What are helpful tips for a new forum website?

31 replies
Currently, working on this new forum website and will love to know what tips might resurrect a new forum website from its 'dead' state.
It can be very challenging as well as discouraging to put all of energy, investment and idea into creating a forum website and eventually its like no one even knows about it.
#forum #helpful #tips #website
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    Hi ceoboss,

    Good for you. You'll succeed.

    Step 1: do serious mindset work. Sounds like you are projecting failure, fearing that all of your hard work will result quite possibly in nobody reading. If you do things right, with the right energy, creating value and building bonds, your success is as guaranteed as the sun rising in the morning. Same Force creates each event.

    Step 2: Publish in-depth, valuable posts related to your niche. Whenever a new forum owner pitches me to give their forum a look, for joining, I see how committed the forum owner is to the venture via their in-depth, helpful forum posts. Ya gotta stock your forum to impress me.

    Step 3: Promote top bloggers in your niche, publish hefty, genuine comments on their blogs and ask for nothing in return. This proves you are interested in influential folks - not in what they can do for you - which gradually grows into friendships, over months. 3-6 months down the road, send these pros an email - 1 to 1 of course - asking them to take a look at your forum. Since these friends trust you, many will do so, leading to more traffic, some promotion, and these big dawgs will get your forum rolling.

    This is the organic, long term, smart way to do it, and to have fun in the process.

    Ryan
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    • Profile picture of the author ceoboss
      Hello Ryan,

      I can't explain how inspired and grateful I am to have received those honest words from you. Thank you for taking your time to share this relevant masterpiece.
      PS: I have put most of the tips you mentioned into practice on the said website.
      I would also appreciate it if you could stop by on the forum website www.forumine.com and probably share a more tailored review to help succeed in this project.

      I am currently giving this website all of my time so I am positive enough it will definitely reach its zenith soon.
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      • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
        Originally Posted by ceoboss View Post

        I am currently giving this website all of my time so I am positive enough it will definitely reach its zenith soon.
        Why does each forum have the same posts as all the other forums, with none of the post having anything to do with any forum, at all?

        Is that just filler to give people the impression that there are active members?
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        "He not busy being born, is busy dying." - Bob Dylan • "I vibe with the light-dark point. Heavy." - Words that Bob Dylan wishes he had written.

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        • Profile picture of the author ceoboss
          Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

          Why does each forum have the same posts as all the other forums, with none of the post having anything to do with any forum, at all?

          Is that just filler to give people the impression that there are active members?
          We are actually fixing that at the moment. For some reasons, it lost it's previous alignment which makes topics supersede then announcements below the topic.

          Thanks for your time and the keen eye.
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          • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
            Originally Posted by ceoboss View Post

            Thanks for your time and the keen eye.
            I live to serve. It's something I'm very passionate about. You're very welcome.
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            "He not busy being born, is busy dying." - Bob Dylan • "I vibe with the light-dark point. Heavy." - Words that Bob Dylan wishes he had written.

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    • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
      Originally Posted by ryanbiddulph View Post

      Good for you. You'll succeed.
      Seriously, Ryan? You really need to give this type of response a rest. You have no idea whether or not anyone will succeed at anything, regardless of which, if any, of your 'suggestions' they choose to follow.

      Thinking positive is nice. Being honest is much nicer and will garner you much more respect than you will ever receive for these simplistic assertions that are nothing more than pollyanna, untethered to reality..

      Sorry, but someone had to say it as you provide an endless stream of this nonsense on a daily basis.
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      "He not busy being born, is busy dying." - Bob Dylan • "I vibe with the light-dark point. Heavy." - Words that Bob Dylan wishes he had written.

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      • Profile picture of the author ceoboss
        Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

        Seriously, Ryan? You really need to give this type of response a rest. You have no idea whether or not anyone will succeed at anything, regardless of which, if any, of your 'suggestions' they choose to follow.

        Thinking positive is nice. Being honest is much nicer and will garner you much more respect than you will ever receive for these simplistic assertions that are nothing more than pollyanna, untethered to reality..

