How do you know when you have community?

When we start building community it doesn’t neceesarily look like community. It looks like writing, conversations, hosting events, etc.

So, how do you know when you have community?

Do you have a guiding star or principles on this?

I think it is as simple as when you have a core group that keeps coming back. Every new community I’ve been a part of grew from 4-5 people who clustered around the location and topic.


I tend to agree with Matt, although my fear is that when there is a reliance on a few people, I just can’t see this as being durable. And durability feels like it should be some aspect of the definition, but I don’t know how that gets tested.

It’s almost like…you have a community if:

  • The Community leader can leave and the conversation continues on
  • The platform can change and people still show up
  • New members come in and contribute
  • People begin to self-organize, without abandoning the original community
  • Individuals support each other regardless of if there is an existing relationship
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When people are present and helping each other and interacting. But for them to do that, they need to have a continuing sense of joy or purpose from whatever the community is for (eg they want to share the joy about what’s happening in their neighbourhood or they want to share tips about how to use a piece of software). If they’re no longer bothered about the “thing”, there’s no reason to be there.

Sharing isn’t necessarily about giving either - it can solely be about taking. So by being in the environment, they are sharing in the feeling and vibe.


Similar to what some of you already mentioned. We knew Flow Club was a community when within 2 or 3 weeks of initial testing, we had individuals step up to want to play the role of a leader/moderator for the group. I think these roles, taken by the community for the community, is a strong positive sign.

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