The strongest communities are formed by uniting people who share same values, not the same opinions.
This difference is important.
If you ask me for my opinion on campaign finance reform, you'll get one.
That's just an opinion on an issue, it doesn't reflect how much I care about the issue. I'm not going to participate in a community based on that opinion.
Don't try to unite people that share the same opinions. They probably don't have a deep enough interest in the field to regularly participate. Unite people that share the same values.
A value is deeper. It's an ingrained belief acquired through upbringing, personal experiences, and our cultural groups. When we act in accordance with values, we experience satisfaction. When we don't, we experience uncomfortable dissonance.
If you can build a community filled with people that share the same values, you'll drive high levels of activity.
There are many types of values. Some value cooperation, peace, and harmony. Others value success, self-reliance and hard-work. Your challenge is to find people that share the same values within your topic and unite them.
You can't do this if you're not one of them. You can't build an affective community (one that affects us at a psychological level) if you don't truly share those values (this is why you need to be careful what type of community work you accept and plainly state your values before accepting a job).
This is also where the art and science of building a community overlap.
You can use all the science in the world to create a list of people that have the symptoms of sharing the same values. You won't know for sure until you meet them.
Have you ever immediately hit it off with somebody? That's usually because you share the same values. You might not say it explicitly, but you can intuitively tell you're speaking at the same level. It shows in the excitement levels of the discussion, the interested body language, the eye contact. Trust this intuition.
Social groups are self-propagating. Members that share the same values attract more members that share the same values.
You might not know these people yet. They might be difficult to find and tougher to approach. But that's the art and science of building your community. Your mission is to seek these people out and unite them.
There are a lot of frustrated people in your sector right now who share the same values as you and want to find their place in the world. They want a shared identity with people like themselves. They want to make a difference.
And they're waiting for you to bring them together.
You have 43 days remaining to buy your tickets.