        Sorry, but someone had to say it as you provide an endless stream of this nonsense on a daily basis.
        This is an act of troll. Besides, This same Ryan you mentioned has a better achievement than you here which goes a long way in making real-life conclusions about you. No room for hate!
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        • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
          Originally Posted by ceoboss View Post

          No room for hate!
          The only thing I hate is when people accuse you of hatred when you disagree with someone. There's no hate involved. Just total rejection of mindless drivel all wrapped up as New Age mumbo-jumbo, which benefits no one. :-)
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          "He not busy being born, is busy dying." - Bob Dylan • "I vibe with the light-dark point. Heavy." - Words that Bob Dylan wishes he had written.

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    • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
      Originally Posted by ryanbiddulph View Post

      If you do things right, with the right energy, creating value and building bonds, your success is as guaranteed as the sun rising in the morning.
      STOP THE INSANITY!!! lol
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      "He not busy being born, is busy dying." - Bob Dylan • "I vibe with the light-dark point. Heavy." - Words that Bob Dylan wishes he had written.

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    • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
      Banned
      Got to say Ryan I have learned a lot from your posts. Keep sharing them Man.
      : )
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      "Each problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem. The greatest success stories were created by people who recognized a problem and turned it into an opportunity."―Joseph Sugarman
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      • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
        Originally Posted by Jonathan 2.0 View Post

        Got to say Ryan I have learned a lot from your posts. Keep sharing them Man. : )
        Why am I NOT surprised??? lol
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        "He not busy being born, is busy dying." - Bob Dylan • "I vibe with the light-dark point. Heavy." - Words that Bob Dylan wishes he had written.

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        • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
          Banned
          Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

          Why am I NOT surprised??? lol
          (LOL) Sometimes a Marketer chooses something that they're passionate about. (That doesn't mean something like a "hobby" (etc.)... Just something that makes them feel alive.)

          2C
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          "Each problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem. The greatest success stories were created by people who recognized a problem and turned it into an opportunity."―Joseph Sugarman
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          • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
            Originally Posted by Jonathan 2.0 View Post

            Just something that makes them feel alive,
            Seriously? I'm speechless. Well, not really, but I see no benefit in wasting any more words.

            That said, I have friends, family, a dog, a beautiful view out back and the sound of the first birds of spring outside my window. That makes me feel alive.

            I feel very sorry for anyone that needs a website or forum, to feel alive.

            I truly mean that. That's beyond sad.
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            "He not busy being born, is busy dying." - Bob Dylan • "I vibe with the light-dark point. Heavy." - Words that Bob Dylan wishes he had written.

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            • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
              Banned
              Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

              Seriously? I's speechless. Well, not really, but I see no benefit in wasting any more words.

              That said, I have friends, family, a dog, a beautiful view out back and the sound of the first birds of spring outside my window. That makes me feel alive.

              I feel very sorry for anyone that needs a website or forum, to feel alive.

              I truly mean that. That's beyond sad.
              Lol. I noticed a little bird hopping around one of my Bars ... Then on the way back from shopping I was like "You still here gorgeous ?" Then she did a little hop and picked up some twigs (for her nest) that I didn't notice at first.

              (I'm very simple.)
              : )
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              "Each problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem. The greatest success stories were created by people who recognized a problem and turned it into an opportunity."―Joseph Sugarman
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            • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
              Banned
              Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

              I feel very sorry for anyone that needs a website or forum, to feel alive.

              I truly mean that. That's beyond sad.
              As much as I like you Frank/Optedin ... Your problem is that you think "your" way is the "only" way ,,, When many times it's not. Being open-minded is an important characteristic of maturity (IMO).
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              "Each problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem. The greatest success stories were created by people who recognized a problem and turned it into an opportunity."―Joseph Sugarman
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              • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
                Originally Posted by Jonathan 2.0 View Post

                As much as I like you Frank/Optedin ...
                Oh, please! Can't you be honest about anything? lol

                Your problem is that you think "your" way is the "only" way ,,, When many times it's not.
                Not true. I acknowledge the fact that there are many ways to do most things. It's just that I consider my way - the right way - for me. I couldn't care less how someone else decides to do something. Edited to add: With that being said, I do feel that my 60 years in business, mainly in sales, (probably more than twice as long as you've been alive) does afford me a certain amount of credibility based upon my experience, resulting in an extremely comfortable retirement. On many things in life, you could do much worse than follow my lead. I'm most interested to hear of your accomplishments.

