same old same old comments and queries is all good if its a relevant topic, one to help businesses get started with processes, ideas, concepts, resources for coaching/accountancy etc although where i find it quite frustrating are those posters that rehash questions and invasive queries that have literally been asked multiple times over the last 30 days – things that would clearly show up in a search of the forum. This tends to happen from overeager newbie peeps, which are awesome to have, that dont get to know the platform before injecting their suave approach. This eagerness can sometimes illicit interesting replies, and i am one, that welcome them to the forums (remember their stats are 1 post) and suggest they review the recent posts of similar ilk and also to go introduce themselves to get to know us in the friendly forum we are.

    Allow me to drill down a little, as this is where i get specific as i have avoided it a little above.. The time i disagree with you are the ones that are wanting forumites to plot their journey and supply suppliers (note not where to look but actual suppliers) and in the business world this is extremely difficult as most will not offer up their suppliers to someone that could potentially go into competition with them – its like sitting at a BBQ over summer and having a conversation like this ‘so bob, awesome new HSV you bought – what did that cost? by the way, what are you earning now days? must be doing well to buy all those toys!” – this is considered a no no. Further to this, not only is it hard to illicit a reply, it also tends to illicit lots of trolling from wannabe suppliers or worse still, scammers.

    There is a fine line in all forum etiquette, and it is how us regulars reply to these queries and how we point them in the right direction that can be beneficial. Because it has been asked before, may save someone typing a massive reply (like this lengthy one ;) ) when all they need to is suggest a new search or send them a link to find.

    Your point is valid in some situations, although when it comes to suppliers and the likes i feel its way off topic – Sorry once again. By the way, have you ever had a search on how many people ask for wholesale clothing suppliers in this forum and how many of the replies are people trying to sell or hoodwink or sell wholesale lists to the OP’s?

    Cheers

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: hello@lucasarthur.net.au   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    #1190515
    GuestMember
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    I agree that ‘suppliers’ threads are sometimes tedious. I think the issue there is that many of these people who are not posting any longer came to ‘smash and grab’ business advice. People should ADD VALUE to people’s lives, businesses, and personal development, not just ask for advice and not bother any more, or post empty comments just to get their face around. It’s about the spirit of it.

    Personally I don’t like people taking and not giving. I know admin are gentle on this but they have to be a bit more agnostic for obvious reasons.

    In their defence, some people seeking ‘suppliers’ come under a similar title but the content is often subtly different.

    Not sure I agree on people not helping their competitors as a generalisation. Often true, and some might stop contributing here for that reason. But if that were the case, no one would sign up to my platform and I’d by up poo creek in a paper canoe without a paddle.

    I knew I’d helped tonnes of therapists in my home town grow their practice (grown my competition, my accountant said). That was the inspiration for my site. He was being short-sighted (or didn’t understand my industry). Far from being competitors, we created alliances where we’d refer clients to one another, benefiting from each other’s marketing, and reducing the need for advertising. I’ve seen the SEO and web guys helping on here both directly and indirectly as they share the latest thinking. I’d be interested, not scared if someone wanted a supplier I used.

    I’m not naive, but with suppliers, I’d be thinking about bulk buying between us – win-win and asking if we’re selling through different channels or could even form an alliance.

    It usually transpires in business that you get back if you help others. Call it you scratch my back…good karma…reciprocity…it all amounts to the same thing. The trouble is, here, it’s too often ‘you scratch my back and I’ll not bother with yours’!

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