posted at 3:23 pm
on Sep. 10, 2008
Having a Vacation in Colorado
Trip to the Airport
If you’re looking for a book about building and sustaining online communities, check out “Managing Online Forums” by Patrick O’Keefe. I just finished reading it, and was suitably impressed [disclosure: he sent me a review copy].
The book talks throughout about forums in a generic way; it’s not tied to any one tool or software system, though there are several sidebits about phpBB. And much of his advice applies to more general community building—around a successful blog, for example, or a popular Facebook group.
One interesting idea that O’Keefe wrote, was that you can be very successful hiring a community builder who is not actually interested in the topic of your community, but who has the people and tech skills, and the time, to foster conversation. Musing on that, i realize that in some ways, you’d end up with a more unbiased, less distracted moderator. And that’s a plus.
If I had one criticism, though, it’s that the book doesn’t spend enough time on the positive aspects of community, and instead focuses on avoiding pitfalls (disgruntled users, trolls, how to ban IPs, etc.) I liked his ideas about promoting interactivity and participation, and wish there had been more of them.