                Being open-minded is an important characteristic of maturity
                Maturity? That's priceless. You have the experience and wisdom of an adolescent.

                (IMO).
                Which means nothing to me.

                Have a great day.
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                "He not busy being born, is busy dying." - Bob Dylan • "I vibe with the light-dark point. Heavy." - Words that Bob Dylan wishes he had written.

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  • Profile picture of the author IGotMine
    You'll succeed.
    Psychic predictions - how very business-like.

    Currently, working on this new forum website and will love to know what tips might resurrect a new forum website from its 'dead' state.
    I can't figure out what the main topic is. That's not good.
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    • Profile picture of the author ceoboss
      You' ll need to explain your definition of 'main topic' for a better understanding
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  • Profile picture of the author kathleenmelvin
    Hello ryan,
    Great and well-written post.
    Really very helpful.
    Thanks!!
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  • Profile picture of the author affmarketer101
    Hire some micro-influencer to work for you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Gambino
    I'm by no means an expert at creating a forum. But, at the end of the day, every online forum revolves around having members that want to discuss certain topics. The one thing I would not want to do is try to send traffic to a dead forum.

    First, I would look to build a solid following of people that are interested in your subject. Preferably, on a email list. But, a Facebook group may work.

    Then I would establish a connection with them through regular communication and introduce them to the idea of a forum to discuss/solve problems they have and connect them to other people.

    Then, I would probably run a referral competition to get even more potential pre-members and give something away to the winner(s).

    Then, I'd open the forum to them and encourage them to post by offering some sort of prize/contest early on.

    Once the forum is up and running. I would continue to grow my email list to continue to introduce people to the forum. A certain percentage of people are going to 'leave' or stop participating in for forum each month so you have to keep people coming in until people are finding you on google or other means.
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  • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
    Originally Posted by ceoboss View Post

    Currently, working on this new forum website and will love to know what tips might resurrect a new forum website from its 'dead' state.
    It can be very challenging as well as discouraging to put all of energy, investment and idea into creating a forum website and eventually its like no one even knows about it.
    One of our forums has been running continuously for 18 years. It is a general business forum with a lot of leeway in the discussions.

    We spent four months setting it up, before we opened our doors, we sent private invitations to "experts" in their field, and asked them to answer some questions. By the time we went public, there were many discussions, a Q and A section, several freebies.

    It takes time and CONTINUOUS maintenance, ACTIVITY and staying on top of spam.

    We expect to keep it going for several more years too. Good luck.

    GordonJ

    PS. In the first few years we generated a list of several thousand people many of whom remain BUYERS to this day. You have to G I V E first, then you will get yours. Allow the time to let it catch on.
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  • I think you should get you a forum building mentor. PM some of the people who have forums themselves, who's answered your questions in depth on this thread, and negotiate a fee for them to mentor you.

    That way you have someone to hold you accountable, and to help you shorten your learning curve by speeding up the income generating process.
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  • It's tough to launch a new forum off the ground. Some people suggest creating fake profiles in the beginning to make it look like the forum is active. They say it will create interest, thereby encouraging others to join others. But the truth is that it's alot of work. You have to deal with spammers, managing forum sections, dealing with "beef" from other forum members, marketing, etc. It's a catch 22, but the true question is what is the intent of the forum? If it's too much work, are there any other easier ways to derive the solution you're looking for?
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  • Profile picture of the author brettb
    I started a forum 2 months ago. It's gonna be a long slog.

    Victories so far:

    I built a little forum for a site I made last year and I did get some real people posting questions. So I bought a dedicated forum domain and put a forum on it.
    My new forum is the fastest site to get traffic from Google I have ever started.
    The few visitors have viewed a lot of pages, and the bounce rate is ultra low.
    Competitors have largely given up and Facebook woes will want to make more people go back to traditional forums. You're not gonna want to discuss this niche on FB!

    Failures:

    Hardly any traffic, and after the initial flurry no new keywords are showing in Google Search Console. Yeah, I need more backlinks.
    No users have registered so far, except for 1 spammer.

