Sunday, January 08, 2006

How to rebuild a clubbing community

Gurn used to have far and way the biggest clubbing forum in the world. These days it's quieter than it was, although we are still pretty busy compared to others.

At it's most popular, the community was built on a unique combination of relentless mickey-taking, large cliqués and being freindly to newbies who 'got' the sense of humour. It went through a time where the friendliness vanished and was replaced by scandals that revealed personal secrets of the members and plain nastiness to everyone by everyone.

That lead to a drop in postings and left only the most hardcore/thick skinned of users. It's much better now because we brought in some firm new rules that most people seem to follow and opened a forum called "The Shallow End" for newbies. My next aim is to try and get the main forums back to their former glory.

The always excellent Creating Passionate Users set me thinking:
if you're trying to inspire passionate users, I believe that enforcing a "Be Friendly" rule can be one of the best moves for long-term growth and retention of the community.
That was pretty much what we tried to do with the new rules, but it's so simple it's very appealing. What else can we do to develop things further?

  • Encorage greater contributions through the other interactive parts of the site
  • Use the personal touch and get more people to sign up at the events we do. We can turn up with a laptop, take their details and their picture. When they get home they are already signed up and their mug is in the gallery.
  • Have a forum cull. Our main competitor has literally hundreds of forums. If we want to be distinct we should go the other way and start killing outdated forums that are making us look silly.

As always, I'm open to other suggestions. Hit me with your comments, am I going the right way?

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