Ending the Millennial Conversation, Customer Experience Insurance and Other Short Stories

Not every segment we record on Community Signal makes it into the final episode. One of the perks of being a supporter of the show on Patreon is being among the first to hear bonus clips and cut for time extras.

That’s what this episode consists of: A group of clips that were released to Patreon supporters between June and July of 2017 and have only been heard by them – until now. With new insights from past guests Maggie McGary, Christopher Carfi, Kim England, Tracey Todd, Bob Hubbard, Scott Moore and Venessa Paech, this edition of the show is like a collection of short stories for community professionals, including:

  • Lessons learned from fighting for buy-in for more than a decade
  • When your community is deleted by a disgruntled employee of your web hosting company
  • Candid reactions to Facebook’s inconsistent moderation manual

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The Making of Community Signal (Episode #100)

For the 100th episode of Community Signal, we’re talking about the show itself. How it came to be, what drives it and how we make it each week.

My guest is the producer of all 100 episodes, Karn Broad. Karn is my creative partner in the show, but if he does his job well, you never think about it. This episode really gives you a sense of the rapport than Karn and I have, and how we work together every week to produce Community Signal. Plus:

  • How Karn and I met
  • Why I ended the first community management podcast that I hosted
  • The process of creating the show each week

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Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays! Community Signal will be taking the week off, but we’ll be back next week for episode #100. Can’t wait.

Thank you to everyone who has made 2017 a great year for the show – our listeners, subscribers, Patreon supporters, sponsors, guests, Karn (my producer), and everyone who has spread the word about our program. See you in 2018!

90%+ of Members Felt Less Alone After Joining This Community

Sue Ryder, a well-known charity in the UK, provides support for end of life care and bereavement. In 2015, after more than 60 years of operation, they launched an online community.

For a majority of the its members, the community serves as the first touch point between them and the organization. Not only that, but in a survey, more than 90% of members said that the community made them feel less alone and more able to cope with their situation. Community manager Priscilla McClay joins the program. Plus:

  • The research that led to the launch of the community
  • How the community has shifted to focus primarily on bereavement
  • What Priscilla does to cope with the nature of the community

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Online Communities in the Post-Facebook Era

Matt Mecham’s code has powered far too many online communities to count. Developing popular online community software since 2001, he worked on YaBB and founded Ikonboard, before co-founding Invision Power Services, the company behind Invision Community.

Given his long view of the industry, Matt sees the timeline of online community as progressing through a few eras: The early years, when he began developing software. The middle years, where platforms became more cognizant of UI considerations and SEO. The recent years, Facebook opening to the public and the resulting impact. And now, which he refers to as the “post-Facebook era.” Where will online communities go in that era? Plus:

  • The community software business shift from licensing to SaaS (software as a service)
  • New features vs. bloat
  • Why he turned down a job offer from vBulletin

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How Community Platforms Address the Member Life Cycle

When a member makes a post on your community, there is a status associated with that post. How long they have been a member, how many contributions they have, their reputation, whether or not they are a staff member – all of these things impact their status.

While the content of the post may remain the same, the status of the member changes, as their reputation does or they are removed from staff. Still, when you view their post – old, new, good or poor – only their current status tends to be reflected. That’s one of our topics this week, as we celebrate 2 years of the show with Mark Williams. Plus:

  • What community platforms can do to encourage co-creation
  • Why Mark voted to deprioritize community at the company where he works
  • Early gamification systems

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Building Executive-to-Executive Online Communities

A lot of value can be found for executives within an online community of their peers. But how can you get them make time to participate, and to let their guard down enough to actually share meaningful things?

That’s the focus of this episode with Adam Zawel, who built and managed executive-to-executive communities for more than a decade. Plus:

  • Deciding when to allow the fish and the sharks to interact
  • Why it’s good to be snobbish
  • Helping community members who aren’t allowed to post due to company policy

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A Forums-Focused Digital Agency

Audentio, the parent of ThemeHouse, is a forums-focused digital agency, with high profile clients like AVForums, Mac Rumors and Android Forums.┬áThere aren’t too many (any?) agencies focused this seriously on forums, working at such a high level.

Founder and owner Mike Creuzer has been working in forums since he was 11, starting on an MSN TV, and they’ve had a massive impact on his life. Though currently focused on XenForo, Mike and Audentio have worked with many forum platforms over the years, giving him an interesting perspective on the space, and where it’s headed. Plus:

  • How a Harry Potter forum taught him more about being a person, than about Harry Potter
  • Why being a developer-friendly forum platform is important
  • The forum platform Audentio is migrating people from the most

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Building a Community for People With Dementia

Most of the members of the Alzheimer’s Society’s Talking Point community don’t have dementia. But 4% do. And that creates a unique challenge when it comes to designing an online community.

Features that we might take for granted, like saved drafts, take on a whole new meaning when you are experiencing short term memory loss. Community manager Serena Snoad joins the show to talk about building a welcoming community for people with dementia, plus:

  • How memory loss impacts how they moderate
  • Debriefing sessions that Serena offers to staff members who have handled a stressful issue
  • Why XenForo was the right software choice for them, in their recent relaunch

Disclosure: Serena has kindly supported our show’s Patreon campaign. I’ve known her for years, and it has nothing to do with her being a guest on the show, but I felt it was worth mentioning.

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