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 Critiquing a Forum 
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Pokemon Master
Pokemon Master
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Joined: Thu Jun 15, 2006 4:59 pm
Posts: 2399
Location: feel the mambo
As you may or may not know, T&A is not meant to be a board where a user can advertise his project and receive several identical posts saying 'I like it' and/or 'I joined!'. Critique also plays a vital part in this section of the site and you are highly encouraged to review what other members advertised. It is a good idea that you read this guide in order to help webmasters and administrators learn what is wrong with their site or forum, and what they can do to make it better!

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1. Brief Overview
Look at the forum index or main page. What do you see?

Ask yourself...
» Is there organization? Or are there links all over the place?
» If there is a banner, is it well-made and easy on the eyes? Or is it blinding and obviously made on MS Paint by an inexperienced graphics artist?
» At a glance, does it seem like the content fits the audience and purpose of the site? Do you see porno ads on what is meant to be a family-friendly general chat forum?
» Do you like the design/layout? Are the colors soft and matching? Or are they bold and contrast a bit too much?
» Does the administrator or webmaster have their own domain? Whether or not they do usually doesn't subtract from the overall quality, but URLs lacking 'freewebs' or 'forumer' tend to come across as more professional and the owner put more effort into creating their project.
» Is the text simple and readable? Or did they use an elaborate font downloaded from dafont.com (keep in mind this is for general text, not for banners and the like)?
» What do you think so far?

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2. In Depth
Browse a bit. Peek at posts in the music board, scan through their 'About Us' page(s). Don't spend too long on a certain part of the forum.

Ask yourself...
» Is the site usable? How many broken links are there, if any?
» Are the rules clear and fair? And are people following them?
» Do they have moderators and assistant admins? Did the owner make good choices when choosing them?
» What happens to kids who misbehave?
» Does the content match the audience and purpose? Extremely important for family-friendly forums and sites: Are there word filters (you may have to ask the owner for this one)?
» What do you think so far?

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3. Wrap it up
So, after all that, how was it? Did it meet your expectations? Write up a decently sized assessment containing errors, flaws and things that could be worked on. At the end, give them a compliment or two! We don't want them to feel bad after reading your opinion, do we?

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I am accepting suggestions, especially for questions. Please share!

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Sat Aug 16, 2008 5:06 pm
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