We recently put together a proposal for launching a superuser program.
The recipient seemed hesitant about spending [x] amount on a program to foster a relatively tiny group of members.
How much is a superuser really worth?
This is an interesting question. You could go down the financial route.
You could estimate how much time a superuser spends helping others in a community and compare that with the cost of a paid employee (though be aware displacing paid work has legal implications).
You could total up how many questions they answer and the value of those answers.
But the real value of superusers is far more simple; the community simply won’t succeed without them.
You can invest all the time and money into the platform and staff you like, but if you don’t manage to nurture a tiny group of people who are really passionate about the community, it dies.
Communities without dedicated superusers have low response rates, no real sense of culture, and usually become life-support communities. The community manager must provide every zap of activity for anything to happen.
So, how much are superusers worth? Well, the entire success of the community depends upon nurturing a small group of them.