What should a moderator of a medium (200+ active, 1000+ membership) sized forum gaming community do; where the senior admin team have all dropped off over time without promoting anyone in their place? So far everything has been running OK, (the last time anyone saw any of the admin team was 6 months ago) but in the last couple of weeks things are starting to come apart a bit and we need an admin to deal with things.

Given the right access I know what to do, but I can't do anything right now. Is now the time to pack up and move everyone to a new community? Can we salvage things?

3 Answers 3


That membership size is still sustainable enough, for now. You should try and keep things ticking over just fine, but if the staff become absent for much longer, it may be time to migrate. After all, if they're losing interest, why should anybody else stay?

You could try and communicate with the staff. Search their nicknames on Google, and see if they are active anywhere else (you can try match their info up with things like age and location, to be sure). However it may be best if you take over a lead position before the community crumbles, as people will still have high morale and be more willing to continue over at the new community.

This is because people find it a convenient place to stop contributing any more, when their old community comes to an end and everyone is fighting anyway, people do start asking why they are still there, and move on to other communities. By taking the initiative now you can bolster the existing community and retrieve it, as well as being able to tailor it to your own ideology.

That said, you should make provisions for the site owners to return and should endeavour to reach a compromise if they do return once you've migrated.


Six months?! What are you waiting for? If it turns out tomorrow that they haven't paid for hosting and the whole site goes down, how are you going to fix it then?!

Stay calm, but get moving...

  1. Start a group somewhere else, somewhere stable; this isn't a permanent replacement, just a place to coordinate things if the current site becomes unavailable for some reason. A Facebook/Google Group or even a mailing list would work just fine.

  2. Invite a few people you trust. Outline the situation. Stress the importance of **NOT PANICKING*. Then ask for their help keeping things orderly as you move forward.

  3. Post about this publicly within your community. If you have a way of pinning or featuring a post, use that. Make sure that you position this as a contingency plan in case something unexpected happens - the online equivalent of a tornado shelter. Encourage everyone to sign up, but stress that they don't really need to do more than that.

  4. Now follow Harry's advice and try to get in touch with the MIA staff. Emphasize your concern for their well-being, and ask if there's any way you could help shoulder the load while they're recuperating (or whatever).

  5. Make regular (but not super-frequent) posts on your "backup" group. Just often enough to let folks know it isn't abandoned. Maybe use it as a place to talk about somewhat more "meta" topics related to the community - talk about how great that one guy's new haircut is or something.

Now, if the worst happens (site goes down, staff stays MIA / return in a rage and declare their abandonment of gaming and full allegiance to The Dark Lord, site is beset by trolls/spammers to the extent that it becomes unusable) you have that fallout shelter waiting. If you were successful in getting folks to sign up there, you'll be well-prepared to use it as a place to transition to a new venue.


Who is hosting this site? I can't see anyone hosting a forum for a site project they lost interest in. Have you tried contacting the owner of the website (maybe look at the Domain's WHOIS information) and ask what's going on?

I, personally, would have been out when people started going inactive for more than a month or two without letting anyone know. You should look into setting up your own forums, and getting the community to follow you. (200 active people should not have an issue migrating). Maybe ask the site host/owner for a copy of the database so that you can import the old forums onto your new site.

I can understand inactivity, but, you should at least be able to send an email or get a hold of them somehow to discuss the future of your project. Good luck getting things worked out!

  • 1
    What if it's something like a shared Tumblr page or a Yahoo group or Livejournal community, where the owners of the platform aren't the custodians of this community's content in any meaningful sense? Sep 18, 2014 at 1:24

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