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I had the advice and care of many of the most eminent surgeons in England: none of whom could heal them up, even in three years.


The situation with private online communities is somewhat different. Since membership for these communities is closed, WOM referrals may actually be problematic if the person being referred does not meet the criteria for the community. Also, it is more likely that you'll experience the first problem you mention (not knowing people who are appropriate for the community).

These factors make community growth/health a major issue for private communities, and in some cases may mean that it is not possible to sustain the community. Two approaches have proven to be helpful here: (1) direct engagement with potential members of the community (2) good notification systems within the community. The first tactic works well if you essentially have a contact list for all potential members of the community (which is always the case when dealing with associations, which is the area I deal with). The second helps keep people involved with communities that have a lower overall level of activity -- which is often going to be the case when membership is closed.

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