Discourse's strength might be a weakness to my community idea


(Aaron Bell) #1

I am planning on making a community for people who are studying for a certain exam.

People can ask questions on difficult topics, testing experiences, and career advice for people who have passed the exam or people interested in the career.

My community will be naturally divided a few types of common posts/peoples.
-people who have passed
-people studying

also
-people who ask questions
-people who like to give advice

Over time, I feel as though the best responses/posts will become referred to in the community to prevent redundant posts and to share the best ones to newer members. Is this possible that it slows down sign up rates and activity on the forum if the posts reach a point of efficiency where users dont need to create new posts?

I ask this because I can see a career person making a great post about career advice, and a certain post becoming the go to post on this topic, thus slowing down user activity on the forum.

My goal is to build up the user base and then monetize the site somehow maybe with either:
-affiliate sales
-job board
-advertising

Any thoughts on redundant post part?


#2

Hey Aaron,

Potentially yes, but it’s a bit more complicated than that.

Communities break down if people ask the same questions over and over again until people get annoyed.
Communities also break down if people only come to ask one question and then leave when they have the answer and never return.

There are lots of different community dynamics. There are support communities that are all about questions and answers. There are communities of practice that are all about sharing knowledge and ideas. There are many other types, but those two are the most common.

The community you are describing sounds like a hybrid community of circumstance (people are doing the same course) and a community of practice or interest (people have chosen that course because it is about a topic they are interested in). In that circumstance it is unlikely that you will ever have all of the questions answered because people will theoretically have discussions around best practices, tips, new ideas etc related to the topic as well as just the specific exam. The key to stimulating engagement in this case is to make sure that your ‘experts’ model the right kind of behaviour – i.e. as well as just answering questions they share ideas.

All of that said, if your monetization strategy revolves around eyes on pages (ads), a jobs board (unrelated to the exam questions) or a referrals (affiliate sales) then questions and answers (and engagement) are of little to no relevance anyway. If people know they can come to your community to find the answers to their questions, does it matter if no one asks more questions provided they see your ads while they’re searching?

Community builders today frequently focus on engagement metrics but that’s dangerous – engagement in itself doesn’t often contribute value directly to an organisation. Have a think about what ‘activity’ is actually valuable – it may well just be people reading.


(Aaron Bell) #3

Yes, in my mind I definitely thought " If we have great top posts answering common questions, then that potentially solves the problem of redundancy/staleness of community because the community has posts of real value"

The job board seems like the most viable option for me because if people are pursuing this certification, I can then sell access to top candidates and sell job opportunities to individuals.

If people sign up for my community, we will take some useful info from them on the sign up phase, experience, did you pass the test, etc, and bridge people into job opportunities from companies who are looking for people who passed the exam.