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Potemkin Village

From Social Patterns

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Instead of building a Potemkin Village, the architects of the relaunched site started with a judicious few groups and then let the community spawn the rest.




Instead of creating a complicated empty scaffolding in hopes of enticing community to take root (the “if you build it they will come” fallacy), start small, compact, and then prepare to grow organically

Create one main topic, a pinned (permanently on top) welcome topic, and perhaps a separate help topic, and nothing else. Rresist the urge to anticipate the contours of the conversations and groups. Wait till people are begging for a subtopic, then fork the original group. Repeat.

This way, any pioneer community members will all interact in a single shared space, with no dilution of numbers. By the time they want to start sequestering topics from each other, you’ll have already reached critical mass.

Continue to resist calving off new groups until they are clearly and undeniably needed.


Related Patterns

Sources / Similar Patterns in Other Libraries

example: Yahoo! Pattern Library

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