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.

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.