In communities people like to mimic
A funny thing happened over the past few days that I hadn't seen happen to such an extent. Over at Indie Hackers we had a series of posts that all mimicked one another, all within 3 day of each other.
I've long said that community guidelines are important and good to have, but don't expect people to read them to know how to behave.
The reality is that people copy one another. They will arrive in the space, look around, determine whether they may belong then adapt how they behave accordingly.
Create a community that is founded upon a positive and helpful culture? Expect that to thrive.
Create a community that is allows marketing spam? Expect that to thrive.
A big part of what I do at Indie Hackers is make decisions on what makes a good post. Not all posts get the same visibility. The ones we think are the best for the community (ie - they align with our culture and we believe are best for the community growth) are the ones that end up being seen by most people.
This is super important for many reasons, but in simple terms:
- we want to encourage what we believe are the best posts for indie hackers
- by doing so we understand (and hope!) that people will look to replicate and model themselves on the things that work, rather than the things that don't
Now, it's questionable whether the above posts are the best for the community. I think that longer term members will find it somewhat annoying, but for newer and less experienced indie hackers they can actually be quite useful:
- it's actually quite a hard and time consuming job to find relevant people to follow on other platforms. These posts can speed up the process.
- most indie hackers want to grow their network, this can give them a nice little boost.
- each platform they are posting about has a different focus, the number of responses to the posts clearly shows (what we already know) - that Twitter is the most popular social tool that indie hackers use, with Github and Product Hunt further behind.
- it's a positive experience for members to experience starting a thread that has so many responses.
Now, if people keep posting these it will get annoying really quickly. I think just after 3 days they have reached their peak. But the fact that these happened within such a short space of time really shows how people do mimic, and how it's important they mimic the positive things.
- People mimic what other people do.
- This is not the best example of 'great' content, but when mixed in within the whole community and other types of posts it kinda works.
- Seek to create and share content that you would like others to create.
- Have patience, it takes experimenting and time to help a community evolve and learn how to support one another.