What would help you build a more successful community today?


(Richard Millington) #3

Hey @reddingjm1,

Welcome to FeverBee Experts!

I’ve actually been using your company’s community a fair bit in the past few months. Even benchmarked it at one point.

So let me clarify something early on, what’s your definition of moderation here? It sometimes gets used interchangeably with community management.

A couple of things I’d think about based upon what you’ve said is:

  1. Tracking platform issues (is this with the community or the software?)
  2. Resources - is this for moderation (removing bad things/highlighting good things) or for management (initating and responding to discussions etc…(I’m not loose with the terms here).
  3. Is the community quite combative today in tone?

I’m guessing this is primarily a customer support community?

(John Redding) #4

Hi Richard,

Thanks for the response. I haven’t had time to come back, so I apologize for the time it took me to reply.

I’m happy that you checked us out. If I remember correctly, you asked a question in the community that I started out in. That community is mostly a straight Q&A customer support space, but we wanted to create something that was more discussion based, so we partnered up with another internal team and created a new community just for that. We are in a soft launch now, but will be public in the next week or so.

The resources that I think I am looking for would go into community platform issue tracking and user conflict resolution. Or as you put it, removing bad things. My main focus right now is in those areas as well as answering the few product questions that come in.

I have thought about taking one of your classes, but I am not clear on where to start. They seem like they would be better suited for me if I was in charge of the entire experience rather than the nuts and bolts.

Fortunately, no one has become combative just yet but the best practices and processes around conflict resolution are where I think I need to grow the most.

(Richard Millington) #5

Hi @reddingjm1,

No worries about the delay at all.

Let me know when the new group goes live, I’d love to check it out. I remember @zapleahy doing the same thing at FitBit, she took a customer support community and added a more general fitness discussion area to it. They were largely separated though. Some good lessons there if you want to check that out.

Very few people that take our classes have full control over everything, I’d suspect Strategic Community Management (SCM) or Psychology of Community (POC) would be a good fit. The latter is very focused on the tactical side of increasing engagement. Or, in short, SCM is what to do…POC is how to do it.

Community guidelines are worth taking a look at, although most people don’t read them but it’s good to at least have a policy. The rest is probably going to come from your own philosophy between ‘free speech’ and ‘civil discourse’. What are the values of you or your organization that matter here?

  1. Should people be allowed to criticise you?

  2. Should probably be allowed to criticise each other?

  3. Should be allowed to talk and act the way they usually would? (even if that includes swearing etc?)

If you can start fleshing out a few principles, most other things fit into place quite quickly.

(Bart van Bragt) #6

Here’s an interesting topic that also talks about policy/guidelines:

I think I have more questions than I have room in this textbox :slight_smile:

We are currently using phpBB but development has (almost) stopped which has become a problem. We made the system responsive a few years back, that helped. But it’s still far from a UX that people expect from an up to date platform. Especially on mobile devices.

So we’re pondering if we should switch to a different platform (which is mostly a technical/requirements affair) and we’re trying to figure out how we can minimise the impact of a giant move like that.

I think I’ll make a new topic about that :slight_smile:

Another question:

And a big one is changing community culture. This has formed over the course of years and it’s hard to really properly frame what we would like to (not) see. And how to enforce/evoke this. Still need to read the Mozilla guidelines document that I just mentioned :wink:

Another question is how to deal with the enormous body of knowledge that’s present in our community. A LOT has been written about all kinds of subjects/questions but it’s extremely hard to find that in the archives and it’s hard to judge the value of the different answers. We started a Wiki because of that but this isn’t used as much as we’d like/expected.

(Sue Gemmell) #7

I do a lot of my work “behind the scenes” - contacting people and asking them to reply to a post, encouraging hashtags, planning group questions, etc. A way to track these touch points would be very useful. In addition to basic analytics and activity streams, being able to track, and see a map of chat type conversations would be useful.

(Richard Millington) split this topic #8

A post was split to a new topic: What platforms are available for $100 per month?

(Luis Villa) #9

As I hinted at here, the thing that would help me build today is a theory of the interaction of ephemeral chat with web-facing knowledge-building.

To put it at slightly greater length:

  • Ephemeral tools good: The default community channel for software developers (my target audience) is Slack/IRC. This is not an entirely bad thing; Slack/IRC is very good at creating shared emotional connection and membership - i.e., pretty good at creating sense of community, particularly in a brand-new community (as mine will be).
  • Ephemeral tools bad: But Slack is terrible at (1) creating long-form knowledge and (2) making any knowledge non-ephemeral (e.g., by making it Google-able). And without those two things, the value proposition for my community (really, many communities, I think?) is poor: lots of investment, little return for all but those who have the time to be there 24-7.
  • Transition? So: is there a good set of strategies/tactics for starting a community in Slack/IRC and then transitioning the community (or certain community activities?) to something less ephemeral (Discourse, wiki, …?) Or running them in parallel? or…? I’ve got ideas, but figured this group might have others…

(Richard Millington) #10

Hi @luisvilla

Do you have any sense of what other organizations do here? You’re almost definitely not the first to encounter the challenge.

How do others document knowledge shared in chat channels?

(Luis Villa) #11

Do you have any sense of what other organizations do here?

Very little, at least for nascent communities. The most mature software development communities do a mix of things (e.g., IRC, mailing list, wiki, discussions in GitHub) but in my experience groups that start out trying to do all of those at once find themselves spread very thin and find it hard to reach critical mass. Of course there are all kinds of survivorship biases here too :wink:

How do others document knowledge shared in chat channels?

I’d be very interested to hear if anyone in this group has thoughts on that.

I did see in one other thread here (can’t find this morning) that someone was using Discourse wiki posts as a starting point: push out from Slack :arrow_right: Discourse :arrow_right: wiki. That approach definitely intrigues me, since it seems potentially low overhead, but I admit I don’t have much experience with Discourse’s wiki functionality.

