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Nurturing a community? There should be people with experience of that here...

tbrtbr
edited February 2007 in Vanilla 1.0 Help
As I am possibly thinking of starting a community/forum/thingy, and have never done a thing like that before, I am curious about your experiences of nurturing a community, how to make it thrive and flourish. I'm thinking that there should be a lot of people here with some kind of know-how about that.

Inevitably the first period must be the most difficult one, to make people stay on the community even though it's still pretty empty. I guess once it grows to a certain size it will be able to live off of that for a bit. Whenever I see a forum or community that has less than 50 registered users or so, or seems to be very inactive, I'm immediately turned off... unless there is something else there that I find really interesting. I guess maybe that's the number one "secret", to make the service itself attractive enough to make people think "hey this seems to be a nice place" and then bring their friends there. Of course this is true for any product or service, it has to be good to attract users. But, apart from that, there must be other dos and donts of internet communities, I think.

Well to put it simply, any ideas on how to make a brand new, zero budget forum/community thrive, are welcome here!

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    ZiyphrZiyphr New
    edited February 2007
    There's a million forums out there now, either you've got to invite your own contacts there to kick start everything, or you've got to have a site that people visit where you can advertise the forum. Even with your own contacts it will be very hard to get new people to join unless there is some kind of hype around it. Apart from the very biggest forums all others are there to compliment a site. Whatever the situation you need something unrelated to the forum to make it take off.

    You're right about small forums generally being a turn off, but with Vanilla there's no emphasis on the number of users so lack of history doesn't matter, only the new threads do.
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    Something to read and think about for the start: Alistapart article
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    Ziyphr: Well it's not supposed to be only a forum, it's based on a concept I have, a competition of sorts, and I think potentially a lot of people could be interested in participating (most of the people I've presented the idea to so far have been positive to different extents anyway). But the whole idea will fall badly if only a handful of people care. I would probably need to attract at least 25-50 people before I can have a first test run of this competition, but I think that once that's done and shows out to work, it will be more attractive for new users to join.

    But well, it's definitely not a "talk about anything you want" forum, if that's what you're thinking, that would never work to start from scratch.

    I do know of a few other small websites which have similar concepts, which seem to have worked out well. Maybe I could contact them and ask for a banner exchange or something.
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    tbrtbr
    edited February 2007
    Tex: Didn't catch your post before I started to write, thanks for the link, I'll read that!

    edit: typo
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    tbrtbr
    edited February 2007
    Re the article... many good points there, but I think in some ways it doesn't apply to my idea. Their suggested method is to start a good website first, get regulars, and then get on with the community functions. Unfortunately, I just don't think that would be possible with my idea, cause the website would not serve its purpose without a way for people to interact around the idea from the start...

    But still, a lot of good things to keep in mind there, so thanks for the link. :)
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    I started a teaching based forum that I wanted my students to use. I was hoping to use it as a reference source for solutions to problems that one runs across in MS Word, for example. I'm not big on forcing (requesting strongly) my students to use it, but it seems that may be the only real way to get them to try it.

    The one big thing I have learned is that no matter what your vision is of something, it may not be what others want. As long as you are in sync with you prespective users, you should be successful.
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