There’s a simple formula you can apply to any online community idea. It’s like this:
Specific Audience + Clear Benefit + Existing Desire – Business Needs
Specific Audience means targeting an audience that you can identify by their behaviours and past actions. They should recognise each other as a member of the community and must have crossed a boundary that outsiders haven’t.
Clear Benefit is the reason why having a community is better than not having one. Why would the specific audience talking to each other benefit every member?
Existing Desire is the desire to speak to each other. The specific audience should already speak to each other, or have the desire to do so.
Business Needs are the restraints you put on a community so your business benefits. You might have found the specific audience, identified clear benefit and recognised an existing desire all to ruin it by making them subservient to your interests. Anything that benefits you and not the community, is a business need. Eliminate them.