Community — The digital country

yitch
5 min readJan 5, 2022

Wanted to offload some brain flatulence on things I learned about building a community over the last 8 years (holy crap I’m old)

Between NFT shilling, metaverse expansions and senior management looking for a new place to dump their money, communities are now becoming the hot new (resurrected zombie) buzzword. I’ll start with the basics.

Members are not metrics

Community is meant to be a safe space for common interest. If someone has joined a community, the person is already interested in the topic. Community is not a sales/ marketing channel. There’s really no need for further shilling. It is a major turnoff.

The drive for more members, MAU, DAU is truly nonsensical beancounting to justify return on investment. It is equivalent to expecting ROI on marriage or having kids. Community is about relationships and the ROI is intangible in terms of creating a brand that people love (so I guess if you really want to, find an accountant that can figure out how to park this under goodwill and collateralize it as a long 🤪)

Safe space

Communities need to be safe for the members. One of the most challenging things I have had to balance is to figure out how to grow new members while actively engaging the OGs.

The mods need to set clear rules and boundaries without it becoming a cancel culture witch hunt. This is also where I feel despite all the automated moderation, human in the loop is still necessary to engage and make decisions. Humans will always outsmart dumb rules over time. And rules need to be updated and reviewed without pandering to the community. An immutable community contract needs to be in place to ensure all members feel at ease to share without judgement.

In general this would be no vulgarities and attack on individuals. Some folks might try to skirt this with alternate words/ phrases but the ill intent should be nipped in the bud as early as possible.

Banning is also a tool of last resort after 3 warnings with specific rationale pointing back to the rules and specific examples to ensure that the person has a chance to defend their actions. A common reason for banning is excessive shilling. This just creates unwanted noise in the community instead of meaningful discussion and makes the space a loud wet market of unwanted adverts (we get enough of that bs in Facebook and Google searches)

--

--

yitch

If you are enjoy a laugh at the expense of our corporate overlords, I hope my sense of humour is the cause