Circle, Mighty Networks, Tribe and ...?

Ah sorry, I missed your more recent post.

I don’t think a platform really does that much to shape the impact of the community. That’s really down to how you structure it and lead it.

It’s worth noting that Invision Community now has clubs functionality (example: Clubs - Invision Community) which can be a good way to host sub-communities and male them feel more secure. It’s based on member permissions, so you can add a paywall in front of a club if you wanted to.

I would also restructure your community to have a landing page in front of it that showcases feature user content and any of your own content. Here’s an example using Invision Community. The community itself can do with a custom header to focus on search and/or show your communities purpose. Also the announcement/rules is a little hostile so I’d rework that to be more guidance and nurturing.

Also the newer versions have full PWA capabilities.

I can go into more detail if you wanted to go this route.

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Thank you, Matt. Appreciate your efforts. But I disagree with the notion that the platform does not that much to shape the community. I think the look and feel is critical.

Imo it’s all about how it feels to be in the community environment. Circle feels different than Slack. Mighty Networks feels different from Invision Board or Discourse.

Funny sidenote: My classic forum is dominated by men. The facebook group members are mostly female.

I have been using Invision Board since many years. I see it’s not working anymore for me. So, I want to try something else.

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That’s totally fair. If you need a hand migrating, or making sense of the data - let me know!

Does Invision handle the paywall part?

Yep.

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Back to my original question: Do any other platforms come to mind for my purpose?

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If courses are important, check out https://www.cahootlearning.com/ . They are based in Australia and they started as an LMS and that’s their “thing” but, they were in the process of introducing a nice community platform that sounds like it’d work for you. (Disclosure: I haven’t seen it since the beginning of the year because I left the company that was using the platform.)

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Honestly, no.

I run a paid community, but I’ve chosen to keep this forum completely free.

I use Ghost for the paid part and have a private page to people access to a Slack for more instant discussions.

There’s a Discourse + Patreon integration which I would seriously consider if I were starting from scratch.

There are other tools like Memberful that help integrate different tools.

I’ve never liked Mighty Networks, mostly for their UX.

Paid communities are a pain and I’m approaching mine as a mixture of free, paid and one off payments for certain things.

What you choose very much depends on where you see yourself going and doing together.

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“Paid communities are a pain” ← so true.

Thx Rosie, I weren’t aware of Memberful. Will have a look into it. Also discourse + Patreon.

Right now I still experiment with MN. Some features are nice. But I also think the UX is messy. Additionally it’s not very flexible. + If I process my membership payments with MN I am basically stuck in their system for ever. Thats not good.

I tried to work around it with Sendowl payments (subscription) and Zapier … but it gets complicated quickly (invite links, account sync) and doesnt work smoothly.

I ve tried already paywalling some content with wordpress and member plugins. So I have some experience doing everything manually. It’s definitely the most flexible way but also very time consuming.

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I love Ghost for paywalled content. Substack works too.

There’s also Memberspace, which is similar to Memberful. I can never remember which one is which, or what the differences are.

Outseta might be worth a look at too.

Have you heard of Outverse? They haven’t launched officially but I really like the direction they’re going. Modern UI similar to Slack that is for forum-style posting. Also supports video.

It looks interesting, but I would never touch a new tool, it feels too risky. I’ve seen many new tools pivot or go in a direction that doesn’t align…or just lose momentum and not develop new features.

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that’s a good point. i guess i feel like there aren’t a lot of good options out there :sweat_smile: my community is better suited to long-form communication imo, but the popular tools that fit that description aren’t my favorite.

how hard is it to transition users to a different platform? is it a death sentence to a community or better described as a difficult process?

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Depends.

E.g. Going from a forum to Discord is going to have more drop-off than going from Invision to Discourse.

In any case, best chances of success come from:

  1. Announcing the migration early and keeping members in the loop.
  2. Transferring all users + data, 301 redirects, etc… (especially for forums).
  3. Onboarding super users/moderators/regulars first to help find & fix issues.

Then, making sure the UX is smooth and intuitive before bringing the rest of the members in.

Bottom line? You want this to be a milestone for the community, something that members are looking forward to and excited about, not a burden or something to get up in arms over.

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I’m surprised by that. I find Circle and Tribe to be a middle ground between the familiar UX of Facebook Groups and the SEO-friendly threaded discussions of Discourse.

In fact, from what you’re describing of your audience + intentions to monetize through premium content, Circle seems like it’d be right up your alley. :man_shrugging:

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thanks andrew, appreciate the detailed response!

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We also have discourse-subscriptions if you don’t want to use Patreon. It integrates payments directly via Stripe.

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Right now, I’m about to fall in love with Ghost. Maybe I can also use the Discourse integration. Since I’m based in the EU I would also like to have paypal for payments (credit cards are only tolerated by 50% of my customers). I need to figure out how to accomplish that.

What happens now is that I try to shape my future product around the best technical solutions available. Not the other way around. I cannot stress enough how important it is that the user experience is smooth and clean. Finally, it has to feel right for the customer. Otherwise, you produce a shitload of friction for them and also on your side. In my experience, this breaks almost every endeavor in the long term.

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I just want to echo my agreement with your sentiment.

Far all too often, the webmasters and forum admins of old used to just follow the misguided “Field of Dreams” analogy - that if you build it, they (presumably, members) will come. But the reality proves quite the opposite: that you need to identify the demand of what your community seeks, and instead provide it incrementally, aligning your asks of your visitors, members, and subscribers directly with their levels of engagement.

For technology, this also means delivering something exceptional, modern, intuitive, and simple. It absolutely has to feel right. “Friction” is often over-used as an excuse to not innovate, in my opinion, but to be truly frictionless, you have to be willing to experiment with alternative pathways for users to access your content. A/B testing is an art more so than a science, but it should be attempted at every level, beginning with your Ghost layouts, information architecture, and taxonomy.

Really looking forward to seeing your community come together!

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Ah, thanks, I wasn’t aware of that.

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