I hope you all having a great festive break.
I was just reflecting on Centrifuge as a project and how it has the potential to disrupt in a very positive and scalable way the finance supply industry. In this context, I was considering without wanting to overstate it, how important the Centrifuge Community can be to helping Centrifuge realise its goals and fulfil its promise.
It is clear on scanning the blockchain landscape that one thing that the successful projects seem to share (both substantive and hyped) is an active and productive community. A thriving community can’t be a substitute for other factors (real use case, developer contribution, token justification etc) but it can really help broaden its audience and attract positive attention.
On my limited but growing understanding of the Centrifuge story, it appears that its community (at least on Discourse) is at its nascent stage, and the Radial Mining Rewards initiative seems to me to be designed at least in part to encourage community participation in way where thoughts on Centrifuge can be explored, shared and discussed.
This recognition of the role a community can play led to me enquire a little bit as to what types of things can help a community flourish. Clearly there is no one size fits all approach, and I don’t know what the Centrifuge Team’s vision is of this Discourse environment or other platforms.
Note: I accept the Centrifuge Team might already be doing a lot of this so this is and some of the ideas below might not even apply.
Disclaimer: Also, I have zero experience building or running a community - so I proclaim no expertise on this and might be totally wrong. I still think it’s a conversation that has value though and it would be great to see what others think.
Management of community
- Engaging a member/volunteer (or more) or more to facilitate, monitor and moderate discussion on the forums (could also be contracted out). This person/s can help manage the community and support activity and ensure content is aligned with the principles, values and aims of the project. This could also involve diffusing tensions, resolving conflict, and weeding out spam while also keeping the space open and supportive.
There might also be scope for having a role (if not all inclusive) for customer support, where the aim might be to generate good will in the community, troubleshoot issues (i.e. answering queries on running your own node, joining a staking pool etc).
- Incentivise the community to stay involved
The RAD rewards program that Centrifuge has created is a strong example of this. Other ideas might include social media contests, airdrops (not always suitable), and other bounty programs. The premise behind this is to keep people who love the project involved, knowing that this is not always easy given the busy lifestyles and competing priorities of the average person.
More important than engagement programs specifically is the sense of belonging and ownership these types of strategies can help foster among community members. People want to be a part of something, particularly when that something represents values that are aspirational and which resonate. This approach will also likely attract new members to the community who have the added bonus of learning about the great things the project is doing and where it is heading.
A Diverse approach for cultivating community discussion
It can be helpful to recognise particularly as the community grows the engagement tendencies and preferences of the community members. For example, while some members enjoy live discussions (e.g Zoom), others might prefer exchanges that don’t occur in real time.
Being creative and trying new ideas might also yield unexpected (and positive) results. This might involve creating a set of fun and exciting tasks for the community to complete (see - point no 1 for administering this perhaps), such as quizzes, riddles, finding a hidden term etc, or competitions with small prizes.
Interaction between community and the core team members
This is not always possible or desirable but this process can help build a sense of affinity between the community and the project team (i.e. what interested the founder/members of the project in starting Centrifuge). This might only be occasional but spontaneous interaction or scheduled sessions could be very fruitful and help solidify involvement and support for the project by the community members.
Placing education at the centre
Having a community with high literacy (if not necessarily developer/technical based) and understanding of the project, in way that they can explain it in simple terms to a new member can be really beneficial. The act of explaining something reinforces the person’s own understanding, but it also encourages the person who benefits from it to pay if forward. This type of exchange can instil a sense of cooperative spirit at the community level and invite people to ask questions without fear of being judged etc.
A cooperative culture can also be aided by resources that are easily comprehensible for the average newbie - my example of a glossary is one modest way this could help create such an environment but there are many others.
These are just my initial thoughts…I would love to know what everyone else thinks…
Thanks for reading.