Engagement challenges in a CoP

(Emilio F. Castillo) #1

I am working on transferring a long establish forum from vBulletin to Discourse. Further to that, the base needs to be grown and new participants need to contribute. At present the forum posts come from a handful of members who speak to one another, but I don’t see new members joining or adding to the conversation.

So, what are you working on?
(Sarah Hawk) #2

I’ve been down that road a couple of times. :slight_smile:

What kind of community is it @emilio_f_castillo?

(And welcome – thanks for jumping straight in, it’s great to hear from you.)

(Emilio F. Castillo) #3

It is a forum for electric vehicle aficionados and enthusiast. At present
the primary contributors and discussions are around Neighborhood Electric
Vehicles (NEV’s). I get the feeling that a few electrical engineers who
have retired to FL live in neighborhoods where getting around in golf carts
is a way of life. I would like to expand the conversations for sure, but
also grow other areas of the conversation to include all electric vehicles.

The domain is: electricforum.com
The vBulletin forum currently lives at: http://www.electricforum.com/cars/

The future site is being built on squarespace but is not yet available to
the public: (USE PASSWORD: efc) - https://electricforum.squarespace.com/
The new community on Discourse.org will live at: community.electricforum.com
Some of the members have already setup their usernames on the new platform.

Have a look at the “before” and “after” and feel free to lend us your

(Sarah Hawk) #4

I’ve split your posts out into a new topic so they don’t get lost @emilio_f_castillo

Nice work on the migration. How much of your content are you taking?

The first thing that I notice on your Discourse install is the large number of sub/categories.
Is there a reason that you’re going with so many? I suspect that might be part of the engagement issue – the paradox of choice.

You could make an immediate cull by using tags rather than subcategories.

Sounds like a pretty good life!

(Emilio F. Castillo) #5

There are two good reasons for that: 1) We are rookies and 2) the current
community is organized in that manner, so we are “mapping” these over as
they currently are. That said, this is probably the best time to rethink
all that. How do you denote a “tag” in discourse? I like the idea.

(Sarah Hawk) #6


This is the perfect time to make those changes.

We generally recommend culling right back to the bare minimum when you start (or migrate) a community. People very rarely need (or want) all the categories that exist, and if you’re having issues with engagement then this is even more important. Simplify things as much as you can.

Some of the information in this topic might be useful: Picking the first topics in your forum
This one too: How much clean up is necessary before migration?

Tagging on Discourse is good. You can see it in action here. If you click the word Portfolio beside the category, you’ll see all the posts with that tag. In this case it means there is no need for a portfolio sub-category.