Why do online communities die?

I was talking to Clement Kao who runs Product Teacher, who’s seen a lot of product communities come and go. He called some slack communities advice marketplaces where the ones that die fail to incentivize advice givers to keep giving advice, usually within 6 months the communities tend to contract and lose its momentum.

It just got me thinking about how there’s not a lot of info online about why communities die and what that looks like. Curious to hear everyone’s thoughts.


My first reaction to this is ‘6 months is not long enough’ to give a community time to thrive.

I’d suggest at least a year, but more like 2-5 years (context dependent, of course).

We definitely tend to like to hear the success stories, not just for community, but for everything in life. When something dies, it is harder to talk about and it comes easier in time.

It would be interesting to hear stories though, maybe be we can a call out to find people who have stories.

I had a successful meetup that I ran for like 3 years, it died because I stopped being consistent…I can’t remember why that happened now though. I think life just got busy/different.

If a community fails after 6 months, then recruitment has failed. Members will not stick around forever, and once their journey with the topic the forum supports has ended, they will move on. It is vital that you have new members coming through all the time.

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