Has anyone opened an Off-Topic or Lounge type board in the past? If so, how did you prepare, what research did you complete and how was the execution?
After the launch; how was the board received and did it require excessive moderation?
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Definitely follow the tips that was mentioned from BrianO. Lots of emphasis on the guidelines portion! Depending on your audience - off-topic lounges can be a good or a bad thing. My company's audiance can be deemed closer to B2B, so our traffic is much more focused on our products and topics related to those products. We initially created a "general" board since we had some floater topics that were quality, but lacked a place and we just didn't know what else to do with them. Even though we do not put an emphasis on the general board at all - we still have people who use it as a catch all. As an example - I will have to move multiple topics out of the general and into a product board.
Some errors that we made:
Hope that helps!
Great tips from @BrianO and @cs1991 . We did an off topic board in our community, setting clear guidelines and we started the first post, asking customers what their go-to music at work was. It's a great opportunity for them to post and engage with one another, but thankfully doesn't distract from the other boards.
All great advice so far!!!
Personally I place a lot of value in off topic where i know others often dont see the value as it doesn't directly link to or add value to the overall objectives of their community however it can make or break you depending on what your brand is or you sell.
My current community is an ISP, lets face it as an industry we are not cool, sexy or have any exciting gadgets to discuss and so its harder to drive product advocay in comparison with someone like Apple or TomTom as people "love" their iphone or their Yoda Guided TomTom but they dont always feel the same about a utility. Having a community which is solely dedicated to your own products is going to limit the stickiness of the community and slow growth as there isn't any or enough common discussion points to build and maintain strong ties between users and grow the community and as we do this we build advocates and superusers thats said it does take time I have users on my community who are not customers but still participate, share and help.
I have 9 product boards and 7 off topic boards all of our off topic boards where created by, curated by and moderated by the community and some of these are bigger than the product boards. For me having areas for customers to build relationships around common topics on my community is value adding as it helps build a sense of community "just because you call it one, doesn't mean it is" But it also opens up an added avenue of revenue generation in that you have built segments of engaged users around specific topics which you could leverage to generate content or targeted ads.
Really nice input @Fellsteruk, I agree on what you are saying here. We are planning on integrating an Off topic board on our community. I see this off topic board as important as the other boards, so users will return on a more regular base.
I believe the off-topic place may increase interested, but this type of area may not be needed for all communities.
For professional communities that engage in high level problem solving and business discussions, are usually made up of people who are not intested in these casual spaces.
Some like to ask a question, discuss solutions, and move on.
Just my $.02
I definitely love the ideas going on around here! However, how do I enable a board to be viewed only by members, and only members can post a topic? I never had a board that is private for registered members only, except for us manually giving permissions. Is there a way that we can set so non-members cannot view the off-topic board, but able to do so automatically after they're registered without having to assign any permission and role?