The Strange Case of LawEnforcementOfficers.com
A Ghost Site correspondent asked me to check out LawEnforcementOfficers.com, a site she claims "is in its death throes (which) should be put out of its' mysery."
Among the signs of decay she notes are a forum area in which "the only posts are those of people who occasionally drop by and comment that the site has become a ghost town."
At first glance, lawenforcementofficers.com hardly seems to be dead. Its home page is populated with a timely block of continually changing content, courtesy of zFeeder, an RSS news syndication service. But the forum area, alas, does show alarming signs of stasis. The most recent post is at least two weeks old, and most of the message traffic is much older.
A relatively recent post, titled What n' the Hell is going on?, captures the growing sense of collective despair:
OK. Now that I've got some attention... What's going on here? i.e.: lack of activity...?
Well, first and foremost, I think this site has a lot of potential to put the others some of us frequent to shame! Should we post some "advertisement" on other bulletin boards to generate some traffic here? And, I'll personally make it a point to be a little more proactive and post some things here that will be mutually beneficial for us all... I encourage some of you out there to do the same.
At any rate, for what it's worth, I hope this site doesn't become forgotten and wither away into some abyss out here in the net...
If there's a lesson here for Webmasters, it's this: deploy a forum area with care and discretion. Home pages can be automated, content can be syndicated, but forum areas never lie about the actual level of "buzz" at any Web site. Unless they achieve a certain "critical mass" and are tended daily, they can become very lonely places which can certainly lead one to conclude that one's site has become "a ghost."
For what it's worth, I think that a site such as lawenforcementofficers.com has potential, but its Webmaster might consider dropping the forum area and replacing it with a Blog, perhaps with a commenting function. If he or she finds out that people are regularly commenting on the posted links or articles, then a BBS might be the next logical step. If so, I would recommend launching a much smaller BBS with perhaps one or two topic areas, and expanding it only when the traffic warrants it.