Get this forum more active.


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We should find a way to get these forums more active! I would love to get on this forums as much as I do other ones, I also think it could decrease HawkHost's costs if users posted some support questions here and other users could try and help them out! If you guys have any ideas I would love to hear them I wanna grow this forum!! :)

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To do that, HawkHost needs to take the forums more seriously. The HH team do not visit that often and quite often topics posted take a while to get replied to and by the time they have been replied to, they have been sorted by other means. Personally when looking around at hosts, I do look at their forums, see what users are saying and seeing typically how quick users get solutions to issues. Unfortunately for hosts without forums or with forums like HH's, you can't see these aspects so you have to take a chance that the hosts support is good. More often then not I think the most activity this forum has per day is by spammers which equally doesn't look good on HH when they sit there for a long while which is quite often the case. Unless HH are willing to put more effort into the forum, users will not use it even for minor support questions and it will continue to just be used as a place where users post about the lack of support they receive in a support ticket or new users ask a question to then be told to start a ticket meaning that by posting here and waiting for a reply, they have been heavily delayed in getting the help they need. I can understand the need to use support tickets from account specific questions but it does feel that HH try to push users questions (even basic ones) away from the forum and for the questions when a support ticket is a better method, it can take a while for a user to be told that. Even pre-sales questions on the forum can take a while to be answered which again doesn't set a good example for HH ---> http://forums.hawkho...ersion-numbers/.

On a seperate note, I also think the blog is being neglected aswell. There used to be monthly blog posts about what is coming and what is being worked on. I used to enjoy reading them to see what was being worked on, what has happened in the past month including some things that you might have not have noticed but now there is no monthly updates anymore.

PS. This is not intended to be rude towards HH or the staff. It is my view on the forum and what I think could be done better.

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I agree completely with all the points that Fowler raised.

I just selected Hawk Host as a web hosting provider and moved two accounts here less than a week ago. Selecting a web host is hard, given the myriad of choices and lack of objective evaluations. One of my major criteria in support, and that is very hard to evaluate before the fact. So I look for hosting providers that have a forum. No forum, and I will avoid the provider. I look at the tone of the messages, speed of responses, participation of the provider, and and whether there is peer support. (I do try the ticketing system for pre-sales questions, but can't count on sales support translating to technical support later.)

By those standards, I consider the HH forum to be lackluster.

The forum could be so very much more useful to the community. One of the things I value about an active forum is that it contains a wealth of information from which I can get answers to questions without having to ask them again. Being responsive is key.

I've learned that each provider staffs the support channels differently. HH seems to put its focus on the ticketing system, with less emphasis on other channels. I'm just getting used to that.

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I agree, I think they need to pay more attention to being social (don't get me wrong I love hawkhost) but I think they should get on here more and I haven't been with them long enough to know about their blog but it would be nice to see them update it more, i'd even integrate it free for them :P.

Hopefully the Management sees this and takes it into consideration to become more active here! :)

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You've all raised a number of points so I'm going to do my best to address them all:

1) For those of you searching the forums for answers to technical questions, or features we offer, one of the downsides of this is we're a dynamic company. Plans are often changing, we drop support for outdated/incompatible software (SVN comes to mind), and we're constantly adding new technology. We maintain a knowledgebase at https://support.hawk...wledgebase/List which is almost always up to date (we review it often or edit it based on requests from users for inaccurate info). It's much easier for us to manage/audit a KB than it is our forums since there are just so many threads and with constant changes it'd be impossible to edit every post/answer.

2) Our forums are primarily used for posting server maintenance notices, outages, or network/infrastucture changes. We also post new features/site changes here as well. The forums, at least for us, have never been thought of as a way to "educate" users about what we do. We rely on our website, our staff, and our KB for that. I always have, and likely always will be, a firm believer that getting your answers from one of our staff via ticket or email is a more intimate experience than a forum. It lets you get a feel for who we are and the kind of passion we have for our company and this industry. That comes with each reply being dynamic, not just some canned reply or a bulletin or post on a forum for the whole world to see. I'm not ignorant to the importance of having that available though, which is why we do maintain a forum.

3) I personally check the forums multiple times per day, and I know our other staff does as well. They may not be as active as myself but they're here and they help me out with answering questions outside my scope (I'm nerdy, but not that nerdy!). I could probably post more and create more threads to interact with you guys, and if that is what you want to see and think it'd help create a more vibrant community I'll make it a point to do so. We are quite active on both Facebook (https://facebook.com/hawkhost) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/hawkhost) so you can always follow us there and see more of who we are.

