Message Boards (or Fora) are fantastic stops on the Cyber Highway. They often are topic specific and attract those who are interested in that topic so if you're a Trekkie, or a Hobbit, or raise ponies, thre's a site for you.
Creating a message Board is easy, there are many sites which allow you to fling up one for free with very little difficulty. Sometimes there is a site whidch is designed and festooned with ads for particular purposes and products.
Moderating a Message Board in this season of Trolls, Magogs and other psychopaths is not as simple as you think. And this is just a brief guide to help you navigate shark infested waters.
The first point is that; Relevance trumps Freedom of Speech.
Write this down if you think you will forget it. Once you demand tht posts be relevant you can easily delete just about anything that is off topic without having the bleat about 'freedom of speech'.
Many very sick people will feel they have absolute licience to post anything they want and cause the greatest dislocation because they have Freedom of Speech
Relevance trumps Freedom of Speech..
Delete anything that does not belong there. Whether it's anal sex or Tea Party, if that isn't Relevant to your topic it is deleted.
The second point is to bar Trolls. Learn to recognise a Troll from the first post. Consfront the prospectiveTroll and ask; “Why have you joined this message board?” If response is unprintable it’s a click of a key. If the answer seems valid, watch the posts. The first attack is the last. Delete and bar.
These first two rules should be the foundation.
Having aLONG list of rules and regulations creates a Message Board in which discussions concern the rules and regulations.‘Making it up as you go along’ might seem unprofessional, but on Message Boards it is the most efficient. You don't know the composition of your membership, you don't know what they may or may not do, think, etc. It is better to see what is going on and then step in if necessary than have so many rules that people decide not to attend after reading 1/5th of them.