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a question by Oct 25, 2010
What do you think makes a good and a great community on Lunch? I don't think any community can be perfect, but what do you think can make a community be close to it at least?
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TheJohn's Answer
answered:    October 25, 2010
Try to keep it up to date, have things to talk about, make some badges for your members to unlock. Try and read all the reviews and give feedback on them. I imagine that it can get harder with a larger community or depending on how much time you have.
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October 26, 2010
Thank you. It's what I try to do in my own community.
 
October 26, 2010
Good comments, John!
 
October 25, 2010
Nice tips!
 
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answered:    October 26, 2010
I think it comes down to something very simple WP, the reviewers. I think a community is great and even perfect if people keep posting their reviews in the community. These "reviews" are people's written feelings on what ever the topic is, it may seem like a little thing but there is some trust that goes into that. If people trust you enough to put their words into your community then you have created a perfect community. I don't know, that may sounds stupid or over thought but that's what I think.
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answered:    October 26, 2010
Interesting question, William.

Labeling a community on Lunch as good versus great is all very subjective. First, all communities on Lunch are good ones. Although I initially worried about the limiting factors associated with communities, I've been happy with how members, founders, and moderators approached this feature on Lunch. There is such a wide array of communities that sometimes I feel like I'm in a Skittles commercial trying to "taste the rainbow." Because of the variety and friendliness of the people on Lunch, all communities are winners.

Now, for those of you desperate to reach the heights of "greatness," I would ask you to take a step back and define what "great" means to you. A great community will vary among members, founders, and moderators, and in the end, the only definition that matters is yours. You can't please everyone, so focus on making yourself happy. 

For me, elements of a great community are as follows:

  • Helpful and friendly founder, moderators, and members. Although you can't control the types of members in your community, setting a good example is key. Second, having a list of guidelines will help members understand what types of behavior are acceptable. 
  • All types of reviews (short, medium, long, good, bad, etc.) It's nice to be able to compare the types of reviews by having a variety of writers and writing styles. Plus, I don't like censoring a person's writing, even if it's not of a certain caliber.
  • Passion. Without this, a community is nothing. The founder and moderators have to be passionate about the topics being reviewed. That passion will excite the members and get them to want to review even more. If it's not fun for you, then chances are it's not fun for others.

There are many arbitrary elements that some people think might make a great community. However, I see them as merely "icing" on the cake. Incentives such as badges, member spotlights, and newsletters are all important ways of getting people to write reviews. However, your community's "greatness" should not rely solely on these factors. I enjoy people that write because they are passionate about a topic rather than to be constantly recognized or rewarded. You should write for yourself first and let everything else just be an added bonus.

Finally, there is the belief that more=better. This is not always true. I always believe in quality over quantity. Having more reviews simply provides a variety of writing styles and opinions, not greatness.

Being "great" is something that comes from within. It can't be given or earned through achievements. It's the practice, hard work, and dedication of wanting to perfect your craft that makes you and your community great. Others will see this, flock to your community, and it will be successful. In the end, it's merely a state of mind.
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answered:    October 25, 2010
Well, I think the first step is to find a subject matter to build your community around that has a wide appeal to people. I also think it's important for the subject matter to be well-defined so as to avoid confusion or having to specify after reviews are already posted. In addition, forming guidelines is a good way to start.

As a founder, I feel it's very important to set a good example and encourage cooperation with other communities and other members. Encouraging competition between communities or promoting your own at the expense of others is not a good practice.

But most importantly, make your community members feel welcome.
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