Ethics in Community Building

FrontPorchForum is a community for locals in the Vermont area. I've been intrigued and inspired by FrontPorchForum since I read The Verge article on them a while back. There's also a podcast from Community Signal with Michael Wood-Lewis, the co-founder of FrontPorchForum. It's worth a listen!

It has thrived over the years despite the growth of social media. And it hasn't done that by trying to keep up with what everyone else is doing.

I love how they take the community and ethics part of it so responsibly. One of the things that stood out for me is the fact that they slow down discussions. People can't just post immediately, they submit posts and then they get published all at once, once a day.

This is kind of magical from the aspects of ethics. Sure, it may not work for every community, but for one that is location dependent with everyone in the same timezone it just makes sense.

It also stops people constantly checking for updates, because they know that there won't be any until a certain time.

As community builders we should think more deeply about these things. How beneficial is it for people to spend so much time on the community? Does it provide true value? There is such a strong emphasis on metrics and growth that often we forget the real value of community.

Are we building things that really benefit people? Or are we doing it for the benefit of fancy growth charts?