    So far all I know is:

    Choose something people are truly passionate about.
    Try and post a lot of images, preferably original images.
    Don't go so heavy on curating other peoples' content at the start. You need OC.
    Remember to choose a niche where people are gonna post. I know they will in my niche.
    Don't start a forum if you're not technical or aren't willing to hire help. Forums WILL break at some point and you'll have more spammer problems than with a blog.

    And +1 for the other comments about getting a posse of like minded people together to start a forum. This is a very successful strategy. My friend did this years ago and his forum is still fairly successful.
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  • Profile picture of the author ceoboss
    I cannot emphasize how helpful these posts have been. I took notes, devised strategies, and took every detail mentioned here into consideration, surprisingly, the results are eminent and promising.

    This practice has made me realise how crucial and effective forum management can be. I have also learned that this process is a continuous loop that requires constant gearing to keep balance.

    It can be a little challenging for a starter to be a "sole runner" .That being said, I am will to connect with interested individual via PMs for mentorship, partnership and sharing of experiences.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve B
    Originally Posted by ceoboss View Post

    . . . what tips might resurrect a new forum website from its 'dead' state.

    Ceoboss,

    I've never tried to bring back life to a forum that was dead ... so I'm being up front and honest about the fact that my advice is not based on specific experience being in your shoes.

    But I do have a ton of experience working with offline and online businesses and I can tell you some of the things that are important in getting visitors and subscribers to online web sites. And I believe these same principles will help you in getting engagement of your audience with your forum.

    1. Your choice of a niche is very important. You must choose a niche in a marketplace of rabid enthusiasts. You need to be catering to people that you don't have to convince about being active and contributing - they want to participate because they are passionate about the subject.

    2. Specialize as much as you can. Don't try to grab a wide audience - you want people that are all interested in the same discussions. I know this sounds counter-intuitive. The idea is that you want to appeal directly to everyone you sign up as members. Your forum can grow and become more diverse once you are established and your members direct the discussions into side topics, but in the beginning it will help you to focus on discussions that will interest all your members. [ Note: Yes there are some very general forums that are successful - but don't try to compete with these from the outset - you won't be able to. ]

    3. Prepare your forum as much as you can ahead of time with great content and some discussion. Don't use fake members and posts, but try to get some founding members (give them incentives) to get things going. Include incentives and freebies in your memberships for early adopters.

    4. Give prospects and visitors compelling reasons to join. Make those reasons pertinent and associated with the topic of the forum. But don't stop there - also give them solid reasons to spend time on your site and to engage with other members.

    5. See if you can entice authority web site owners in the niche to do some promotion of your forum to their members. Site owners without a forum should be interested in offering this benefit to their subscribers (possibly as an affiliate or sponsor). The idea, of course, is to get your forum seen and marketed within your niche.

    6. Market, market, market . . . This goes without saying, but if you want to be successful you'll have to keep at it for the long term. I don't know of any forums that are successful without continued marketing. If you want to be involved with the forum business model you must understand that you will need a continuous stream of new members. Look at the Warrior Forum for proof. Most of the members here are pretty new (less than 2 years).

    7. Protect your forum. You need moderators, rules, and a certain amount of policing of what goes on. Don't let the forum become a free-for-all where anything goes. Protect your investment but also be up front about what you will accept and what you won't. People can live with rules when they understand, up front, what they are. It's when they get blindsided that creates complaining and bad publicity.

    8. Keep things fresh, lively, and interesting. Be creative and give your members things to discuss like niche news, events, changes, new thinking and perspectives, some controversy, even encourage new sub-topic discussions in the same niche. Hold a contest now and then. Given the audience niche problems to solve and case studies to talk about.

    9. Encourage friendships, member interaction, and other strategies that will promote the forum as a true community of niche participants. Lots of forum members will come back often just because they have friends and acquaintances that they want to interact with. One of the forums I belong to sends out a weekly newsletter to keep members informed about what's going on at the site - a great way to remind people to come back to the forum and check out the latest happenings.

    10. Keep everything about the web site forum simple and intuitive. Don't confuse or overwhelm your members with difficult or complex interfaces and thread/posting requirements. Keep it simple and make your forum feel comfortable for members.

    These are just a few ideas. Yes, running a forum can be a lot of work and you need to go into this business model with your eyes wide open.

    The best to you.

    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author ceoboss
      Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

      Ceoboss,

      I've never tried to bring back life to a forum that was dead ... so I'm being up front and honest about the fact that my advice is not based on specific experience being in your shoes.

