I’m curious what trends, approaches and ways of community advocacy you’d like to see less of right now.
What do you think isn’t moving the community craft forward?
For example, I’d like to see less emphasis on rapid-fire live text chat on community tooling (and see what the opportunity of doing less of that brings – such as longer-form audio/writing and slower longer-term asynchronous connections, co-creation and collaboration).
I’m a bit tired of random analytics for community platforms.
Example: A ton of community managers that I speak to really want super granular data on their user engagement and any number that seems like it’s useful is immediately asked for.
But I always have a ‘so what?’ moment. Most of the communities that have the budget for the tools are brand communities and I don’t think the engagement hyper-focus is healthy for the long term because it doesn’t ultimately prove the value of the community to the person who gives you a budget.
“We have 70% engagement rates”
What about stuff like:
“We got 10 pieces of really valuable feedback for the product team”
“10 new content ideas for blogs from our community-generated content”
I know it’s early days but it grinds my gears🥲
While I love live interactions (Slack, Discord, etc.) it saddens me that the first thing most communities start with is a live-chat platform and then only consider an async platform (Discourse, Vanilla, etc.) later on. This is especially a pity when most communities use Slack’s free plan and then lose older messages! Async platforms allow you to search any past conversations without restriction and the discussions are so much more valuable.
I wish people would think about forums first before live chat platforms, and I see it happening form time to time - like we’re reverting to what originally worked for online communities before live chat was so readily available.
I agree @hlashbrooke. But why do you think they do that? Do they perceive starting a Discord as easier than starting a forum? Are they right to believe that?
My initial instinct is that getting some engagement in a chat app like Discord is easier (including from the perspective of a community member) than joining a forum.
A big part of that may have to do with the social norms around the 2 mediums: forums typically connote longer form responses, while a Discord doesn’t. And more people will opt for the one that feels lower effort (the latter).
Open to other ideas. But it does seem hard to solve, unless you already have a large audience that you can populate a forum with.
Facebook groups are an interesting middle ground. Perhaps Twitter’s upcoming community feature will provide a non-Facebook alternative to fill that space.
Forums are harder to get contributions to and chat spaces are easier to get ‘engagement’. I don’t think engagement is necessarily better, but quick responses feel like you are making progress.
The reality, I feel is that it’s a false sense of security. People quickly get bored of it. It’s fun for a bit, but it doesn’t really scratch people’s itches.
Honestly, these days I prefer Discord for things like audio chat/spaces. And for forums I’m definitely going for the long term curation/resource.
I think this is why Discord is changing the game for Communities in general.
I haven’t used replacements, the community I’ve been running for the last year is hosted on Discord, and I love that I can read, review & find messages all the way back from the beginning.
I LOVE this answer, Kourosh!!
It’s so true, like at the moment I think all Community Metrics are “vanity metrics” because at it’s core it’s a fairly intangible job, but if the people you’re working with don’t notice the value in listening to it’s users, using the Community Team, then they’re losing out.
Still waiting on the next step in the Community Revolution when people realise CMT isn’t simply an ROI model on business.
More nuance around events.
We really tend to go for the bigger is better approach with events, and I have found that rarely to be the case.
Rather, lets approach events from a more holistic — how can we communicate and relate with one another and what can we all bring to the table.
(can i propose a death to the webinar?)
I always find Discord great when you have less than a dozen people but it falls apart so quickly when it scales.
I joined a YouTuber’s running Discord when it was launched and for a while there were about 10 of us and I got to know them very well and found it easy to find conversations I’d not read. Now there’s about 100 people in there and I’ve given up and no longer regularly visit.
Now, if he launched a forum, I would be able to re-join conversations easily, and flick through older conversations I may have missed.
I would like to see fewer instant advice but more discovering questions. It’s like you open the doctor’s door saying “Hello,” and the doctor instantly gives you a random medicine.
Yes, people want to be given solutions, but really they have to mostly figure it out themselves, with some good/guided questions, or pointers in the right direction.
Imagine if Discourse (and other community-focused) tooling could allow admins to install a “Ask a question” reply plug-in. Something that would encourage replyees to ask at least two to three questions when replying for the first time someone asked an initial question. I wonder what would happen if something like that existed.
Hmm, perhaps it would require the original asker to flag a post as a “Requires guided questions” or something like that. Or maybe there’s just a “Guided Questions” category that defaults to “must ask x questions when replying for the first time to this post”.
I’ve always viewed that a ‘community leaders’ job is to uncover the questions that need to be asked. It’s something I’ve always done.
e.g. if a new type of tool comes out I will seek to raise questions around the tool itself, or the types of problems it’s trying to solve.
Or another common thing is if someone blogs about something I will look for an interesting part to ask questions on to instigate a discussion.
Exactly! I truly believe that community leaders are not who know all answers but who encourage others to share their inner knowledge by asking relevant questions!
Haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I found this interesting research on collaboration for community moderators: https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/3491102.3517628.
Make sure to check the research paper.
Can you expand on this? I’m not sure I understand. Do you basically want to make everyone ask several questions every time they write? Why would that help?
I think I get where @simon_tomes is coming from.
It’s teaching/encouraging members to expand on a conversation by asking follow-up questions, instead of jumping straight to a solution. I imagine this is most relevant to support communities.
I also wonder if teaching members to contribute by asking questions is a way to identify/create more super users? If you had placeholder text in the reply field, for example, with some helpful tips.
I’m trying to understand the problem he wants to solve. Why enforce people to ask questions / contribute, if their expertise might not be a good fit / or if they don’t have questions to ask?
If you want them to be active, you could instead explore the trends of the day/week in said community space, and give them some hints on things they could write about. But unrelated to other topics, and only if they want to start their own topic.