Reptile forums remain one of the most common and rewarding ways for people to learn about their geckos, talk about them, sell them and troubleshoot when there are problems. These forums range from large and active to species specific. Reptile forums are easy to create and sometimes seem to spring up like mushrooms. Only a relative few, though, are able to maintain interest and an active membership.
Gecko Time recently sent a questionnaire to owners of several US-based reptile forums to solicit information about how they work and why they are successful. As the responses arrive, Gecko Time will profile each forum with the owner’s responses to the questions as well as my thoughts about the forum based on my participation.
This week, Gecko Time profiles GeckoTalk.com, owned by Josh Barraza. Josh owns and administers a number of forums dedicated to the needs and owners of a variety of reptiles, fish and mammals. Follow the links to find out more about his forums and his work.
Questions and Answers
1. Tell us a little about your forum, whether or not you are its creator and how you came to be in your current role.
GeckoTalk.com is an online community of gecko keepers from all over the world. I created the site in November 2011 and we have been growing steadily ever since! My current role includes welcoming new members, maintaining the server, making sure everything is working properly, and removing spam. When I have additional time I do my best to answer any and all gecko-related questions that could use my input.
2. What are you proudest about with your forum?
I am most proud about the GeckoTalk.com community itself. We have a great group of friendly and helpful people that all share a common passion – geckos! Our members are very cordial and welcoming of new members and we’re always eager to help out newcomers to the hobby by answering all their questions. I’m really proud of the compassion and selflessness our members show to each other every day on our forums. We all started out as strangers but we’ve grown to become something of a gecko family!
3. What are some of the problems you encounter?
As with any online forum, GeckoTalk.com does occasionally face issues with spam. I do my best to keep our forums spam-free and it works for the most part. We also struggle with people in the hobby who join our forum just to post an ad for their breeder website or feeder specials. We try to encourage these members to actively participate in the forum and when they do, they always seem to get a much better response to their ads and offerings.
4. There are many reptile forums currently on the internet. Many of them have a lot of traffic initially and then die down rapidly. How do you maintain interest in your forum, and what role do you feel your forum has for gecko keepers?
I like to think of GeckoTalk.com as the friendliest gecko forum online. Our role isn’t to tell others what to do or to shove our ideas down their throats. Our job is to help our fellow gecko-keepers by being compassionate, understanding, and helpful. Not everyone does everything the same way and we realize that. We do our best to help everyone else give the best possible care they can for their geckos.
5. Is there anything else you want readers to know about your forum?
GeckoTime readers should know that they are ALWAYS welcome at GeckoTalk.com. We’d love for them to come see what we’re about – enter our gecko photo contests, browse our media gallery, meet our veterans and breeders, ask lots of questions, and TALK GECKOS!
A Participant Weighs In
I’ve been a member of GeckoTalk since January 2013. Gecko Talk bills itself as “the friendliest gecko forum online” and I have to say it does live up to its reputation. The overwhelming number of posts viewed are positive and helpful. There are usually anywhere from 2-10 threads addressed each day and it’s rare for there to be no new posts in a 24 hour period. Most of the discussion is about leopard geckos and crested geckos, though less common species such as L. williamsi, R. leachianus and mourning geckos do make an appearance on occasion. Subjectively, it appears that the majority of posters are relative newcomers to gecko keeping and are also relatively young (though not exclusively, given that I’m a member). Josh makes a real effort to comment as often as he can and to ask for updates about problems that are brought up, which seems to further encourage participation and interest.
Do you have a favorite Reptile forum? Would you like to see it profiled in Gecko Time? Let us know which forums you’d like to see featured in an article. Better yet, encourage the forum owner to get in touch with us.