A very big list of community models, frameworks and ideas

A very big list of community models, frameworks and ideas

Updated September 6th 2022.

When I think about building communities I like to check my thinking alongside other community building frameworks, ideas and strategies…so I gathered a BIG list.

To be honest, I don’t really use any of these things specifically, but I like to know of and reference them occassionaly to double check my thoughts and strategies. And what better way to do that than by collecting these into one resource.

This is basically my way of saying I’ll go down 🐰 rabbit 🐰 holes so you don’t have to. Rosieland is here to serve you. 🙌🏾

For me this is an ongoing effort to continously learn how people thing about building communities. Let me know if you think any are missing.

One final point, it’s ok to feel overwhelmed by this. When I build community, I make things up as I go along. In fact, this post today about encouraging us to stop explaining community management is quite timely. There is plenty of room to improve how we all attempt to explain and do these things.

🎉 Onwards…!

The 90-9-1 Rule for Participation Inequality in Social Media and Online Communities

In most online communities, 90% of users are lurkers who never contribute, 9% of users contribute a little, and 1% of users account for almost all the action.

User participation often more or less follows a 90–9–1 rule:

  • 90% of users are lurkers (i.e., read or observe, but don't contribute).
  • 9% of users contribute from time to time, but other priorities dominate their time.
  • 1% of users participate a lot and account for most contributions: it can seem as if they don't have lives because they often post just minutes after whatever event they're commenting on occurs.

Community Discovery

The work you need to do to help you build relationships, do research and make informed community decisions with confidence.

Community discovery...

  • helps you build the community you and your people want
  • aligns community efforts with business needs
  • equips you with insights and confidence
  • helps find people and build foundational relationships
  • helps you research and understand your ecosystem
  • focuses on community outcomes and opportunities
  • guides your Minimum Viable Community experiments

The Commitment Curve

A framework to create engagement and leadership for your specific community's purpose.

Community of practice kick-off canvas

The Tacit community of practice kick-off canvas helps get your community started using a canvas framework to guide you through six questions.

Minimum Viable Community Framework

An MVC is the smallest action you can take to bring people together. An MVC is not necessarily a community, yet. The intentions and vision are probably there, but the community may not be.

The CMX Social Identity Cycle: How to Build Thriving Communities

The Social Identity Cycle is a simple framework that you can use to create a clear and compelling social identity for your community. As members adopt this identity, they’ll feel good about their participation in the community, leading to a cycle of healthy engagement.

Community Canvas

The Community Canvas is a framework that will help you build and run a new community, or analyze and improve an existing community.

It identifies the fundamental themes to cover and helps you ask the right questions.“Community” means something different to every person. We have developed this tool in the hope of supporting anyone who runs an organization that brings people together and makes them feel like they belong, no matter if it’s an alumni organization, a sports club or an HR department.

Community Flywheels

A community flywheel is where you design, create, action and modify community activities that lead to natural momentum.

Communities work well when:

  • we understand the direction we are heading (aka 'the vision')
  • there is natural momentum through the connection of people and ideas
  • it compounds because it is repeatable
  • approach it like a jigsaw puzzle, each piece support another
  • we seek to listen and work with our people
  • we seek feedback and improvements and understand what and why it works

Power and constraints — Connections, Exchanges, Attractors, Boundaries and Identities

"To change the system we need to change the constraints."

This little model, CEAB(I) can be used to both analyse a situation and to take action to change that situation.

The AAARRRP Developer Relations Strategy Framework

AAARRRP is a framework that helps you define your Developer Relations strategy. In its simplest form it provides a mechanism for mapping the company goals for developer relations at a company through to the activities that will help you achieve those goals. Since activities for some goals naturally feed into helping you achieve other goals you can adopt AAARRRP as a funnel or a loop.

AAARRRP is a framework for defining a Developer Relations strategy where each acronym identifies a potential business goal for a Developer Relations team. Additionally, the definitions change slightly and two further business goals, Awareness and Product, are added:

  • Awareness - users become aware of your product
  • Acquisition - users signup for your product
  • Activation - users successfully use your product
  • Retention - users continue to use the product and potentially increase usage
  • Referral - users like product and company brand enough to refer others
  • Revenue - users conduct some monetizing behavior
  • Product - users and the developer relations team help define and build the product as well as gathering feedback from users to enhance your product

Pinpointing “Who” and “Why”

Great community leaders get clear on two questions: Who do I want to get together? Why are we coming together?

New_ Public — Signals: Building better digital public spaces

Our goal with this research is to support engineers, designers and builders who want to create more flourishing, inclusive digital public spaces — and to create the start of a measurement framework for externally evaluating how platforms are doing. This framework should evolve as a growing community engages with it, tests it, and improves it.


Being Community-Led means more than just having a community. It requires putting community at the heart of your business, and leaning on that community to map the way forward. When community is done right — as illustrated below — it’s a thread that runs through and empowers your entire organization.

