Internal validation is validation by other members of the community.
When members publish a book, achieve a promotion, get married, or achieve any major goal, it’s powerful to see that success validated by other members of the community.
Having a place where members can share their successes is a powerful way to help build a powerful sense of community among members.
External validation is validation of the community by 3rd parties.
When members are featured on the news, or the community is featured in some external source, it’s powerful to share this within the community. It validated everything the community is doing.
15 years ago in my earliest gaming communities, I featured every mention of online gaming or ‘eSports’ within my community. Not only did it generate activity, it always made us feel we were on to something unique and special.
Don’t underestimate the power of external validation.