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How to Build and Maintain a Community

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How to Build and Maintain a Community

Old 06-17-13, 12:00 PM
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How to Build and Maintain a Community

Okay, my thread title is a little misleading. One single person or entity cannot "build" a community. They can only provide a framework for a community to gather around. In the real world, this is often a building such as a church or school. On the internet, it might be an forum or a social media network.

Communities are much like a living organism -- they can live, flourish, and even die. Ultimately, it's up to each individual member to decide how much they contribute. If nobody contributes, the community fades away, even if the framework is still there to support them. Certain members of the community may have more responsibility or leadership than others, but ultimately it's up to everybody. Internet communities are particularly fragile because anybody can leave at any time -- they just stop logging in.

These suggestions are very much skewed to individuals in an Internet community. Some can be applied to other communities as well, and some are targeted to community leaders.
  • Participate! If you just sit in the back of the room, or lurk, you aren't a member of the community...you're an observer. Nothing wrong with that, but if you want to see that community flourish you should be more involved.
  • The world does not revolve around you. If you join a community expecting it to make sweeping changes to match your values and expectations, you're probably in the wrong place. For example, a teetotaller should probably not belong to a brewing club...and if he does it's a bit unreasonable to demand a ban on alcohol-related discussions because that violates HIS principles.
  • Suggest changes and improvements. While it may be unreasonable to ask for a complete reworking, every community could stand to improve. Be vocal with your suggestions, but be reasonable, especially if they aren't all implemented (and they won't be).
  • Don't create a "culture of fear". This applies to community leaders who should avoid being too restrictive towards people who have new ideas or suggestions. Listen to the people, every community can stand to improve. A culture of fear causes people to be silent and/or simply leave. This also applies to members of the community, who sometimes can "dogpile" on new members who may have differing opinions than the "group think".
  • Rotate leadership. Sometimes perfectly nice and normal people can power-trip when given a little leadership. It's important for the good of the community that they be removed from such positions. Often, creating a rotation of leaders (term limits, elections, etc) can naturally help with this.
  • Don't "corporatize". The more "corporate" your community is, the more vanilla it is, and the less incentive people have to join or stick around. This is something that's often hard to quantify, and is more of a "I know it when I see it" intangible.
  • Don't be an asshole. This is probably the most important one for me, and it applies to leaders and community members alike. Guess what? In any community you're going to find people who disagree with you. Sometimes it's going to be on minor things, like abortion. Sometimes it's going to be on important things, like video game console allegiance. How you treat people who DON'T agree with you is more important than anything. Be cordial. Explain your viewpoint, but don't expect others to change. If you find yourself in the minority, don't play the persecuted victim. If you find yourself in the majority, don't shout down opposing views. It seems simple, but most of us do end up being assholes at least part of the time.

I'm sure others can come up with additional bullet points and additions that are much better than mine.
Old 06-17-13, 12:03 PM
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Re: How to Build and Maintain a Community

Groucho's account has been hijacked.
Old 06-17-13, 12:04 PM
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Re: How to Build and Maintain a Community

Good post and I agree with all of the bullet points.
Old 06-17-13, 12:07 PM
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Re: How to Build and Maintain a Community

I don't get it.
Old 06-17-13, 12:16 PM
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Re: How to Build and Maintain a Community

This place is on it's last legs. It's dying on the vine.
Old 06-17-13, 12:25 PM
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Re: How to Build and Maintain a Community

Is this satire couched in sarcasm couched in social commentary couched in...?
Old 06-17-13, 12:34 PM
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Re: How to Build and Maintain a Community

I refuse to join any community that would have me as a member.

second time I have used that joke in a week.
Old 06-17-13, 12:35 PM
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Re: How to Build and Maintain a Community

If someone were to join a new internet forum, he or she would become a beneficial member by by following those suggestions.
Old 06-17-13, 12:36 PM
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tldr
Old 06-17-13, 12:38 PM
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Re: How to Build and Maintain a Community

A problem with any established community is becoming too insular. One issue here is too many in-jokes and comments that come across as intimidating or hostile to a new member. The dilemma is that you can't point to any individual comment and say "this is harmful." They're all innocuous on the surface, but the totality of them makes it harder for someone to feel comfortable joining in and feeling welcome.
Old 06-17-13, 12:48 PM
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Re: How to Build and Maintain a Community

I'm waiting for the punchline from serious Groucho.
Old 06-17-13, 12:53 PM
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Re: How to Build and Maintain a Community

Every community needs new blood from time to time to survive. If nothing else, members literally die off. And the name DVDTalk doesn't bring in new blood like it did in the past.
Old 06-17-13, 12:59 PM
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Re: How to Build and Maintain a Community

You can start by not firing Dan Harmon.
Old 06-17-13, 01:13 PM
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Re: How to Build and Maintain a Community

Originally Posted by Lord Zarak View Post
You can start by not firing Dan Harmon.
Old 06-17-13, 01:18 PM
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Re: How to Build and Maintain a Community

Originally Posted by WallyOPD View Post
A problem with any established community is becoming too insular. One issue here is too many in-jokes and comments that come across as intimidating or hostile to a new member. The dilemma is that you can't point to any individual comment and say "this is harmful." They're all innocuous on the surface, but the totality of them makes it harder for someone to feel comfortable joining in and feeling welcome.
There are plenty of new members who join and participate and never incur the "wrath" of the forum. This is one of the more welcoming sites I've ever visited.

It's the new members who join and immediately do a bunch of shit that riles everyone up that often face these problems. You don't have to spray your personality and viewpoints all over every thread. A little discretion and maturity goes a long way.
Old 06-17-13, 01:27 PM
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Re: How to Build and Maintain a Community

What is going on around here? I've been gone for a week and it seems like everything has gone to hell.
Old 06-17-13, 01:28 PM
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Re: How to Build and Maintain a Community

The world does not revolve around you.
America fuck yeah it does!
Old 06-17-13, 01:41 PM
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Re: How to Build and Maintain a Community

Originally Posted by Lord Zarak View Post
You can start by not firing Dan Harmon.
All I could think of as well.

Old 06-17-13, 01:47 PM
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Re: How to Build and Maintain a Community

Originally Posted by Tracer Bullet View Post
What is going on around here? I've been gone for a week and it seems like everything has gone to hell.
Let me 'splain.

No, there is too much. Let me sum up. Buttercup is marry' Humperdinck in a little less than half an hour. So all we have to do is get in, break up the wedding, steal the princess, make our escape... after I kill Count Rugen.
Old 06-17-13, 02:00 PM
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Re: How to Build and Maintain a Community

That was just too long to read. Can you bold the important parts?

(I'm not use to seeing the serious Groucho.)
Old 06-17-13, 02:07 PM
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Re: How to Build and Maintain a Community

One tip would be to never ban the founder.
Old 06-17-13, 02:11 PM
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Re: How to Build and Maintain a Community

Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
One tip would be to never ban the founder.
Old 06-17-13, 02:18 PM
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Re: How to Build and Maintain a Community

Old 06-17-13, 02:19 PM
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Re: How to Build and Maintain a Community

Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
One tip would be to never ban the founder.
Whether this is a topic that should be discussed or not, we cannot talk about it here. This thread will be locked or deleted and the conversation will stop. Personally I'd rather it be allowed to run properly, with input from the Community allowed.
Old 06-17-13, 02:31 PM
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Re: How to Build and Maintain a Community

I think online social networks have taken the wind out of the sails from forums like DVDTalk. This forum has gotten noticeably older in the past few years, as kids who've grown up on Facebook stay away from dedicated forums like this one.

DVDTalk could always go the 4Chan route and allow tentacle pornography.

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