we have a quite new community with some very enthusiastic uers which we would like to include in a decision regarding a split of a board.
Technically we have reached the magic number which would allow us to make such a split. So my question to you is, how to do get in touch with relevant users to include them into important decisions?
For me there are two options:
In my opinion the first option would make more sense because as a result of having a discussion quite often the output is a broad consent for the entire community.
What do you think?
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Great question. We've actually gone through the same process as you when we were deciding to restructure our community boards.
Basically for any decision that we'd like to get expert's input on we use our private board to have an open discussion where everyone see everyone else's input and can chime in. I personally feel that the moment a group starts to have a discussion, you get the best feedback from different angles and often the best ideas come out of it.
One point I'd like to highlight. When including a group in the decision making progress I feel it is important to ground the group accordingly and if needed, to set expectation (if applicable) as to what can and can not be done. We've learned in some cases that we were overwhelmed with feedback, sometimes off topic and sometimes the experts had certain expectations which we could not fulfill.
Not sure if that's the case with for your community but just something to keep in mind.
last but not least, if you have the opportunity to regularly meet your experts either face to face or in a scheduled call, this could also be an opportunity to include them in testing, feedback sessions and decision making.
My 2 cents 🙂
I agree with all the points that @Wendy_S has said and want to reiterate the point about expectation setting. It is one thing to solicit ideas on a topic and another to imply, or even let users assume that they have a role in determining the final decision. It is easy for those to whom you provide access to the private discussion board, that they will have that role. So be sure to explicitly state what you are looking for when you open the discussion, and make it clear that you will do your best to take their feedback into account along with input from the business and other resources to make a decision that you think will be best for the community going forward. That is your right as the community manager. But regular participants can easily be confused as to where the lines are drawn unless you make them explicit.
thank you so much for your input which helps me a lot to go further in that case. There is on thing I didn't really get. Do you have an open discussion with all community members or just with a small group of experts / superuers?
In my opinion the downside of including just a small group of users is that all other users could think that there a kind of wheeling and dealing is going on. That is what I don't want.
Do you agree?
In our case it is indeed the whole group of superusers. We don't have subdivisions 🙂
in case I'd like to get feedback from just some (could be because of a specific expertise) I send out a group PM but even so, those cases are rare and in most cases we'd still solicit the feedback from the whole group afyer being specific about what we're looking for.
Group discussions are the best, most transparent and authentic In my pov.
cheers! And thank you 🙂
Hi @CKummer. I think you are asking whether you should ask the whole community as opposed to just your super users. I think even if you tried to poll the community, you would still likely mostly, if not only, hear from your super users in any case. And they, after all, are the ones who are returning to the community on a somewhat regular basis, otherwise they wouldn't be super users. So they are positioned to have opinions on what works well for them and what doesn't. If you have established an invite only, term limited, super user program as we suggest, then you likely already have a private board for communication with those users. And this is a great opportunity to make use of that board, to show your super users, that you are interested in hearing their opinions. Do keep in mind, though, that super users approach your community in a very different way than people who are just looking for an answer to a problem and are likely finding the community through search. The needs are different, and the solutions are different. That is why you as the community manager, reserve the decision making to yourself and your team, not the super users. Your decisions will be based on what is best for all users, not just the super users. Best, of course, is doing some things for the infrequent users, and some for the super users. Finding the right balance is key to successful community management.