August 08, 2011
What is needed is sincerity and passion; knowledge yes, but not as important as passion and sincerity. But it all depends on what the community is; hard to explain....I mean, Count, I would immediately disqualify you if you founded a community on meat products, make up and food. Sorry, dude, I am not going to join any community with you as the founder if you had meat or make up in the community, you're vegan LOL! Also, no offense, I don't think I want you founding a community about sports, since I've never seen you talk about any sport. I'll join you if you want to start one about skunk spray and waffles LMAO! Sorry about the jokes, I couldn't put together a good example.
What it is, it is great to have knowledge about something so you can talk to your members. Why start something if you don't know anything about or not passionate about? What would be your goal..to look great? You have to do one you really care and confident about; as well as letting your members know you care. Of course there are exceptions, but for some folks, who take their reviews and thoughts seriously, they'd like to have a good founder who shares the same passion....otherwise what would be the point? A founder has to be able to converse, and share with his members sincerely and to make them feel welcome. I think that is a community founders job...to make his members' thoughts matter.
Yes, it needs some knowledge or passion....I love movies but I don't know everything about them; I do see myself as knowledgeable on some areas of movies especially certain genres and Asian Cinema, but not all-knowing. I know about anime, but others have shown more knowledge than me (Frank and Jay just to name two), but I share that passion and drive to share. However, you won't see me starting a competition for "Culture of Cute" (I mean I am not cute), or start one about restaurants since I wouldn't know a great restaurant from a good one or Star Trek (I am only a casual fan of STNG) or classical music or to be vegan....but I am part-vegetarian...since I am not that passionate or that knowledgeable about them.
As for relying on members to drive a community...you can only show the way. It is up to them to walk through. A founder also needs to trust and be flexible to what his members want in the community...as long as it stays within the foundations and principle the founder had created. A founder needs to set the example and show his passion through his own reviews....
Hope that helps...I think this question is somewhat related...one needs to gain trust, to trust and to do so, you have to care about the community and your membership... http://www.lunch.com/MovieHype/Question-We_d...en_members_how-271.html
August 15, 2011
I actually don't think the knowledge is as important as passion. I'll try to keep this answer brief but I make no promises.
It is certainly important a for a community founder to have some knowledge, on the other hand, he or she is going to display it the manner that the members generally will... by posting reviews, comments, quick tips etc. in the community. In short, it pretty much takes the effort of the founder and the members to demonstrate the knowledge of a community as a whole. I say this because how much knowledge you have of a particular subject doesn't actually play a major role into creating the community. And sometimes displaying too much knowledge is more alienating than it is inviting.
Let us say that a new member joins who doesn't have quite as much knowledge and the founder comes onto the page and instead of greeting him comments on the review going on and on and on and on about how the new member is wrong in his assertions or something along those lines. You have no effectively discouraged a new member from wanting to be part of that community. No one really likes it when someone gets on their high horse to demonstrate the vast amounts of knowledge they have. On the internet especially you come off as arrogant more so than smart. And in other cases you might come off as condescending.
Likewise, being "extremely" knowledgeable in some communities is damn near impossible. Let's take a look at the Cafe Libri community. It encompasses ALL of literature into one community. It's got thousands of members all bringing their own different opinions and observations to the table about tens of thousands of various books. Consider just how broad the subject which Cafe Libri deals with is. No matter how much knowledge ANY of Cafe Libri's members have about the subject of literature, there will be a lot MORE knowledge which they lack. And this is primarily because Literature has such a broad history behind it as it is. There are too many theories, philosophies etc. within literature and far too many different ideas. And while knowledge OF those ideas can certainly help out... what good would demonstrating them to the wide range of members be? Especially considering how many members there are.
But just the same it's also about the application of that knowledge. I know A LOT about video games. I've been studying, researching and experimenting in the realm my entire life. But a great deal of that knowledge won't help The Gaming Hub as a community. Because much like Cafe Libri the subject is just too broad (not to mention an entirely different beast). But I'm also willing to bet several of the members could contribute in ways I never actually thought possible.
And let's be very honest here. If you've got passion about something you've definitely got knowledge. Sometimes more than you think. But also consider that part of the reason the members who join the community do is because they might also share that same passion. I guess my point is that we're looking at a situation where it takes a village. It's important for the founder to have knowledge without a doubt, but if he lacks the ability to figure how much to apply (surprise it's not much) then it's not really that beneficial to the founder or the members of the community.
August 15, 2011
It is not important for community founders to be extremely knowledgeable about the subjects and topics their community is based on. The reason behind this is because a Lunch community is whatever the founder wants it to be. It can be a place to discover new areas about life thanks to the collective contributions of the members, or it can be a place where experts come together to discuss areas they are passionate about. It can be fun and senseless or with purpose and deep personal significance. Lunch communities are broad, and that is part of their appeal to new members of the site. Taking that away by suggesting that all founders be "experts" on the subjects they base their communities on would defeat the whole purpose of Lunch-- which is the free exchange of dialog among all types of individuals. Instead, we would have a site of elite thinkers, or at least people who think they are elite.
As for whether a community founder should rely on its community members for knowledge versus whether they should provide that service to community members is again another matter of choice. Founders can engage with their members as much or as little as they desire and vice-versa. I've seen many communities which are just homes for posting reviews whereas other communities really engage the members to interact with each other socially. It's a matter of preference, and the lack of initial knowledge means very little. What is most important is the dialog between individuals.
August 10, 2011
I posted this answer a few hours ago and have now no idea where. Here's another try, this time, I think, in the right place. How important for a community founder/leader "to be extremely knowledgeable…etc" Not very. Too much knowledge and passion can easily slide into what can seem like know-it-allness. The point of a founder/leader is to consistently encourage dialogue, sharing knowledge and opinion, and a sense of being colleagues within the community. For me, that means a temperament that naturally draws others out with well-thought questions (not just compliments) about most people's reviews. "You didn't mention so-and-so's performance. I thought it was unusually intense. What do you think?" "How does this compare with so and so," "Are there other films by so and so you recommend?" Tell me more about this, etc" Then comes a wide -- even if not deep -- interest in the subject (e.g. movies, music and so on), plus curiosity and enthusiasm. Challenge occasionally with a "I don't see that/I don't agree…tell me more." Not argumentative, but out of interest and curiosity. I think it also means that the founder/leader, in order to encourage dialogue, may need to moderate his or her own strong opinions (if they come across as too strong) in order the let others breathe a bit when they're posting on a subject that they may not know as much about. Should a community founder/leader rely on community members for this knowledge or be readily available to provide this to them? Seems to me the community founder/leader encourages as noted above, and the sharing of knowledge and opinion will be productive. The more members discuss and gently debate, the more we all learn. So that, for me, is job one. I don't really know what "readily available…to provide it" means, but the site should be about sharing, not teaching. All this is just opinion, and most of this most appropriately applies to subjective topics, like movies and such, and less so to wrenches or wenches (see London's escort services). Oops. I just noticed this is a community for community founders.