A few months ago when the Comic-Con news was just starting to turn the dial up a notch I had stumbled onto a message board dedicated to (almost) nothing but Comic-Con simply named Friends of CCI and I of course had to join up immediately. There are literally dozens of websites out there posting press releases and other bits of information for all things related to Comic-Con, but this was the first that I truly felt that anybody could come in and both give and take information and advice in a real time manner. Earlier this week I had an opportunity to speak with site founder Alyssa about the site and what she might have planned for the future.
When Nerds Attack: How long has the board been up for and what made you decide to start it up?
Alyssa: I started the board in Oct/ Nov of 2011 when the Discussion area was deleted off the Comic-con Facebook page. I first started it under my name because i simply wanted a place to store information, in a wiki fashion, so everyone could contribute & so we (the people who answer questions) could refer to it & refer people to it.
Then Zero contacted me, explained her background in moderating & made suggestions for a better organization methodology. The board seemed to be increasing it’s ‘hit count’ & could benefit from her expertise so I brought her on as an admin. We did the re-organize & moved the forum to the new Domain, FriendsofCCI.com late march.
Chris Chen sumed it up this way;
“The Friends of Comic Con International (CCI) Forum started with a group of fans who congregated daily on the CCI Facebook page to meet, chat, ask & answer questions, and have fun. As part of answering questions, the group utilized the Discussion Page feature of Facebook to answer repeat questions that were asked on the wall. But then one day, Facebook discontinued the Discussion Page feature. Not wishing this type of information to be lost, one brave woman created the Friends of CCI forum and the rest is history.
It is a place that was created with a lot of pain and even more love by fans of Comic Con International for fans of Comic Con International where people can continue to meet, chat, ask & answer questions, and have fun. We hope you find it helpful.”
WNA: How many active members do you think you had at the peak of discussion? Do you find any difficulty making sure conversations are organized and threads remain on point?
A: I can’t even begin to answer the “active members’ question, I’d have to go wonky & quote stats. Suffice to say we have just under 700 members who’ve signed up. At the peak, just before SDCC we were getting abt 4500 unique visits/day with 70,000 hits per day.
Yes, I have to say keeping the forum organized & keeping the threads on point is the hardest thing for me. I tend to assume once a structure is in place it will stay in place due to my experience in technical forums. The other admins have been very helpful in my education about fan forums and in ways of dealing with the occasional in thread re-direction.
WNA: Thats a crazy figure! Are you looking to expand the scope of your site or perhaps try something new leading up to the 2013 SDCC that you were not able to in 2012?
A: I wish I had gotten t-shirts on to the backs of forum members & business cards made up for the con. I missed an opportunity for forum members to recognize each other at the con & to spread the word about the forum. Being an organization that responded to a need (the discussion area being deleted), I just didn’t have the funding in place to offer that option.
We are planing on doing a update to the forum before the holidays. I hope to include new features & functionality to the forum in addition to refining the look & feel.
WNA: You have mentioned the number of members and views earlier, and that is a staggering number. I know that I personally have used your site to both report and receive information as well as maintain a general discussion with like-minded people. Did you expect the site to grow to the level that you have seen so quickly?
A: Absolutely not! I had no idea it’d grow to those numbers so quickly. I am overwhelmed by the numbers. I attribute the growth to excellent organization by Zero & moderation by the Kvthai & the rest of the team, plus accurate information and a friendly, helpful community.