The Death of a Community?

When I started SharePointKicks a little over a year ago, I thought we were starting a good thing. Gavin Joyce had created a small community around DotNetKicks and we started building up sister sites to it, which included SharePointKicks. The idea was solid. Community driven content, allowing you dear reader the ability to bump up the stories you thought were worthy so they were there at the top, waiting to be read by others who were looking for the good stuff. Lots of signal, less noise.

As with any community, it had to start somewhere. It was me posting various stories from the SharePoint blog-o-sphere and getting the word out. However it's not something anyone should do full time. Do you think Kevin Rose feeds digg with all of it's stories these days? I'm not comparing SPK to digg on the level of popularity but rather concept, since they're both the same, although SharePointKicks is more specialized for the IT crowd.

After a month or two I felt the site had gathered up enough momentum and people would drive. Guess I was wrong. Back in May I posted a note about how the community had fell a little by the wayside and was suffering for it. At that time I thought there was still enough interest to keep the site going, however today it doesn't seem like that's been the case.

The Death of a Community?

So here we are looking into the chasm. The last popular post was submitted over a month ago on the site. There are a few people that post and the items trickle in, but that's it. They trickle. Like a dried up well with little life and less interest. And most of the entries are spam these days, which I've been cleaning out but it's a time-consuming job for which I don't have the time to do.

From the looks of it, the SharePoint community (that would be you guys, myself included) doesn't seem to want to keep this beast alive. Or do you? Like the infamous Andy Kaufman vote on Saturday Night Live in the 80s, I have to ask the question. If there isn't going to be an overwhelming "oh, don't take our SharePoint kicks away!" from a large number of people who are committed to seeing the site grow and flourish, I'm going to shut down the site. We'll redirect the domain name to DotNetKicks, which continues to move along nicely, but ultimately shut the site itself down. It's a shame as I thought the site would make a difference for those wading through SharePoint information out there but I don't see that it is. I know there's plenty of news stories, but I can't keep up the pace of posting them all myself so if the users of a community can't drive a community site like this then I don't see the point in keeping it around.

Let me know what you think via comments on this post or through email if that's your thing.

Published Monday, August 6, 2007 4:37 PM by Bil Simser

Comments

# re: The Death of a Community?

Monday, August 6, 2007 10:24 PM by Alpesh Nakar

Bill, I absolutely loved the idea of sharepointkicks. I did use it initially to submit entries. However not being a coder, I could not 'tweak' windows live writer to submit automatically... Also in feeds (e.g. Feedburner Flares) submitting items should be easier.

I just love sharepointkicks, but haven't been able to submit lately...

I don't want sharepointkicks to be kicked away.... honestly...

# re: The Death of a Community?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007 12:33 AM by preishuber

my thoughts goes in the same direction

we run a german developer portal www.devtrain.de since 2000. And we see whats happening in forums, articles and traffic.

so what are the reasons (ordered)?

out of hype

To build and host a community was a kind of hype in the past years.

out of use

There exists hundrets of forums with a few postings. Also News as service goes down.

Quality

Its costs more time and money to run a professionell online community

good business

The actual economy give enough work to the good developers. No time left to post good blog content.

Microsoft

Since several years microsoft began to host own communitys: channel9, ASp.net, msdn forums, codezone and so one. The have the money to get the users

Google

the power of the search engine prevent the strong commitment to this unique commnuity. The user jumps

What can we do?

I guess cooperate. Smaller communitys most merge to have a better offer.

# re: The Death of a Community?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007 7:03 PM by Tim

I didn't use the site that much as the design was really odd.   I usually read blogs and SharePointKicks entries in my browser.  Most entries I can read just fine with the reader, except for SharePointKicks.

Most entries require me to click on the link in the reader, which opens the browser to the page where I then have to click on the link again to actually go to the site itself.

Now I know this was done so you can generate page hits and display your Google Ads, but it was really frustrating, I just stop using it.

# re: The Death of a Community?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007 12:15 AM by Mark

I've never equated the word community with any Microsoft product let alone SharePoint. The Open Source movement hasn't really taken off for Microsoft products which is a bit of a shame but yet predictable. Maybe it's because developers are used to being spoon fed information and software from Microsoft?

# re: The Death of a Community?

Friday, August 10, 2007 4:43 AM by Mark

Perhaps Microsoft could foster community via MSDN. I'm sure that they could bake something directly into VS.Net.

# re: The Death of a Community?

Friday, August 10, 2007 3:05 PM by Christopher

Sorry to hear about this. We here at sharepointsearch.com are probably going to be faced with some of the same issues. We assumed it would be slow going on the community aspect so hired a full time content manager to always keep the information fresh. If you have any pointers for us we would welcome it, there is no shame in doing it right. If you have an interest at in merging functionality, we should talk. I can be reached through my blog

Regards.