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Today (9th of July) Aaron does a interview with me about his new project: Fcommunties. FluffyBunny is a 19 year old male from New Zealand. His site launched on the 5th of July and got already to 2k post on the 8th of July, 3 days after. After installing a mod the forum got destroyed on phpbb and they moved to MyBB. With premium mods and a theme + the whole feel of Fcommunties sitll intact, this site seems to have a bright future ahead as a new hybrid forum.
Note: For those of you who don’t know what a hybrid forum is, its a combination of offering promotion services with graphic services, a “all in one forum” for webmasters.
1. Max Pen: How did you come up with the name Fcommunities? And why did you launch the site on a .net and not a .com domain? Did you have any other name in mind if the .net or .com domain were taken?
Fluffybunny: It was a bit of brainstorming. I had a few idea’s in mind but nothing interested me. I thought Forum Communities was a good one but it would clash too much with PhpBB Communities. But it was still a community for forums so I felt the need to have ‘Communities’ in it somewhere.
2. Max Pen: Is your forum the closest to being a hybrid forum or a admin/webmaster & promotion forum?
Fluffybunny: A bit of each. I planned for it to originally be a full hybrid but I decided to make it more administration than just hybrid. Though we do have a bit of each thing on the board as we have a
number of different MODs such as Gallery, Knowledge Base. So it’s each person’s decision what they would like to call it.
3. Max Pen: What is your definition of a hybrid forum and did you know any before TheHazey was launched? Do you think they are the next thing in a forum genre to create a project about?
Fluffybunny: I feel hybrid means a bit of everything and we have that here. We have a massive off-topic section. Plus premiums and donators are welcomed to a few hidden sections where they can discuss and have fun in. And I quite liked the idea of TheHazey. In fact that is pretty much why I supported the TH project. And the reason I started FC was because I saw too many promotion and webmaster forums falling down each day and knew I had to do something to support them. To support every project anyone had or wanted to start. Also yes I feel they are.
4. Max Pen: Did you start this project because of the way PhpBB Communities was quickly changing after Rich sold it? What impact did it have on you seeing or finding that PhpBB Communities was nothing like it
used to be anymore?
Fluffybunny: I actually had the plan brainstormed before PC started in early Jan. I gave up on the project as nothing was working the way I wanted it to. But as soon as I saw people disliked the fact PC was starting to become a hated forum I knew I had to open the project again and take one second look at the plans and idea’s I had.
5. Max Pen: If TheHazey never came to existence you think Hybrid Forums would have come to life? What are you planning on doing in the future on the site to make FC stand out from the other hybrid forums?
Fluffybunny: I believe someone would have came up with the idea and made something work. And all current plans for the project are being brainstormed and are private to staff members only.
6. Max Pen: How much time did you spent with preparing with this project? And how far into the future did you prepare for? In general: how much do you think a webmaster needs to prepare or be prepared with his project before and after launch?
Fluffybunny: Brainstorming took a few months and the official project didn’t start until June 12th, 2011. I then spent all that time setting up all the MODs we use and everything else on the board. I believe webmaster/admin forums need at least around a month. I took the exception of this by opening early as me and ZINC decided on plan dates.
7. Max Pen: What are currently the things you’re proud of on the project and points you need to work on, do better on the project? Did you expect activity would get up fast and FC being able to reach 2k in just 3 days being live?
Fluffybunny: I am proud of the stats. I have never run a project with such high stats in the first week. We are getting a few donations too which is good. Our themes are what need working on. Though we have designers and a style author that will be working on our stuff and hopefully coming up with something nice and sleek within a couple of months.
8. Max Pen: Does your staff team exists mostly out of PC veterans or are there other type of people in it to? What method do you use when hiring staff for your team? And why did you change your 2 mods to the design team? (Instead of having 1 mod and 1 designer, you have now 0 mods but 2 designers.) Do you play in on the demand what people are needed for said rank at the time or did you feel the designer team needs to be filled up sooner then the mod team?
Fluffybunny: The original moderators wanted to be designers more than moderators when they both became staff. At this point we have hired one new moderator and I have applications in place for choosing the leader. Plus while we may have lots of the staff from PC on the board we have combined the old PC staff with some newer people. And we base applications on how eager each member is about PM’ing me for an application.
9. Max Pen: You have released alot of features and services with the site its launch. How do you plan on making sure you’re site won’t die off or grow alot less inactive after a duration of time? What is right now your biggest challenge? And what will become your biggest challenge in months to come?
