Forums versus Groups


(Rebecca Braglio) #1

I’m in the process of consolidating forum boards in a community. The platform we use offers a few features, one of which is groups. The only difference between a forum board and a group is that in groups:

  1. You must specifically be join or
  2. Be specifically invited
  3. The posts are private to the public community (only group members see it).

I’m having a hard time thing of scenarios where I would want this and what types of subjects/topics/people would best suit group features. My fear is creating groups and them slowly dying off. Which is why we need to consolidate forum boards.

Assuming activity picks up and we have robust forums, what types of things are groups best suited for? Is it demographics? particular topics (or sub-topics)? Or should they be avoided because they require joining and are private?

(Sarah Hawk) #2

So would it be fair to say that a group is exactly the same as a private forum (or category)?

If so, wouldn’t that be the ideal thing to use for ambassador programs?

(Mark Williams) #3

We looked at this pretty closely in a previous role. I was never convinced of the need for them in a publicly accessible forum with the 1 exception HAWK proposed. [quote=“HAWK, post:2, topic:3634”]
ambassador programs

Otherwise, especially if you are having activity issues, I see little benefit.

However, I could see a situation in “event” type situations where it could be useful for a specific cohort (think online classrooms, etc). But even then, I’d evaluate the usefulness vs. just having them be in a specifically crafted public forum.

(Steve Combs) #4

In otherwise public forums, I use private groups for committees, support/dev teams, members only content, and editorial projects.

(Richard Millington) #5

A few questions that might help generate some more useful responses.

  1. Why are you consolidating the forum boards? What are you hoping to achieve?

  2. Are members asking for groups?

  3. What would be the goal of creating groups?

It feels a bit backward to consolidate the forums while creating more groups.

(Rebecca Braglio) #6
  1. Consolidating forum boards because there are too many and no activity in any of them. Boards were created for any potential type of engagement rather than letting it build in one or two main boards and then pulling out to create a new one.
  2. Nope. It’s a new feature in the platform. So hey, we have to use it right (that’s friendly sarcasm)
  3. To provide a benefit that there is privacy (this is a health-related community). I don’t really understand this point, but it was raised.

So, my suggestion was to hold off on creating anything additional until we get activity up and then see how it naturally progresses. Other than having a separate space for ambassadors, special people, I couldn’t really come up with any additional ideas for a group…unless perhaps it was a community activity like participating in a challenge or something…but even then maybe not.