Closing a community. Dos and don'ts


A couple of years ago I stopped being the senior community manager of a health online community that connects people with serious conditions. I transitioned to another role in the same organisation but I stayed as a volunteer moderator and helped with the inquiries of users and moderators here and there.

The platform was co-managed with another organisation and since I left, the platform has been severely neglected to the point where the activity and user engagement have collapsed. This organisation has decided to shut the platform down at the end of the year.

They are working on an ‘exit plan’ and they’ve asked for my opinion. I think what they propose is insufficient and they are not offering any kind of support to the moderators to find alternative platforms. What they basically say is “we are closing on this date, you go and look for alternatives, bye”.

I deeply care about this community, I want to help, but I have no experience closing an online community and I don’t know what would be reasonable and how to better support members and moderators during this transition period.

Any advice, experience, or resources that you could share with me would be very appreciated. Thanks!

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Marta, I’m deeply sorry to hear this. Your community (and I still think of it as yours) was serving a very special niche in health and rare disease. I feared for its future with its most recent transition and am saddened to hear it is closing. Why, why, why do people think a community can just “happen”? I have closed or transitioned communities.

  1. Give the members (and moderators) a space to share about the community. Not specifically complaints regarding the transition, but to help remember the good times, what they learned from the community, what it meant to them, their health and living with XX condition.
  2. Suggest platform options for them to move to. I have some ideas.
  3. Provide a how-to transition tool kit for any moderators who wish to move their X condition group/community.
  4. Give a space specifically for the moderators to problem-solve and plan for transition.

Those are just a few things. I have notes of past transitions and am happy to review them and share more. Need to get my morning coffee first. :slight_smile:


Morning Colleen,

Your advice is super helpful as always. :slight_smile:

Personally, I’m very saddened by this decision so I hope I can ease this transition by helping as much as I can although it’s not part of my job anymore. I’ll talk to the other organisation and I’ll propose your ideas. What other platforms would you recommend? The moderators are very familiar with FB groups but some of them would like to try options outside Facebook for privacy reasons.

Your ideas and suggestions are more than welcome. If you find in your notes anything that would be useful for us, please let me know!

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