To deliberately overstate things, it seems to me that perhaps the most critical leader in an online community is the group owner.
For instance, reddit’s growth is dependent upon leaders of subreddits. Facebook is making group participation a major theme. There are many other examples…
From another angle, Rich Millington, in his book The Indispensable Community, explains it this way:
Iriberri and Leroy noted that to progress beyond maturity and have a sustainable community, there needed to be sub-groups. As communities get busier, information overload becomes a big problem. It becomes more difficult to feel a sense of intimacy with other members and so the needs and interests of members begin to diverge. Unless the community forms sub-groups, members drift away until only a core-group remains. This is borne out by data. Communities without sub-groups tend to have a tiny group of active members and a large group of members who have drifted away. Without sub-groups, a community is just a mass of strangers lobbing content at each other, hoping to gain a fleeting amount of attention. Sub-groups make a community better.
It seems to me that a significant amount of attention has been given to making the admin and moderator experience better (dashboards, review queue, etc.). It is all very appreciated and incredible work.
As those experiences have been improved, I would suggest that features that empower and make a group owner’s life easier would be a valuable experience to prioritize .
For instance, the Category Group Moderation feature (Category Group Review/Moderation) is a very positive move in this direction.
I understand and respect meta’s culture of wanting specific suggestions. But for now, I mainly just want to open the conversation:
- What is the level of interest in imagining the group owner as a primary end user of Discourse?
- What features do other platforms offer that could make sense within the Discourse experience?
- What are the current, primary pain points for a group owner?