What’s Most Likely To Kill Your Online Community?

You know the saying, first they ignore you

There are relatively fixed stages of doom for most communities.

1) You don’t notice the new trend (a shift to new technology, member launching a rival community, decline in topic popularity, collapse in internal support).

2) You ignore or dismiss the trend (“it’s a fad”, “he doesn’t have the support”, “our topic is strong” or “Mr. Smith has our back”).

3) You fight against the trend. You persuade people your technology is better, you attack your rival, you try to promote the topic, or you try to gain internal support. But it’s usually too late.

We all know what comes next.

The best time to prepare for this is right now.

1) If there is a sudden shift to a new technology, it’s better to move sooner than later. Go with the trend. Move to that app, launch the community on Reddit/Facebook as well, and speak to members regularly about how they participate in topic discussions. It’s incredibly hard (for you) to walk away from a platform in which you’ve invested so much. It’s far harder to see all your members walk away from you.

2) Preempt members launching a rival community. Rival communities form from an unmet need or disillusionment (a common scenario is when a community removes a feature members like). Provide a system for anonymous feedback for members to highlight what they want from the community.

3) Use data to check for topic popularity. How many people are searching for relevant terms each month? How many unique, new, visitors are reaching your community? How many people are showing up to events and participating in research? How many list the job profession in their profile? If you notice a decline, broaden the focus of the community or launch new communities in related areas.

4) Notice the signs of falling internal support. If your boss seems less interested in communities, if your budget is cut (or not increased), if you aren’t getting much attention internally, this is a problem. You need regular meetings with your boss (always a good practice) and other stakeholders. Understand what value they need and communicate how they’re getting it.

None of this is easy, which is why so many communities fall victim to one of the above. If you move quickly, many kinds of community deaths are entirely preventable.


  1. Piper_Wilson says:

    Interesting. Change in and of itself is hard and, when one is invested in a path, it’s easy to convince oneself that this way is the right way.

    This is definitely something I struggle with. Thank you.

Make your own comment on this post at FeverBee Experts

Avatar for richard_millington Avatar for Piper_Wilson

©2023 FeverBee Limited, Apartment 2410, 251 Southwark Bridge Road, London SE1 6FN England FEVERBEE

We’d like you to join us.

We’re a group of community professionals who push each other to the cutting edge of our work. Every day we share our experiences, highlight new expertise, and push one another to become the best community builders we can be.

The day you join, you’ll get access to 1000+ practical tips, dozens of resources, and unlimited access to the top experts in our space. You’ll also get to see how we go about building a community amongst our own audience.

It takes just 30 seconds and doesn’t cost a thing.


Level Price  
ALL COURSES $750.00 per Month.
Community Development Program $1,100.00 per Month.
Director of Community $8,770.00 per Month.
Free Trial - Accelerator Program Free.
Community Accelerator (founding members) [annually] $250.00 per Year.
Community Accelerator and FeverBee Intelligence [monthly] $45.00 per Month.
Community Accelerator and FeverBee Intelligence [annually] $450.00 per Year.
Full Community Upgrade (Large Enterprise Only) [monthly] $750.00 per Month.
Full Community Upgrade (Large Enterprise Only) [annually] $7,600.00 per Year.