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Monday, October 11, 2004

Expats forums - are they well run?

Expats forums - are they well run?

I have experienced forums where the operators used the information passing through for their – undisclosed - business purposes, or shamed contributors for the most innocent or well-meaning posts, because it – again - went against some undisclosed objective. "Big deal go somewhere else", you might say.

In a normal environment this sounds completely practical. But take the expat environment. When expats live in a metropolitan area, they flock to the one happening expat board in town. These boards are run by individuals who may be idealistic or may hope to derive some profit from the board in some way. This sounds harmless enough. But on second thought, because community is something we invest in and take to heart ... and twice so when abroad, people can get hurt. It does take awareness and strong ethics to run such a board or a forum well. Forum software, even state-of-the-art, is available from 200;- dollars up. Anyone with some server know-how can open a board in town.

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