The Three S’s of Creating Community Connections

There are three things you can provide that will pave the way to natural, organic, and authentic connections between members of any community. So let me introduce you to the three S’s of creating community connections:

  • Space
  • Structure
  • Seeds

The SPARK model

The framework for encouraging conversations and deepening connections

  • Strategise
  • Participate
  • Acknowledge
  • Review, Rework and Repeat
  • Keep track

Oh SNAP! A Community Incentivization Framework

SNAP: Status, Networking, Access, and Perks.

Status- Titles, badges, identity

Networking- Opportunities to network and connect with others in an exclusive group/community of people like them

Access- Special access to product managers, executives, beta testing/feedback opportunities, product roadmaps

Perks- Free tickets to events, swag, free training, special offers

Do Something Together

Whether online or IRL, communities of all stripes form around shared activities.No matter if you’re a community that comes together to test recipes, navigate personal finances, or celebrate the clouds, your members can only realize their community’s purpose through this thing they do together. In other words, kindred spirits operating in silos aren’t a community (yet!).

Community Life Cycle

The lessons offered by Usenet are relearned by just about every online forum, usually in the most painful manner possible. This sequence of events, repeated often enough to be called an archetype, runs as follows. With awareness, care, and enough willing, the forum can renew and refresh, cycling through the middle stages indefinitely.

  • The Beginning
  • The Golden Age
  • The Decline
  • The Fall
  • The Present
  • The Diaspora

A framework for planning a harvest

This framework assumes that every conversation, interaction or process will produce outputs and results in all four of these quadrants. If you are not intentional about naming these things, you run the risk of over-focusing on one particular quadrant (usually from the tangible side of the framework)

The Social Change Ecosystem Map

This is a framework that can help individuals, networks, and organizations align and get in right relationship with social change values, individual roles, and the broader ecosystem.

Community Builder — Designing Communities for Change

Practical toolbox for starting and developing a community. More than 40 different tools to help you understand WHO your community members are and what they need from the community. Also to clarify WHY your community exists and HOW to get the best out of it.

Community ROI

Community is a hub with spokes to other teams. It can provide immense value to almost every team at your company.

Community Tool Kit

A tool kit for communities to listen, tell stories, and imagine better futures together.

It includes:

  • Processing Tool: When you are busy connecting, organising, building, and responding, finding the space to stop, share and listen can feel impossible, but these experiences are so important for processing and moving forward
  • Storytelling Tool: Exploring the characteristics and journey of your community using storytelling can create the grounds for finding common experience, similar feelings and patterns that demonstrate what it is that makes each of you into an 'us’.
  • Reimagining Tool: We believe this is a defining moment of change; a time for communities to imagine what else could be possible from here. So much of what any of us thought we understood has been upturned this year, and new normals we never dreamt of have been shown to be possible. What does this mean for our communities and our hopes for them?

Arnstein's Ladder of Citizen Participation

Sherry Arnstein, writing in 1969 about citizen involvement in planning processes in the United States, described a “ladder of citizen participation” that showed participation ranging from high to low.

Connecting Work and Learning

This (chapter) proposes that the connection between innovation and learning is evident. We cannot be innovative unless we integrate learning into our work. Improving our ability to see contradictions, by seeking disconfirming data, can easily be integrated into the discipline of PKM.For example, here are some questions that the practice of PKM can address:

  • How do I keep track of all of this information?
  • How do I make sense of changing conditions and new knowledge?
  • How can I develop and improve critical thinking skills?
  • How can we cooperate and collaborate better?
  • How can I engage in problem-solving activities at the edge of my expertise?

Community is like building a fire

What’s not to love about building a fire with your people?

Community Commitment Curve & Community Onion

How effective is a given community effort in moving a person up and long the curve and toward the centre of the onion. 🧅

David Spinks also talks about this in the context of business, where he writes about how everyone is part of the community, just on different levels.

Orbit Model

The goal of the Orbit Model is to increase the Gravity of your community.The Orbit Model is a framework for building high gravity communities. A high gravity community is one that excels at attracting and retaining members by providing an outstanding member experience.

The Orbit Model contains four fundamental concepts: Gravity, Love, Reach and Orbit Level:

  • Love is a member's level of engagement and activity in the community.
  • Reach is a measure of a community member’s sphere of influence.
  • Gravity is the attractive force of a community that acts to retain existing members and attract new ones.
  • Orbit levels are a practical tool for member segmentation and used to design different programs for each level of the community.

The Trust Triangle

Trust is the basis for almost everything we do. It’s the foundation on which our laws and contracts are built. It’s the reason we’re willing to exchange our hard-earned paychecks for goods and services, to pledge our lives to another person in marriage, and to cast a ballot for someone who will represent our interests. It’s also the input that makes it possible for leaders to create the conditions for employees to fully realize their own capacity and power.

The Online Community Engagement Ladder

The community engagement ladder is a framework that acknowledges that members interact with your community in different ways, and creates opportunities for them to interact, regardless of how engaged they're able to be at any given time. It aims to create engagement opportunities that surmount different types of barriers to engagement, like lack of time, vulnerability, or level of understanding of the topic at hand.

