A community of technology community managers, leaders, and builders.

7A - Birthing a new community within an existing community Notes

  • Don’t forget delegation - it’s something that is definitely well-known, but not discussed often enough
  • Communities are not always the best avenue for support - it’s important to understand that you want to guide customers to the correct avenue, not always the community
  • Working with the support team to help customers use the forums is an effective way to expand community
  • Crap. Ryan M.
  • Use projects to engage with people to expand the community - give them mutual goals
  • Start with a process rather than start with a tool. Once you have the process defined, then look for a tool that can fulfill it
  • Quick wins - give the community something to feel involved right away
  • Existing culture has a great impact on expanding the community. People are going to have mindsets that may require changes or additions to make room for the community. It’s important to adjust your strategy to accommodate those mindsets so those individuals work with you.

Discussion notes that happened before the above take aways:

Facilitator: Russell P

  • Ryan M
  • Kristina
  • Russ W
  • Zohar
  • Kensie
  • Sam
  • Theresa
  • Jess


  • Server team at Xen was closed source until last year and is now open -> need to see how they can deal with that
  • Russell: Lots of users, but not very active
  • Russ: established community of current users -> now transform that into a support-based community: users support users via forums
  • Russell: Users prefer forums to mailing lists, very slowly in the beginning a month ago and now moe high volume of messages -> trouble drawing in established people
  • A community Q&A should not become a “Ask Russell” session
  • Zohar
  • Tools are in the way a lot of times
  • Kaltura users started out with Q&A tool because that felt like a support ticket -> now that they have discussion forums -> more discourse happens.
  • Discourse (software) allows emailing the list -> developers prefer to deal with email instead of going to the forums and now engage that way whereas users use forums more -> both are happySam: how can we be relevant in a community where we can’t all be in the same place
  • Challenging: Bridging the gap between very different tool preferences of people within the community -> it’s not just one tool anymore that you deal with, but multiple ones to reach the users where they areZohar uses mentions.com to keep track of where Kaltura is mentioned
  • Non-techhnical users are good at documentation, e.g. they write great blog posts
  • Always regard users as potential developers
  • Existing community does not participate because of the way that they were trained to give feedback. Previously, users asked the dedicated support team for everything -> it is hard to convince the community that the support forums are better for them:
  • 1 answer is seen by many others and not only the person asking the question
  • Get opinions from other users on the same issue
  • Jess’s idea: post support cases up in the forum together with the answer (anonymize any sensitive information)
  • Kristina: In the support forum also reference other community resources so that users learn where else they can find answers
  • Kensie: forums aren’t great for support because users don’t know where to find the answer -> how do you search for what you have in your brain and translate it into keywords
  • Zohar: Search across all sites where there are resources available around a product / community
  • Stack Overflow is great at having specific questions answered whereas discussion forums encourage discourse
  • Ideas to engage formerly not engaged users (example of a community that is predominantly not online and not even using technology much):
  • Partner a non-techy with a techy
  • Focus on one group of people to engage with the technology and then spread out from that because these users can become your ambassadors
  • Structure your community so that others can be reached
  • Delegate tasks to others: empower core members / people who are active to take on more responsibility
  • Set up communities of practice within the wider community (like special interest groups) to bring people of the smae interests together so they can have quick wins
  • Jess: Communities have a lot of ego and these need to be acknowledged
  • If you have a company behind your product, don’t have the great features developed by the employees and leave the scraps for the volunteers
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