4) Every forum has spam, we're no exception. I usually get into the office around 10-11AM EST, and clear any spam and handle any reports from users. Sometimes that spam gets posted at 2-3AM which is usually just after I leave (yes, I have weird hours) so it gives the illusion spam is just sitting. I will *never* knowingly leave spam on the boards or ignore a user report. I promise you all that.

5) We've only given admin or moderator access to a small number of our team. We have very high standards for who can speak about our company publicly and who can reply on a public forum, so again if a user appears to wait 6+ hours for a reply to their post it's simply because they created the post during "off hours" for our admin users. This is why we rely on and always push users to our ticket system, we have people there 24/7/365.

6) If it seems we push users with technical or "basic" question to tickets, it's likely because we see something that would require us to know specific account details. We take security and privacy quite seriously so I would not risk exposing details about someones site, or asking them to reveal said details, in a public forum.

7) http://forums.hawkho...ersion-numbers/ was referenced as an example. This is one instance where we did drop the ball on replying to the forum (I was out of town for those 3 days), though that user did submit a ticket and had their questions answered within 4 hours in their support ticket. So while the forum reply was slow, this is why we prefer the ticket system as someone was able to help them out much more quickly through our helpdesk. You are right though that 3 days is not acceptable.

8) We have slowed down on the blog, though if you check now (http://blog.hawkhost.com) you'll see there are 2 posts within the last 7 days. I intend on keeping that frequency up with interesting content, and we'll be involving some of our sysadmins and developers to write more technical posts again. Why did we slow down on writing? Simply put, growing pains. We've expanded a whole lot over the past 6 months and we're growing quite a bit. I used to write all of our monthly reports and honestly I had my energies devoted elsewhere during that time. I was never ignorant to the fact it wasn't being published (it was always on my forever growing to-do), but when it came to writing a blog post or helping our guys and keeping our core business running I had to make a choice. Now that my head is above water again (hypothetically speaking), I'm going to be writing more and will try to get the monthly updates going again :)

I cannot emphasize how much we all value this feedback and that you guys take the time out of your days to evaluate and provide constructive criticsm towards our business. Trust me when I say it means a lot that our company is at a position where users genuinely care about what we do and actually *want* to interact with us.

You guys have definitely been heard, and in conclusion I will absolutely try and be more active, have our other staff be more active, and will work on getting more detailed+timely replies in these forums. I do still urge you guys to follow us on FB or Twitter (if you're not already) if you want more insight into what we're doing.

I'm always open to anyone PM'ing me with ideas, problems, concerns, compliments, offers to buy me a beer, basically whatever it is you have to say. I take an enormous amount of pride in what we do here at Hawk Host and if I can ever improve something, or make even just one user the slighest bit happier, I'm all yours :)

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4) Every forum has spam, we're no exception. I usually get into the office around 10-11AM EST, and clear any spam and handle any reports from users. Sometimes that spam gets posted at 2-3AM which is usually just after I leave (yes, I have weird hours) so it gives the illusion spam is just sitting. I will *never* knowingly leave spam on the boards or ignore a user report. I promise you all that.

In my time zone (GMT), quite often there was spam posts posted in the morning my time and they would sit there for hours until the afternoon. I used to report them although I gave up as it doesn't really serve any purpose I don't think as you would be able to see the spam just as quick by searching for the latest posts. Weekends also seemed to be worse in terms of the speed to remove the posts/topics. I have to admit there does seem to be far less spam now then there was years ago in the vb days before your upgraded to IPB. Also I haven't seen much spam for the past month or so.

6) If it seems we push users with technical or "basic" question to tickets, it's likely because we see something that would require us to know specific account details. We take security and privacy quite seriously so I would not risk exposing details about someones site, or asking them to reveal said details, in a public forum.

I should have probably gave an example for this. An example I had in mind was a topic like this -

It was a pretty simple help request and while help was given, it did end up in suggesting that the forum is not a good place for asking for help (judging from the "you'll receive a reply faster than in these forums" statement) and that statement could also stop that user using the forum for help again for other support. Also the last paragraph didn't really encourage a reply to the topic either. If the user had another simple non account specific question related to the issue then the user could still have used the forum (especially if they were staffed more) and that is kind of what I was referring to. In my opinion, it would have been good at the end of the post saying that if you have any account specific questions relating to this topic or if you want us to add the domain for you or want a more personal level of support then start a support ticket but not make it sound like you are trying to push the user into a support ticket with any further questions they have however simple. Ultimately a support ticket would get the quickest response with the current forum setup (so I am not saying what you said was wrong as the "push" was made in the interest of getting the user faster help) although if users are always pushed towards support tickets like this then the forum will always be quiet and you (the HH staff) will not be able to justify putting more time into the forum with the level of activity on the forum being low. This might be me looking at things from a completely different angle from you lot but coming from a previous host that used a support forum more actively, I am probably used to seeing hosts offer more support through their forum. While I agree support tickets are more personal, I think there are many advantages to an active support forum too which could cancel out that advantage.