Community Firmanent

Three types of Community emerge from the socially seeded firmament: Ad Hoc collectives, Formal Collectives, and Formal Communities.

Community Engagement Framework

The Community Roundtable's Community Engagement Framework is a tool that articulates four stages of culture change, and documents how cultures move from transactional relationships to collaborative relationships that allow people to explore out loud, a core attribute of collaborative and innovative cultures.

The role of purpose in community development

Structure3C’s 2021 Community planning templates, and the slides from Bill’s recent Community Revolution sessions.

Liberating Structures

Five conventional structures guide the way we organize routine interactions and how groups work together: presentations, managed discussions, open discussions, status reports and brainstorm sessions. Liberating Structures add 33 more options to the big five conventional approaches.

Care of Souls

Care of Souls brings together four years of research and practice to illustrate seven necessary innovative community leadership roles for this moment. The Gatherer, Healer, Venturer, Elder, Steward, Seer and Maker all unbundle and remix the religious traditions previously seen as separate and invite the reader to live into new categories of religious life.

How We Gather

How We Gather maps the emerging landscape of Millennial communities that are fulfilling the functions that religious congregations used to fill. Grounded in six recurring themes – community, personal transformation, social transformation, purpose-finding, creativity, and accountability – this report has been called the most important non-theological text being read in seminaries today.


Microsolidarity is a set of practices for mutual support between peers. These methods bring us out of individualism and into a more relational way of being.

Most of this support happens in a Crew: a small group up to about 8 people growing trust in each other through emotional & economic reciprocity. Crews are always designed for intimacy, and may also produce an output (e.g. a software product or an activist campaign).

The Congregation is a space for Crews to co-develop in the company of other Crews. Congregations have less than a few hundred people, so they can be primarily governed through trust and dialogue.
Many Congregations could form an Assembly.

Community Readiness Canvas

The Community Readiness Canvas is a framework designed to help you and your team lay the groundwork for your community strategy, and provide you with actionable next steps.

The Six Conversations

Peter Block offers more context and nuance in his approach to shifting the community narrative. The essence is to invite people to connect using the Six Conversations from his book Community: The Structure of Belonging. The series is also more interesting than a talking head.

The Seven Principles of Belonging

📘 You should go buy the book.

  1. The Boundary Principle
  2. The Initiation Principle
  3. The Rituals Principle
  4. The Temple Principle
  5. The Stories Principle
  6. The Symbols Principle
  7. The Inner Rings Principle

CMX Community Strategy Canvas

The Community Strategy Canvas is laid out in three levels:

  1. Alignment is where you think high-level about why your community exists, what the goals are, who members are, and the culture you’ll create.
  2. Development is where you plan out how you will actually build and measure your community.
  3. Management is the infrastructure that creates an environment for your community team to succeed within your organization.

Inside each of these levels are The 9 Fundamentals of Community Strategy. As you solidify your approach to each fundamental piece of the community puzzle, your overarching strategy becomes stronger.

The Online Community Lifecycle

The lifecycle consists of four stages

  1. inception
  2. establishment
  3. maturity
  4. mitosis

The names are less important than the activities that you need to perform at each stage.

Three traits of exceptional shared activities

Be purposeful. Be particpatory. Be repeatable. 🙌🏾

Community of Inquiry

An educational community of inquiry is a group of individuals who collaboratively engage in purposeful critical discourse and reflection to construct personal meaning and confirm mutual understanding.

The Community of Inquiry theoretical framework represents a process of creating a deep and meaningful (collaborative-constructivist) learning experience through the development of three interdependent elements – social, cognitive and teaching presence.

Social presence is “the ability of participants to identify with the community (e.g., course of study), communicate purposefully in a trusting environment, and develop inter-personal relationships by way of projecting their individual personalities.” (Garrison, 2009)

Teaching Presence is the design, facilitation, and direction of cognitive and social processes for the purpose of realizing personally meaningful and educationally worthwhile learning outcomes (Anderson, Rourke, Garrison, & Archer, 2001).

Cognitive Presence is the extent to which learners are able to construct and confirm meaning through sustained reflection and discourse (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2001).

The 7P’s of Community

A simple framework for building belonging.

  1. Purpose: Clearly define your goal
  2. People: Choose the right members and leaders
  3. Place: Gather in a compelling space
  4. Participation: Take your members on a journey
  5. Policy: Enforce a clear set of rules
  6. Promotion: Start small then scale
  7. Performance: Measure everything

Community Based Marketing strategy

A clear definition of “Community Based Marketing (CBM)” and also a look at why 2020 has created ‘Perfect Storm’ conditions for B2B communities to flourish.

The SPACE Model

The Framework for Defining Your Community’s Business Value

The Community Rings

All groups have a shared identity, or they wouldn’t be a group. Some groups have a shared identity that is meaningful to its members, some less so.

There is always a shared identity if you get broad enough. Ultimately we’re all human and share that identity.

As the identity gets more specific, it will include less people and will probably be more meaningful to those who share it.

How can we build better communities?

We are on a quest to learn and explore what makes great communities.


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