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My time, as a community leader, is limited. I've found that spending time managing the infrastructure of my community has become to time consuming - updates to forum software, plugins, templates, spam detecting rules, etc. After discussing the idea with my team, we decided to start a subreddit and migrate our users to that location.

Unfortunately, we've started encountering limitations to moving platforms. These include forcing users to re-register (at best) or become known by their reddit name which didn't match how we've known them for years on the forums, a different set of administration tools and a distinct lack of user levels. Previously we had guests, registered, community members, moderators and administrators. Now we have users and moderators. The benefits we gave community members isn't possible due to the flattened permissions style.

I am looking for ideas from other community leaders on how you successfully migrated from a forum that you had full control over to Reddit.

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  • Interesting question. In some ways your scope is very narrow (the specific move from forum to Reddit) but in other ways it's very broad (looking for ideas). What does "success" mean to you? Can you elaborate more on the problems you're encountering, and perhaps prioritize them?
    – Air
    Dec 11 '14 at 16:06
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Reddit has some features that you can take advantage of to ease the transition. I'll highlight a couple that stick out in my mind as ones that would address your specific concerns:

User flair

You can enable "user flair" on a subreddit to allow users to assign images or custom text next to their usernames on post and comments. Here's an advanced example of user flair usage, by /r/SteamGameSwap to show steam profile URLs, an icon, and trade count on hover:

Advanced usage of user flair, allowing /r/SteamGameSwap to display a steam user profile url, along with an icon and trade count.

In a similar way, you can customize the look and feel of user flair however you'd like on your own subreddit. Some suggested use-cases:

  • To establish aliases: set the user's old forum username as their user flair.
  • To retain the forum's atmosphere: set an icon-sized thumbnail of the user's old forum avatar. You could aggregate these old avatars into a spritesheet and follow this tutorial to set them up on your subreddit.
  • To reward users: Set special icons that are rewarded to community members as a benefit. You can add these to the spritesheet mentioned above.

User flair can be set up to be customizable by the user themselves, or only settable via the mods in the 'Community Settings' options. The level of customization you want to allow is up to you. You could spend some time searching through /r/csshelp to get an idea of other uses for flair as well.

Moderator Permissions

This won't totally solve your problem, but the top moderator of your subreddit can control the permission levels of the moderators below them. These permissions are available to moderators:

access - manage the lists of approved submitters and banned users. This permission is for the gatekeepers of the subreddit.

config - edit settings, sidebar, css, and images. This permission is for the designers.

flair - manage user flair, link flair, and flair templates.

mail - read and reply to moderator mail. By not granting this permission, you can invite third parties to manage your subreddit's presentation and flair without exposing private information in your modmail to them.

posts - use the approve, remove, spam, distinguish, and nsfw buttons. This permission covers the content moderation duties of being a moderator.

So former administrators could have full privileges, while former moderators may only have mail/posts permissions, designers may only have config permissions, and so on.

/r/modhelp has some further reading on moderator permissions, if you're interested.

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