7) was referenced as an example. This is one instance where we did drop the ball on replying to the forum (I was out of town for those 3 days), though that user did submit a ticket and had their questions answered within 4 hours in their support ticket. So while the forum reply was slow, this is why we prefer the ticket system as someone was able to help them out much more quickly through our helpdesk. You are right though that 3 days is not acceptable.

New users may not be aware that the forum will not generate as fast support as the ticket system. Also if the user didn't ask the question through other means aswell, they would have been waiting for 3 days which I am sure would have made the user look elsewhere for hosting. While you admitted it was not acceptable and users waiting that long I know is extreme even for this forum, it does lead back back to my point in my last post about potential customers using the forum as a tool to judge how fast/helpful the HH staff are. Potential members visiting the forum looking at the support given will show some long waits for support, not much activity on the forum in general and support replies usually advising users to open support tickets so meaning that the potential customer is not really determined much about how good HH are.

Overall the HH support is pretty good (maybe not as good as it was a few years back) but it is the best support overall out of all the hosts I have used previously. My fear is that the forum does put HH in a bit of a bad light in that respect to new potential customers which I think is a bit unfair on you guys although when there is so much competition and choice when it comes to hosting, the littlest things can be the difference between a customer choosing you or not.

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I'm sorry if my post made HawkHost look bad, if it did I promise you it was not meant too after all I do love HawkHost!

5) We've only given admin or moderator access to a small number of our team. We have very high standards for who can speak about our company publicly and who can reply on a public forum, so again if a user appears to wait 6+ hours for a reply to their post it's simply because they created the post during "off hours" for our admin users. This is why we rely on and always push users to our ticket system, we have people there 24/7/365.

I can totally understand this, I don't want some junky acting like they know stuff that they don't :P.

3) I personally check the forums multiple times per day, and I know our other staff does as well. They may not be as active as myself but they're here and they help me out with answering questions outside my scope (I'm nerdy, but not that nerdy!). I could probably post more and create more threads to interact with you guys, and if that is what you want to see and think it'd help create a more vibrant community I'll make it a point to do so. We are quite active on both Facebook (https://facebook.com/hawkhost) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/hawkhost) so you can always follow us there and see more of who we are.

Yes, I would love for you guys to be more active on here. Simply put the staff here is some of the nicest people i've ever worked with and it would be nice to be able to get to know you guys on a personal level (well not really personal since thats kinda weird, but I guess be more social..?), plus if we could all ban together and post topics around here i've found with a lot of my past experiences working with hosts when you post topics when they get indexed traffic grows and then eventually bringing more web masters into signing up with HawkHost; and I want nothing more than to help you guys grow as much as I can and I also think the members here feel the same way as me.

Thanks Brian for hearing our feedback! :)

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Fowler, I hear you loud and clear and you make some great points, some I had never considered. If I'm not mistaken forumpromotion is your site (based on your signature) so I have no doubts you know what you're talking about here and have much more experience than myself on this front.

I've got a lot of things to think about based on this and some ideas in the pipeline already so I'll be revisiting this thread as time goes on to make sure I don't stray too far from your feedback. I have a sneaking suspicion that as we continue to grow the forum will naturally become more popular so an answer may fall into my lap (for lack of better term), but in the mean time I want to model any changes off this feedback.

Thank you once again :D

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Fowler, I hear you loud and clear and you make some great points, some I had never considered. If I'm not mistaken forumpromotion is your site (based on your signature) so I have no doubts you know what you're talking about here and have much more experience than myself on this front.

I've got a lot of things to think about based on this and some ideas in the pipeline already so I'll be revisiting this thread as time goes on to make sure I don't stray too far from your feedback. I have a sneaking suspicion that as we continue to grow the forum will naturally become more popular so an answer may fall into my lap (for lack of better term), but in the mean time I want to model any changes off this feedback.

Thank you once again :D

Thanks for listening, it means a lot! I look forward to seeing the changes :)

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