Community Training

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Robin Hamman

Hi Richard,

Some good points here.

I'm always surprised by how many communities launch with dozens of empty topics, spreading the small (or no) user base quite thinly across them. As you say, it's important that, in the early days, the users you do manage to attract have someone to have a conversation with. Keeping to one general topic, or a small number of topics, is the best way to do this. As user contributions increase, you can, as you've pointed out, begin to identify the topics that are likely to work, and pull these out into new, more specific topics. It's a technique that we used at the BBC, where I co-authored the message board discussion host training back in 1998, and something I continue to help clients understand now that I'm working as a social media consultant.

Great site - lots of good advice and information here!

Robin Hamman
Head of Social Media at Headshift ( and also at


Hi Richard

Interesting post; as I am still learning, could you outline exactly why you think the example is a terrible community? Would be really useful to me. I have my own ideas, but am in need of extra input from you to see if I'm on the money!

Avid reader of your blogs by the way; always easy to digest and informative.


Nancy Wolff Leary

You make some good points. One item I'd address differently relates to "putting a member in charge of" a forum topic. I think the idea of a community is that belongs to the members, and assigning a member to lead a topic feels a little contrived. Perhaps it's just semantics, but I thought it was worth a mention.

Dr Search

Thank you.
Excellent commonsense.
Liked your example of a terrible online community:-)

you are the love of my life

Well good post!Forums will never get old because its the only way to get all your solutions.Its an online discussion site where people can post messages and respond to each other.Ne ways thanks for sharing such a helpful information.


In my opinion you stole this article and placed on another site. I had already seen.

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