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Rollin

Rollin

Edited: 8/27/2014 4:15:59 PM
[i]For those of you interested in reading the original, significantly shorter version [url=http://www.bungie.net/en/Forum/Post/65019937/0/0/1]click here[/url].[/i] There is a certain draw to creating your own community, taking nothing and turning it into something tangible. It’s this draw that lead me to create my account here on Bungie.net, and in many ways, it’s the reason I’m still here. My first group was, well, crap. Horrible idea, horrible execution, but I met so many good people that as a result it was worthwhile, and for better or worse, that’s why you’re all stuck with me now. I’ve made so many groups that I’ve lost count. Most failed (note: 99.99%), but the more I practiced the craft the better things got. A few had solid successes with member counts in the hundreds, one even in the thousands, and though I don’t run any of my own groups any more, I remember what it was like struggling to get things going, so that’s why I offer this to you. These is a collection of what I’ve experienced, and hopefully using some of this will make your first, second, or Xth community fare a little better, or perhaps even triumph. I don’t claim to know it all, I don’t even claim to have a clue, but this is what I’ve experienced. [b]A Word of Warning[/b] Now, I don’t mean to start things off on a melodramatic tone (cue creepy organ music), but I want to get this disclaimer out now. Running your own successful community isn’t easy. It’s not something that respects the idea of instant gratification. It takes time to just come up with a proper idea, and a longer time to get the community to be self-sustaining. Creating a community is like having a child. You wait for a long time before you get to see it, and then you spend an even longer time enslaved to its every need, just so that one day, a long ways away, it’s finally strong enough to be independent, and only then can you relax (but not really). I also want to clarify that I’m most likely going to swap between saying community, group, clan, and private chapter a lot. Even though they’re not, I consider them to be the same, and for the sake of the information I’ll be giving you, whatever of those you’re interested in, they are. I’m lazy, so sue me. [b]The Long Walk: Ideas on the Horizon[/b] Long walk is an understatement, but I believe in you. Before you can run off and click “create your own group,” you need to think things through first. What is your group going to be, who will be a part of it, and how will it succeed? And really, those three things don’t even cover all of it (sorry). [i]Aiming High and Setting Goals[/i] Welcome to step one. The first of many in your journey. Before anything else can fall into place it is important to consider what you’d like to accomplish with your community; what kind of community do you want to be? There are many types, ranging from massive armies to small niches. Whatever your desire, you need to figure it out, and decide three, four, even five years down the line, what you want your group to look like, and not just in member count, but in activity and how the group functions. Your goal should be high, and it should be long-term. You want a solid, fixed point to strive for, and it’ll be better in the longer term if you do choose something harder. Don’t make it too hard though; you want something you know you can do, even if it will be a stretch. Not something you’ll never reach. Choose a mountain that, at the end of the day, you know you can climb. [i]Ladies and Gentleman[/i] Audience is important. Once you’ve decided what your goal is, you need to decide the kind of people who are going to be beneficial to achieving it. Do you need mindless minions that do nothing but boost member count (I discourage that), or well-mannered denizens who will help your group look presentable and flourish (hint hint). While the choice is ultimately up to you, the kind of individuals you’re interested in catering to, be them Xbox users, PlayStation users, both, or neither, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you don’t limit or overreach yourself. Allow me to explain: Think of your group like a blank canvas. Each demographic of individuals you appeal to is a varying color, or shade of color, accompanied with a single brush stroke. The brush stroke may be long (large demographic), or it may be short (small demographic), but two truths exist. If you don’t use a lot of brush strokes you’ll be left with a very blank canvas. Use too many, and you’ll get pure chaos. The goal, ultimately, is to find the happy medium. You want to be interesting to as many people as possible without being a mess. While there are exceptions to every rule. You could be very specific in your ideals and still succeed, just as you could succeed by growing huge and appealing to everyone. They’re less feasible options, and they’ll certainly be more difficult to pull off, but nothing is impossible. [i]Laying Down the Tracks[/i] By this point you should have a general idea of what we want to accomplish, and who you’re going to accomplish it with. Now you make a detailed game plan. Approach it by setting up specific goals for each day of the first week, then a goal for the end of the next three weeks, the next three months, and then every year. Think of this the same way you would if you were learning some new task. You start out slow in the beginning with lots of goals early on, ones that are easier to accomplish so you feel motivated to continue. Then, once you’ve started to get the hang of things you make the goals progressively harder. Each of these goals should be a small milestone up that mountain we made earlier. The first ones might only be small leaps, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Always start simple so you don’t burn yourself out. But what kind of goals are we talking about here? It depends a lot on whatever your final goal is, but for a rough set of ideas you can use things like, “reach a member count of X by Y,” or, “have regular game nights going by Z date.” They don’t need to be “take over the world and vanquish your enemies,” they just need to be simple, logical, and possible benchmarks towards your larger goal. [i]Back to the Board[/i] A lot of the hard part has already been done, but here comes the hardest bit, and as much as it sucks, you’re probably going to need to go back to the drawing board now. Why? Because originality. This is the part where you take all of your ideas, your ambitions, and even your soldiers, and you wrap them in the prettiest, most original idea ever, otherwise you’ll never get off the ground. The world is full of “fun loving communities for friends,” and “ubber pro gamers.” It’s not that there’s anything wrong with any of those, but you’re entering a losing battle if you follow the commonplace. Take whatever it is, and make it original. I’m not saying you can’t be a group of “fun loving gamers who are also great friends,” I’m saying that you’re not allowed to advertise it as such, that you need to be more creative. Originality is what’s going to set you apart from the others. It’s what turns your group from being another grain of sand to that really cool piece of sea glass. It’s not that being sea glass sets you up, if you’ve ever been on a beach you know that there’s a lot of that stuff laying around, but it’s bigger and so much more exciting than a grain of sand. Originality doesn’t guarantee anything, it’s just going to give you a far better chance at succeeding. Be your own special snowflake. I mean it. [url=http://www.bungie.net/en/Forum/Post/68318305/0/0/1]Continued...[/url]

