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Old 10-07-2010, 03:05 AM   #1
robrob
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Default Would like your input on online communities (long and prolly boring)

Folks I am interested in getting some input around online communities (something that is a part of my RL job) and I would like your thoughts.

Specifically I would like to use the brewing communities as an example and would appreciate your input.

What I am interested in is what makes certain communities flourish and others whither...or what perhaps what draws certain brewers to certain communities?

So back in the day there was the listserve based community (email to you young'uns ) then the newsgroups alt.rec.crafts.brewing...web tech evolved and it decreased the usage of these tools.

Then comes the web based communities.

So here is the question:

Greenboard has an audience, NorthernBrewer has an audience HBT seems to be “newer” when compared to other boards (but perhaps I just found it late) and also has an audience...from what seems to me a reasonably small number of potential contributors. There are certainly others but what makes one succeed?

So what accounts for a successful community. How can a “new” community be formed and ultimately flourish?

Sooo...God bless you if you are still reading...I am looking at this from an academic standpoint...I am not interested in re-hashing the specifics of GB issues or opening up that can. Just interested in in from the 30k foot level.

I am working to understand what it really takes to build and maintain a community especially when other similar ones exist.

The reason I ask all of this is that I want to build a community of trainers and trying to better understand the keys to success.

Anyway...I really appreciate the input if you feel like sharing.

Rob

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Old 10-07-2010, 03:28 AM   #2
RogerMcAllen
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You need the right churn of users. Too many new people and the board dies because it ends up being a new person asking a the same question everyday. ("Is this infected?") Nothing of value ever gets discussed, and the knowledgeable people leave. If too many of the knowledgeable people stay around and not enough new people come in, you often end up with an elitest group that tires of the plebs and their stupid questions (I've been a member of a few boards that have died this way).

You also need several key personalities:
Mom: Usually a female that will step in and pamper the new users that need it, but at the same time can keep all of the boys in line.
Dad: A strong presence in the background, doesn't necessarily do a ton of posting but you know he is there keeping the ship on course
Grandpa: Has been involved since the topic was invented. Knows everything, and has the stories to prove it
Crazy Uncle: Has good ideas, but is a little off kilter. Makes sure people don't start taking themselves too seriously.


Without naming names, I'll say this board has all of the correct personalities and a proper churn of users.

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Old 10-07-2010, 12:53 PM   #3
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Thanks for taking the time to reply...very insightful. Chum...is a great way to put it and your user roles (personalities) definitely hit home.

I had been playing with the analogy of a garden and had the role of gardener keeping things healthy but I had really never broken that role down into its parts...Thanks Roger...great input.

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Old 10-07-2010, 01:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerMcAllen View Post
You also need several key personalities:
Mom: Usually a female that will step in and pamper the new users that need it, but at the same time can keep all of the boys in line.
Dad: A strong presence in the background, doesn't necessarily do a ton of posting but you know he is there keeping the ship on course
Grandpa: Has been involved since the topic was invented. Knows everything, and has the stories to prove it
Crazy Uncle: Has good ideas, but is a little off kilter. Makes sure people don't start taking themselves too seriously.
Mom: Yooper
Dad: Tex
Grandpa: Revvy
Crazy Uncle: ollllo

They keep it running.

And I fully agree with Roger's entire assessment.

I would like to add that off-topic areas are beneficial to the forum, as they keep people coming back when brewing isn't the main thing on their mind, and even more importantly, it helps foster that sense of "community".

If all we had to talk about was brewing, the forum wouldn't become a "community" because the only draw would be answering or asking brewing questions. There is more to all of us than brewing. The additional discussions help develop the online personality of the various members, which rounds out the community aspect of the forum and makes the posters people with personalities, rather than just avatars and screen names.
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