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What's the best tool for involve Newcomers into a community?

We have two ML on google groups (in english and italian) and two IRC channel (in english and italian) but
for the newcomers maybe are’nt the best tools, new users (no devs) generally wants something more social and more gamified (number of posts, roles, karma, badge… ecc…)
What do you think about Mailing list, Old Forum, Q&A, New Forum (like discourse), IRC, social (like twitter or G+ community)?
What’s the best tool for involve Newcomers into a community?

Suggestions and remarks are welcome!

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I think a big chunk of it depends on (a) the kind of contributor and (b) the kind of community.

As an example, for software developers, mailing lists have proven to be a popular means in which people can discuss a project and how to participate. IRC has proven to be a good real-time compliment to that.

Forums are generally not particularly popular with developers, but very popular with users and fans of a particular community. For read-only communities (communities where people consume as opposed to contribute to the core of what brings the community together), forums are a very popular choice due to their low barrier to entry.

This all assumed that the user wants to join the community. In terms of extolling the benefits of why a user should join, I belive social media and traditional outreach is the best method.


Mailing list are good for technical dicussion, but imho not to feel a sense of belonging… IRC is good to talk informally and meetings but not so easy to use for younger people accustomed to social network

This is true but forums can be very distracting if you are looking for a solution to a problem or only at the end of page and page of text

I have a small community, few people around a new OS based on CentOS, I do a little hard to get people involved. I’m looking for people who are interested to try the product and tell me what they’re thinking about or asking questions or better filling issues and proposing fixes
I’m searching the right tool :slight_smile: my people can have a low technical level (like ex-windows sysadmin) or advanced

Like twitter? g+ community? or a blog?
On the other hand I don’t want to provide too many communication channels to prevent the fragmentation of information :-\


I am not sure I would agree that a sense of belonging doesn’t happen on mailing lists. I agree that they often serve more technical communities, but many people in those communities feel a sense of belonging. The nature of belonging is less about the medium and more about the engagement on that medium.

I agree. This is why for problem solving I typically recommend http://stackexchange.com/ as a better solution for more directed questions and solutions. It also makes generating reputation easier.

If you are looking for structured feedback from your users, I have found that surveys are really helpful. You can do this pretty cheaply with SurveyMonkey (http://www.surveymonkey.com) with free surveys up to 10 questions and paid for more questions. Every survey I have ever done has resulted in very insightful feedback.[quote=“alefattorini, post:3, topic:57”]
Like twitter? g+ community? or a blog?

My social media strategy is to register Twitter, Facebook, and G+ accounts. I generally post the same announcements to all channels but most discussion is on Twitter and G+.

This is a great truth. I learned that at the beginning we have to go to find people where they are.
Only after you can convey them to a particular tool or on another

Often the problem is having to follow a thousand different channels and have the information scattered in a thousand places :-\
It would be ideal to have everything in a forum or in a ML or in a Q&A

I think it’s ideal to have everything in the forum AND the ML AND the Q&A.

Yes but i don’t want information scattered in a thousand places :-\
I want that a newcomer who come on my site can find a simple tool where ask questions and seek information, as intuitive as possible.

A lot of people visit my project site, download the ISO, see the demo and… nothing. I miss that feedback :frowning: otherwise I need to gather it
I’m thinking about something like zopim, for talk with people in realtime and suggest properly communication channels :slight_smile:
What do you think about?

Two points:

  • You’re asking the wrong question. It’s not “which tool”, it’s “how can” you make it simple for newcomers. The tools are just things that happen to look a certain way and display information. It’s what information you put there - and how easy it is to navigate and understand for new users - that really matters.
  • Yes, put the information in all of the tools. If the tool you’re using doesn’t have an easy way to import / export / sync or re-display data from other sources, then you need a better tool. There are ways to programmatically tie at least the top-level “categories” or entry points to your project through any of the tools you use. For example, with mailing lists, make sure that the web page of the archives is easy to navigate, and find a way to provide search (either Lucene/Solr, some other engine, or even an outside source like markmail.org)
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That’s a good point, but it’s not easy to understand if newcomers find information quickly, clear and effective.
And it’s not easy to push them to join and partecipate :slight_smile:

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I do agree with that point. But I think we are in a period of time where we have a mix of old and young folks and it hard to find that “tool” that will work for everyone. The problem, which was said above, that the information can be easily scattered.

To me, I think just having a wiki with the basic information (what the team/project is, how to get involved, ect.) and use the mail-list for all of the discussion. IRC could be used but I feel like it would be better off used just for meetings where you can get many members on at the same time to talk.

Forums can get too large and to hard to follow for support, so I do agree that for support (Q&A too!), stack exchange can work. I see forums just acting like another mailing-list like environment, that could be easier to follow and to reply to if you don’t have the e-mail.

As for social media, you need to find a way to sync what you will post, if you have multiple places that will post.

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