Issue 19

In this issue of conduit:

1) Featured Question and Answer: "Award Versus Reward?"
2) Your Community Answer:  Do you feel that rewards or awards are a good way to motivate staff, volunteers or community members?
3) Community Voice: Common Community Building Misconceptions.

This Issue's Quote: "They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself." -Andy Warhol 

Featured Question and Answer:

"Award Versus Reward?"

This issue's question addresses the difference between awards and rewards: 

"What is the difference between award and reward?"

For the question and response, please read "Award Versus Reward?".

Are you searching for information on a particular topic? Check out our searchable archive  of past question and answers.

Your Community Answer

Do you feel that rewards or awards are a good way to motivate staff, volunteers or community members?

Let us know how you feel! Vote here.  

Community Voice

Common Community Building Misconceptions.

It has been heartening recently to see increased coverage for community in internet magazines and many articles supporting and promoting community as an enhancement to websites and to further promote business. With this recent interest, it sprang to our minds to address the common misconceptions that surround community. First and foremost, community is still a under-utilized and misunderstood concept for many people. We often are asked the question, "What is online community?" and "How will it be an asset to my site?"

It is great that such questions are asked, and we encourage individuals to probe as much as they can in order to arm themselves with the information they need before riding the "community wave". Unfortunately, with that information comes misconceptions of what it takes to build community.

The myth or misconcpetion that resonates the most is that the addition of a chatroom or a message board to a site constitutes "community". While chat and message boards are important components, standing alone, they do not make a community.

The second, you can have a community without having guidelines. Ouch! That is like having a street without having stop signs or traffic lights. A community without guidelines is an accident waiting to happen. You would be amazed at how many community sites we have found that do not have guidelines for participation.

The third misconception is not seeking out the input and/or feedback from those that will utilize the community being built. Without gaining consumer input how is one to know what will work best for their target audience?

And the last, thinking once a community is launched one can walk away leaving it to its own devices. It's an ongoing process, not a one-off launch. Like a garden, it needs nurturing and guidance to grow and thrive, and the occasional intervention to see that weeds are not growing.

While those of us in the community development field do not claim to have all the answers, there are many valuable resources available to those interested in building online communities. The very best piece of advice we could ever render to anyone is to do the legwork first, get your hands on any information you can, call on those with past experience, visit community sites that seem to be doing a good job of building and utilizing community...oh, and by all means, do not forget to read through some of our archived question and answers.

Online community can be an amazing asset to a website, and we wish everyone the best in their endeavors.

You can contribute to and gain valuable insights by asking a question right now:

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