Sun Feb 16 2020 19:44:31 GMT+0100 (Central European Standard Time)

Making the best community software

I am working on making https://copenhagenjs.dk the best community site it can be. I think there are several things I can do better than current social websites.

The major difference is that CopenhagenJS is a real-world community that meets and does thing together, that is different that communities that are only online.

Promoting speakers

The goal with CopenhagenJS is to meet and talk about our common interests JavaScript and help each other solve problems and become better. One way we help each other is by giving talks where we explain new concepts, share experiences and learnings and make complicated concepts approachable. Doing that takes time and it is nearly done as a selfless act of helping others.

So one main focus on the website is highlighting those people and what they did.

Better sharing of content

Giving a presentation, its purpose is to change somebody to do something different or think differently. We want to capture those thoughts and speakers often have a lot of knowledge they can share, but often it gets lost. The speaker has no way of sharing easily what they talked about.

Therefore after the speaker has given their presentation they can go onto the website and attach all relevant information to their presentation.

Better profiles

The members of CopenhagenJS are very tech-savvy people so they are often active on a myriad of websites. Connecting with a tech person is not just one platform, there are multiple for sharing code, ideas, resume, photos and so forth. Other community websites do not acknowledge that!

Therefore we include fields to relevant social websites for our community so we can easily connect with each other.

Better ownership of data

Meetup.com is terrible for organizers, there are very few tools for connecting with your members on a 1-to-1 basis. If you message people individually you will be rate-limited within sending messages to only 15 people. Sending messages to everyone, you have no way of knowing who received it and read it.

There is also no way to help community members with their data, they are free to have no picture and fake names. There is no way you can enforce or change anything.

Therefore with our site, we have complete ownership of the data and we can extend it as we like. I will take privacy very seriously, and I can do that because communities are about trust. If there is no trust, there is no community.

There is no way you can search for anything easily on meetup.com. That is terrible as a community builds up a lot of knowledge over time that should be easy to find!

Therefore search will be important and top of the site. Everything should be a few clicks away.

Charging

It should be possible to charge members, there are often cost to run a community and individual events. One should not overcharge a community, but a community without funds or easy access to funds can lead the organizers to more work and more cumbersome signups for attendees.

Therefore a great community site should have built-in payment.

Member history

As previously mentioned a community grows over time and it should be easy to see the history of a community member to know if they have attended many times or it is their first time. The first few events for a new member are critical and make the difference whether the show up again or they stop coming. With meetup that is several clicks away for every single member. It is also worth noting that a member is not better or worse if they have attended 1 event or 20 events. However, sending an invitation to "JavaScript for beginners workshop" to the latter will likely not be relevant.

It should be central to see how many events a member has attended.

Conclusion

Making a great community website is not easy, but being part of a community where you live is wonderful and can bring so many good things. I think it is worth building for that reason!

Tags: #community #meetup

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