It’s tempting to believe you can nurture the first sparks of activity into a thriving community.

Any sparks will do…right?


Any activity won’t do.

If newcomers visit a site filled with low-quality, repetitive, beginner-level content they won’t come back. You don’t just need any activity, you need good activity to get started.

High-quality contributions trumps high-quantity contributions. And if you don’t get the former, the latter won’t happen anyhow.

But you can’t expect anyone to create quality contributions if you don’t explain what quality is and how members can create quality contributions. Some useful rules for you and for your members:

  • Contributions shouldn’t already exist anywhere else.
  • Contributions should be something you cannot Google.
  • Contributions should be placed in context. Share the context of the question, what the contributor is trying to achieve, what resources they have available, and what they’ve tried already.
  • Contributions should be succinct, direct, factual, (or, in rare cases, highly entertaining).
  • Contributions should go the extra mile to bring something unique and special.
  • Contributions should be brave and unafraid to be contrarian.
  • Contributions should be honest, trustworthy, and open.
  • Contributions can be videos or photos – especially if they’re easier to understand than text.
  • Contributions should be empathetic.

These are all examples of course, your definition of quality and what it takes to make a quality contribution might be different

Just remember that no-one can create quality contributions if you don’t tell them what quality is.

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