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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot zook's Avatar
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    Post Diverse Forum Communities

    I have begun pondering the possibility of undertaking a community site project. I've done some research into the particular niche I would be targeting, and realized that there is a lack of quality in what is currently there...and there really are no sites that "stand out" or dominate in the niche.

    Many reasons for this are the fact that within this interest, you have people from all over the world - many in southern Asia, the Middle East, and Western Europe. They may or may not speak varying levels of English - if at all. There are obviously some language barriers here and so that may be an issue...and that is my main question for this post.

    How do you handle highly diverse communities, especially with the possibility of multiple languages? Is it even possible? Could you, say, create sections where the language is X, and another where the language is Y?

    What experiences have some of you had with multi-lingual communities?

    Discussion of these questions and also any other tips for community building are much appreciated. =)

  2. #2
    SitePoint Evangelist GTAce's Avatar
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    This is a very intersting concept and one that I would absolutely love to see in action. That said, I unfortunately do not have very much to suggest to you - as I do not have any experience with multi-lingual communities

    The only necessity I see with a community like this, as opposed to one of a single language - is that you will need a diverse staff from the get-go. If you plan to host multiple languages, you have got to have at least one person of each language representing your forums. Otherwise, who knows what your members will be saying and what kind of trouble they will cause

    Another problem you might come across is language packs. This I don't even know how to combat, but it is going to require extensive coding - coding which is rarely done, especially with forums. You will need the forums to recognize multiple languages and characters, yet all in the same files - that will not be easy.

    Sorry again for not really having a lot of advice for you...I just haven't encountered this before. I would love to hear how it unfolds though, so keep us updated - I'll continue to check this thread.

  3. #3
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    You may take a look at http://getpaidforum.com The concept there is to run the main forums in English, but there is also subforum "non-english forums" in which all the other languages are placed. Users are able to talk in their native language and in english. The non-english forums are running pretty well (more than 200000 posts).

    The key to success is (as GTAce mentioned) good staff. It can be very problematic to run such a multilanguage forum. You will have to rely only on the moderators, and it can happen that you have no influence what's going on there (because you don't understand the language, and moderators are out of control)

    I don't know if they are using any hacks, but it seems to work fine under Invision Power Board (and there such exotic languages like Chinese, or Thai), so from the technical point of view you should be able to do it.

    The bigger issue is in my opinion the grouping of forums in such international community. On getpaidforum the international forums are grouped into one big forum, and the dissadvantage of this approach is that every forum lifes his own life (i looked at the polish forum and there is only a week connection to the main english forums).

    You may also look at http://forum.rajiva.de it's a bilanguage forum and here the links to international forums are under every subforum. So every subforum is in two langueges (in your case there would be probably more). The advantage is that those international forums are tightly connected with the subforum. But the disadvantege is that you can finish with a lot of empty forums because the poeple are scared (and not willing to write) of the amounts of forums you will have (if you have 6 subforums and 4 languages then you should start with a huge amount of 24 forums..)

    I would start such a project with a try to build an english speaking community but with people from many countries. While developing english speking community you will know which of the people have the abilities to be moderators in specific languages forums, and then you can create such international forums. And if everything goes well you end up with something like getpaidforum with over 1000000 posts

  4. #4
    SitePoint Zealot zook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTAce
    The only necessity I see with a community like this, as opposed to one of a single language - is that you will need a diverse staff from the get-go. If you plan to host multiple languages, you have got to have at least one person of each language representing your forums. Otherwise, who knows what your members will be saying and what kind of trouble they will cause
    This is definately true. And not only do they need to speak whatever language, but if I'm to be running this project, they would need to also speak English so as to communicate with me. So now I could have up to 10 different languages and that would require at least 1 bilingual English speaker from each. That may take some type to develop...

    Quote Originally Posted by saicam
    I would start such a project with a try to build an english speaking community but with people from many countries. While developing english speking community you will know which of the people have the abilities to be moderators in specific languages forums, and then you can create such international forums.
    This definately sounds like the way to start. Much of what is already out there for this target audience is in English, but often you will see posts in different languages where several of the members are able to participate.

    I'm still unsure of whether to try this or not. One issue is the ammount of time this may require of me. I am a college student after all...

    That said I've got a domain name in mind, and it is availabe. I even have a design concept in mind (though I have little experience in forum skinning).

    Thanks for the replies =)

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the replies =)
    Sure, no problem

    Don't forget to write a note on this forums if you decide to try it.


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