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    Spartan TKIA

    Spartan TKIA

    Edited: 8/28/2014 1:17:37 AM Permalink
    Great post! I think it can also be useful to participate in other groups, rather than solely focusing on your own. For a start, there are obviously more opportunities to enjoy yourself by taking part in a variety of discussions with groups of people who could be pretty different. In terms of the success of your own group, however, I still think it's useful. As you mentioned, in recruitment you're looking to build a foundation of quality members, and groups tend to be among the best ways to get to know members more personally. Hopefully, you can then make better judgements in recruiting these early members, and make it more likely for these members to accept, as they will be familiar with you (and hopefully have some degree of respect towards you). As well as this, while groups should strive, as you again mentioned, to have a unique quality, there will inevitably still be similarities between groups, so you can learn from other groups. A group may have what you feel is a particularly effective leadership ladder, which may help inspire you in building up your own administration. Equally, you may notice flaws in groups, and so you might be able to seek ways to avoid the same issues arising in your own group. I would not encourage directly lifting any content from other groups, but I think it can be useful to have seen the direct function of other groups.
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    MasonOwnership

    MasonOwnership

    8/27/2014 11:06:52 PM Permalink
    This is an awesome thread! I just joined the community today and this literally brings me up to speed on so much! I didn't want to create my own clan, but there's a lot of information here, thank you!
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      Rollin

      Rollin

      Edited: 8/27/2014 3:56:08 AM Permalink
      Part II [b]The Short Pier: Ideas in Action[/b] Congratulations, and I mean it, if you’ve made it this far then you’ve defied the odds and are off to a strong start. You’re your own unique snowflake and you’re ready for people to flock to you. Now we give them something to flock to. Do it right, and you’ll be walking on water. Misstep, and I hope you know how to swim. [i]Immaculate Conception[/i] Go forth and make your group. Really, that’s the first step, just don’t forget the last thing we talked about (originality). Make sure you come up with a snappy name that’s true to your cause. Something that is memorable, and as always (can you guess?), original! “117th Recon Legion,” or “Elite Guardians,” or whatever you’re probably thinking of right now isn’t original. Might sound cool, but you’ve now entered yourself in the same league as “110th Recon Legion, 111th Recon Legion, etc.” Not a place you want to be. Make it original! I’m crap when it comes to coming up with a decent name, it takes me days if not weeks, and I always consult a thesaurus. Just be careful when using synonyms, you don’t want to sound like a pretentious jerk (or just seem weird). Once you’ve named it, come up with your mission statement. This is going to be your selling point later when you’re recruiting, but it’s also an important piece of information to have on your group. Take your big pictures goal, that original shell, wrap them together, and turn them into words. Easy, right (lol nope)? Fill in a group motto, and then all you have left are the tags. Always use your group name as one of the tags, then add in a few (note: not a ton) others that are generally broad descriptions of your group. Then you’re set, hit create. [i]Laying Down the Law[/i] With the new site we’ve essentially got our pinned topics back, so utilize them. Layout a little hub for new members helping them understand the rules of your community, as well as any other important resources they might want to know of. This is probably going to be the easier thing you’ll do, so enjoy. [i]Building Up the Ranks[/i] Ahh, we’ve arrived. It’s time to start recruiting. I hope you’re ready. First, and foremost, utilize #Clans. Always. While the forum isn’t necessarily going to get you the kinds of members that are going to make or break your community, it is a good way to steadily swell your ranks. Create a catchy (not obnoxious click bait) thread title, and fill it with your mission statement. Highlight the reasons to join, why you’re the best, and as always be creative and original about it. That forum moves quick, so you need to give people a reason to pay more attention to you than the other eleventy bazillion threads going through there every second. Now I want you to take that thread you just made, take the words and the ideas, and make it sound a thousand times more sincere. Take this new ammunition, and browse the forums. All of them. Look for members that act and post the way you want to see your group members posting, and then invite them to join yours. The trick? Be sincere. Be personal. And don’t overdo it. If these are the people you think will help your community succeed, tell them, be honest, and make them feel good. Odds are they’ll join up. Recruitment is always going to be about the quality of member of the quantity of members, especially early on. It’s important that starting out you look for those members that are going to be good role models for the rest of your community members, and you try and pull them in as soon as possible. As much as you are the administrator, each and every member has to carry some of the load too. You need to find members who will feel as devoted to the community as you do, and only then will you be off to a solid start. [i]Putting on a Show[/i] With a decent set of members to start with, and even some volume coming in, it’s important to keep everything active. I don’t mean create a new thread every ten seconds like I’ve seen some groups do. That’s not activity. I’m talking about creating some quality content that facilitates discussion and keeps them coming back for more. As an administrator the goal is to never have to create your own thread. If you’ve ever been in a community and seen all the threads made by the same person, it’s dead. Posters should be a diverse group of people, and you should encourage their posting. The aim is to make your forum a bustling hub of activity, and the more spread out that activity is, the better. If everyone comes on at the same time and posts for five minutes, that group is going to feel dead the rest of the time, especially to someone new coming in from a different time zone. Encourage diversity, and try to set it up that way. Forum addicts are good. While giving away administrative roles should be done sparingly, it is also a good way to promote activity. If after a while you begin noticing trends amongst members where they are active, helpful, and are excellent models of what you want all your members to be, publicly reward them with administrative privileges, and make a big deal about it. The hope being that others will want those same powers, and try to model themselves after that user. Administrative powers aren’t candy, however, and admins should always be few and far between. [i]Extracurricular Activities[/i] There’s more to life than just forums. Run game nights, contests, and other events to keep your community filled with activity, and to encourage new people to join. Prizes are a great thing too, assuming you can afford to use them. They don’t need to be expensive, something as simple a month of Xbox LIVE, or something similar once in a while is all it takes to keep people hooked and wanting more. Large events are also great for bonding amongst members, helping create a healthier group dynamic back in the forums, which makes things run smoother and is always a great way to make new members want to come back. Keep people excited, happy, and wanting more. [url=http://www.bungie.net/en/Forum/Post/68318312/0/0/1]Continued...[/url]
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        Rollin

