Home / Building community

Building community

At the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco last week I attended the session "Community Building: Good, Bad, and Ugly." More than anything else, it reminded me of the "Building Community" session hosted by Laura Scott of pingVision that I attended a year ago at the OSCMS 2007 conference in Sunnyvale last April. I went to Laura's session with no expectations (there was nothing else in that time slot I wanted to attend) and was really pleased to find the discussion relevant with tangible, actionable ideas I understood and could use. I've been meaning to post my notes from that session for a year and now I'm finally motived. So, here they are!

If people have more to add and express interest in the comments, I'll turn this page into a wiki.

## What makes a community?

* People
* Conversations
* Volunteers
* Long, deep threads
* Recognition for contributors
* Guidelines
* Identity
* Diversity
* Relevance
* Passion
* Maintenance (by the site owners)
* Courteousness
* Shared actions
* Moderation
* Structure
* Q&A, support forums

## Why do people go to a community site?

* Sense of community/belonging
* Content
* Shared bond
* Help
* Diversion
* Friends
* Ego
* Achieve common tasks
* Belonging

## How do you build this technically?

* Don't over-moderate most passionate users. Allow non-destructive flamewars.
* Rewards for participation (increased authority/recognition).
* Greet newcomers.
* Meet in person.
* Offer a short-term benefit to joining.
* Ask: What value am I providing?
* "Heroin content" &mdash: what people will come back for.
* Continuous activity
* Relate people based on their attributes.
* "Curation." Identify important past content to bring in new users and bring them up to speed.
* Offer feeds on interesting topics.
* Mentors for new users.
* New member orientation.
* Women's Only group: less intimidating.
* Feedback loop: survey users to see how things are going.
* Aging membership: cull inactive users.
* Archive content; related to curating.
* Long shelf-life for content. Keep it available as the long tail. SEO.
* Provide leadership positions, but term limits can be important.
* Transparency in moderation, leadership, and selection of leaders.
* Manage/leverage hierarchy.
* Limit # of posts per day per person per topic: make people censor themselves into relevancy.
* Keep software up to date.

Tags: 

Comments

Posted on by Laura Scott (not verified).

Thanks, Barry, for posting these!

For anyone curious what this was about, there is video of the OSCMS session.