In 2016 I became the leader of Momentum, a primarily local and in-person community focused on growth, mentoring, and leadership. The community had been using Yahoo groups for as the primary method of communication about important topics related to the organization and for building fun and connection.
The very first thing I did when I took over the group was to announce an experiment in rolling out a new communication platform. I received a great deal of negative feedback such as, “yahoo groups works great, don’t mess with it!” and “you’ll never be able to get the old timers to convert.” I started using Discourse for all announcements and shared videos about different aspects of the organization. I continued to allow yahoo groups, but when we onboarded new members, we told them Discourse and taught them how to use it.
When we reached a critical mass of users, I announced that we were going freeze yahoo groups. There was massive resistance and even anger about my decision to close yahoo groups. For years I had to deal with complaints about Discourse from digital immigrants and people who don’t like change. It was ironic that they were often using discourse to make complaints or claim that they didn’t know how to use Discourse.
With the incredible help of the gifted and generous @kimardenmiller, we constantly rolled out new features to our community. For example, each team has their own category or, I taught an 12 week course in a category. We’ve run that course several times.
Now that we are no longer able to meet in person Discourse has become a vital way that people stay connected and give support to one another. It’s not my style to gloat, but I’m really wanting to say, “I told you so!” However, I think this is a safe place to say that we made the right move by getting out of Yahoo! Discourse keeps getting better. We own our data. We own our experience.
So, a public thank you to @kimardenmiller for your hours and hours of work helping me train and move our community from Yahoo to Discourse. It was tough! Thanks to all of the developers and plug-in writers that help everything work so well for us.