Fluffybunny: Competition is our biggest challenge. Though with our current plans in place things will get alot better in due time. Also we plan on extending most of our sections such as Knowledge Base, Gallery and User Blogs.
10. Max Pen: Do current staff have a say on new people joining the team? Or do you choose staff on your own? Do you plan on changing this like the way its done on FP (letting all staff vote on someone his application) once the community is a bit more settled in?
Fluffybunny: We have had discussions on who to hire but Juice was never really discussed as he is a personal favorite of mine. He is a great member of the community and is really supportive for the entire project.
11. Max Pen: From were or doing what got you the exp. you have now of phpbb and coding-designing? Is being a webmaster your main job or is it just an hobby right now? Also you say you don’t design anything for people other then residents from New Zealand. Is anything on the forum made by your hands of GFX?
Fluffybunny: I’ve been a designer for people since late ’08 but at that stage I was only doing it off and on. Now it’s a major hobby for me so I do it whenever I get the chance. I would rather keep in touch with my clients over phone or visiting them as I find it difficult to design for people with just email. That is why I only do it for people in New Zealand. I am mostly a coder & Joomla! webmaster so whenever I do graphics it takes a little while so no.
12. Max Pen: Would you “understand” when someone claims or finds your site to be a copy of PhpBB Communties or looking very very alike? In what ways would you or would you not agree?
Fluffybunny: We are a much friendlier forum than what PC has become. So no I do not think we could be matched with PC.
13. Max Pen: Are you going to try to center your forum about 1 software like PhpBB Communties did in the beginning of its launch? Or will you cover mybb,phpbb and so fort? (In articles, KB, giving support, etc)
Fluffybunny: We do not cover specific software and such. We are an administration resource board.
14. Max Pen: Do you think you would have been able to get this project going few months ago? As in having the exp for it, to manage it? Who would you already want to give credit for helping you in a BIG way?
Fluffybunny: Yes. But the reason why I did not bother is I did not believe in the project back then. Plus I was more of a movie fan so I decided to change project idea’s for Movie Planet. I learnt everything about phpBB in tutorials and such. But Richard Hayes did help me with a few things.
15. Max Pen: Did you ever expect to get banned on PC? Will it be now a battle between your site and them for members and becoming more active then the other? Or won’t you mind how they do and just look to how FC is doing?
Fluffybunny: Being banned from phpBB Communities was because I was sticking up for friends. Lacey did not respect that and decided to ban me and a few other people. Mostly just for proving her right though. And I do not care for PC and half of our staff do not give a drop of care for it either.
16. Max Pen: Do you agree with the feedback given that your frontpage should look very similar to your forum design which it currently isn’t? Is anything on the site so far added/changed thanks to feedback given after launch?
Fluffybunny: We have a theme designer working on a few things in the way of site/forum/blog design. I can’t say much but things will be changing within a month or so.
17. Max Pen: How did you get to like PhpBB alot? What core features do you like the most of it and what are your top 5 favorite mods? Do you ever have desire to get involved on phpbb.com as being part of their team?
Fluffybunny: I used it for a client in 2009 and really enjoyed how it worked. Once I got my head around the permissions system I really liked how things could work so easy. I tried MyBB but I enjoyed phpBB a whole lot more. Plus I do not have a list of my top favorites but the Knowledge Base is one of them.
And while it may sound fun to work at phpbb.com it would take too much work and I already base my time around clients and my forums. Plus the package team leader position I currently hold at another promotion forum.
18. Max Pen: Have you ever felt as motivated-certain about a project like FC? Will you plan on starting any new project in a long run? Or working on other forums as staff? Or are you going to focus all your resources to this one and what you got going now only?
Fluffybunny: Not really. FC is my favorite project out of any I have ever developed. There is a new project coming soon in which Stormy has been developing a very nice forum theme for. I cannot say much at this stage but it will be a unique project. But at this stage it’s just FC.
19. Max Pen: Finally how have the 4 days been so far the project has been live? As you expected for all your hard work done so far, getting good but a little bit slower then expected,etc…)
Fluffybunny: They’ve been great. The post total is the only thing that has gone a bit slow but things will slowly pick up.
Thanks for doing this interview with me Fluffy best of luck with your new project. May you find a good premium forum software. And I hope everyone has a interesting read on this interview. –Max Pen