Thanks URL. We appreciate the nod. It's hard work, but we knew what we were getting in to when we reformed both the Help Desk and N&F.
What we didn't foresee was the amount of spam N&F seems to attract, along with the volume of users who choose N&F as the place to post their first thread. AFAIK, the stats show that users register an account and the first thing they do is start a thread as opposed to respond to an existing one.
This causes us problems because the number of new accounts registered per day is around 400, and because the N&F link is in the 'Welcome' e-mail they receive, that seems to be where most of them go. It's even more frustrating when they don't read any of the stickies or notices telling them what N&F is for!
I help as many lost N&F people as I can, and advise those who seem really lost to have a browse around the site to see how it works. Those who can't get it after going and out of forums where "nothing happens" just end up leaving. I learned that a lot of people expect scrolling text boxes like IRC to appear, and once they see something that interests them, they'd just jump right in.
I've had to explain to several people that the forums they were entering weren't chat rooms, and sent them away to Chat Roulette instead, making sure that's what they wanted.
We (me and Spear) did have a few more ideas of possible solutions, but when Darragh left, and then we lost Ross and Conor, that
AKAIK there is actually a step by step guide to registering/using Boards for newbies around somewhere-Dav has further details. Hopefully we'll be able to release it soon.
The registration process will be changed soon, the challenge is making it easy enough but not too easy for spammers.
With regard to creepy requests, we have some unbelievable queries every week-so much so that they have their own special folder