There are several different ways your community might end. Here are some of the top ten.
- You will leave and it will die. Statistically, this is what happens to most online communities. The founder/community manager leaves and the community dies.
- The slow, steady, decline. Gradually activity begins to drop and you end up in death spiral of less people visiting due to less activity. This is by far the most common cause of death.
- Moving to a new platform. This is a huge community killer. An organization tries to move a community from one platform to another. The community resists or splits and the two halves die. Be very careful about changing the platform.
- Top members quit. This happened at UKT and iGUK. The top members left and the level of activity and community spirit declined until nobody visited anymore.
- A rival community. A new community develops that offers something better than your community can. This is a big threat, be careful of it. Often it’s your own members who launch the rival community.
- Spam. You begin to spam or encourage members to do things (or forget to moderate away the junk). Members get bored trailing through the crap to find the good posts. This can kill a community quickly.
- The BIG fight. This is, by far, the most over exaggerated threats. Big fights rarely kill a community. However, it’s possible if too much fighting happens it simply isn’t fun anymore.
All 7 of these are preventable with a little planning and the willingness to take big actions when things begin to go wrong.