In a current client project, we’ve been launching a new, private, community in a niche field.

Given the nature of the topic, we needed to invite and approve everyone who joined.

We quickly noticed a problem. Regardless of how quickly we approved new accounts (most were approved within an hour), many approved members weren’t returning back to visit the community. That short delay was having a big negative impact.

We tried @mentioning members and nudging them from within the community, but it wasn’t having much of a difference.

So we tried Discourse’s improved invite system instead. Essentially, anyone who joins via a specially created link is pre-approved to join the community. We began using this link in every invite instead of the generic community link.

It’s early days, but so far the results have been close to a 100% success rate. Removing the wait to be approved has a big impact upon someone’s likelihood of visiting and participating in the community.

If you’re building a private community and your platform lets you create a pre-approved list (or pre-approved emails/domains etc..), I’d suggest you use it.

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