I'm a long-term member of a huge auto enthusiast board - www.corvetteforum.com. It's a free site with over 50,000 members and millions of posts. To avoid the downturn that seems inevitable in public forums, they established a few rules and processes that work: - Absolutely no personal attacks in forum messages - No public bashing of the forum administrators or moderators (take it to email or IM) - Sufficient moderators with 'power' to lock threads and delete offending posts - Administrators to ensure consistent actions by moderators - Points system implemented to expose envelope-pushers - Everyone gets 100% upon registration - Infractions of the rules take points away - At zero points, you're banned - Infraction-free activity allows you to gradually go back to 100% The result? A five-year old HUGE forum community that continues to grow and foster supporting vendors. Sure there's occasional bickering about 'censorship', but the quality posters stay and contribute. Envelope-pushers and trolls tire quickly if their posts get removed from public view. It works, its free, it makes money for the owner (and vendors), and it provides a great environment for sharing a passion about things automotive. Almost every other forum that grows to any size faces similar problems. It's hard, unpopular work to keep the forum fun (and free) for 95% of its members. IMHO, pay sites don't grow and continue to attract quality members - they exist only for a very small group of the original core enthusiasts. I believe clear rules and strong, prompt moderation is the key to success. Stop by the Corvetteforum sometime. BTW, I'm just a member there, not an owner or moderator.