How to Building a Software Community

Discussion in 'Articles & Tutorials' started by Business Forms, Aug 21, 2010.

  1. Business Forms

    Business Forms
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    Dec 29, 2009
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    Ways to build a community around your products.
    • Encourage Participation
    Encourage participation via newsletters, emails, etc. Basically, in any consumer communication, indicate the presence of a community and encourage them to participate.
    • Reward Participation
    Reward community participation. Many communities use point systems for this task. Whether its monitoring the number of posts, or allowing community members to assign reputation points, the points really don't have a tangible value, yet community participants will strive to get more and more points. (i.e. Yahoo! Answers)
    • Reward Good Behavior
    For customers that assist with technical support, provide them with a complimentary upgrade version and thank them for their participation and support. Communicate with active participants and elevate their status in the community, perhaps allowing them some moderator duties or other privileges. Public recognition is a great motivator.
    • Something For Something
    Understand that participating in a community takes time. If you want people to be active, you must be willing to give a little. Allow back-links in forum signatures, make forum signature links "do follow", etc. Community participation must be give and take.
    • Trust
    Reputation indicators can also be a great motivator. Allow forum participants to assign trust points to others in the community. A community member that consistently provides helpful information can earn a high level of "trust" points.
    • Make It Easy To Follow
    Make the community easy to follow. Provide RSS feeds, email notices, and other tools that will allow community participants to easily follow threads and discussions of interest.
    • Engage
    Above all, participate! If you do not take an active role in your community, it is unlikely that your customers will.
    • Moderate With Moderation
    While you may instinctively wish to crush forum debates with a heavy hand, moderate with moderation instead. Remember that all community participants are customers or potential customers, so be flexible regarding what is allowed, and moderate with moderation.
    • Contests
    Contests can be used to increase participation and to improve the quality of participation. Employ a contest to discern the top poster of the month, or the best post of the month. For example: here's a contest from the MJTnet forum.
    • Get Personal
    Send members private messages offline to thank them for particularly helpful comments or posts.
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    New Member

    Jul 10, 2010
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    Most of the Points I am following for my Webmaster forum. All are very important to make your community more popular..
  3. PaulPinnacle

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    Aug 24, 2010
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    Some excellent points/advice there, however I'll take issue with this one to an extent.

    There is nothing worse than an under moderated forum (and that includes an over moderated forum).

    The example given relates to debates, so I'll agree there. As long as the basic rules of the site are adhered to and some common sense is applied (simple things like "attack the post not the poster") then debate should be encouraged. However when it comes to spam/nonsense posts/total idiocy, I'd much prefer to (or see a forum admin team) err on the heavy handed side.

    I have never left a forum community due to 'fights' or 'negative posts' (or over moderation), yet I have left dozens due to spam and time wasting posts/threads (i.e. under moderation).

    I think the vast majority will agree that most debates are a win win situation. If I make a post that someone else chooses to take exception to, it results in one of two things:

    1) I learn something new and correct a misconseption I previously held. Something I always welcome (none of us are perfect :eek:)

    2) I correct a misconception someone else held and assist the community I'm a part of in learning from it (while also making myself look good by displaying a strong knowledge)

    Sometimes debates will start over subjective matters where there is no 'right' or 'wrong' answer. In these cases, at least people can learn from seeing the personalities of those involved. Using BAF as an example, if I'm contemplating doing business with a member of the forum but then see that they react to a 'negative' comment in a less than appropriate manner, again, I've learned something valuable from it.

    So while I very much welcome open discussion and debate, when it comes to spam/questionable posts or activities, I'm all for zero tolerance.
  4. MichaelSullivan

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    Aug 25, 2010
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    I like the idea of rewards. It feels better and you’re a bit more motivated when you know that you’re not just going to learn from other posters or commenter but also something of value maybe waiting for you. This is such a great idea.

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