I’ve built and managed 4 communities for software startups, using Jive-x, Telligent, Discourse, and Higher Logic, then another using Discourse again (which is become my fave… for a lot of reasons!). With their millions of dollars of funding, they often had a mentality of “money isn’t an issue…” just do what it takes to make it work and create the best customer experience.
I would think that customer experience should always be the highest priority when we’re trying to address a challenge.
A few days ago I launched my 6th online community, again using Discourse (3rd time). I’m running a private beta and have created a “Founder’s Forum” where an exclusive, hand-picked group of about 70 people are collaborating as we collaborate and prepare for the public launch.
Since this is a passion project I’m fronting the costs for my servers and all the space/badwidth that we’ll be using. Right now it’s cheap, at only $10/month. As the amount of storage space that we use, increases, so does my cost.
I plan to monetize eventually but the initial focus is just on providing value and giving folks is this particular community of practice and interest, a place to talk, and share things.
Historically this group of people have been used to using a Facebook group as their “forum” and are used to posting tons of pictures and videos. But to be honest, a lot of the video content is stuff of low value and a lot of it may not ever be watched after the initial post.
I want to encourage posting images and discourage videos from being uploaded, so I’ve restricted files types to the following:
In the Founder’s Forum, we talk about, as forum founders, setting the stage for the community culture and engagement.
I have a couple of people who have posted a new discussion topic asking if there’s a way to upload iPhone videos. (I could allow additional file types and change my file upload limits) and then another person chimed in and said that allowing videos would be cool. He also went on to suggest it would be great to share a 30-second clip to show off a certain skill, etc.
So my conundrum is this… there are already great tools out there for hosting the video. They work flawlessly. They have best-in-class video players. And they embed perfectly on Discourse forums. I want to set the precedent that users upload vids to their favorite video service, and then embed them in our forums.
But we all know that’s not a great user experience, compared to just being able to directly upload from your phone, into the forum.
These types of decisions become a lot harder when you’re in control of the community, and the money it takes to sustain the tech stack you’re using.
I’d love any insight from my fellow community leaders out there!