        Rollin

        8/27/2014 3:55:06 AM Permalink
        Part III [b]Walking on Water: Striving for Perfection[/b] You’ve made it, more or less. While there are always exceptions to the rule, so long as you’ve followed what I’ve had to say and put in the time, you’re off to a great start, or more hopefully, you’re succeeding. Here are a few other things to keep in mind: [i]Clan Features[/i] Bungie.next 2.0, or whatever we’re calling it, introduced a significant number of new features for groups, all of which I think are great. Let’s start with turning your group into a clan, or turning your clan into a more official clan. Do it. That’s all I’ve got to say there. While it may not be appropriate for all groups, it is, more often than not, going to be a great idea. If your members don’t want to set it to their primary clan, that’s fine, they’ll still be members, so you shouldn’t worry about losing members as a result. If anything you’re going to gain members. How? Well, if some of your members do set it as their primary clan, your name is going to follow them in game wherever they go. First perk, instant and continuous advertisement. The second? If they’re quality members, playing together, and showing off what a blast it is to be in your community, people will come looking for it. Great, right? So, turn that group into a clan. Don’t be shy, and then start looking to alliances. Find other likeminded clans and work together, form friendships and competitive rivalries between the two. Set up “clan wars,” and make it an exciting rivalry and both parties will benefit. There’s a strength in numbers, and if you aim to work together, and not against each other, that strength is really there. [i]Group Wall[/i] One of the new Bungie.next 2.0 features, is the group wall. Think of it like a wall on Facebook. How you use this wall is up to you. You can use it for news and limit it to administrators only, and just use it as a bulletin board, or you can use it more like a messaging client. The only caution I advise is that if it becomes too popular with your members, it could harm forum activity, and if it is set as your “home page,” remember every prospective member is going to see it. [b]Ad Nauseam [/b] Groups have always been a unique and powerful aspect of Bungie.net. When Bungie.net transitioned into the darkness some of the communities oldest chapters withered away, and with them, many of the quality members housed within. I hope that in reading this you’ve gained some valuable knowledge that will help you reclaim the much of the glory of years past and inspire a new generation within the community. You will most likely fail, but don’t give up. Pursue your crazy schemes, and add your own spark to the broad and diverse culture that exists here on Bungie.net. Ask questions, learn, and be brave, guardian. [url=http://media.tumblr.com/afd0ced7a41e3df6eca99a7e25776f1a/tumblr_inline_n1j29t1GPx1qebnq6.jpg]tl;dr[/url]
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          DE4THINC4RN4TE

          DE4THINC4RN4TE

          8/27/2014 5:42:01 PM Permalink
          I don't recall any kittens in the last thread. 100% more of 0 is still 0, yet we have at least one kitten in this thread. You lied to me. [spoiler]Good thread though.:)[/spoiler]
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