I was recently reading about Facebook testing downvotes on their comments. Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s reacted by calling it “flattery”. Some people may not know this, but Vanilla has had a downvote feature since 2012 — it’s part of our reaction system. Even though this is an option (because we believe community owners should have choice), we don’t recommend the use of these “negative” reactions for most communities.
Managing a community can take a huge toll on your energy and mental health, no matter the size of the community. In order to manage an online community, you must often absorb and hold others’ emotions as you look to find solutions. You also have to do this in the absence of seeing your members face-to-face, which can be isolating and cause miscommunications.
Long before the advent of modern inbound marketing, word-of-mouth was an important factor in determining what brands people would spend their money on. Now, as technology continues to develop, recommendations still remain the centrepiece in most buying decisions in both B2B and B2C, though it now takes place virtually, on the web.
Most great things require testing, practice and iteration before they're perfected. A star athlete, for example, wouldn't just jump into it without careful and tedious practice. Similarly, a software or product launch usually goes through a number of tests, beta versions, and is adjusted for maximum results before it is actually released to the public.
It takes a lot of work before you can reach the state of perfection; your online community is no different.
You may be the main leader of your community, but it’s never smart to be the only leader. To be sustainable, growing communities need to empower many leaders in many roles. You cannot build a community alone.
My work with political organizations and nonprofits especially has taught me how the most effective online communities identify, onboard, and train new leaders. It is simpler than it seems. Bringing on new leaders in your online community is really just a three-phase process that can be repeated as you need more leaders.