A major misunderstanding in developing successful communities is more activity is inherently good and less activity is bad.
But if you’ve ever opened WhatsApp to find 300+ messages from 3 to 4 people in one group sharing silly memes with each other, that’s clearly not true.
For those 3 to 4 people, it was probably good fun. For everyone else, it was simply noise.
At best, they now have to scroll through an entire discussion to see if anything was relevant to them. At worst, they simply pay less attention to messages from that group in the future.
If that discussion hadn’t happened, the community would’ve been better for it.
The best benefits for members don’t come through a greater quantity of activity but through a higher quality of activity.
Quality isn’t just highly predictive of a member sticking around, it attracts more people too. It begets further high-quality contributions. It creates a culture that people want to be around.
Everyone nods their head in approval at the StackOverflow model but few choose to do the hard work of copying it – despite how clearly successful it can be.
Copying it means rejecting contributions that aren’t good enough (and, sometimes, people that aren’t able to make good contributions).
It means constantly trying to deliver the highest-quality signal to noise ratio.