🌶 Community builders should stop seeking permission and feedback

Of course, community builders should talk to their members, build relationships, and seek their thoughts and opinions.

However, on the flip side, I believe community managers over-rely on this as a strategy and making decisions on what people think or say they will do is flawed.

Instead we should be seeking to understand what people actually do, or try to do, and design around that. It’s so easy for people to say ‘yes I’d buy that’ or ‘yes I want and would use that’, but usually when it comes down to it they don’t and won’t.

As community builders (and often founders) these are the decisions we have to make, research and do community discovery around. It’s unfair to put the load and decision making onto the members.

When we ask for feedback we get opinions, not what people really do or want.

When we experiment and try doing actual things we get real data—that is the most powerful feedback.


That is an interesting perspective Rosie. Never thought of it this way, thanks for sharing. :slight_smile:

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100% this!

And I think there is this fear that exists for us community managers. “Yeah, but won’t the community run away or not like us if we don’t do what they tell us?!”

I think you’ve already said it someplace else, Rosie, yet I think as community managers we have a much wider view of what’s going on in all the places. Not in an arrogant way – we just do cos our heads are in that place. We’re often thinking strategically instead of right in the mixer (even if we are also often right in the mixer :sweat_smile:).

Be bold, experiment and find out.

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