|More to an online community than just a forum?|
Meetings? What else?
| 9:59 pm on May 13, 2004 (gmt 0)|
There's more? What am I getting into here? More?
Like what? PubConfs? Okay, I got that.
Responding to emails? Okay, got that. Resolving member disputes. Got it. Keeping the peace. Got it.
I guess you could add want ads, auctions, etc. to help the community.
Will somebody please tell me: What more is there to a community, your community?
What did you add to your project? What was added to forum/communities that you joined long ago that helped to grow the community? At what stage was this or that added? At what cost-benefit and why?
Geesh. I used to be the mayor of a small town. I'm not sure I want to do that all over again. Flashback. No, I'm certain. Okay, well maybe.
| 10:05 pm on May 13, 2004 (gmt 0)|
Communities are just about people. That's all.
You attract the quality people by being a quality person, and creating quality content that other quality people are attracted to. Then you end up with a quality community of quality people.
| 10:18 pm on May 13, 2004 (gmt 0)|
Communities are about people, you say? Okay, yeah, it would be a kinda lonely community if it was just me, but let's say we start with me and then a girl shows up.
So, now I guess I gotta build a women's bathroom, right? Or at least we gotta have rules about privacy or putting up the lid to the toilet?
Then a few more people show up and next I'm building a sewer plant, hiring police, plowing snow,.... you get the picture. So next I'm editing the town newsletter, right?
So, with online communities, first comes ...what ....and then you add what? Kinda like services, I guess. First some content that people like. Then a way for people to contribute content. Then a forum for people to pose questions and contribute in real time.
Then what? What services have you added? In what order? What dictated the change or addition? What was the added value?
| 10:30 pm on May 13, 2004 (gmt 0)|
The mayor of a small town is probably the best analogy I've seen yet for running an online community. On top of that add in policeman, agony-aunt, therapist, decorator, architect, town-planner, accountant, friend and in my case fiance :-)
I don't know that you can actually "build a community" the best you can do is provide the infrastructure and support for the community.
When we started the site we'd never even heard of an online connunity, we were just playing with some chat software after being disappointed with our local ISP's implementation of it.
As for cost/benefit it's only since I can't afford to keep the place running on my own (the last year) that we've even started to think about that.
Anyway, a brief overview of our very organic (read disorganised) progress.
Day 1 - Started with chat which went down really well.
Month 6 - Users started "borrowing" other members nicknames so we added an optional membership system.
Month 9 - Continued adding members (including a few anti-social ones) so at the request of the users we added a few "chat guides" (watch for the politics when adding any sort of monitors).
Added member-member messaging so members could communicate without both parties being online at the same time.
Added forums which is quite popular, but someway behind the chatroom.
Started arranging night's out for the members around the country (Ireland).
Added "build your own website" features. Never really took-off so wasted the €800 that cost.
Added our own browser based email system, that didn't go down too well either (another €500 gone).
Added member profiles & photo albums, they seem to like that so we're looking at adding more features.
Added eSmacks & eKisses for members to send each other (I suppose you could call them emotiflashes).
Some of the members seem to get really into the "status" of being the most eSlapped/eKissed so we're going to be building on that in our next redesign.
Next few weeks will see us adding Video/Voice to the chat room as well as launching the Video/Chat instant messenger.
| 11:13 pm on May 13, 2004 (gmt 0)|
I think some sort of interactive game, a quiz, a challenge - build pages that the community can interact with, that people can express themselves with, not just by chatting to each other, but through other means. One example that comes to mind is fark.com - they have photoshop competitions where people doctor ordinary photos into funny situations. That is only one small example, there are plenty of other ways people can interact with each other and express themselves - which is essentially what a community is about.
| 11:24 pm on May 13, 2004 (gmt 0)|
The afore-mentiond fark site also is an interesting example of the expanded benefits to paid membership. That site is a "funny news" site and if you pay you get to see every single submitted funny news link. The free page only gets to see the final "approved" link submissions. Also those photoshop competitions are opened to the paid members HOURS before they are open to the unpaid visitors.
| 10:30 am on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)|
"There's more to an online community than just a forum."
I didnt take this as meaning additional features and such - perhaps the comment was originally intended to mean that you can't just slap up a forum and have a community instantly.
The forum then, would simply be the packaging in which the community was contained.
"There's more to the Royal Family than just Buckingham Palace" ;)
| 11:13 am on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)|
|Communities are about people, you say? Okay, yeah, it would be a kinda lonely community if it was just me, but let's say we start with me and then a girl shows up.... etc |
|Then what? What services have you added? In what order? What dictated the change or addition? What was the added value? |
It's supply and demand.
Gimicks and utilities are just that. The *only* added value in a community site is more quality people coming to the community.
They demand - you supply, if it's within reason.
Things like pubcons, arranging meets etc, are great (we've had some success with that), but my experience is that you'll know exactly what to do when the time is right to do it. And by that stage, your community has already started building itself.