      But I do have a ton of experience working with offline and online businesses and I can tell you some of the things that are important in getting visitors and subscribers to online web sites. And I believe these same principles will help you in getting engagement of your audience with your forum.

      1. Your choice of a niche is very important. You must choose a niche in a marketplace of rabid enthusiasts. You need to be catering to people that you don't have to convince about being active and contributing - they want to participate because they are passionate about the subject.

      2. Specialize as much as you can. Don't try to grab a wide audience - you want people that are all interested in the same discussions. I know this sounds counter-intuitive. The idea is that you want to appeal directly to everyone you sign up as members. Your forum can grow and become more diverse once you are established and your members direct the discussions into side topics, but in the beginning it will help you to focus on discussions that will interest all your members. [ Note: Yes there are some very general forums that are successful - but don't try to compete with these from the outset - you won't be able to. ]

      3. Prepare your forum as much as you can ahead of time with great content and some discussion. Don't use fake members and posts, but try to get some founding members (give them incentives) to get things going. Include incentives and freebies in your memberships for early adopters.

      4. Give prospects and visitors compelling reasons to join. Make those reasons pertinent and associated with the topic of the forum. But don't stop there - also give them solid reasons to spend time on your site and to engage with other members.

      5. See if you can entice authority web site owners in the niche to do some promotion of your forum to their members. Site owners without a forum should be interested in offering this benefit to their subscribers (possibly as an affiliate or sponsor). The idea, of course, is to get your forum seen and marketed within your niche.

      6. Market, market, market . . . This goes without saying, but if you want to be successful you'll have to keep at it for the long term. I don't know of any forums that are successful without continued marketing. If you want to be involved with the forum business model you must understand that you will need a continuous stream of new members. Look at the Warrior Forum for proof. Most of the members here are pretty new (less than 2 years).

      7. Protect your forum. You need moderators, rules, and a certain amount of policing of what goes on. Don't let the forum become a free-for-all where anything goes. Protect your investment but also be up front about what you will accept and what you won't. People can live with rules when they understand, up front, what they are. It's when they get blindsided that creates complaining and bad publicity.

      8. Keep things fresh, lively, and interesting. Be creative and give your members things to discuss like niche news, events, changes, new thinking and perspectives, some controversy, even encourage new sub-topic discussions in the same niche. Hold a contest now and then. Given the audience niche problems to solve and case studies to talk about.

      9. Encourage friendships, member interaction, and other strategies that will promote the forum as a true community of niche participants. Lots of forum members will come back often just because they have friends and acquaintances that they want to interact with. One of the forums I belong to sends out a weekly newsletter to keep members informed about what's going on at the site - a great way to remind people to come back to the forum and check out the latest happenings.

      10. Keep everything about the web site forum simple and intuitive. Don't confuse or overwhelm your members with difficult or complex interfaces and thread/posting requirements. Keep it simple and make your forum feel comfortable for members.

      These are just a few ideas. Yes, running a forum can be a lot of work and you need to go into this business model with your eyes wide open.

      The best to you.

      Steve
      Thank you for you awesome words Steve. Please feel free to reach out via PM at your convenient time for personal discussions
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    No offesne but the OP forum looks like crap, it's randomness everywhere.

    Focus on something. Anything.
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    • Profile picture of the author ceoboss
      Originally Posted by yukon View Post

      No offesne but the OP forum looks like crap, it's randomness everywhere.

      Focus on something. Anything.
      Well, The OP was ready for comments from people like you. The ones that have decided to tear down rather than build.

      The randomness you knew nothing about was a startup idea gotten from moderators with excellent track record. According to them, It's good for a start.

      Thanks again!
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      • Profile picture of the author yukon
        Banned
        Originally Posted by ceoboss View Post

        Well, The OP was ready for comments from people like you. The ones that have decided to tear down rather than build.

        The randomness you knew nothing about was a startup idea gotten from moderators with excellent track record. According to them, It's good for a start.

        Thanks again!

        Translation: I blame the world for my failure to comprehend. Meh.

        Tell me what crypto, exams, kindness acts and sports have to do with each other. Fail.

        Yep, you're right, don't change anything. It's perfect.
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