What are your thoughts on community "levels" in Orbit and Common Room?

I’m familiar with Orbit as it’s our go-to community awareness tool. Great for notes, tagging and spotting some high-level trends across multiple platforms.

I’m a little undecided about the Orbit Levels. There are a considerable number of people who are marked as the core of the community (Orbit 1), who we’d identify that aren’t. Yet all activity weights are spread accordingly to how much value we think they bring to the community.

How have you dealt with an imbalance of what you believe to be the community at certain levels?

And what’s been your experience of using Common Room? I’ve not used the tool. Is there such a concept of “levels”? As in, is it easy to identify those at the core of the community, those who have the potential to become part of the core (who need a bit of support to get there) and those who have recently joined that are worth nurturing in some way?


Hi @simon_tomes! Josh here from Common Room.

I believe both companies agree that community starts with relationships. The idea of understanding who your most active/engaged/committed members is critical to building experiences for your members.

At Common Room, we believe that the best community programs are built based on hyper-personalization. To that end, we do provide all the expected metrics around active users and engagement. We also show you your top active members based on percentiles and calculate sentiment. Where we differ beyond those, is in letting you get ultra-specific in how you discover user activity, filter and segment your users, and then provide a way to organize these users into specific programs. We found that community leaders need end-to-end experiences within these types of products. Otherwise, they serve as a more DevRel/community-focused contact manager.

We also find that language plays a big role in inclusivity. By keeping our terminology consistent with the types of definitions/vernacular that is commonly adopted, it makes it easier for others to jump in and understand the community.

I’d be glad to show you around Common Room or to get you access.


IMO: I like Orbit as a conceptual model, but I find it a bit too rigid for real-world applications.

Common Room is more open-ended with their segmentation capabilities.

I like that, because it lets me cater levels based on channels/platforms (e.g. Discord vs Discourse), and gives more flexibility from one community to the next.


I like the idea, but not so much the implementation.

With Savannah activity is classed as a conversation or a contribution, and a member’s level is set according to thresholds of each. So no matter how active somebody is, if they’re not contributing something back they don’t progress up to those higher levels. I’ve found this prevents the problem you described of somebody being incorrectly labeled as “Orbit 1” when they shouldn’t be.

Savannah also shows you the size of each level in the form of an engagement pyramid that gives you additional insights into the strength of your community overall.


Have you been using CommonRoom?

And what kind of segments have you been using/creating? I’m super curious to what kind of segments communities find useful.

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That all sounds super interesting and helpful. Thanks for the offer to be shown around and to be given access. As it happens, Rebecca Marshburn has been in touch via a Twitter DM. I’m curious to explore and see now Common Room might help.

There’s something I have in mind about mapping out typical routes for a community member and observing those that are going down those routes – who might need 1-2-1 encouragement along the way in various ways.

I also reflect that a community member’s journey across any given timeframe can be so unique. And I’d love to find a way to spot patterns in those journeys whilst respecting the uniqueness of the individual.

I look at current data in my tooling and the growth/sense of belonging/contribution for an individual is so non-linear. Maybe a small minority take a linear and clear route to the core of the community yet there’s real complexity given community members have much going on in their worlds for it to be oversimplified.


Totally agree. There is a tension (might not be the right word) between anecdotes and data. It’s the belief that every community member is unique to some degree and the path they take cannot be completely replicated, regardless of inputs.

I think data can play an important role though, especially once combined with activation milestones such as enrolled or completed certification, signed up for the product, spent X dollars, etc. Once these data points live side-by-side, you can create a spectrum that allows you to ask really important questions about the long tails. For instance, why did this user activate so quickly, and what did they do along that journey? Or why did this user join the community so far in advance of using the product? Or what changed for this user to trigger this new behavior?

The answers to these questions can end up feeding so many impactful initiatives. These are the insights that help marketing target the right folks, produce the right materials and campaigns. These are the insights that change how you organize your community onboarding and wayfinding. These also provide design insights for Product and Docs teams.

IMO, it’s hard to find the uniqueness of an individual unless you can see what makes them unique. And that’s where the journey starts.


Hey folks!

Erin here from Orbit and loving this discussion!

There are a thousand ways to approach measuring your community, which is great! But it makes kicking off these conversations hard.

For Orbit levels — I’m looking forward to doing that on Friday and diving deep on this with you. We’re also looking into ways that we can adjust these to be more relevant including a decay factor and new updates I’m looking forward to sharing with you!

I’m sorry to hear they’re not working out the way that you’re expecting — definitely not the experience we want to provide.

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Heya Andy!

We’ve recently updated Orbit with some new segmentation abilities that allow for increased flexibility. Always down to chat and chat more about what you don’t like or what you’re looking for!

Right now — you can segment based on

  • company
  • title
  • location
  • member tag (including and, or, and exclude)
  • channels where a member is active, down to specific discord channels, parts of the product, and more
  • when the activity happened
  • Love, Reach, and Orbit Level

For example — you can run a search that would include folks in Discourse who’ve been active in the past 30 days, who live in NYC, and have the tag Champion.

Once you have the perfect view built, you can save that segment for easy access as well.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and what you didn’t like about it and what we could do better!

Always open to learning more about what’s not jiving with y’all!


Hey Erin,

As always, I’m super grateful for your thoughts on this topic. You have so much incredible insight to share! And thanks for sharing on this thread. Always curious to see what’s possible with tooling and how Orbit is helping us and what’s possible given education around the tooling and feature feedback. I look forward to our chat on Friday.

I’m hoping this post continues the discussion around community intelligence tooling. I’ve defo found the responses useful so far.

Tooling plays such a huge part in what we do and I think if we’re to move the community craft forward it’s great to see discussions like this happening in public.

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Oh for sure — and taking Orbit hat off for a second so to speak — but I know at least you and Rosie (and whomever gets me on this soapbox) have heard my rants on tech tools and the struggle we’ll always run into when facing human problems. :rofl::sweat_smile:

Tools are a means to the end, but they will always require people to interpret, facilitate use of, and comprehend them. All tools require maintenance, from the cars we drive to the social platforms we love to meme on — but that all being said — we have to find the tools that work for us.

I’m not likely to be caught in a diesel truck b/c i simply cannot be bothered to do car maintenance, but will happily spend hours on bike repairs because I found a joy in it.

Tech tools are much the same.


I definitely think there’s room for discussion on what to track, it’s easy to fall into the trap of tracking too which then ends up leading to data overwhelm, or just unhelpful data.

As these newer tools come onto the market what is lacking is the education around what can be achieved and the challenge is then to somehow align that with the (often) many community activities that are happening.

It’s not an easy problem to solve either as all communities are different.

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I’m experimenting with it right now.

Primary use case is a web3 community, manually segmenting users based on roles and relationship to the project.

We’re developing a standard membership model, with tiered levels based on certain criteria. I’m trying to get CR to reflect that structure.

I think one of the challenges with all these tools is that there can be multiple scales(?) in play for different communities.

Active engagement scale is one. How often someone logs in, posts, comments, reacts, etc.

Then there’s the passive engagement — time spent in the community, observing, watching, reading. The frequency and duration of that.

And then here’s the customer/commerce scale. Have they bought anything? What did they buy? How much? When?

…this is just what immediately comes to mind.