Matt's Reviews > Managing Online Forums: Everything You Need to Know to Create and Run Successful Community Discussion Boards

Managing Online Forums by Patrick O'Keefe
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's review
Jan 21, 11

bookshelves: biz-reads
Read in December, 2010

At times this went too deep into the quibbles of forum denizens and the author seemed to be a bit obsessed with governance. Governance is important, but his suggestions came off a bit autocratic at times. Beyond those issues, this book is a practical guide to setting up an entire community, not just forums as the title suggests.

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message 1: by Patrick (new) - added it

Patrick Hello Mr. Paddock,

Thanks for reading the book and taking the time to post a review. I live on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and am about an hour and a half away from Norfolk. It's the airport that I use whenever I fly.

Governance, or (in my eyes) the management of an online community, is really the primary focal point of the book. It touches most areas, as I see it, and, though the book has complementary sections on marketing, monetization, etc. - management is definitely the focus.

Obsessed is an interesting word. I have been managing online communities for 10 years now and I would say that I am deeply passionate about this space. It might come off as obsession, but my aim with the book was to share everything - everything! - that I've learned and to pack it with as much information as I could share. To deliver as much value as I could and be very detailed.

Autocratic is another interesting word, as well. I was once told that a well run, structured online community is, at best, a benevolent dictatorship. I believe that to be generally true, at least in the context with which I am speaking: a productive, structured online community.

Obviously, there are community structures that are less, well, structured and that is neither bad nor good (just like having a firm structure is neither bad nor good). It's mainly a choice and there are a lot of choices one can make when it comes to online community.

When I write something, I don't intend it to be the be-all, end-all choice. What I want to do is present some thoughts and actions, based on experience and then, what I hope that people do is take them into consideration and use them to become better at what they do.

I know that I am always learning and growing from what I read and allowing others to improve my work or strengthen my convictions. It's all a process of improvement and being open to learning is crucial to this process.

I am sorry that you did not find the book to your liking. But, if there is anything I can do to fill in any blanks or speak specifically on a topic you had hoped would be covered, please feel free to ask me, either here or via e-mail at

Thanks again,


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