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Alex Angel for The Community Club

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#ClubChat: How do you handle conversation fatigue in your community?


Today's question (a multi-part question!):

How do you handle conversation fatigue in your community? Has your community experienced it ever (if not, why do you think it hasn't)?

How do you organize the many conversations with many different community members in many different places?

Discussion (7)

noeleflowers profile image
Noele Flowers

Personally for me (and I've noticed this for my members as well) I go back and forth between being a really active community member and periods of time where I feel less inclined to be active. Just based on personal stuff & my state of mind, I could be a super user one week and a lurker another.

...And I think that's okay! Actually, I think it's good. I think well designed communities don't force people to go from lurker to active, they create available pathways for folks to become active when the time is right. So, in a healthy, well designed community, conversation fatigue for one person can mean creating space for another person to step up and take a more active role.

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

I think mods and leaders who are actively trying to "keep things fresh"... with new and creative prompts and discussion starters. If left with no leadership and curation it seems like things could get stale quicker.

laurenfaye512 profile image
Lauren Clevenger✨

Do you mean community managers feeling fatigued from conversations?

Or the members being fatigued by the activity in the Community?

alex profile image
Alex Angel Author

I guess there are a lot of ways to approach this question... I didn't think it was quite as loaded when we posted, but now I'm thinking of all of the different ways it could be interpreted!

  • Within one community space, is there a lack of participation because members are generally overwhelmed with all of the communities they're involved in?
  • Within one community space, do members get tired of the same topics being covered by different members?
  • Within one community space, do people get overwhelmed with the amount of activity happening which leads to decreased participation?
  • Across multiple channels in your community do people get tired of the same topics being discussed on all of those different channels?
simon_tomes profile image
Simon Tomes

These are fantastic questions. Thanks for sharing, Alex.

Perhaps these also help:

  • Within one community space, do members get tired of the same person jumping in on a topic/question at every opportunity?
  • Within one community space, do members hold off from sharing because someone who is considered an expert has already quickly shared their views on a topic/question?

I've experienced both of those situations within a community I belong to. There's a person who is very well respected in the community and has been around for some time – they are a consultant. They jump in quickly on any question related to their area of expertise. I sometimes hold off from adding my thoughts to the discussion because of this. It's an interesting phenomenon to reflect on. And I assume other members hold off too, although I'd be curious to find a way to test this assumption.

I've often wondered how I would work with a community member who is super active but at the detriment of other members, not by malice or bad acting. They're active because they want to help and because they are attempting to sell their services as a consultant without being all "salesy".

I guess if other members get value from their replies it makes sense for them to continue with no intervention from a community manager. Yet I wonder what impact it has on other members and their propensity to share. I have a hunch it has a slight negative impact on capturing a diverse voice of opinions and experience. Perhaps 1-2-1 chats with community members to get a sense check of whether this a genuine problem would help – without mentioning names or making anything personal.

As a Community Manager how might you approach this situation?

mhall119 profile image
Michael Hall • Edited on

Or people being fatigued with the topics available, leading to a decline in conversations?

oliverding profile image
Oliver Ding

This is a great question! I think it is all about the curation and information architecture. An ideal approach includes three strategies:

  • Build a knowledge base to avoiding repeat common questions.
  • Move the focus from topics/content/knowledge to people/talent/expert, using activities to build connections between members.
  • Encourage create sharing by adopting routine open themes.

I'd like to use Creative Morning as an example of the third point. Creative Morning is a community of creators. The main activity of the community is a monthly face-to-face events. Each month, they launch a theme for local chapters. Their themes are abstract which also means open rooms for creativity. Members can choose their own dimensions to explain the shared theme.

Let's have look at some themes from their archive:

Theme 04: reuse

Theme 26: ugly

Theme 45: weird

Theme 64: courage

Theme 82: muse

Theme 99: divergent

It's a great case for answer the second question: How do you organize the many conversations with many different community members in many different places?