After the first two of my interviews with news organisations’ community editors , Reed Business Information’s Andrew Rogers blogged his own ‘3 lessons‘ he’s learned from his time as Head of User Content Development. Reproduced by kind permission, here it is in full:
1. A community is only really a community if it builds (or builds on) genuine relationships between the members.
Otherwise it is merely interactivity. A corollary of this is that an online community needs to be focused around a common interest, need or passion (or simply “something in common”)
If you are to deal effectively with problems of misbehaviour you need to be able to point to the rule which says the user can’t do that.
You will still be accused of suppressing free speech/being a Nazi of course, but at least you can justify your actions in removing posts, banning users etc.
Spend a lot of time on developing the rules and lay them out in simple language
3. Find ways to reward the best or most prolific contributors
This might be through a reputation system, increased rights, or simply highlighting their contributions in some way.
Many users are driven to upload their photographs to the Farmers Weekly website in the hope that they will make it into the magazine.
It’s also true, of course, that one should aim to reward all contributors by ensuring that someone pays attention to them.