Solutions, Problems, And Gratitude

On a community project last year, the client was nervous that the number of posts and community was declining.

They had tried a few special events, tweaking the gamification system, and changing the registration process, but nothing had a big impact.

The real problem was they had tried to come up with solutions before isolating the problem.

When we began investigating, we found that the number of newcomers and registrations to the community had barely budged. The community was still attracting as many questions as ever – but the number of responses had declined.

Either questions were becoming too difficult for members to answer or there were fewer members to answer them. A quick browse of the data showed that the ‘superusers’ had declined by just over half in the past 7 months.

I reached out to 10 previously active participants to ask why.

Almost all identified the same problem. A year ago the community manager had changed. They found the new community manager cold, ungrateful, and almost hostile. Where they once received likes on almost every post, frequent direct messages with gratitude, and often hung out on zoom calls, the new community manager did none of that.

Worse yet, they increasingly felt like their input was ignored by this community manager rather than welcomed as it was by the past community manager.

Sometimes problems need big, bold, solutions to fix. Other times they just need a little more gratitude.

But you can’t resolve any problem until you get to the true source of it.

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