(If someone wants a free startup idea, becoming the “Wordpress/Discourse of wikis” seems like a no-brainer: all the options there are terrible, but the core idea is still good and could be reinvented with low-ish overhead…)

(Richard Millington) #12

I quite like what Wistia have done.

Not quite in your field. But they moved in the other direction.

They have a slack channel for raw discussions and then use blogs, video libraries, webinars, and success showcases to document the best knowledge.

Wikis work well too, but the critical mass to make that work is quite high.

(Vivian Reidler) #13

Hi! I am catching up with the course as I have had a week of difficult community situations to deal with, that grew more intense this last week. I will have time to get up to speed this week though!

I was put in charge of a seasoned community that has been de-prioritized" and moderators left to manage themselves for a long time. Taking back control and eventually growing this community in a manageable way has been a challenge, but I believe we are making progress. In the time they are left alone, their resentments against the company has become a little more apparent, and they have organized their own hierarchies and channels. After giving them more attention, there have been some “rebellions” I have had to manage and try to solve. How to “win” them back and move forward? What strategies work best with a rebelling subset of moderators?

Also, internally, we also have to show to a company (that loved positive community stories) that has only been seeing evidence of negativity on the part of our moderating leaders, that community brings value and can be turned around to bring the company positive things. I imagine we will be working on that a lot in the course, but I would be interested in how to show numbers that cannot be disproven by “chicken or egg” – Are the people engaged in the community more likely to have high retention causation or correlation? Are they just more engaged because people who seek out forums are simply the more engaged type of person that would stick with us regardless of the existence of a forum?

A successful community for us would be one that brings concrete value in terms of numbers and content, and brings good feelings to the staff. There is a chance to expand the forums to more platforms if we can show more evidence of value.

Thanks everyone! :slight_smile:

(Richard Millington) #14

Ok, this is a fun one.

(not for you at the moment mind :slight_smile:, sorry!)

So let’s take back it up a second. What is the goal of the community?

If we’re going to treat moderators as one of the groups we’re setting objectives for, what specific do you want them to do?

If you haven’t already, I’d forget trying to ‘persuade’ them to be more positive for now and do a listening tour. As in schedule interviews with as many of them as possible to really listen to them and what they want. Take lots of notes, ask lots of questions. Simply by making contact with you and know they have been listened to, usually helps improve the sentiment.

Then I’d do whatever was possible to address their issues where possible and let them know they have addressed them. It’s going to be difficult whatever you do, but listening deeply is usually a good first step. It’s harder to be mean to someone you’ve spoken with in person.

(Luis Villa) #15

Wikis work well too, but the critical mass to make that work is quite high.

As I’m painfully aware :slight_smile: but never hurts to have a reminder.

I’ll look at what Wistia have done - thanks for the pointer.

(Ayanda Khuzwayo) #16

Hi @richard_millington

The community is still in the planning stage so i’m short on Practical Challenges thus far. However I would like hear from you and the experts, which challenges am i likely to encounter on this planning stage i currently find myself in?

(Daniel Makhuta) #17

I think I need to know my target well enough in order to offer them the right kind of knowledge.

I am still learning about community management, as a result your input Richard would be valuable right now.


(Mark Jacobs) #18

If you’ve started a community from scratch we would love to hear tips that propelled the community engagement…and traps that you would avoid if you were to start another community.

(Nick Emmett) #19

Hey @mark_jacobs - and welcome to the Feverbee community here, it’s great to hear from you.

I think there are still some questions we could do with understanding a little of before fully answering your questions. Whilst some things are universal in their application within Community Management, there are also many variables depending on the type of community, what the purpose is, who the members are, what your business goals are.

Perhaps if you could tell us a little about your community? Why does it exist and what are you hoping to achieve with it? Do you have any members already signed up and/or engaged?

(Rebecca Wilde) #20

Hi everyone, I am very new to community management and am therefore doing a fair bit of research around the topic. I have come across a tool in my wider reading, the ‘Community Commitment Curve’ - I was wondering whether anyone is familiar with the concept, and if so whether you find it useful in your day to day job? Please see link below:

(Richard Millington) #21

Hey @rwilde28,

I’ve shared my thoughts on this before here.

In a meeting with Airbnb last year, they mentioned they hadn’t used it for years.

The problem (in my experience) is it tends to force people through a narrow tunnel within the community instead of figuring out what are the best contributions people can make to the community and encourage them to make them.

It assumes people will continually increase their level of activity when in practice most lurkers, for example, are happy enough just lurking.

I think the principle (people can become more committed to a group over time) is sound (although prone to survivor bias in some cases). We’ve had some data that suggests people do participate more in the community the longer they remain a member (at least up to a certain degree). But this is only from those who were active from the very early days.

There is also a challenge in how to execute a commitment curve. Most of the writing I’ve seen on this shows how it can work in theory rather than how it has been executed in practice. i.e. how will you identify who is in each group? How do you communicate the next steps to them? How will you know if they have taken them?

This requires either a lot of tech development (costly, fiddly, and only possible in certain platforms), using autoresponders (<20% open rates and far lower click-through rates + dozens of unique journeys), or doing cohort groups and ignoring whether people take the actions or not.

However, if anyone knows someone who is successfully using it I’d love to join their community and study it. I’m very eager to learn about contradictory examples here from @Carrie_Jones or anyone else. I know it’s a popular tool so I’d love to be wrong on this one.

(Carrie Melissa Jones) #22

I recommend using it to map out a thoughtful strategy for getting people to become more engaged through asks at different points in their community “lifespan” and determining what meaningful engagement even means. I use this for planning community launches or auditing existing communities.