Community Resource Roundup: Set Your Forum Up For Success
Howdy! This blog post’s resources are for those among us who are getting ready to launch a new community, and for those striving for success post-launch. ProBoards users create new communities every day, and it’s crucial to long-term sustainability that they get started off on the right foot.
In this interview, Patrick O’Keefe outlines some important facets of preparing to launch a community. More importantly, he makes it clear what you shouldn’t do — avoiding participation in your community, neglecting to invite potential users that you know personally, and plastering public invitations to your forum where they don’t belong.
“I think it’s a great idea to contact people that you think could add value. Don’t do it in public, don’t send them a message on a public forum or something like that, send them an email- say “hey I respect your knowledge, I’d love for you to join in on the community, no pressure or anything like that”- Invite the right people.”
Great communities require great community managers. This article lists a pathway to boosting your effectiveness as a community manager, and how that can result in big growth for your community.
“Have you ever met a successful community manager who says they wish they had more to do? Me neither.”
This HBR article shares some wisdom from the Wikimedia community team on letting the community impact your direction. By its definition, a community involves the opinions, insights and objections of those that call themselves a part of it. It’s critical that admins allow members to have a say in how the community moves forward.
“Who is more likely to assimilate the wide range of data, values and viewpoints required to develop a good strategy: a small group of managers and strategists […], or a motley crew who can see issues from a myriad of viewpoints and aren’t afraid to speak their mind?”
We’ll ask you this: have you ever known a forum user that made a hugely positive impact on the community they were a part of? Hardcore, active members are incredibly valuable to a community in the very beginning stages, because they’ll help you in the all-important task of getting the word out.
“… what many inexperienced community managers don’t realize is that most online communities reach critical mass thanks to a small group of hardcore members.”
Your moderation team are in the trenches every day, so they need to stay alert to every opportunity to foster inclusive debate. Some members can get carried away when a discussion becomes heated, which dissuades newer members from putting in their two cents.
“If you see a discussion which began with opposing viewpoints and is now dwindling into a tiny minority of people discussing the small differences between extreme versions of that viewpoint, you’ve got a diehard problem.”