Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Craft Forums

Well I wasn't going to do a blog like this but everyone seems to be doing it now-a-days so I thought I'd give it a go :-) I have various interests, card making, glass painting, computer crafts etc... but I also have a life away from crafting.

Sadly the first thing to report on is the suspension of the Arts and Crafts Direct Forum. A message on the site says

"The forum has been suspended until further notice due to inappropriate use."
I wasn't actually a member of this particular forum but I have been a member of two others which have been closed down because of "in fighting". The fact that this seems to happen fairly often begs quite a few questions.... this time the forum was obviously closed because of arguments over the "My Craft Studio" software and whether or not it does what it should, if it was released too early and whether people who previously bought the software should get an apology. I can't really comment on the specifics of this case because I have never tried the software but for me it raises wider issues:

1. Should commercial sites have forums (or is it just asking for trouble). Should forums just be run by "independent sites ( shoppingtelly.com, craft.co.uk, www.craftsforum.co.uk.

2. If it is on a commercial site should it be seen as integral part of the site run by the owners or a service run by the owners for their users.

3. Is a companies forum the correct place for customer complaints, is any forum owner going to leave them there? Can any customer who can't seem to get an answer elsewhere resist putting a message in the forum :-)

4. What should a forum owner do about "inter forum flame wars"

5. What should a forum owner do about criticisms of competitors or a competitors product in their forum.

No doubt the Craft Forums will continue but it does seem sad that people who take no part in a particular argument / thread loose the facility of a forum altogether. Sometimes I don't think these companies realise how "stuck on" a forum people can get... its where they meet their friends, swap stories and even get support. Removing that without warning could be remarkably upsetting. Too many companies seem to think they can tag a forum onto their site and then forget it or hand the responsibility of it to some poor volunteer who then has to manage with little support.

We shall wait and see if Art and CRaft Direct decide to bring theirs back.

No comments: